Sunday was supposed to be chicken soup day but I missed it. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to reflect however.
Over the last few months I have been having issues with my line manager. I have been told I need to improve my attitude. I have been told that I need to learn to communicate better. Me, I don’t automatically externalize issues. I always look at myself first to see what I am doing that could be misunderstood or misconstrued causing issues. What I found upon reflection is that it wasn’t just me. But what am I to do with someone who, by their own admission, is incapable of handling confrontation? Well, I bottled it all up, literally until I couldn’t breathe and getting out of bed caused tremors.
I am not an overly emotional personal so I freaked out enough to call the doctor. His prognosis? Mild depression. That, was difficult to hear, even if part of me felt it would be something like that. I don’t know if any other clinicians have been through something similar but I almost felt like I let myself and others down. I do think as someone in the helping profession I should take better care of myself, but it was a shock because I am not doing social work at the moment. I am doing quality assurance! Part of me was just incredulous.
I have read so many articles on self-care in social work. I have advised countless clients on the importance of looking after themselves but somehow it managed to slip right by me.
Anyhoo, I felt like I needed to express myself openly and honest about the situation. The response was as I thought, defensive and no self-awareness, but I felt better. I don’t think any relationship – work or otherwise – should be the primary responsibility of one person. It was really cathartic. I was professional but honest. I didn’t even realise how displaced I felt until I did it because after, I felt more like myself than I had in a very long time.
I need a supportive manager. Someone with whom I can talk through issues. Someone who understands that every day won’t be great and that’s fine. I think this may be a hazard in having a non social worker supervising or trying to manage a social worker. The expectations are different and I am not sure it is realistic to expect a non social worker to be able to support me in the way a social work manager would. I am still working through this one.