Friday night and the drink in front of me is a glass of water. Dinner was a bread roll and a packet of Super Noodles. I don’t know what the “super” is doing there because they’re the student food type that you make by just pouring boiling water on them and adding a sachet of flavoured powder. These spartan living conditions as far as cooking goes are down to kitchen renovations and for the next three weeks we will be living off takeaways and things that 1) don’t need to be refrigerated, and 2) can be made using a kettle. Oh, and don’t leave much washing up. Hubby is on the other side of the world in his native New Zealand so he will thankfully miss most of the chaos. Bambino is holed up in his room with a friend and they’re watching a film and playing X-box at the same time – when it comes to screens, clearly more is more in their teenage world.
Anna had a stressful week. Had the most frightening experience yet at work – a client who should NOT have been admitted was admitted and it really shook me up. It was down to unfortunate events and a few things slipped through the net, like for example the fact that he is a violent schizophrenic who has been sectioned several times due to psychotic episodes and once stabbed someone. …aaaaaand so I witnessed this individual in a full blown episode of the aforementioned variety. Oh, and obviously on top of this little molotov cocktail of severe mental illness we’ve also got booze and various other drugs added to the mix. Off he went after two ambulance crews with police assistance turned up and it was the first time I actually felt really unsafe at work. As in, physically unsafe. When I stood out by the gate wearing a high vis vest to direct the approaching ambulances and police car I could see the front door move like it was vibrating as the guy was hitting and kicking it from inside in the reception area where Beethoven and the doctor on duty were doing their best to contain him.
It was frightening, unpleasant and knocked me for six. Informed Beethoven that this is not something I’m equipped to deal with and, well, I won’t. Drunk/high and irate is one thing. I can deal with verbal aggression and that sort of nonsense. Hell, I do a lot of things that I find challenging at the rehab – I’ve sat with clients who’ve been covered in their own faeces and tried to help clean them using baby wipes when they’ve come in too messed up to be able to stand in the shower. I’m a tough cookie but this I can’t do. Madness is something else. Madness is unpredictable and volatile. Beethoven patiently listened to me as I tearfully conceded that perhaps I can’t do this job if I’m expected to be able to deal with this.
“No, no, no – this was an unfortunate situation and it shouldn’t have happened,” Beethoven boomed through the phone emphatically, “don’t worry, girl.”
“I do worry. I can’t deal with that sort of thing,” I snivelled, upset at the prospect that I’d let everyone down and most of all myself.
“No one is expected to deal with that here, if I’d had even a sniff of this guy’s extensive history he would never have been admitted and he will never be admitted to any of our centres again.”
Beethoven, who is a trained mental health nurse along with a bunch of other qualifications within the field, went on to explain what had gone wrong and offered some helpful tips on what to do if I were ever (although he also stressed that this should never be the case there) exposed to a situation like this again. Well. I felt a lot better after talking to him because I’d had a mini-meltdown thinking this career I’m so passionate about might be all but over.
Onwards and upwards!
Stressful week with everything going on and with Hubby so far away. Lots to organise for the kitchen stuff, but I got there in the end and today had the installers pop in to finalise everything. Wall tiles now ordered so we’re all set. I’m on top of it and it’s all going to plan.
Starting the counselling course was also overwhelming and yes, my heart nearly beat out of my chest as YEP, I had to talk in front of people. Well, I knew that was coming so accepted I had to face the fear and do it anyway. As much as I wanted to get up and leave, I stayed put and I made myself do it. And guess what? I’ll do it again. And again. And eventually it’ll begin to feel like the meditation and reflection groups I sometimes run at work, and catch a load of this – I often look forward to those these days. Thank you very much, sobriety!
This evening when I could finally draw breath and look away from all the things I had to sort out in preparation for the kitchen, I spent a few hours going over the course work and all the bits that seemed so difficult and hard to make sense of I’ve now got a grip on and completing the first couple of bits of work turned out well. I feel much calmer now, more on top of things. I don’t do well with new things because I’m such a control freak and hate not knowing everything at once, but this is something I have to manage and slowly does it. Yes, I’m looking at ME – you hear me, Anna? ONE STEP AT A TIME. EASY DOES IT. I’ll get there in the end and it would seem a week during which I’ve felt stressed and unsettled is ending with a sense of accomplishment and peace. Approaching things thoroughly and in an organised manner does that, unlike the Drunk Me approach which used to entail speeding through life like bloody Schumacher on amphetamine.
And to round up this Friday evening, Dad rang and we had a nice little chat. My inner child understands that her Daddy loves her. He may not understand addiction, or perhaps it’s that he just cannot connect addiction with his daughter, but he does love me. We didn’t speak about that, by the way, only about him off hunting in the north of Sweden this weekend and also about our new kitchen. A neutral chat, but it was just nice and lovely. It was just one of those times when I hung up really knowing I’ve got my Dad and he’s got me. It isn’t always like that, but that’s another blog post perhaps. He’s a good man, my father. Harsh sometimes and judgemental often, but his heart is in the right place underneath it all.
Recovery is fucking awesome.
Happy Friday to you all.
Today I’m not going to drink.