I have several excuses. Mostly that I've been a lot busier with work and when I'm at work I'm on my computer more often than not. SO when I get home, that's the last thing I want to do. I also don't feel like I've had much to write about. So. Yeah.
Tonight I am feeling discouraged. I have been doing my *new* job for a couple months now and at times it is overwhelming. It is a lot more responsibility but with this comes more criticism, conflict, and drama. It is rewarding, of course. I love being able to help therapists with their questions and problems because I've been there. I feel like I am encouraging professional and personal growth in others. I remember those mentors in my professional life that have invested in me and I want to give that back to others.
But I want to clear something up for those of you who wonder or think you know what it is like to work with children with special needs - in this case children with ASD: It's a deeply rewarding altruistic line of work that also offers distinct and intense challenges. Just because I work with children with ASD does not mean that I am always patient, understanding, and joyful in whatever I am doing. I admit: sometimes my flesh takes over when a child slaps me upside my head for the SIXTH time in two minutes and everything in me just wants to drop kick them and be done with it. And don't sit there all judge-y and pretend like you've never almost lost your temper with a child. Anyone who spends any time with children (special needs or no) that says they haven't been brought to the brink of their patience is either lying or lives in Neverland...or takes very powerful medication.
What I'm trying to say is: tonight was one of those nights where I felt like my efforts were futile and I was ineffective at my work. I felt like all the rapport I'd built with my client should be paying off but it simply wasn't - or was making it worse.
Then on my 90 minute commute home (we'll save that for another post) I had time to think about this. What can I learn from those times that I reach my limit? What can I learn from those feelings of inadequacy, helplessness, frustration, and despair? Here's what: there are families who LIVE this. I spend 3-6 hours with a client at a time. I get to leave. No matter what happens during my session with the child, I get to go to my car, get in, and drive away at the end of the day. These families don't get that. This is their life.
I come to these families with the tools to help them overcome these feelings and frustrations. I come to help. And how can I help if I never get to that point with their child? How can I begin to empathize if I never come close to losing my cool? Simply: I cannot.
Thank you, God, for bringing me to the end of myself today.