Sunday, March 10, 2013

Trying to be something I'm not?

Tomorrow I go back to work, lidocaine patches on my knees and apprehension in my stomach. I'm also frustrated that the evil people from my previous place of employment are refusing to fill out the paperwork for my LCSW, since my former supervisors have both left.

That means the loss of about two years' worth of work. A few nights ago, I was seriously thinking that this meant the end of my world. Suicide is unfortunately never too far from my thoughts, and it got very close as I considered a life of 1) getting older and fatter alone and 2) unceasing physical pain.

Then I wondered, "What if I never get my LCSW?"

Followed by a shattering thought: "Why do I even want my LCSW?"

I hate doing group therapy, which is the basis for most agency work. I'm not good at it. I'm decent at individual work, but I'm not confident enough to set up my own private practice. Besides, as miserable and furious as I am, I feel like a fraud trying to help other people function and think better. I'm not much of a clinician -- and why am I trying to be a clinician anyway, when I got into this field to advocate for people with mental illnesses caught up in the criminal justice system? Whatever happened to that goal?

Albert Ellis said something interesting about goals:

It isn’t compulsory to reach your goals – there is no reason why you absolutely must succeed. Nor does failing to reach your goals make you a failure. People who reach their goals have no more worth than other people who fail to reach theirs. Goals give you a sense of direction, they are your guide to a joyous and fulfilling life. Don’t make them into your master.

So what if I don't get my LCSW? What could I do without it?

I interviewed at Legal Aid before I took my current job. I could have worked with defendants to present mitigating evidence at trial or as part of a plea bargain -- explaining their mental situation and how it impacts their behavior. But I didn't take the job because it wouldn't give me "C" hours and supervision. Now I'm feeling serious regret. And wondering if I should contact Legal Aid again and re-interview there. Because assessment and diagnosis are what I'm best at. That, and writing up my research.

I haven't been writing much lately. But writing and research are what I'm best at -- not facilitating groups. I need a job that plays more to my strengths. Because it's pretty obvious that I will never have children, and more likely that not, will never marry. I need at least a job that I love and that I'm good at. I need to feel some pride in myself, instead of just looking back at a history of being fired from almost every job I've ever had.

Fortunately, thanks to my unionized job, I have some time to figure this out.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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