My job is exhausting. I spend all day tending to the needs of others. And those people are in early recovery from drug addiction, so they’re feeling all this stuff they have been numbing for so long. And that’s uncomfortable for them. And so everything becomes a crisis. They want want want and need need need all the time. They’re used to the instant gratification and relief their substance of choice would give them, and so they want to ask you questions right there, right now, so they can please stop worrying about it. I do a lot of crisis intervention. We have days that involve clients drinking hand santizer for the alcohol content and having to be taken away in an ambulance (for being completely non-responsive after passing out on the floor) immediately followed by someone sneaking down the fire escape to cop drugs outside followed immediately by someone who tried to slit her wrists with plastic utensils.
I have to remain cool, calm, and collected through all of it. Act like it’s not a big deal. Be the voice of reason. Say, “Okay, how can we fix this? How can I help you? How can I support you?” I work late more days than I don’t. It’s not unusual for me to be in the house until 8 or 9 at night. And then go home, only to have to return in the morning with a smile. I can’t let them know if I’m upset or tired or sick. This isn’t like a desk job where I can sit in my office or cubicle and do mindless work, leaving at 5:00 every evening. Some days, I never even get to sit at my desk. The second I get into my office, there’s a call or a knock at my door. Someone needs something.
Besides being a crisis interventionalist, counselor, support system, and babysitter, I’m also a supervisor to staff members. I was told early on that “if you are ever unsure whose job something is, it’s yours.” I do all that stupid little stuff that no one really knows how it gets done, and they take for granted the fact that it is always just “there.” I make important decisions when the program director isn’t in the house. I review everyone’s paperwork to make sure that it’s getting done correctly and on time. I chase people down to let them know what they haven’t done and need to do and by when they need to do it. And then, I have my own paperwork and my own caseload of clients to tend to.
I’m often the only one that steps up to do things that aren’t actually my job, but they need to get done. Setting up new clients’ medication box? That’ll be me. Staying late to do that intake on the client that just arrived? That’ll be me. Working a double when the evening counselor calls out? That’ll be me. Sending faxes? Me. Writing that incident report? Me.
Sometimes, I lock myself in my office and refuse to pick up the phone for half an hour. I am entitled to half an hour lunch break, though I rarely take it and usually spend it doing paperwork while I shove food in my face. It takes me a good hour to come down from the exhaustive environment I work in. Often while I’m there, I don’t realize how tired I am. Then when I leave, it’s like everything just drains from my body. I’m fried. I’m crabby. I’m beat. I go home, take a long bath, and zonk out in my bed by 10 PM. Sometimes, I attempt to have a social life and meet up with friends, but I always regret doing so the next day.
So if you wonder why this blog has been so silent, that’s why. When I spend all day in the environment I just described, it’s hard to have the energy or inspiration to write blog posts. When I was unemployed and sat home all day on my ass reading articles and such and thinking about crap, posting every day was no problem. There’s also Jesus. When I get home and I just want to zone out and read my Google Reader, he doesn’t like it. Even if he is just watching TV, he wants me to be watching with him. He’d feel awful if he thought he was part of the reason that I’ve stopped blogging. He doesn’t mean to be. But when it comes down to it, he’s another big reason why. He doesn’t get why I want to spend so much time on the computer. But it’s comforting. It’s relaxing. I have friends here. And it’s something that’s important to me and that I want to get back. He’s on a month-long hike, so this may be a good opportunity to ease myself back into my online bubble.
Here’s to hoping you hear a lot more from me.