It’s the weekend and I’m glad.
I experienced my day at work yesterday as “difficult” and I was having TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) thoughts. Actually, the thoughts were more like IWTDAWWON (I Wish This Day And Week Were Over NOW) Thoughts.
I don’t like having thoughts like those. I like to do my best to be in the current moment, instead of wishing it away.
So that’s where I was yesterday. Not liking where I was.
As I’ve been writing in my posts here lately, I’ve been having some discouraged thoughts and feelings.
It always helps to list what’s discouraging me. That way, I reduce the power of those thoughts and make them manageable. If “What is Discouraging Me” can fit on a page, it’s smaller than it feels inside my head.
I’m going to focus on my discouragement at work right now. Here’s the list:
What Is Discouraging Me About My Work
- I am eager to expand my therapy group program, and there are obstacles to doing so.
- I am judging the job that I am doing, and very aware of my mistakes and limits.
- I am feeling some disappointment with people I need to support me in the work that I do (because as much as I might like to, I can’t do this alone).
- I am not seeing my own power or my ability to do what I think I need to do.
Okay, now that I have gotten those discouraged thoughts out of my head and into this post, I can see things differently.
I can see that this is the my Typical Experience of Discouragement. It’s the story I see and the story that I tell, when I’m feeling down. All the elements are there:
- Disappointment in myself,
- Disappointment in others, and
- Feeling helpless and powerless.
When I am in that place, I feel horrified by new evidence of my lack of power, my personal mistakes, and disconnects from other people. The more I see those things, the more I want to hide. The more I hide, the more helpless I feel and the less options I see for any solutions.
Here are some things that horrified me at work, yesterday:
Horror Story #1. Bugs Attack!
There was an e-mail about an infestation of saw-toothed beetles in the doctors’ lockers. The e-mail reported that the exterminators had come, all food in the lockers had been thrown away, and people with lockers had to make sure to store any food in Tupperware (since the saw teeth were sharp enough to get through lesser protection). Here’s the perpetrator:
(Google Images gave me many choices for visual examples. I believe I was kind to you and to myself with my choice, above.)
Also, my direct manager (who has been very helpful to me) had to leave early because of an “ant invasion” (her words) at her home.
(Perhaps I wasn’t quite as kind, in my choice of Google Images for “ant invasion.” However, I could have been crueller, for sure.)
Now, I wasn’t directly affected by those two things. I don’t have a locker at work. And, while some ants have been showing up at my home these days, that situation is well under control.
However, I still felt horrified. I felt bad about food I was storing in my desk. I threw out food that wasn’t protected.
Also, I remembered my second internship when I was in Social Work School, over 15 years ago, at a place where I never felt comfortable or connected enough with the other staff there, and where ants attacked some food I had in my knapsack, swarming all over the office floor. I remember feeling horror and shame about that, being afraid to tell anybody, emptying the offending food, taking the knapsack, and guiltily throwing it away in a trash receptacle far from the office, like I was disposing of a bomb I had evilly constructed.
One moral of the story: Wow. I guess I can be hard on myself sometimes.
Another moral of the story: Bugs are everywhere, and you can especially see them where the food is.
Horror Story #2: Some People Get Mad or Annoyed at Me!
I have to return a lot of phone calls at work.
One of the changes I helped create at the hospital where I work is this: people who have decided they want individual or group therapy now have the direct phone number for a clinician, who can assess their needs with them, explain therapy options, and help connect them with the therapy solution they choose. (The old system was this: the person wanting therapy would be given the general practice number, would reach a scheduler, make an appointment, and usually wait several weeks before talking to somebody.)
I feel very proud about that change. I think it’s better, in all ways.
However, I am one of the clinicians who takes the calls, and I get a lot of calls from people. And I do my best returning those calls. And I manage expectations, with my voicemail message, about when people will hear back from me.
But sometimes, people get annoyed when I don’t act quickly enough.
And I REALLY want to return calls quickly. I want to honor and respond to somebody asking for help. Partly, because I really know what if feels like … to be alone with pain.
So it kills me when I can’t get back to people quickly. And there are many reasons why that can happen, including: I’ve got a big back-log of phone calls, I am meeting with people for individual therapy, I am trying to maintain my group program, I’m doing groups, I am on call for people who are having very urgent problems, and I am trying to take care of myself so I don’t burn out.
(pant, pant, pant)
And people get annoyed with me, some times. Doctors, other staff members, and — rarely — patients. And I get annoyed sometimes, too.
Because most of us are doing too much and/or dealing with too much. Most of us feel overwhelmed.
We are all doing the best we can.
One moral of the story: I get back to people as soon as I can, even if I feel awful about delays.
Another moral of the story: Needs are everywhere, and you can especially see them where people are offering to meet them (like at a hospital).
END of Horror Stories
Before I end this post (which helped me a lot, this morning), I would like to tell you some other things that happened yesterday.
Let’s see … what’s the opposite of the word “horror”? I’m gong to The Thesaurus, people.
Here’s the full entry about “horror”, in the Thesaurus:
Main entry: horror
Part of speech: noun
Definition: fear, revulsion
Synonyms: abhorrence, abomination, alarm, antipathy, apprehension, aversion, awe, chiller, consternation, detestation, disgust, dislike, dismay, dread, fright, hate, hatred, loathing, monstrosity, panic, repugnance, terror, trepidation
Notes: terror is stronger than horror , though it usually lasts for a shorter time
Antonyms: beauty, delight, miracle, pleasure, wonder
So, I encountered some Beauty/Delight/Miracle/Pleasure/Wonder Stories yesterday, too.
Story #1: My dentist text-messaged me and asked if he could put one of my blog posts on his dental practice’s Facebook page. See here for that post, which included my dentist but also other stories of kindness I’d been encountering in Boston.
Story #2: The people at the parking lot where I work told me that — because of the e-mail I had sent their manager about them — they were all getting a good bonus, some real $$! (See this post for how amazing these guys were, and why I wrote the e-mail.)
Many other Beauty/Delight/Miracle/Pleasure/Wonder Stories happened yesterday, too. The two I mentioned were just the blog-related ones.
However, because of the place I was in, those kinds of stories weren’t sticking. The Horror Stories were taking up most of the room in my head.
Here’s my wish for myself, today. I just want to give all the stories equal time. Not deny the horror. When the horror is there — whether it’s internal shame, disconnections from other people, or external destruction — I wish to still notice the other side.
To get back to it, as soon as I can.
Thanks for reading all of this, today.