Saturday, 8 November 2014

Suffering in Perspective

'There's torture and there's killing and there's all my bad reviews'.  Words sung by Leonard Cohen in this song from his latest album, Popular Problems.  And there's me trying to convince people that you're not so gloomy after all, Len.  Buck up!

It's been a difficult few weeks at work for me and my colleagues and looks set to continue.  In my job in a mental health team I'm exposed to levels of human suffering that I could never have envisaged in my previous life as a would-be fat cat tax consultant.   No regrets though. I'm much prouder of what I do these days. The gang have developed MASH-like senses of humour to cope.  There was a bit of a 'Vic and Bob' thing going on yesterday, for instance.  Our gay colleagues are also adept at rooting out male eye candy to cheer us up! The very good looking smiley builder working downstairs at the hospital, initially spotted by Mr Metrosexual,  is on our collective radar.  I hope he's got someone lovely when he goes homes, and perhaps a brood of little peeps who appreciate him. Our arguably politically incorrect morale boosters don't always work. A colleague was reduced to tears this week over the bureaucratic hoops that she was being made to jump through just to get someone a bit of basic care.

The NHS is stretched to capacity and I'm bringing home paperwork just to keep up.   For my sins I'll be doing some of that over the weekend.  It's something that really goes against the grain but necessary to maintain client care and also to keep my own headspace in order.  I'm behind with my studies as a consequence but I've got a novel way of rectifying that which will be revealed soon!

My own problems are teeny tiny in relation to those of the people that I work on behalf of. Those lyrics  highlight how, mentally, we put our own trials and tribulations on a par with the bigger much more devastating stuff going on in the world.  'Torture, killing and  intermittent problems with my leisure battery' might be my own version of the words.  What is going on personally, however trivial, often evokes the same, or  sometimes an even bigger, emotional response than the abject terror and despair that is relentless for many others.  I'm blowed about how things can truly be put in perspective.   Maybe just being mindful that this tendency to over-inflate our own problems is a good start?


  1. It's good to have a reminder to put my own problems in perspective; thanks! I'm sure you will fell better at the end of your working life to know that you spent your time making others feel spite of having to battle with the system...and thank you for doing it!

  2. Yes, I too thank you for the job you do. ..and I also thank you for alerting me to the newest Leonard album. I listen to it in the car and absolutely love it. I have most of his music and have always been a fan. ( My favourite tracks are 3,5 and 9 ) There was one album I didn't think much to. " Dear Heather" or something like that I think it is called!

  3. Ah but Frances. Dear Heather has my favourite Leonard track. 'Go no more a roving' is verse by Byron set to music. Yet more proof that I'm not quite so poetry hating as I thought! x

    1. I will search the album out, and give that track a listen!

  4. My teen calls some of my everyday gripes "first world problems". I get where he's coming from. We all lose perspective from time to time. Mind you he's not that impressed when he's sounding off about something and I use his pet phrase back to him!