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sirenZ

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  1. It has been a while since I made the effort to pen down my thoughts. The absence coincided with a period of great uncertainties, hopes and then frustrations. Truth be told, I was struggling for a while and decided to muster the courage to come face to face with my worries by writing them down. I thought I was coping for a while when my schedule started to clear up, according me with more breathing space to continue healing from a traumatic event and to recover from burn out. The slower pace also accorded the space and capacity for reflection, of where the great inertia to go all out for my clients was coming from. And it hit me - vicarious trauma. I never thought that I would see symptoms of secondary trauma or vicarious trauma in myself, a relatively young worker in the field. You feel so depleted emotionally and you find yourself being as avoidant of work as you could afford, without missing the important deadlines. But I am thankful I didn't allow myself to be brought back down to the depths of dispair. Working through the trauma experienced at work is painful and anxiety-provoking. It is sad that the helping profession are at such risk of suffering from secondary trauma, and even vicarious trauma. You realise your perception of the world has been altered. Things like the sight of children triggers images of danger, it reminds me of work and the vulnerable population I work with. But I have also learned that experiencing trauma, while difficult as you heal, can also be a source of positive change. You learn resilience and you discover strengths in yourself that you otherwise wouldn't have. I have learned the importance of self-care and being brave by allowing others in, causing me to feel vulnerable. I have discovered that I have people around me who are watching out for me and that I mattered. Having experienced a traumatic event also helps me understand what my clients go through, and how I can be more sensitive to the way they respond to something potentially traumatic. While I sound positive, I am still feeling vulnerable and anxious. There are parts of my trauma I still can't fully talk about but I am working through it. Some days I feel it is so unfair that I am here trying to help others, only to be traumatised by the process. But I hold on to the belief that with time, I will work through it and find a way to make sense of trauma in my own unique way and to integrate it into who I am. The wounds of the trauma will never disappear but it doesn't have to keep us in its grips forever. I am able to acknowledge more of it with each passing day and I am having less nightmares. There are still bad days but I will get through it. At the end of this post, I wonder the purpose of this entry. But I guess, I shouldn't always worry about the intention. Some days, it is sufficient that we just write without filtering. Perhaps one day, I may make sense of this post. For today, I shall just make do with the knowledge I just needed a "rant".
  2. Even the optimist find themselves having bad days/weeks. The hitaus concided with my leave and since my return back at work about 2.5 weeks ago, it has been madness. I wonder at times if I am experiencing a burn out from work. I find myself at a loss for words and yet feel so pent up with negative emotions, yearning for a release. For my long term sanity, I know I need an alternative plan because if I stay on too long, I might end up choosing the leave the sector totally. It is no wonder that the social services constantly face difficulties with retention. It is often an area that is being promised by governments but not accorded with sufficient funds for the people to carry out these promises. You end up with an over-taxed system trying to meet the increased promise. Over time, even people with the best of interest and the fiercest of passion find their flames put out because there isn't room to breathe. I am tired, physically and emotionally as I reach my 5th year mark in the sector, trying so hard to give and recieving nothing but complaints and "verbal abuse" from disgruntled clients because they disagree with the system. With all the constant and rapid changes unfolding before my eyes, I wonder how long I can hold onto my sanity before I become disillusioned and traumatised by simply trying to do my job to bring social change in society. For a start, my concept of relationship and parenting have been challenged so violently over the years that I struggle to concieve the notion that I can avoid the circumstances and vices of the families I serve. I am human and my capacity to give is limited. I know that if I am selfish enough to advocate for my own well-being and sanity, I need to find the courage to leave a comfort zone and to venture into another area of the sector - one that accords more predictability, less volatility and greater locus of control. The burning flames of passion to give, as it is so commonly described and prescribed by new graduates entering the sector, can be extinguished. Here I stand today, torn betwen remaining in my comfort zone and preserving my sanity.
  3. I haven't been around much, simply because I am having a difficult week and words have escaped me. It all started go downhill when you are assaulted at work by the very clients you are trying to assist. It was traumatising and I am not going into detail. But this period has also allowed me to reflect on the progress I have made. Sure, I was filled with intense fear and anxiety. For a few days, i couldn't speak about the incident and I avoided everything to do with it. Nonetheless, I know I have learned to be nice to myself and allow myself space to grief and to acknowledge the unpleasant things in life. I still struggle to know how I really feel about the incident and whether the numbness is just a way of protecting myself. I think I am okay because I can still function, but I am not sure if it is just resilience or avoidance. But I take comfort in knowing that I find other ways to deal with my emotions, to express my fears and worries - through Art. I guess the next few weeks will be a difficult time, just because someone decided that you needed to be 'taught a lesson' when you are just out there to do your job. Even though I have always seen myself as being fearless out in the field meeting with clients who are at their most vulnerable, I acknowledge that I am shaken. I am filled with a heart of thanksgiving for the space at work to seek recovery from a traumatic event. I am still struggling to acknowledge how the incident I have experienced could be traumatic as it appeared so harmless, but I view it as an assault. Throwing stuff at people is not okay, even if there is no injury. I know I am still filled with anxiety because I can feel my heart racing, my stomach knotted and my thoughts floating. I know I am affected as I step back and allow myself to be in-tune with my own bodily sensation. In many ways, I am thankful for my job because in helping people to cope with their own emotions and issues, I have unconsciously learned methods of understanding my own emotions and learning to recognise when you are not feeling okay. I know there is a level of avoidance there and it's scary, but I pray that I would find the courage to face it so that I can move on and seek recovery from a traumatic event. And to end it off, I am pen-ing this down in hopes that I will look back at this a few weeks from now and see the progress, regardless of how big or small, in learning to deal with difficult feelings and emotions; and in how I deal with difficult situations in life. Because even after recovery, there are many instances that can trigger another episode if we don't look after ourselves and if we are not vigilant.
  4. sirenZ

    The "How Do You Feel Right Now?" (4)

    On of those days I wished I could hide away from the world... I am just feeling "bleah"
  5. sirenZ

    I'm so unhappy

    Hugs! I don't really know the context of it all but whatever you choose to do at the end of the day, just remember that it is not selfish to take care of yourself because you are important.
  6. sirenZ

    The "How Do You Feel Right Now?" (4)

    Today, i'm feeling alone and misunderstood
  7. sirenZ

    What was a small victory you had today?

    staying away from doing any work-related stuff and packing up one corner of my room
  8. Hello! Firstly, thank you for the courage you have shown yourself to take that step in acknowledging that something is not quite right and wanting to find out how you can help yourself. This is often the hardest first step to take. While it is a bit different because my context happened in school, I would say that stepping out to talk to someone is never a waste of time. I struggled with loss of interest in school and hobbies and going to school was a chore. All I thought of was how stupid I was and I could never pass my finals. But I thought I was just being stressed out or lazy and I intially didn't seek help because I was afraid of being dismissed. But it was affecting my grades and my schoolwork so badly that I decided to just "screw it" and spoke to my teacher about it. When I did, it was with the intention of just seeing how I could find accomodation for some of my schoolwork so that I can have some space to cope with the stress at school and at home. I wasn't put down but was referred on to counseling and eventually, my symptoms worsen till the point I was referred to mental health professionals. I was eventually diagnosed with depression and got the help I needed. I am today thankful for that step I took because I was able to continue school with support and to recover. I would like to add that seeing a GP or seeking medical advice is never a waste of time. No problem should ever be too small for us to seek advice or to consult a doctor. I have heard stories from friends that they have doctors who have put down their problems but they persisted in finding another doctor who would take the time to listen to their symptoms and concerns and were able to get the help they needed. All the best and don't stop trying to get the help you think you may need because you are important enough for someone to take the time to stop and to listen to you.
  9. sirenZ

    What Exercise Did You Get Today?

    oh dear. All the exercise I got today was walking between my work desk and the office pantry to look for food and to get water.
  10. I agree that you should be totally honest and upfront with your doctor about the worries over the symptoms you are noticing that appear odd or worrying for you. Without knowing the information, it would be difficult for the doctors to see if you meet the criteria for any diagnosis or to make an informed decision on how to help you.
  11. sirenZ

    Family and friends

    I would have liked my family to just be there for me and to stop asking me to snap out of it. But I think my parents did not make the effort to understand more about my condition and they frequently 'guilt trip' me and felt that I was being 'depressed' to gain attention. That really hampered my recovery because it became another trigger that made me upset. But I was lucky to have really supportive friends who were not judging and were there for me when I needed, even if it is just to sit at a corner and hear me 'ramble' or to just encourage me. They were the ones who had raised the alarm of my symptoms to my teachers who intervened and got me the help I needed to deal with my mental health problems.
  12. sirenZ

    The "How Do You Feel Right Now?" (4)

    Feeling pensive
  13. sirenZ

    How do others deal with their depression?

    I write/journal because it helps me to "see" my thoughts and worries that is causing me to feel upset. Sometimes I play puzzle games like sudoku to stop my mind from thinking/ruminating about my worries.
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