I'm now living and working in Wellington, New Zealand after an opportunity arose from the 2011 NZAOT Conference/Clinical Workshops in Bay of Islands. Here's some of the adventures from my life and work in New Zealand. Find out about OT, OT education and cultural issues within New Zealand!
Sunday, 4 November 2012
Week 25 - Dealing with vicarious trauma, 'CANS' Film Festival, and Harry Potter comes to town (kind of)!
Well it's been quite a week here in Windy Wellington, and probably one of the more difficult weeks I've had since being here. I'll talk a little about the work issue, then end with a more pleasant end to the week.
I knew after such a relaxing week away, I would come back to a busy work schedule, and that's pretty much what happened! Now working in this kind of work (Mental Health) can be emotionally difficult, especially with some of the people and illnesses that I have worked with in my career. Sometimes people have some unbelievably difficult situations, with all kind of challenging delusional beliefs, risk issues (drug & alcohol) or complex emotions and behavior (thoughts of suicide / self-harm). When working as a 'Care Co-ordinator' / 'Case Manager' it's hard sometimes to find the boundary of where your professional level of responsibility lies, for the safety of people you work with. Despite policies and procedures being in place, when working with people, there are always times when you might feel responsible for them. Even in the circumstances where you know where your responsibility starts & ends, dealing with other people's traumas, on a day to day basis, mean that sometimes you feel that trauma as if it's part of your own (vicarious trauma)... or at the very least, you need to recognise that you are using up your own (limited) supply of emotional energy to deal with other people's traumas.
In the past, and still common in the health professions (especially in nursing), people have just accepted this as 'part of the job' - and expected to 'just deal with it'. This is an issues I always like to discuss with students and new graduates, as now we have to recognise and raise awareness of this issue and find ways to deal with the emotion of the process. Needles to say I have been having to deal with some quite heavy stuff this week, which has been draining for two reasons. 1) I just have not had enough hours in the day to feel like I'm able to do everything at work. 2) In past times, I have had good mates around and a fairly busy social calendar which helped me deal with stresses like these at work, but here my emotional supports are still pretty limited by comparison. Fortunately, my work colleagues, the few friends I do have here, and on-line supports have been great. A few gym sessions and a quiet weekend have also helped!
CANS FILM FESTIVAL
How to get a free movie ticket!
I heard of a brilliant event going on in Wellington this week, (and apparently it's a NZ-wide thing and been going on a few years). You've all heard of the International 'Cannes' Film Festival in France - well here they have a yearly 'CANS' Film Festival - It's on Wednesday November 7th, and if you take in a 'Watties' CAN to a participating cinema, they will give you a free ticket to a selected film! Being greedy I took 3 cans to the multiplex cinema at Courtney place and got 3 tickets to Ice Age 4 ! Bargain! what brilliant idea. For every can that gets handed in the cinema donates a can too, and they go to charity!
HARRY POTTER COMES TO TOWN
For weeks now I had been wanting to go to one of the theaters here in Wellington. This week, on Halloween no less, there was a show on called 'POTTED POTTER' - yes I know what some of you are thinking, but no, it was not a drugged up Harry Potter adult show! On the contrary, it was a family show, where they comically reviewed all 7 books on stage in about 80 mins, with just 2 actors! It included a mass game of Quiditch with the audience! I was joined by my neighbour, Kala, who kindly agreed to accompany me, to prevent me looking very dodgy as a 33yr old man sitting amongst a young audience!
At the Theatre!
FRIDAY NIGHT TV.... helped me to relax after a long week, and just to make me feel a little more at home, and quite old. TV1 had three very old English comedy TV shows on to make me laugh and chuckle the night away! Not only did the shows (guess what they are??????)
Friday night TV
= MR BEAN, FAWLTY TOWERS & ARE YOU BEING SERVED, have me laughing away, the Fawlty Towers episode had 'the' top comedy moment - Basil beating his car up with a branch!
SUNDAY CYCLES.... Saturday was a really crap day - weather wise - but Sunday was much better with sunny skies and another chance to get my bicycle out. I had already been busy at the gym - 10K run, 10k Cross-trainer, and so I added another 30k+ bike ride around the bays again. This is becoming quite a nice ride once I get my breath after going up the hills! Ice Cream always helps the ride too!
Not Sure what's happened to me since I moved here but I seem to be adopting the Kiwi zest for outdoor activity!
Coming up this week we have Monday - GUY-FAWKES NIGHT '(bonfire night as we know it in UK), Wednesday's CANS FILM FESTIVAL, and next Saturday might be having a whole new experience to share - more on that next week! I woke up for the Man UTD vs ARSENAL game, which was disappointing, lets hope Liverpool vs Newcastle is better tonight!
P.S. - I have been allocated my first OT student here in NZ - coming from Otago OT School in February for 6 weeks. I'm quite excited by this, as I haven't had a student for way too long! More on this to come!