Thursday, 12 September 2013

Work Experience

For the past two days, I've have the privilege of doing work experience at the Mental Health Hospital who saw me, only on the Veterans Mental Health Unit. I call it a privilege as I have spent months writing, emailing and phoning the service trying to get a place, but it's all been worth it!
I may be stupid, for going back to this place and before attending, I felt it. Having worked so hard for this placement, I should have been excited but that self doubt continued to niggle away. Someone suffering from and eating disorder, going back into this setting to listen to other people's stories. How can I possibly be strong enough to take that on if my own mental status isn't yet healthy?
However, I could not have been more wrong. I have spent the last two days observing, learning, meeting Psychologists and listening to the most amazing stories. Stories in which have completely opened my eyes and only encouraged me more to continue along this road when it comes to my own career. I have been nothing but interested and fascinated by everything I've done and seen - ranging from anxiety to PTSD. And to my relief, I haven't struggled at all. I haven't been worried by certain statements made and nothing has shocked me or caused distress. If anything, I now think my experiences are helpful and will continue to help me. Although I'm nothing unique, I do know exactly how someone is feeling and really do understand. I'm not saying someone needs to suffer from a mental illness to become a psychologist, but I think the empathy I will feel for patients will enable me to be good at in this profession.
And for the first time, I have actually felt proud of myself for what I've been through rather than ashamed. I didn't mention my illness but I know I've been in a place which understands mental illness and feels as passionately about stigma and treatment, as I do. I have loved and enjoyed everything and I'm extremely motivated to use my illness to help other people. For me, that would be the ultimate reward and I know my perfectionist traits will actually be useful this time.


Bridie Mia said...

This is such a lovely post :) I have utter respect for psychologists and people like you who take out the time to put your experiences forward as mental health professionals have helped me so much throughout my lifetime!

Lots of love
Oh So Bridie

Tanya Beetham said...

I like this post :) And I agree with you when you talk about empathy... you don't have to have experienced whatever your patient has been through in order to communicate empathy and compassion.. After all, one person's experience is not the same as anothers, so we can never claim to understand exactly what they feel as we've never walked in their shoes; only our own. But we do each experience struggle and pain in some form, which does help with the ability to feel empathy and understanding... Empathy is a very powerful tool.. I love reading up on it :) There's some good writing :) X

hannah said...

Congratulations on finally getting a placement, it sounds like you've really worked hard for it. I'm glad you're getting something out of it, and you should be so proud of yourself. I agree and I think your empathy will help others xx

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