Friday, 21 March 2014

I love what I do

This one is a little different. Recently things have been hard. I am the type of person who believes winning is of the uth most importance, I hate losing. But over the past few months things haven’t been going my way and I have lost more than my fair share of battles. I recently began comparing myself to others, my friends are all beginning their professional careers and are getting well paid for it. They have wonderful lifestyles and live in exuberant locations. Me, I’m a 26 year old, underpaid assistant psychologist. I live in the middle of nowhere, far away from friends and family…. I constantly say to myself that I need to change career, that I would receive a much higher reward for my efforts elsewhere. Considering the amount of work I put in, I would certainly already be successful in another field….

But then little things happen. When I go to work, money leaves my thoughts. I can honestly, hand on heart say, I have never looked at the clock and said “hurry up 5 o clock”. People’s lives are in my hands, people self-harm in front of me every day. People who have a mother, a daughter, a brother and who have been successful in their own lives……

 I have been spending time with a person with dementia (a progressive illness where a person’s memory, language and other cognitive abilities slowly deteriorate, and there is very little you can do to halt this progression; there is no cure). This guy (let’s call him George, he’s 60 years of age) struggles to communicate with anyone, has no idea where he is, sometimes he thinks he is at work. But at some level (in my subjective opinion) George knows he is deteriorating and knows he is in a mental health hospital. Because of this he can spend days with his head in his hands slouched over in the corner of a room, highly depressed. His family want nothing to do with him. George has no friends outside of hospital. He is in hospital until he dies. George can say two words, “yes” and “no”…. So six months ago I began to find out about this man, George likes art and David Hockney. I started to spend time with him. All I did was sit with George and talk about art. I used to bring in pictures of his favourite artist's work and blabber on about what I liked about the picture, what it meant for me…. I began to notice that over time, George’s reaction to me when I arrived to see him became more emotional. He now cries when I enter his room. But for others, the big improvement is George’s communication. He can now say full sentences, he can ask for a drink when he’s thirsty (before this he used to beat the shit out of people because he was dehydrated and didn’t have the ability to communicate he wanted some water. It used to take up to 5 people to restrain him). He now spends time painting. But for me the biggest improvement is that George doesn’t spend his days hunched over in the corner of a room with his head in his hands, and depressed. Instead he sits up proud… George wasn’t a patient referred to me, just someone I took an interest in. All I did was stimulate his brain by helping him to reminisce over art work and probably connected past times. This all stimulated his long term memory, George’s cognition, and is probably why he is now able to talk…. This all links to why he is now proud again, he was a successful human being, a successful artist, and like me, a winner that hates losing... Apparently dementia is a progressive illness..... It's the big things. I love what I do.

1 comment:

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