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sirenZ

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  1. Some day it might feel like a waste of time for me because it is so difficult that you want to avoid it. But I have been fortunate enough to have stumbled onto one who had helped me find my voice in therapy. I am not a "talker" and she described me as being relatively "non-verbal". But she never gave up trying different methods to see what worked for us. She was trained in art therapy and for the first time, it felt like I could safely "speak" through her through the use of my art work. So, I am just wondering if it is a case of finding someone or a modality that would help you based on your needs? Just a thought because for the longest time, it felt like I was getting nowhere somedays as I tried to work through my trauma🙂
  2. unfortunately, not all people we meet are compassionate and understanding. I learned in my workplace what it means to feel unsafe and exploited. And we have our ups and downs. It doesn't mean that just because I am not triggered to the same intensity means that I don't continue to struggle or have bad days. I still do and i have days that I want to give up. I will just say that the journey towards healing is a slow journey where it is common to take two steps forward, one step back. So hang in there!
  3. There is this term called post-traumatic growth which brings hope that we become stronger and grow from our traumatic experiences as we re-learn that the world can be safe while processing what has happened to us in our own ways. My therapist reminded me, when I lamented how I wished I could turn back time and avoided the assault, that as unfortunate and unfair it seems, we cannot erase our traumatic history. Since then, I am still figuring out what post-traumatic growth looks like for me.
  4. The damage does not stop but I will say from my experience, it is possible to learn to recognise your triggers and manage it. But it is a process that takes a lot of courage and perseverance. I have not gotten to the point of being willing to be near an ambulance as it is one of the main triggers and while I still unconsciously become more anxious and irritable when I have to visit the A&E where the assault took place, I am able to enter the hospital premises without being "activated". And while I sometimes still feel like I am transported back to that day when i am at that particular hospital, I don't freeze or become hyper-vigilant. It took me a year to get here and also because there is no way for me to avoid the hospital as there are not many in my area. Nevertheless, I no longer have random panic attacks or racing hearts. Although I still have nightmares (which I am not sure if it is due to the trauma or possibly compounded by burnout) I was never really on any medications although I was assessed to have Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms. I chose not to be on any meds but agreed to follow up with an art therapist who helped started the healing process for me (although I am unfortunately no longer following up with her due to some changes). I learnt regulation and grounding through various art medium although, I don't think I have reached the stage of fully processing or integrating the trauma into my own narrative. Triggers don't change (because I am still triggered by the same things), but the intensity of my triggers diminished over time as I learned to recognise them and to find strategies to manage them. As I type this, I wonder if it is ever possible to move on from a traumatic incident without ever talking about the details of the incident. I am not a verbal person (i.e. through verbally spoken words) and so chancing upon an art therapist was truly god sent that made my healing journey possible.
  5. Volunteering vampire validated vultures' vaccinations.
  6. I'm scared that I might be heading down that slippery slope into depression again. It could have started with Post-traumatic stress symptoms which added on to the ongoing vicarious trauma and eventually burn out that I might be experiencing. I'm scared because I don't want to go down that road again, but I am suspicious and I am feeling lousy that I am not doing as well as I hoped (although I know I shouldn't compare with the many out there who can't get a job) I am scared because I know if I need time to recover, but why is it always me that needs time to recover from a possible burn out. What is it that I am not doing well enough? I'm tired and I'm scared. I'm stressed and I'm worried. I don't feel safe and I feel like I am not good enough (when it may not be true). I cannot see the world the same way because I feel that everyone is just out there to do harm. I think, that is in part due to vicarious trauma. You can tell my thoughts are all over the place because they jump from point to point...
  7. I am wondering if I am experiencing vicarious trauma and/or burnout because I am feeling really lousy for a while. I'm just really demoralised and sad 😞
  8. I just needed a space to tell someone that I am not okay this couple of days. There is a lot of self-doubt and anxiety that I haven't been sleeping well and my nightmares have returned. I am not sure if it is just the approach of the anniversary of the very last incident that brought on my post traumatic stress symptoms to the fore or just a series of difficult situations at work to manage or just burning out. I just wish I am able to say out everything that is worrying me, that is causing so much anxiety and that is making me feel so upset. But when I have the opportunity to tell someone, I freeze and become constipated. Yet, I take comfort in the knowledge that I think my post-traumatic stress symptoms is slowly abating(though I haven't been told I am officially diagnosed with PTSD, more of displaying symptoms of post-traumatic stress). Some symptoms still occasionally resurface but it is no longer as intense as it was a year ago following the n(th) number of traumatic incidents within a span of 12 months even though I still can't talk about the incidents. Such mixed feelings that they are keeping me awake..
  9. sirenZ

    Last Post & Thank You

    I don't know to say this but I can't agree more. Life is a journey where there will be good and bad times - there will be days we feel okay and other days when we feel totally horrible. Even in recovery and as the depression lifts, there are still times and things that happen in life that brings us back to those dark times. Yet the difference could be that we have learned from the first time the skills to bounce back - that I would believe is human resilience. But I would also add that everyone has a different journey in recovery and in self-discovery. We all have the capacity to get there one day, some of us take faster, others longer. Thank you for trying, in just wanting to try and help. Take heart that someone will step up as you move on, because we have different needs as we move through life. There may also be someone whom you will bump into through your journey in life that will need you to provide that encouragement and presence to find that courage to pick themselves up after obstacles and to try again. We can continue to share that message of hope and resilience in our own ways. All the best!:)
  10. You know you are not okay when: - you haven't slept more than 4 hours for the past few days - you cannot stay asleep even with that few hours of sleep because you have nightmares - you feel can't focus at work - you feel so jaded at work - you feel upset over little things - you get easily angry Oh dear.... But I have not lost control, so I guess that is a good thing:)
  11. I realised my previous entry from a week or two ago is missing but nonetheless, I did not realise how much time has lapsed since I last posted. In this season, I am struggling - struggling with post-traumatic stress symptoms. Some days and seasons like this, you can't find the strength and you remain rooted in your spot. You want to give up and yet, you want to hang on. Oh, that struggle. I'm really not okay.
  12. 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".
  13. 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.
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