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?