As I sit, waiting for a client to arrive, I speculate on how much of my professional life is spent trying to figure out what the best use of my time is while I wait. Sometimes clients don't come at all, so when should I stop waiting and start doing something else? After 15 minutes? If I begin to work on something else at that time, sometimes they still come in after 25 minutes and I have to drop what I am doing. I hate the feeling of being interrupted, and what I hate more is feeling like other human beings are interruptions. In this way it is a double emotional whammy.
The other part I hate is the uncertainty. I've never had a job before that was based on whether other people showed up or not. I will plan a session, have some great intervention, and they don't come. Or I will wing a session and invariably, that family shows up.
I don't transition easily from one type of work to another, from phone calls and paperwork to treatment. I would rather just do one or the other. Its challenging to shift, and I think its because both uses different sides of the brain. My abstract and concrete thinking mechanisms don't like being switched off and on like this. And in the middle of my own mental struggle to shift gears, there are real people in the middle to consider. I can't afford to feel grouchy or irritated about my job for too long, because its not fair to my clients. They need me to be 100% all the time, no matter how I feel any given day.My mental health does not matter to my clients, because this is one of the few things they do that is for themselves.
I suppose this is how I will feel when I'm a mother, a strong sense of responsibility to put aside my own struggles and focus on meeting the needs of my child.
So, I wait, and work to temper the frustration that so often wells up, often for no good reason. I listen to soft music and try to be productive while I wait. And when I see their faces, I suddenly have the strength to focus on them and I forget all about my own situation. I suppose there will come a day when I lose this battle and the chinks in my armor shine through. I really hope not, but its bound to happen once. If it does, I'll apologize and check myself, and pray for the strength to remember to treat people like people and not just another task to complete on my never-ending list.