Saturday, 29 April 2017

27- Life is busy yes? This is a BIG ONE

Hello Everyone!
Isn't it funny when you catch up with people whom you haven't seen for ages and the common response to how life is or how you've been is 'Busy'.
What does that actually mean? It can mean you've literally been flat out, you barely have time to breathe or it can mean that your prioritise your time so poorly, you seem flat out but are merely juggling a few tasks badly or it can mean that you'd rather sit at home in your pjs on a Saturday night binge watching TV shows (Outlander...OMFG frothing) with your husband.
In all honesty, I've been all three.
And there are more than three types of busy! But these are the three I see myself falling into.
For me, for the past 12 months almost... I have been working. I have worked so hard that I spent more time at my work places some weeks, than I did at my own house, with my own children.
This was not healthy. But being new to the workforce I felt I was in no position to say no to offers of more shifts to 'help out' or to staying late, especially because I was excited to be there and I was actually HELPING people! I was using my frigging degree and it felt AMAZING.
BUT I found out that this is a really fast track way to burnt out. Some very respected allied health partners whom I work along side were very direct with telling me that it was OK to say no, not all the time but definitely sometimes, as they'd noticed a change in my usual bubbly persona and saw the tired emptiness in my eyes.
This is a hard lesson for me because I'm a yes person.
One of my subconscious life goals is to help others be happy or feel better or loved or appreciated and to help out.
I will help you out till I've accidentally helped you out more than I've helped myself and sometimes accidentally screw myself over. THAT IS THE KIND OF HELPFUL PERSON TO YOU THAT I AM WILLING TO BE ... but it doesn't benefit me as much.
And sure... I know you might be thinking... 'bitch... quit your whinging. you got paid for working right? so STFU!'
Well it's not that straight forward.
I have learnt these things in my 15+ years of working life (i got my first job at 14 & 7 months in case you want to do the math).
You get paid most times, sure.
Sometimes you don't, due to politics in the work place. Yay.
Sometimes you get paid in such a large sum that you lose over half of it to tax for your HECS debt from uni (FML when this little fucker popped up on my payslip and sucked me dry).
And sometimes your workplace expects you to come in before you're getting paid to do things.
Or they expect you to stay late and do things for free. A lot of jobs have expected the 'free work' bit.
When I got my first job, I couldn't believe that they expected me to do things after I had clocked off or before I had even clocked on.
WTF was that about?!?! And why has it become an expected thing nationwide for employers to expect their staff to go above and beyond what they're paid for in their own time?
It just doesn't really make sense.
It made me feel like I was heavily disrespected as an employee.
And if you put down the extra time, you were scrutinised for it and it was never paid.
I worked in hospitality. You could not physically close the doors until the time you actually finished your shift because there was always some fucking twat who wanted a coffee or bread or something at 5.57pm, and then there was final till count and disposal of left over food etc and locking up.
Something for nothing seems to be a theme in the workforce of Australia and because everyone is doing it, then it has become the knew thing and it just happens and staff begrudgingly accept this as the norm. IS it derived from the phrase that 'the customer is always right'? Because if I refuse to serve someone at 5.57pm because I've packed up then they can technically complain about me to my boss and I get in trouble but if I claimed the extra time I also got in trouble and told I wasn't efficient enough and it was put back on me (is that employment gas lighting..?!?!).
So it really is a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.
So back to nursing. It has been a hard time for me to get my work-life balance right.
I struggled with it. I struggled with not feeling like I'd let people down, especially when you feel the change in their attitude towards you for not being your usual overly helpful self.
But at what cost was that overly helpful self? It nearly cost me everything I've worked this hard for in the first place. I very nearly, just recently packed it all in. I teetered so heavily on a full blown breakdown. There was only a few threads that kept me sewn together, and a large number of them are the amazing nurses I've become friends with at my places of employment. I haven't actually really spoken about this with anyone but the pressure got too much. I was like a pressure cooker with no blow off valve. The steam was building and had no where to get out.
I didn't know what to do.
So I withdrew externally.
And those very special nurses and friends, they came looking for me in my black internal abyss.
They actually looked for me.
I was ready for the ground to swallow me up whole and drop away into it.
But there they were. Some of them don't even know they helped. This is how internal this struggle became.
Because I was afraid.
I was afraid of being seen as weak. Incompetent. And just a shit person in general.
I felt over worked and underappreciated in every single area of my life.
I felt like there was nowhere I could turn, and I know some people reading this will think 'hey, i'm here for you' but when you're in withdrawal mode, you just don't see them unless they actually physically inject themselves into your life and put themselves into your face.
There were a few friends who did this for me, outside of work colleagues.
And I am eternally grateful.
And my husband... the man who shares my bed... is so fixated on his work and has been away for prolonged periods of time that our conversations don't consist of more that a handful of sentences around business accounting and billing. And I get it, it's his livelihood. This is his main concern. There was never a good time to tell him exactly how I was feeling. I love that man but communicating with him isn't always easy.

Now this post has been drafted up for near on two months. I just haven't had the balls to post it.
And then i watched '13 Reasons Why'... and it made me angry and sad and confused and all the emotions in between. But it made me realise that withdrawal from society can seem subtle to everyone else but there can be an internal crisis going on for the person in the middle.
And I would never take my life. I am not at that spot. I never was, but all of a sudden I went from thinking Hannah (the main character) was a attention seeking pain in the arse to actually seeing it for what it was, admittedly I hadn't seen the whole series when I had those thoughts.
I just thought it WAS the early actions of people that had pushed her over the edge... and thought it was a grave over reaction... notice the past tense there. I had been through much worse in primary and high school and lived to tell the tale. It also made me question my actions and thought processes as a nurse. What sort of person was I if I couldn't relate to someone who was about to commit suicide? AND furthermore what sort of nurse did it make me to have my own near breakdown? Who was I to judge what should or shouldn't be someone's last straw?
Turns out, I was judging myself pretty harshly as it was.
That is such a common theme in my posts. I know it and yet still struggle to turn it around but this show actually helped me make those connections and help me unpack it.
And unpack my own mental health.
The main gist of this post is this:
Don't over work yourself to please others and end up selling your sanity down the river.
Apply that concept to every area of your life. I had to or I was at risk of loosing everything.
I even apply this rule to my interactions with my children, my work and all my relationships because you MUST have something left at the end of the day, otherwise you cannot function.

26-Why don't guys want to be my friend?

Last night I went out with some nursing peeps to farewell one of the sisters to the UK.
It was an amazing night, even though my sore neck is still giving me grief.
My head is cloudy today and the forecast is in... it is a hangover.
But good times aside... Let us talk about something that is giving me the shits...
Something I've noticed, as I get older and meet people, especially of the opposite sex and especially out on the town is this: If they find out i'm married they don't want to know me anymore.
Do you know that this tells me?
I'm not worth knowing or getting to know unless i'm a mountable prospect.
I'm not worth investing in conversation with unless I am a possible suitor.
And it hasn't just happened. It has been like this for as long as I can remember.
There have been several men I've met whom i'd love to have gotten to know better because they sound like interesting people. I seem to not be able to expand my male friends due to them being scared off by my marital status. I am my own person. I don't have a fricken ball and chain on.
Last time I checked, I'm not forever destined to have female only friends.
Why is this a thing?
Is it too much trouble to get to know me as a person and maintain a friendship if their vagina is not available?
Admittedly, the 'Sorry, I have a boyfriend' excuse was used by myself and my friends in the days of single clubbing when we were being pestered by guys who we were just not interested in, but that is our bloody right. We don't have to put up with bullshit from guys because it's polite and they are the preferred and dominant sex so we mustn't offend them by refusing their advances...! Fuck off. This isn't the 18th Century, BUT has this excuse then preconditioned men to simply back away when they see that a woman is otherwise involved?
I'm not 100% sure how my husband would feel if I came home with a dozen new male friends.
I don't know if their reaction is a guy code thing? I just don't frigging know.
Recently, I went to a dinner party for a good friends 30th. It was one of the best dinner parties I have ever been too.
We talked about all the taboo subjects; religion, politics and so much more.
Both men and women, whom I have never met before held amazing conversation for a steady 3+ hours. It will stick in my mind and give me hope that one day, I may actually meet a guy who is happy to be my friend.
Now I'm not a total naive twat, I understand that going out on the town and getting plastered with copious amounts of alcohol is a pretty good way to find a mate, even if only for a night and that situation vs a sophisticated dinner party where we were forced to converse in some way or another due to us all wanting to be there for the host, makes the two seem incomparable, But I honestly don't think they are that far from the same.
It comes down to seeking conversation purely for the fact of engaging with another person.
Not to try and get in their pants. Just to find out about them and expand your friendship groups.
Lets talk another example of a fail.
I am on LinkedIn. It's a place where professionals to connect and extend their professional outreach and contacts. I have been chatted up on their at least twice that springs to mind in the last two weeks.
It drives me crazy. I want to get to know you. I want to chat. I want to expand my connections and opportunities because god knows that it's all about who you know in this world..! But i sure as shit do not want to go on a date or a drive in your car or any of that shit. this is a professional platform.
Can we not just have a relationship that is purely platonic?!?
Now, lets just clarify one thing. I don't think i'm the hottest shit since sliced bread. I no longer have guys lining up to be the next best thing. I'm 30. That ship has sailed. I have three kids. I feel like a potato with arms and legs. I have been in a relationship with my now husband for 10 years.
One third of my whole existence. So i get it that the old flames have well and truly gone out...
I should also point out that I do have male friends who have not tried to get into my pants. Some of whom I have known for a long time. I went to one's wedding just recently and it was magical.
So some men can do it. I guess it just takes a different kind of guy than the one who is out on the town with his friends on Friday night...