Just when I thought I had it all figured out, one of those days happens when something unpleasant hits the fan.
Since I started offering care in the industry, my approach to how I communicated with the young men I support was to speak to them just as they are – men. But sometimes I forget that there is a part of them that doesn’t receive and relay communication the same way as someone who is completely intellectually able.
There was a situation that happened one Friday morning where a young man we provide support for had been abusive towards someone in his household. Though the individual was not someone I supported directly, being the business owner, I was immediately made aware and became focused on how we were going to navigate through the day in such a way that both benefited but did not condone the young man’s behavior. It just so happened that I was meant to be supporting someone else who I did not usually support on Fridays, this was supposed to be a one-off. Because of the hectic morning, I forgot to pick the guy up and did not remember until 3 hours later. At the exact moment I remembered, I picked up my phone and tried calling him only to be sent to his voicemail. Immediately following the call I received a text from him saying “Where were you? You left me waiting”. My heart shattered – I knew I disappointed him. All the while, I was surrounded by the rest of our support team and group, I was trying my best to keep my emotions together.
This particular Friday was an extra-long day. It was Halloween weekend and we had planned an event more than a month in advance for a trip to SeaWorld for the Spooky Nights event; our group was extra heightened because of their excitement. In that instant I became overwhelmed – I felt like I wasn’t able to give the group 100% of me.
To add to all this – one of my support team was confirming the location of the day’s next activity and there was some miscommunication that eventually led to a meltdown with his client after they showed up to the wrong location because of my directions. Navigating this client’s emotions and bringing him back to baseline is a big challenge.
There were still many hours left in the day and I had had enough. I felt defeated. This was the first time in my care career that I realised I didn’t have all the tools in my toolbox for everyone. Not that I thought I did have all the tools, but I never had to think about it with the guys I personally provided support for. My approach with those particular men had been praised time and time again by their parents, but on this particular day I realized, just like any other human relationship, we don’t always understand each other or what someone is going through.
Sometimes I tend to dwell on the negative instead of looking at these scenarios as learning experiences. I actually broke down in front of one of my carers who just so happens to also be a good friend. When I told him what was bothering me, his response fixed everything:
“you’re a good person Tyler, because you care.”
If you’re a carer reading this, you may have had a laugh thinking of similar situations you’ve encountered. Or, this could spark a breakdown of your own because your day today may mirror my story. No matter what your current situation – remind yourself today and everyday that you’re a good person, because you care.
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