Thursday, February 23, 2012

Venting x2


Twice in the past few days I have called the hospital Mental Health Outpatient Clinic to get an update on my client's waitlist status. 

Twice I have been informed that the client is not even on the list!  They have no record of a referral. 

In one case this client's doctor told him he made the referral in October.  In the other, the client told me her doctor referred her last summer!  This client is brand new to me, so we're off to a busy start.

The outpatient clinic has a four month wait list.  They both should have been seen by now.  Now I am trying to help each sort out what happened.


*I do not endorse this method of stress relief.  If you are feeling upset, talk to your counsellor.  If you don't have a counsellor, call your local mental health services you might get one in a year or two.
In the meantime just try not to throw anything at anybody.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What Inspires Recovery?

This post is a part of the Recovery 101 blog series. The series will explore ideas, philosophies, language, tools and questions about mental health recovery. Submit any ideas for topics in the comments section of any tagged post.

Stories of success in mental health recovery often include a moment of inspiration.  An action by a friend or family member, a life event, a misfortune or a random bit of information learned may act as a catalyst to change in an individual's life.  The stories I have heard often describe a change in the individual's thinking which promotes a drive or motivation to recover.  They reframe their thinking.  They gain hope or a positive outlook.  They create a goal for themselves. 

As workers or support figures we are often searching to find this source of inspiration for our clients or friends.  Doubtless mental illness suffers are seeking it for themselves too.

Last week saw Bell Let's Talk day get lots of attention.  I decided not to write about it at the time due to it being a corporate sponsored event, and I don't have much to say about Bell.  The next day however one of my clients talked about watching a TV interview with Let's Talk spokesperson Clara Hughes along with other famous sports figures talking about their experiences with mental illness (depression and PTSD were covered as far as I remember) and how they recovered.  This client himself suffers with depression.  He told me that watching the show made him feel even worse.  He said they each talked about how their spouse or partner helped them get through - he does not have a spouse, and when he did she was more cause for pain than support.  He said they talked about how despite their various successes (Olympic medals, major trophies and awards) they still suffered.  His take?  If he didn't even have these type of awards, how much worse off does that make him?

Not the intended effect of the program I'm sure.  What was meant to inspire in this case, really didn't help. 

On the other hand I have taken clients to hear recovery stories shared by those in their community and they have reported feeling hopeful in their own lives as a result.  One woman I worked with who has bipolar disorder described watching coverage of Charlie Sheen go off the rails as inspiration for her to get better because she "didn't want to end up like that guy".  There are stories of people going to their doctor, support worker, family member and hearing the same message every day until finally "click!" something registered that was their moment of inspiration.

The moment of inspiration does not result in life getting fixed over night.  Things may not look any different for a while.  But down the road, further along the recovery journey it's the moment that someone looks back on and says "that's when everything changed for me.  That's when I knew I could get better." 

It's the moment that makes all the difference.  Because we can be surrounded by the most well-meaning people in the world, all the praise and validation one could ask for.  But if we are suffering inside, true change will not come until we are open to it.  And the key to open the door may come in all kinds of strange and unpredictable forms.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fingers Crossed (Toes Too)

I applied for a job yesterday. 

Truthfully, I do this all the time, but this is one job I think I'd actually like to get.  It looks great on paper, and seems to fit most of my job search criteria.  So I tried to make myself look good on paper, and sent off the ol'resume.  Well, acutally a new resume.  I tend to nit pick and rewrite obsessively when applying for any new posting. 

So now fingers are crossed that I will get an interview.  And that it will go better than the last one!

In the meantime, I'm trying to follow-through with the goals I set for myself at work this year and remain positive.  One day at a time, right?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Wurkd fer mee

A co-worker exclaiming over some (presumably) outrageous spelling errors:
I'm not hooked on phonics people, but come on!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bag Lady*

Yesterday I arrived to work carrying:

1. My work bag - contains my binder with forms, notebook, business cards and comes with me to all meetings and client appointments

2. My purse - contains personal, non work stuff like wallet, lip balm and ear plugs (they have come in handy, trust me)

3. My laptop bag - I don't usually bring this outside the office, but sometimes it's neccessity

4. A grocery bag - containing my contribution to the team pot luck (broccoli slaw - it was good)

5. My lunch bag - because despite the put luck luncheon, I was on my own for second breakfast, elevensies and afternoon tea

6. A gift bag - containing a very *lovely* purfume a client had gifted to me.  I told her I couldn't accept it but I had another client who would really appreciate it, and after it sitting in my car for a week, and me inhaling the fumes I really needed to give it to her.

7. My giant tea thermos.

Oh, and I had my crackberry in my pocket.

I think I need one of those personal organization assistant people** to help me.  Or I just need to listen to my 8 year old and use a backpack already.

*this term always gets this song stuck in my head

**this is a thing, right? These people really exist???