Midnight colours

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“I look for you everywhere; small gestures made by all kinds of people in the street remind me of you, by their similarity as much as by their differences, but I cannot say what is obsessing me; it obsesses me utterly and leaves no strength to express it.”
– Franz Kafka

Unresolved feelings really do come back to hit you, even if it has been many years since. So the question is – How do I move forward, if the haunts of my past keep coming to tug me backwards?

Staycay with the team was awesome, t’was a great weekend spent with games & drinking. ‘am an absolute sucker for change, and yet things are so dynamic and change is really the only constant. May I have the strength to face the upcoming changes again. Work anxiety seems to be coming back pretty badly again, partially stemming from expectations of self and expectations from others. KTV with the team was … interesting? Have always been someone who focuses on lyrics of songs, and when sad songs become so relatable, it takes all the effort to refocus on the present & not brood over unhappy thoughts/feelings. Still enjoyed myself tremendously though, great company I’ll never trade for any other 🙂

Living and surviving work week by week, day by day. Not sure when’s the next break, but I desperately need it. My conclusion after slightly more than a year of being a social worker: it takes more than just the heart and good clinical skills to survive as a social worker.

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It really is the worst.

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3:00AM

 

^Found this mixtape by chance, and absolutely loving it.

The recent weeks have left me feeling all sorts of emotions – overwhelmed, thankful, hopeful, hopeless.

SWIC 2018 was a wild decision, so thankful for the opportunity to be a facil despite my lacking experience as a practitioner in this field. Learnt so, so much from the agency visits & sharing from fellow Workers, and also reaffirmed my love & passion for this wonderful sector. Through the camp, I realised that what I hoped to offer to fellow Workers, was the willingness and being daring enough to not just think with my head, but to embrace things with my heart. To allow myself to be vulnerable enough to feel emotions that hit close to home, and yet maintaining that professionalism. Values guide us, but whether they define us entirely is then debatable.

Reconnected with a friend yesterday, and he mentioned that the conversation we shared back when I was in Y3S2 changed his life – one that we had during a lecture. After the semester I never really followed up with this friend, but meeting again yesterday made me feel so…. overwhelmed with emotions. It was because of that conversation, he decided to switch to social work major. Immensely thankful & glad that it was a choice he didn’t regret :’) And it goes to show how words do have an impact. May we never forget the power of words, and the importance of conversations.

“I hope you will never lose the passion & always remember the reason why you are doing what you are doing.” A line from the farewell card given by an intern today. It was a fun ride alongside ’em interns, and through conversations & processing with them, it made me more self aware about my values. On hindsight, I concluded that there is no “good” or “bad” social worker, but rather about the “goodness of fit” in the sector they work in. If someone seems to be a “bad” worker, it may just very well be because they haven’t found their true calling, the right sector where they’ve always been meant to be in.

Giving a public talk tomorrow – first talk as a practitioner in the field (!!) Going to share about what living with cancer means, and the psychosocial aspects of how cancer may affect an individual and their loved ones. Feeling so inadequate – for who am I to share on behalf of the department? But feeling so encouraged by all the random “jiayous” and people who believe in me. May the talk go smoothly, and that I do this profession proud 🙂

So, so humbled by the experiences & opportunities I have been given along the way. Learning to be appreciative, and to embrace the fact that perhaps, I do have something to offer to this world too.

 

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Calming

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“When we look at the outside world, we are looking at only a small part that interests us. The world we see is not the entire universe but a limited one that the mind cares about. However, to our minds, that small world is the entire universe. Our reality is not the infinitely stretching cosmos but the small part we choose to focus on. Reality exists because our minds exist. Without the mind, there would be no universe.”

cr: The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down – Haemin Sunim

Nostalgia

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Spent time packing some of my things, and opened up many memories.

One of the saddest words written by a friend in the last of 9 birthday cards received:

“Guess we haven’t really been around for each other much these few months, & it’s surprising how I could get used to your absence in my life after a while. It isn’t that people haven’t been telling me to salvage this friendship, I just felt that it wasn’t in my place to do anything/there’s really nothing that I can possibly do about it anymore.”

From time to time, I still miss this friendship very dearly, and I still think about how things would have been if it turned out differently. And the question that has been left unanswered – what went wrong exactly?

May I have the courage to reach out again, perhaps someday. For continuation, or for closure.

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Self-care

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We cannot simply sit and stare at our wounds forever.

We must stand up and move on to the next action.

Don’t think I can emphasise on the importance of self-care as much as it deserves.

Different people have different coping mechanisms, but what seems to be a common one is to always remind yourself of why you first started, where your passion lies, and what are your motivations. Sure enough, we witness the uglier side of humanity on a daily basis as social workers – how do we then decide when it is time to let the passion take a step back, and honestly reflect and reconsider upon this choice to be a social worker?

In recent weeks, I have seen friends fall deeper and deeper into the pit of low mood….. and the helplessness is legit. And yet I find myself struggling to stay afloat as well, yes there are good days that make things seems a whole lot better, but how do we also then manage those bad days when everything seems to be a mistake? It hurts to be helpless, it hurts to admit that we are helpless. And it’s difficult to reach out for help.

Nothing is black, nothing is white. In this profession, everything is grey, and that’s what makes our work so meaningful, that’s what makes our work exciting, and yet that’s what makes our work so frustrating too. It’s good to be aware of your frustrations, because it then makes you more focused on knowing what should be done next to mend those gaps – to change that frustration into motivation. But the question then would be, where do we draw the line?

How could what makes our profession so beautiful, be the very same thing that eventually causes people to leave the profession? I hope I’ll never find the answer to that question.

Being in the medical setting also means that something we can’t run away from is death. When we mourn, when we grief, what goes through our minds exactly? Does the sadness stem from a selfish belief of being unable to achieve certain things, or is it due to perceived regrets by the deceased?

When we think about the question “what does death mean to you?”, we can’t run away from also thinking about “what does living mean to you?” Just wondering, how important is it for workers to have our own answers, before we are ready to work with others? Will we ever be ready?

And as professionals, what kind of regrets surface when we face the death of our patients? Given our role in this, and that the harsh truth is that our time is finite and we aren’t here as befrienders, we do not have the luxury of time to spend with them. So when the quantity is compromised, let’s at least make sure that the quality isn’t.

Of late night thoughts and reflections. Till the next time.

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