Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

More change

Regular readers of this blog will notice I’ve had several changes of field in my career. Sometimes it’s boredom, sometimes it’s stress, sometimes it’s lack of support, sometimes it’s fear of commitment that drives me from one job to another. The time has come again. Can’t put my finger on the why – it seems to be all of the above, and yet …

I love this organisation. I genuinely love the people I work with and the work that we do. I am passionate in this field and love what I do. I’m also not scared of change, and love new challenges.  This role is very limiting and limited – as a manager of sorts to one measly program, supervising a (very) small team, and conducting business on a fee-for-service framework (which is dictated by the funding body) resulting in fewer clients and needing to ‘hunt’ for them, I feel I am not utilising my strengths or learning anything new. I’ve essentially become quite bored with the job. The only thing I seem to be doing is micromanaging people, and I feel little scope to do other work.

So after some consultations in external supervision and with my psychologist, I have come to an uneasy decision of starting to look outside for further stimulation. I want to get back to casework, client work, case management or anything hands-on really. I thought that management will be busy and intense and fun and a bit of a break from ‘managing’ clients – but in actual fact, it’s not that fun at all. In essence, you’re still dealing with clients. All of them. AND the case managers who work with them. It’s tripled workload, and none of it entirely fulfilling. My time supervising my staff whets the appetite. I hear about the difficulties the clients are facing and in my head runs a thousand different scenarios, techniques, strategies – how would I have worked with this client?

Damn I miss it so much!

In other news – and something I have yet to explore via this blog – I am committing to take a year off to travel next year (from about Aug/Sept/Oct – nothing in concrete yet, other than the plan). This somewhat puts a spanner in the works in terms of locating more work. If I leave now, I could probably get a 12 mth contract. If I leave in Jan, the likelihood to get a 9 mth or equiv position will be harder. The idea of temping or locum work is not ideal, but could be my only option. Ideally I’d like to stay where I am and just do casework but there’s no funding in it, and if I stay in this program, even if I take a demotion or return to substantive position, I’ll still basically be doing all the same work as there will be no one else to do it.

I thought about going back to mental health. As a clinical case manager. Again, it’ll require a certain amount of commitment, commitment I can’t guarantee to give. It’s still a year off but so much can happen in that time, at the same time how much should I hold off on my dreams for the sake of a good job… Tough life questions.

This often happens. Crossroads seem to occur more often than not in my life. In the past 7 years since I began this profession – new relationship, new job, move house, stress, unemployment, new job, anxiety, new job, break-up, move house, new job, court, promotion 1, promotion 2, new relationship,  move house, break-up, move house again.. new relationship.. and now the question mark around new job.  It’s all life, I suppose, this is completely normal to have change happening all the time. The difference now is, I don’t have a black or white answer. There are more options than not, and making a decision now when shit hasn’t hit the fan is in fact, the scariest decision of all.

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Nothing today…

Look up! I added a new page – Goals … I need some help with motivation, because I seriously don’t know how long I’ve been sitting on these ones for. Some at least 5 years. Time to pull the proverbial out.

In other news (despite saying “nothing today”), things have finally quietened down enough with my clients (with 3 of them not talking to me, and one currently not in the state), that I have actually (almost) completely caught up on paperwork, and followed up on a ton of stuff that I’d been meaning to do for yonks. In addition to that, sent a brilliantly snarky complaint email to one of my client’s financial administrators who sat on an invoice for a new fridge and washing machine for two weeks (leaving my intellectually disabled client eating out of an esky for that time). Pretty pleased with myself, especially since it was sent early in the day and still no response… hehehe someone’s getting their knuckles rapped.

A good week so far, but hey it’s only Tuesday.

 

Finally, HAPPY INT’L WOMEN’S DAY!!

Motivation

I believe I’m a pretty creative person – or at least, I tell myself and others that, but it’s been a long time since it’s been proven as the case.

I can spend hours stumbling, browsing, reading blogs, finding inspirations, looking through etsy – with that perpetual thought “I could do this!” but I never get around to doing it. For the past 3 years I’ve had the same things written over and over again in my aspirational list of things to do. What the hell is stopping me?

I suppose in some ways this can easily manifest itself in my work too – putting off things that are too hard, avoiding the challenge, or fear of asking the question that stands out most in your mind. It’s a block, and I put it down to lack of motivation – and deeper still, a lack of self-esteem and confidence.

So today I am choosing to better myself. To step outside of my fear of getting involved, and to challenge myself out of the “I will fail, so why bother” mentality. I’ve already loaded my new (old) Lomo camera that I bought about 6 months ago and never used. It’s loaded incorrectly, but so fucking what. We learn from our mistakes, and I need to start practicing what I preach.

I’ve also been tangentially surfing the web about all of the above little things – and I came across something that may interest any readers that are bloggers, or are considering to become bloggers, or just like writing and need something to kickstart the words.

This blog is actually useful for many other things, but the writing exercises post I think I might actually make use of. Hope you guys find it useful too.

I think I may need to put another page on this blog of all the things I actually want to achieve this year – and further on – so that at least it makes me feel as though I should make some attempts at proving myself to myself  that I am capable.

Ugh, motivation. Now I am sitting here with a billion things in my head and I can’t think of anywhere to start!!!!

Withdrawing from Cymbalta… fun it is NOT

I write to you this afternoon on the other side of a horrific night battling with some serious demons. At first it manifested itself as being completely annoyed beyond belief at my partner, then as though there were bugs crawling under my skin that had to get out. I felt like screaming. I felt like running a marathon, I felt like taking a whole bunch of pills and saying sianara to the world.

Then when I came home, I felt even worse. Restless as all get out. Legs twitching, body tensing up, and a strange buzz in my head that feels similar to when you come home from a gig and your ears are ringing. My poor partner, we’ve had our rough patches lately and I don’t want to have to inflict this shit on him again. I had to take my emergency Valium (my final one) to actually fall asleep. I got up at 6am and was restless again til about 9am, when I drifted back into sleep only to wake 3 and a half hours later.

Where did the weekend go.

Withdrawing off any medication is pretty damn hard. It’s quite funny and ironic because I’m forever telling my clients that it’s ‘not a good idea’ to take yourself off your psych meds, but when you’re in the same boat, it’s a completely different story isn’t it. I don’t want to be taking this shit all my life. I can see how people could get trapped into doing so. The fact is, I’ve been told by a few professionals that I don’t really need to be on psych meds. Most of my problems are situational, and it came through a lack of ability handling them that suddenly I was crippled with anxiety and unable to function. I am dealing better than ever with problems I encounter in life, but I don’t attribute that to a blue and white pill I take every night.

I’m on the lowest possible dose of Cymbalta available in Australia, 30mg. I was told by my doc initially that this was a ‘starter’ dose and that the therepuetic amount was 60mg for it to work effectively on my anxiety. I was thrust up to 60mg after a month on the 30 and probably went back down after about a month. I turned into a complete zombie, uninterested in anything. Devoid of emotion, or fun. I was a ghost of my former self. Clearly the dose was too high, and I dropped down to 30 after telling my doc that I just couldn’t handle being someone that only exists outside of herself.

Since then, I’ve been maintained on 30mg and things have been going alright. About a month ago, I made the decision that it had been about 10 months since I started, and I wanted to be a touch more ‘normal’ again.

I have sought medical advice for withdrawing off Cymbalta, so it hasn’t been a completely autonomous experience. The doctor I booked wasn’t my regular (she’s on maternity leave, bloody breeder), in fact my previous experience with her was in short, fucking awful. She has the most atrocious bedside manner, and never once asks the important questions one asks (the first time I saw her, I was pretty much in the midst of a panic attack, but because it was New Years’ Eve, she sent me off on my merry way with two dozen forms for blood tests and scans, not even having asked me how I was feeling). So despite that, I went in with an open mind, and got a rude shock when she gave me information about Cymbalta that my previous doc neglected to tell me. The withdrawal from SNRI‘s is particularly bad because unlike the regular SSRI’s, it works on two different neuro-transmitters: seretonin and norepinephrine. She provided a brief overview of withdrawal effects: dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, electric shock sensations, anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomia, hypomania, tinnitus, seizures… Thanks doc. I am sufficiently freaked out, and worried I am fucked.

After a discussion about how we would go about addressing negative side effects (prescribing Prozac), she advised I do the two days on, one day off approach for a while before then doing every second day, then spacing it out even further.

Well, since I started doing this, I’ve had two major breakdowns, both facilitated by alcohol and one by another substance. Last night was particularly bad and it is making me worried – the change is so small that I shouldn’t be feeling so out of step. But alas. Maybe I need to go back to doc and tell her that me and Cymbalta are having a difficult break-up. It’s like a manipulative and overbearing boyfriend who keeps reminding you that as much as it is better for you to leave, he will make it damn near impossible to.

thoughts…

This year has seen no shortage of drama in my home state of Queensland.

As much as I speak of my allegiance to my mother country, there is also a special sort of connection I have to the north.

When the floods hit, I was absolutely mortified, shocked, in awe and so incredibly sad. Those were my streets, and they were underwater. It was surreal, and so devastating.

Now, as Cyclone Yasi bears down on another part of the state, I feel nothing but fear. I’ve not been in a cyclone in my lifetime, however I’ve had nightmares about them for as long as I can remember. I don’t know where this irrational fear came from, because I grew up in a remote Western city too far south and too far inland to ever be affected by such an event. Regardless, something must have planted a seed.

I find myself now obsessively checking Twitter and ABC News getting as much information and footage into my head as I can. I don’t know why. Every now and then I remove myself from those news streams to give myself a “break”. Then I’m right back into it again. I did it with the floods, and I am doing it again with Yasi.

Lord knows why the sudden obsession. Historically, I’ve never really cared about natural disasters, even when they’ve been in my own backyard (Black Saturday). And now, perhaps because Qld is getting the rough end of Mother Nature’s stick, I am forever glued to find out more.

 

When I was 16, there was quite a large storm that came through where we lived at the time. It was a freak event, and really only caused chaos in a couple of suburbs. My parents were out, and I was doing homework around the time that it hit. I recall hearing the winds pick up, the rain pummelling down, then the power going out. That freaked me out the most (and it always does, whatever the situation!), and I found my imagination going a little haywire as my mind played tricks on me while my eyes adjusted to the twilight. Having animals near me has always calmed these sorts of spurts of ‘hallucation’ (if you could call it that), and I got my dog into my bedroom, cuddled her tight and hoped that it would all pass.

I opened the curtains, to let more light into the room. I had no idea where the candles were. This was before we had mobile phones, so I had no way of safely calling my parents to find out when they were coming home. From my bedroom, I had a clear view of our entire backyard. Slowly, I saw tiles come off our roof as the wind increased. A couple of our old palm trees snapped like the cliche. The whole outdoor lounge skipped its way down the lawn and into the pool a good 200m down. And when the pergola blew away, I nearly lost my shit. I literally grabbed our dog and crawled under the bed, with my walkman. I turned the music on full bore to block out the noise, and cried like a baby. *

I can’t imagine what people go through when cyclones or hurricanes hit. Disaster movies do their best to sensationalise it, but all I have to do is grab my piddly experience during a one hour storm, and multiply it by about 100.

If anyone from Cairns, Innisfail and surrounds is reading this: I’m thinking of you, and keep safe.

 

(* My parents found me there, asleep, 3 hours later when they got home at 10pm, long after the storm passed. They had no idea it even happened)

Nostalgic re-reading

Just re-read this post.

Woah. I just realised that that post may well have resolved those unresolved feelings I had for my ex-partner.

I’ll say it again. Woah.

And PS. how could I ever doubt that writing wasn’t my thing.

Third time lucky…

I’m feeling bad that it has taken me several weeks to update. Again, so much has happened that I find it hard to fit it all in one post without going onto a zillion tangents and boring everyone who dares to read.

I have kicked my job, and I can probably talk freely about what organisation it was, but I might wait a little until I do so.

A coincidence, large favour and lots and lots of luck managed to land me a job as an Outreach support worker for a homeless/mental health service provider. I am so happy, and although with its faults, it’s a vast improvement on the previous job. I feel like I’m working with normal people.

Ok.

On the other hand – I had some rollercoaster moments with medication for my anxiety. Terrible moments of depersonalisation, complete removal from reality and disassociation. Fatigue, nausea, weightloss. Cymbalta did not agree with me. It had disgusting side effects starting it, increasing dosage, and decreasing dosage. I finally feel normal again – still taking it, still experiencing some depersonalisation, but on the whole more ‘with it’.

When I update next, whenever that may be, I anticipate I’ll be actually able to get back on track and be true to the objective of starting this blog in the first place.