So I was given a telephone appointment. Before I made the call I decided that I'd ask to work on goals around maintaining a better work-life balance. It's something that I'm capable of doing by myself but I reckoned that two heads might be better than one. Surely I could get away with skirting over some of the difficult things that have been going on over the last few months. After all even though I've been responsible for dealing with the aftermath of recent metaphorical train crashes it wasn't as if I was the driver.
The session didn't go to plan. My attempt to make light of what's been happening wasn't washing. Thank goodness my therapist wasn't having any wool pulled over their eyes. Oh no! Consequently I've recognised the need to acknowledge the impact of recent trauma and work out how to recover from its after effects. It's quite a tricky process. I was left exhausted after yesterday's therapy sessions. My other plans for the day had to be put on hold but so it must be.
Professionally I'm right at the coal face when it comes to tragedy. Once I gave an acquaintance who was a counsellor an overview of a typical case that I worked on. 'Oh!' they replied. 'That's really complex. I think you ought to refer that on'. What they'd failed to appreciate was that the service that I work in is at the end of the line. We are the people who are the recipients of the most tricky cases.
It's just dawned on me that because my exposure to suffering is so frequent I underplay my own struggles and as such underestimate the toll they exert. For they seem inconsequential compared to so much of what I regularly see. Yet their cumulative effect is substantial.
I'm sharing this, not as an act of self-indulgence, but to speak to those in similar shoes. There's got to be a few of you out there in the same boat in our overstretched systems. Jobs like the ones in health and social care, and the other emergency services do not come with a cloak of invincibility. If enough is thrown at us, whether it be personally or professionally, we break like anyone else. I'm thanking my lucky stars that I recognised this as an early stage. A little bit later and repair would have been so much more difficult.