It’s the third week of January. I have so much I want to talk about, but it’s all whirring around in my mind as an incoherent mess.
I want to impart my findings about my misconceptions of work, and of the transitional difficulties in moving to a new place, new car, new job… I want to talk about my mini-epiphany relating to working and money-making, but all I can think about is how I ended up crying in my manager’s office.
Last week was a bit of a failure in terms of the job – I observed two sessions on Monday afternoon. It seemed a bit boring and I felt that it was a waste of time for one session, but made sense in the second. The lady who sat beside me, explaining things as they happened, often made comments like “oh I wish I could just tell her what I think” or “but if she knew X she’d get it.”
But this was X session, so only X tools could be used.
I had been told that day that I should go on the training so that I could run those sessions once a week. Everyone else in the team had done the training (and I think it’s a useful tool for general life, just didn’t like how “pure” the sessions had to be).
Monday night, I cried while driving home, feeling overwhelmed.
Tuesday morning, a colleague asked how I found the session, and I burst into tears in the middle of the office; in front of five colleagues. By Friday morning, when I had supervision with my manager, I had spoken to every colleague about how much I didn’t want to do those Monday sessions.
I sat in my manager’s office and asked to add this topic to the agenda. She asked how I was, said she was happy with my work so far and that I seem to have found my place in the team. She mentioned how people saw me as competent already (this is whole new field of work for me, so I’m not competent at the specific tasks yet) which is a nice thing to know.
And then I cried.
We talked through my overwhelm: she said it was normal and that it’s fine. We discussed my week, my caseload and I said I’d gone to the rest of the team for support when I began feeling panicked.
And then we discussed trainings in mental health, neglect, equality and diversity and so on… She asked how I found being away from home. It was all calm again.
Then we got to the sessions, and I just babbled. She sat back in her chair and let me talk, crying again.
She asked which bits I was unhappy about, and I felt ridiculous – saying I hated the idea of knowing saying Z would help but because this is X session, I wouldn’t be allowed to mention it.
In my head, it came out as: “What kind of prick holds back something they know will help someone?”
She suggested I not do the training, though I had already booked onto it (as requested on Monday), and sent an email to the woman in charge.
I felt instantly better, and then dreaded seeing my colleagues who had all done the training.
Why was I not to do it?
What makes me so special that I can choose not to do this training and provide this service; especially if my problem isn’t even with the approach?
I like the idea of this tool. I just hated the idea of having to keep it pure; but surely pure X is better than nothing?
I felt torn: not wanting to do it, but not wanting to write it off on one observation.
I dreaded seeing the lady who sat beside me, explaining it all.
Because my explanation doesn’t really make sense (not even to me).
In the end, I had to trust my body and my emotions.
I lost 4 nights of sleep, cried 5 times, thought about it constantly for 4 days, and I still wasn’t happy. I wrote a reflective piece about it on Tuesday, and again Friday.
After all that, I was still so upset I cried about it and felt panicked.
So I have to honour that reaction, and trust that the team won’t think any less of me.
Hiding Behind Overwhelm
If anything, the team have been so supportive they’ve said “You mustn’t go home feeling that bad; call me at home. My mobile’s on – I don’t care if it’s a weekend, don’t be alone with that unresolved stuff.”
I had blamed the tears and sleeplessness on overwhelm, but removing that one pressure made the rest instantly feel manageable.
I’d labelled this emotion “overwhelm”, and it was to some degree… but it was overwhelm of one training; one commitment to a Monday afternoon a fornight.
And because it doesn’t make sense to me – I didn’t hate observing the sessions at the time – I didn’t delve any deeper into those feelings. I missed the massive cues my body was giving me.
So I spent this weekend reading up on that tool; so I have a basic outline in my head. It’s a really useful tool for general work, which is why it doesn’t make sense to me why I suddenly felt so aversive to it.
But I need to trust my body, and know that I can always do the training next year.
– Rose –