Thursday, October 22, 2015

Eureka #1 - building resilience

Had a bad day. Somewhat.
No one scolds me.
But the remark "you must know your patients" plus that kind of look on your face, carries with it, the weight of 100x scoldings.

I could not even compose my thoughts right now. I have got a million things to say. But I know that I must not because they are without "cushioning" and the repurcussions are going to be bad. And I say so because I know I should not and therefore must not; taking into considerations that I am a practitioner, and I believe in 'think before you speak'.

But there is a limit to everything you see. The glass will break if it drops. The rubber band will break if it's elasticity is breached. The electricity power box will short circuit if the house is overloaded. Something like that, if that helps to put thing into perspective.

So similarly.
You called me to your room before I start my call. You told me you "believe" in me, that I "have not maximised" my potential. You asked me for my feedback. You said you took into considerations of my circumstances and you told me you adjusted your expectations.

And then you told me you did all that because you wanted to find out if hearsay was true.

I don't know if you could tell. And I think you know I knew from whom you obtained that piece of feedback from. Regardless, I have shown my vulnerability; because I am feeling 101% negativity from you - I was close to tears, my eyes welled up, and I stuttered when I tell you what I find flawed in this system.

And you said you heard me.

So I mend my heart, and muttered the strength to go to work since beginning of this week. I dreaded sunrise. I dreaded changing into work attire. I dreaded heading to work. I dreaded walking through the hospital door. And I absolutely dreaded entering and leaving the lift on level X. I have tried to find means of coping - I reflect, I find ways to compensate my lack in knowledge by trying to read in between and when I have free time, I vent, I literally and physically stayed back, and I tried to meet your expectations - one I thought you level me at. And I thought I could and would be able to go through and cope with, for another 2 weeks of what I deemed and anticipate to be bad.

I have learnt from experience that expectations fail me. And when there's no expectations, things doesn't work out all that well as well.  So I have somewhat made myself to expect the worst, physically and mentally prepped myself of "death" every morning, which I have yet to find myself being failed by. And I group my approach to change and anticipated stress as a conscious coping strategy, reversing the possible effects so that mentally and psychologically, even when "death" happens, I already prepped myself. Anything less debilitating - comatose, paralysed,  amputated, I say my grace.

But today. The first time we work together, you slammed me down on the stone floor. My honest feedback - the feed back you gave last week failed. At least on my part.

To put things from my perspective, perhaps I could describe a more common scenario. You are a primary school teacher. One of the boys came from the rural area (ie those growing up in a farm, playing with the baby goat and go swimming by the stream most of the day, yet know about milking cow at his age), who never seen or touched or hold a pencil, as much as the kids from the city (ie those growing up in the urban area, received private tutor since 4 years old); so you reassured him on the first day, found out he learnt about letters and numbers from his mother before this. So you told him not to worry and tried to ease his anxiety, as he was already looking at you in fear. While he has agreed to your reassurance, and sat down quietly in class the next 2 days, he thought you are being nice in setting the ground rules for your class and that you told him before it got too late - ie half the semester gone and he hasn't master a firm grip on his pen. But 3 days later, you saw that he was completing his homework in the classroom before the start of the lesson. But you found out soon when he headed over to him, that he was struggling to write the letter "h". You asked, "Why you so slow? You should have finished up to z already right?" He was stunned. Speechless. And you quickly sat down and corrected his grip, but left him to start the lesson. And you blurted just before you leave him, "i want to see you after the first lesson."

So you are the teacher. And I'm the boy. You may think you empathise my anxiety. But you definitely do not understand. Whatever you tried to do after the devastating comments, just failed to convince this boy. He has changed his first impression of you. For all you know, he already formed the opinion that you are a hypocrite, you are fake, and you have clearly judged him.

That sentence or remark that you made, was the second wave of tsunami that hit my beach, wiped out the whole beach front. So I am now bare and naked, and I have no idea how to reconcile this damage. The tsunami may be just a 1m high wave from where you see it - the ocean; but it is 5m high on my beach.

I know. This negativity may just be a phase, some people termed it as "adapting" while others preferred to use the word "cope". In any case, yes, with time and practice and familiarity and rapport, things will seem to get better. The atmosphere in that classroom is no longer strange to that boy.

But the whole point is, you have created the adaptation by negativity. In a boy whose lifestyle before school was cow and corn and river and sun, this approach is not welcomed at all.


For all that matters now, 15 minutes after I started writing this blog, it doesn't matter anymore now anyways.

And therefore. This piece of blog is an absolute pointless venting. But on my part, I've helped putting out some fire that destroyed my kitchen, before the fire burn the house.

-the end-

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