Two months have passed. I’m finally on the new IT system, with a work laptop for hot-desking, and I’m due to get access to the database social workers use.
In the last month, I’ve had to deal with a lot of challenging and overwhelming situations, which I term as “blips” when I cannot cope with them. When I cry during the drive home, I’m clearly not in a space to adequately handle my emotions – making the commute dangerous. When I have to retreat to the bathroom because I’m so close to shouting and swearing and enraged, I’m aware that I’ve neglected my work duties in order to maintain my mental health.
I don’t see these blips as punishable actions, but as a less-than-desirable experience, that I put down to my new-ness.
When talking to my colleagues about these blips, I’m constantly told that it’s “not a blip, it’s just all new” or “it sounds like you did everything perfectly. You’ve clearly got the potential for this.”
It’s definitely a comfort that the issues I’m experiencing are things felt by the rest of the team in their own ways.
Last Wednesday, I spoke to the senior practitioner, and she asked what I needed to make the Tuesday course run smoother.
Having spent five hours looking after children who haven’t got boundaries or understanding of “no”, we then sit in a room and talk about the parent’s progress for what has lasted a further four and a half hours.
This second discussion is very emotional, and requires everyone’s input and views on each parent. I find out about their back-story, what the children I’m watching must have experienced; and without a break (we eat lunch with the families) it turns out I just cannot process all of my own thoughts and emotions.
After both of the Tuesday sessions we’ve run, I’ve had to leave early, cried while driving home, and texted my partner to come online early. Neither Tuesday could I eat dinner.
In both cases, on the Wednesday morning, I’ve been able to talk to a colleague about it. But for that Tuesday night, I feel like a complete failure at my job. A week in, crying is allowed. The true realities of the job hit home. Two and a half months, though…
It doesn’t sit well that the crying hasn’t even decreased a little.
But I have my laptop now, so the senior practitioner talked about me writing my thoughts down quietly in the corner and she even suggested I completely disengage and switch off from listening until I’m ready to process the new information. I was glad to find out she agreed with my concerns – that the sessions aren’t structured and there’s no proper time-keeping.
And whenever I bring up a concern that I’m not handling things as I wish I were; I’m told that I’m doing everything right, that I’ve done so well to enter the team at this time, and that they’ve not felt this busy and struggled this much in years.
All I can do is take each day as it comes.
Today I know I’ll have to ask that child to pick up the toys about five hundred times. I know those two babies will cry and set each other off.
And I know that I need to take my laptop into the meeting following. I know that I need to go to the loo and grab my belongings before I sit down.
I’m learning that I need to create a break for myself; that I need a time to process when no one else provides a gap.
– Rose –