Struggling with acceptance

I mentioned in a previous blogpost that after inspiration from a fellow blogger my word for 2020 would be acceptance. The reason for this choice is that I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to fix things or to change things. Constantly mixing it up and seeking newness and challenges which have also functioned as one big distraction from whatever is really going on inside. I’m not very good at allowing and being so I thought having acceptance as a mantra would help. I’m already being tested by work or rather my feelings and beliefs about work.

I left the NHS almost 4 years ago and now work for a private company that provides very specialised care to young people who would otherwise be in hospital. I love the client group, the team and the model of care but the corporate structures have grown as the company has and I hate all that being a natural born rebel. I tell myself that’s why I left the NHS so what am I doing here? I spoke to someone about going back to the NHS but was reminded that the emphasis on assessment and through put rather than individualised care and treatment was the other reason I left. I wanted to do work I could feel good about. I also struggle with working in the private sector when I’m a socialist as I’m not being true to my core values and beliefs. If I’d stayed in the NHS I could be retiring now so there’s a layer of regret there too. The result of all this agonising is I’m negative and unhappy at work, and I get moody and irritable about it at home. I’ve started working for myself as well and I love that but it is a lot less secure than a salary. How can I accept that work is never going to be perfect so that the imperfections don’t impact my mood and well being so much? Did I leave my last job too hastily? Probably yes but I can’t change that now and I was miserable. Can I improve things in my current job? Things were better for a while when I made a conscious effort to manage my emotions and expectations but since a young person died the negative thinking and reactions have crept back in.

On a seemingly completely different topic I saw a post about a horse for re-homing last night and thought I might look at it; even though I know it would tie me into massive financial and time commitments when I’ve other things I want to do that I struggle to fit in already; as well as wanting to work less if I can. I told myself I’m tied in to working for the foreseeable future so why shouldn’t I spend the money on a horse for me? I am getting less impulsive as I didn’t call immediately but slept on it. Today I’m not so keen and have decided to wait and see what I think in the summer and to let this one pass me by. I think my unconscious mind was getting uneasy about going back to work and hey presto here’s a distraction! If it was hamsters that floated my boat I’d probably have thousands by now! Excitement at the thought of something new blocking out the complicated difficult feelings I have about my job.

So no new horse and no new job for the time being. I will have good days and bad days, probably good hours and bad hours on the same day. Work is like that; life is like that. The problem when you don’t stand still for long is you don’t learn that most things pass by themselves, and nothing is permanent especially not feelings. When our feelings take charge, especially negative ones, then we view life through a shit coloured lens so even when it’s ok we find the bit that isn’t. Our reactions and responses shape what’s around us and if we keep it up long enough it’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

So tomorrow morning before I go in I will do my yoga and meditation and aim to be mindful and calm.

I wrote the above 3 days ago but wasn’t entirely happy with it so it didn’t get posted. I didn’t manage to get up and do yoga but I went to work Wed determined to be positive. In the afternoon I had to go and be part of detaining one of my patients. She’d been found the wrong side of a motorway bridge by the police the night before and was on the local 136 suite (where the police bring people for assessment who they deem are at risk). This was her 5th such assessment in 10 days. We detained her and she kicked off resulting in restraint. I came home feeling both exhausted and agitated. I didn’t sleep well and yesterday all the petty irritations at work got to me and by the end of the day I was in tears. I talked it over with 2 of my lovely colleagues who said they thought I was depressed and should take some time off. I don’t think I am depressed as I’m ok when I’m not at work but when I think about it I’m not very motivated to do anything, can’t get up in the morning and the thoughts that life is a futile exercise and there is no point are never far away. Something about the experience on wed has triggered me; I’ve been in that kind of situation hundreds of times so why now? I would have always drank after a day like that in the past. Now I feel skinless – I have no defences against the pain and misery that is my stock in trade. I can’t do it anymore but I don’t know how to do anything else. I don’t know if I’m absorbing other people’s trauma or if it’s triggering trauma of my own. Am I blaming work for my own weaknesses and faults? Why can’t I just get on with it like normal people do? Why do I feel others pain as if it were my own?

I don’t know the answers to these questions yet. Maybe I never will. Maybe I’m just burnt out after 30 years. I’ve taken the day off today and I’m writing this in bed as I can’t face getting up. I think I’m going to resign and figure out the rest (like how I’m going to pay my bills) whilst I work my notice. Perhaps it’s not just acceptance that I need but courage as well?

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16 Comments

  1. Hiya love
    I really enjoy the blog and today’s struck a chord with me so l thought l’d comment.I think we really underestimate the effect on ourselves of the sadness and stress we hear about and work with, day in day out of our working lives. It must trigger things all the time and we should acknowledge that more. I have no answers, all l can say is having met a number of colleagues in the last year who have all retired from similar jobs l’ve been struck by how happy they all seem!!😁. Even when living with very different life circumstances the difference in their general well-being is massive. Maybe it’s time for a big change, and stopping drinking has meant you can’t avoid facing that. Take your time and then grasp that nettle!!❤️xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think acceptance takes a remarkable amount of courage. Detaining someone isn’t easy at the best of times, and when it doesn’t go smoothly or it’s triggering it’s absolutely exhausting. You deserve to have some time to decompress. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have no answers either so I am sending warm thoughts and courage and thanking you for having posted this ❤ One thing for sure: you definitely seem like you deserve some time off and self-care, some gentleness, some space to breathe. It's so easy to forget ourselves when our job is to care for others, especially with such a difficult job as yours…. it's great that you took the day off. Keep doing things for you and remembering your own wellbeing ! ❤ Big big hugs,<3 xxxx Anne

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  4. It sounds a bit like brown out. I know after 36 years of teaching, I was not coping as well, and in fact those last years were when I increased my drinking.
    I’m glad you are giving yourself some rest and self care.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 2 people

  5. After 15 years of working with medically fragile children in the home, i had to take a break. Sometimes they die, sometimes they are just in bad environments, and sometimes they grow up and become a case i can no longer handle ( too heavy, strong/active, etc. or just increased mental illness that leads to violent behaviors). I have struggled in each of these areas about leaving the field completely out of guilt or just burn out. The break ( one year in ICU) reminded me that i do in fact enjoy working in homes, and with children much more than a facility with mostly adults..i went back i as a clinical manager , then clinical educator and eventually decided i wanted to be back to one on one and have been doing so for 6 years again now. There are still ups & downs.The most recent one was having to decide to change agencies while staying at the same case just to get benefits( long story). At any rate i think the bottom line is, i did accept that i was meant for working out in the field with kids over any other area of nursing but wouldn’t have known that if hadn’t tried other avenues.Acceptance in my case means basically i could be fired any day for any reason ( parents are the boss and if they don’t like something you are OUT), i get paid less than half of what a facility nurse makes, and way less benefits over all..But the absolute stress i found at the facility and hospital as well as office settings just isn’t worth it.Sorry such a long answer but i wanted to address the job issue..also..PHEW…so glad you waited on that horse ..when i started that paragraph i was like NOOOO….dont do it ! wait until the storm passes and decide! haha ! Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for being so honest and sharing what’s going on for you. When do feelings of ‘what’s the point?’, sadness, exhaustion and lethargy tip into depression? Maybe we don’t have to label it but ‘accept’ we go through periods where we feel like it and ensure we really care for ourselves when it happens. I have worked in the NHS for 25 years and it’s tough. As Anne said, caring professions and jobs are emotionally and mentally draining and challenging and to keep going over a number of years (in private practice or public sector) is really difficult. Maybe now you can see and feel things more clearly you are realising there are decisions you can make. No rush though. Take time out and take time off. Do nothing for a while if that’s all you can manage.

    I’m thinking of you. Sending love and hoping you give yourself a chance to rest.
    Claire xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hug
    It took me a long time to stop taking on others emotions and lives. I’m fortunate that as an engineer I found a profession that is very I personal. I have often wished I had stuck it out and gone to med school as I planned, but no.
    And I realize I probably just don’t have enough energy for giving all day if I want anything left.
    So I stick with oil production. Lol
    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am sure thinking of you and wish I had some advice however it was all said above! 😃 I hope you are feeling better and had/are having some much needed decompress time!!
    Good on the wait of the horse however I would have had that same thinking! ❤ We have an older thoroughbred here at my house for 4 years and he’s so sweet and kind but after he passes I don’t think I’ll get another. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your job sounds incredibly stressful… working for a bigger org is difficult because you can’t just please yourself and the client, you have to also follow policy. This need to balance opinions and consequences with very troubled clients instead of following gut healer instincts would be soul-breaking at times, I imagine.

    I can understand too looking back on the place where you took a turn away from the secure feeling of the NHS. But you made that decision for a reason while using your best faculties at the time, so no need to second-guess that one, is what I’d imagine you’d say to me, if I were in your position…maybe? :)) I love reading in the comments that you are thinking of working for yourself… that could be lovely.

    I think it’s great that you held off on the horse (more expenses and time means more stress), and that took the day off, much needed…. sounds like what the doctor ordered. 💖Sending love, much of it 💗

    Liked by 1 person

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