Drowning

I get overwhelmed easily, and then I end up drowning. It’s never big things that get me; I’m off schedule one day, so I don’t get my notes done during session. By the end of the day, I need to write five notes…but five is a lot. It’s so much time. I’m emotionally and physically exhausted. So I go home instead, lay around, play phone games and watch junk tv.

Except that I know those notes are waiting. They have to be done. When will I finish them? I check my calendar…maybe that client won’t come, that’ll buy me an hour… No, what am I saying, things have been crazy for them of course they’ll come. That one comes rain or shine. That one is going to be draining. Ughhhhh…maybe if I work through my lunch? I always say I’m going to work through lunch, I never do. What am I going to do? I close my calendar. I’ll think about it tomorrow.

Tomorrow comes. I’m behind by five notes. I have a lot of intense clients. I don’t know how to get caught up. I don’t want to go to work; is that a possibility? Maybe I could just stay home? No, there was already an unpaid holiday during this pay period…besides, that client only gets to see me once a month, even though it should be a lot more frequent. It’s so hard for them to get on my schedule already! I dawdle and stall and procrastinate.

I run late. I rush like crazy, but I’m 15 minutes late with my first client, who was here early and is now trying to hide their annoyance. Shit. I’ll just pretend everything is totally fine; everyone knows I’m always late for my first appointment! It’s one of my charming idiosyncrasies. I’m late in the morning but I’m a good clinician…this is the price you pay for having to be first. I’m saying all that in my head, but I don’t believe any of it. I feel guilty. I feel so guilty. I rush through turning lights on, feeding my fish. I’ll make it up to them; maybe I can run late? Shit. I go retrieve the client.

I didn’t get my computer set up, so my note is not set up. I can’t do it while we’re talking…the client is my only focus. I’ll just…take paper notes for this one and type it up later. It puts me further behind, but it’s only six notes, that’s not much more than it was. I can do six notes. No big deal, I’ll get it at lunch. I’ve got this. I settle in with my notepad and my head full of clinical training and devote myself to my client.

I do run the session a little late, the client is pleased, all good. Even though the next client has been waiting for a while, I tell them all when we do practice policies that sometimes sessions run long, but everyone gets the same treatment – If I ran long with someone else, I’ll run long with you too. They all know this. They’re adults. People run late sometimes. It’s fine.

I say goodbye to client A and see client B in the lobby; I was going to ask them to give me a minute, set up my laptop, but they look really upset today. Not upset that I’m late, genuinely unwell; what happened this week? We left on such a good footing last week! Oh, no. I call client B back. Seven notes isn’t a big deal either. I’ll set up at lunch. Seriously, it’s fine – the client comes first. This session is hard. This client needs hope in a bad way, not because everything is dire but because they don’t really understand what’s happening. I can see the bigger picture, I explain while telling them how to avoid pitfalls and encouraging them not to give up. Client B has a doctors appointment and leave on time. I can set up the computer!!

But I’m drained. I check my phone, I heard my husband’s vibration during session. See if he’s ok – he is. Just telling me he loves me, asking about my day. How’s my day going? I try to find words and keep it short enough for a text but…it’s too hard. I’m tired. “Fine. How’s yours babe?” Is the best I can muster. I play a round on my phone game. I know I need to get notes set up but it’s fine. I’m already behind. I’m going to do it during lunch. It’s fine.

I don’t do it at lunch. I don’t do it at all. So I get to the end of an emotionally exhausting day, and I’m now twelve notes behind. I suppose I should take my laptop home, work on them tonight…but I know I won’t. The laptop will sit there and I will avoid it and feel bad; and it’s heavy, so I will have felt this way after having carried it around and wasting time getting it packed and shit…no. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’m tired.

Rinse wash repeat. Every day. Till I’m now thirteen days behind and the number of notes is unimaginable. I won’t even begin to think about it, fuck that. I’m officially overwhelmed.

Anyone got a life preserver?

One thought on “Drowning

  1. Aw… 😦 I know how easy it is to get behind to the point where it seems insurmountable. I really feel for you. Maybe make a plan to do just one of the overdue ones at the end of each day? Tell yourself it’s just one. Then you’re catching up, not falling further behind…

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