Another week of no writing is behind me. I tried a couple times this week to complete a post in the middle of the week, but my mind just refused to cooperate. The page sat blank and I couldn’t summon words. It’s ridiculous how tired I am at the end of each day. Hopefully within a few months I can get back to posting at the amount I was, because honestly I feel like not having the outlet has not been helpful.
So here’s an update on my week. The good, the bad, and the frustrating.
I survived my first week of social skills groups and individual sessions. The kids really are great, even as difficult as they can be sometimes. It’s going to be a challenge to keep coming up with good activities that meet each of their needs, but I’m working on that one week at a time. I tried to make a list of each of their goals and operationally define each goal so I know how I’m going to measure progress. It remains to be seen how well that works out.
The rest of the week was pretty standard. We had back to school night and I introduced myself to some of the families. I spoke to a few parents by phone. Outside of school, I had a fun time with H & S making calm down glitter bottles. What kid doesn’t like glitter? It was interesting to see how their different personalities came alive in their choice of color for the water, glitter color, etc.
I really love those sweet girls, even though they test my patience. On Friday, I was carrying S back into the house from the car, because she’d decided she was going to come with me to drop H at soccer but didn’t want to wear shoes. She hugged me tightly, told me that she loved me, and that she didn’t want another babysitter besides me. Ugh, my heart.
Over the weekend, I did have a nice time. Friday night I went to my local high school’s football game with my old colleague, whose son plays on the team. It was such a great experience to catch up with her, to see a couple old friends from high school, and to watch the marching band play. I was in the band in high school and seeing them makes me very nostalgic.
Then last night I went to an event that I’d been looking forward to for weeks. I don’t want to share what it was more specifically, because I fear that might give away my location, but I will say it was a festival that involves a breathtaking view. My friend and I met some kind people who made the night even more memorable for us. I can’t wait to do it again.
Tuesday was a difficult day. That seems to be a holding pattern for Tuesdays. I was overwhelmed and feeling completely adequate in my position. I felt that way again on Friday, but it got even worse towards the end of the day. I was sitting in my office, trying to get an idea of how I was going to work with my one student in counseling. His file was literally spread out all over my table. I was already feeling anxious about that, about handling any situations that would come up with him. The principal came in to talk to me. He asked me a question I didn’t know how to answer and then somehow got me to commit to doing social skills groups with the students in the after school program.
You know, since I can’t seem to say no. Especially to my principal, who I really want to like me.
I really need a whole post on the issues I’m having with work boundaries. Of course I didn’t want to say yes to extra responsibilities. But I’m new and I want to be rehired. So I said yes. Yes, twice a month I’ll do a social skills group on my only day off of the week.
The inner voice was screaming at me that I’ll be killing myself for a job that would just so easily replace me if I dropped dead or burned out. But another voice was screaming louder that maybe they’ll replace me if I say no. Be a team player. Do what your supervisor asks. I feel like I need to do whatever I can to keep the odds stacked in my favor of being rehired, since I’m not sure I’ll earn that purely off of skill.
So when he left, I immediately started to lose it. The feelings that I’m going to fail, to not be good enough. The frustration of losing some of my precious free time to this district. I’m trying not to do any work outside of work hours, but I know I’m only going to sustain that for so long before I won’t have a choice. And even though I’m not working at home, I’m beating myself up over it because I feel like I should be working harder to know more and build my skill. I’m criticizing myself for not fighting through my exhaustion.
This job wants to eat all of my time. I have so little of it as it is. The fear is resurfacing about being able to maintain the babysitting, but I so badly do not want to give it up. I don’t want to break the girls’ hearts, I don’t want to disappoint the parents, and I selfishly don’t want to be replaced and miss out on the laughs and love I get from them.
And already, three weeks in, I’m questioning how quickly my new job is going to burn me out. It feels like it’s a matter of time before I break down. I don’t know if I can handle it. I don’t know if I’ll feel the “love” I wish I felt when doing it.
It’s frustrating. If I’m not rehired, I don’t know what I’ll do because I can’t imagine I’d be able to get another job somewhere else. But then I’m not sure if I even want to keep doing this long-term, although I don’t know what I’d do that would be able to match my current salary and benefits. So it seems like I’m stuck here.
I ended up texting J on my way to babysitting and asking for a phone call, because I was pretty much spiraling out in the car. She did answer me about twenty minutes later, but I never saw her text until it was too late, so I didn’t call. Which was probably for the better, because I was feeling ashamed for acting like an attention-seeking child at that point, and plus I don’t know if she could have said anything that would have helped me. I texted her a couple hours later and said that I was fine, would take care of myself, and apologized for texting impulsively. She said something kind back, which I appreciated.
Speaking of J, remember how I said I was going to go see another therapist to discuss my J issues?
Well, my friends, seems that the universe is out working against me making that plan come to fruition.
Earlier this week, I was chatting with my colleague. She told me that she’d been talking to one of my student’s parents during back to school night and she mentioned her son was seeing a new therapist. So I called to discuss sending home a release of records in case we ever need to communicate about the kid. I asked her for the therapists name and wouldn’t you know it? It was the same one I was planning on seeing.
This was concerning to me for a couple reasons. First, it seemed like a potential dual relationship. It didn’t seem ethical to have a personal relationship with her to discuss my problems and a professional one to talk about the kid. Second, I feared greatly the potential of running into my student and his family at her office. I’ve got enough working against me in the position, being both young and new, without worrying that my families are gossiping about me.
I did reach out to the therapist to discuss my concerns. Obviously, I couldn’t share the student’s name, although I’m willing to bet she will figure it out soon if she hasn’t already. She had to call someone else for supervision on the issue, and ultimately called me back to say that she was still willing to see me since there was no conflict of interest at this time.
Which was annoying to me because just because there’s no conflict now, doesn’t mean there won’t be. It seemed like a risk. She did say I likely had a different perspective, since I actually know who the kid was, but that I also needed to make myself a priority.
She also tried to tell me that if I ran into someone I knew, it could be used as an opportunity to promote to my student that it’s not a negative thing to see a therapist or ask for help. And while she’s not wrong, I resented the comment because she made it sound like it was such an easy thing.
I ended up taking time to think about the decision, but I think I’ve landed squarely in the position that I’m not comfortable seeing her. If I’ve already got all these negative feelings surrounding this therapist, I don’t think it will be particularly helpful to work with her.
So I’m looking into other therapists. I thought I’d found one, but after a little bit of internet stalking, I found a couple things on her Facebook which make me question her professionalism. That’s judgmental, maybe, but I take great care to protect my page, so she should too. I’m thinking instead about asking to be referred to someone else within the practice, because they are all trained in personality disorders and that’s what I want. Although that still leaves me in a precarious situation of running into a student.
I’m frustrated as hell. With work. With therapy. With myself. I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed with everything on my plate and defeated about my ability to meet expectations. It got to me today and I hurt myself for the first time in probably a month.
For the rest of my Sunday, I just plan to lay in bed. It’s all I can do, to rest and relax and hope I wake up feeling more prepared tomorrow morning.
Give me strength. I don’t feel like I have much of it.