I have a lot going on in my life right now, so I thought it would be good timing to take on the NaBloPoMo challenge. Anyone want to join me? Hop on the band wagon and register by November 5th.
I'm thinking some days I will use the writing prompts and other days not... today's is: "When you're having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do to help yourself?"
Today is actually a great example... I'm a Career Counselor, and one of my new clients flipped out on me this afternoon on the phone and really shook me up. I was already feeling anxious and concerned about this client because they had been very closed up and critical in their first session, not giving me much to work with. Then they wrote an email saying they wanted to cancel their session this week and wanted flexibility in scheduling the timing of their sessions going forward.
This isn't my policy and doesn't work for me. I don't think I'm unreasonable. Sessions are scheduled twice a month, and I give an extra month cushion to complete them. I find this beneficial for the client in terms of commitment, continuity, and momentum, and for myself in terms of more predictable business planning and because I offer email coaching, resources, and document review between sessions - a lot of extra time if they just wanted to meet every few weeks. Maybe, to be more clear, I should sell two, three, or four-month counseling packages, versus four, six, and eight-session packages? I have colleagues that do this and am considering it, especially after this experience.
In any case, in explaining these reasons for not just having complete openness and flexibility in when we meet, when I mentioned my own needs being a factor, as well, they flipped into rage on a dime and yelled, "Oh, come ON! That is reDICulous!" I asked them to speak in a calm voice and they kept yelling angrily. Long story short, we got off the phone after I agreed with them that we are likely not a good fit to work together (I do not want to work with them after this experience) and with me offering to trade the last session they were owed for resume review/editing for which we do not have to speak, and asking them to let me know in the next couple of days.
When I got off the phone, my heart was racing, and I felt afraid and kind of sick. It was so out of blue, and I have never experienced this type of intense reaction from a client (at least an adult client). I felt I needed some emotional support, so I went through the options in my head... my siblings were at work and likely not available, my housemate wasn't home, I could have called a couple of friends but hadn't talked to them in a little while so calling for support would feel a bit abrupt. Then, I thought of sharing my feelings and experience with my online FB group, made up of other women bloggers I've known for quite a few years. We were all ttc'ing together and they all have kids now. I hope to join them soon.
My experience of the group is that people are quite responsive. Many of us don't work typical 9-5 schedules and usually at least a few folks are online. Sure enough, within a few minutes, I received a few sympathetic and understanding responses, which felt great, as well as advice. Everyone felt I should just refund them the money for the last session and be done with them. I guess they are probably right, though it doesn't fit my policy and I don't think they "deserve" it. But maybe it's best to cut my losses and move on.
So, that's the way I handled my "bad day with my mental health" today; with help from online friends. On other days, I admit I might lose myself in television or eat some comfort food, but today I had to go meet with another client not long afterwards. Other days, I go work out or play with the dog. Blogging is also actually one of my primary ways of working through difficult emotions and challenges. It's helpful to talk it through, be witnessed, and to hear others' thoughts. I like reading these kind of personal writing/processing blogs, as well. Maybe it's the psychologist in me... and I've always been a more emotional person. I'm an INFP on the Myers-Briggs, if you're familiar with it? NFs tend to be more relationship and feeling-oriented.
Thanks for coming along with me this month! See you tomorrow...