Anonymous said: How would you advise me to cope working as a recovering SI-er with people who SI. Finding it very triggering
I don’t know if you mean you are a support worker for people who SI, or if you just have a job and some people there happen to SI.
If you’re a support worker, then firstly I would say that emotional / mental distress (and SI) can affect anyone and everyone, and being a nurse, counsellor or youth worker doesn’t mean you can’t have your own concerns and problems. Life is hard for everyone in its own way.
Many support workers rely on their personal experience to help them empathise with others. A big concern, I think, is when a person advises a person based on their experience. It goes like this:
"I know just what you’re going through; you need to XXxxxxxx x x xxxxxxx."
Wrong. Empathising with a person means understanding their emotional state, it doesn’t mean a better ability to tell people what to do.
Your insight into SI may give you a valuable ability to listen and talk about things.
At the same time, how do you make space for you? When do you get to ‘switch off’ and take a break from thinking about SI SI SI SI SI?
You’re not a valuable worker only because of your SI experience, you are valuable for everything you bring to the job. Don’t let every conversation revolve around SI - recovery is so much more than ‘stopping SIing’.
If you’re not a support worker, but instead work with colleagues who SI, then I wonder how much of the day is dominated by SI conversations? Maybe someone mentions it once, and then they emotionally move on, but you’re trapped with cycling thoughts for the rest of the day?
What can you do to develop working relationships (and friendships!) based on other matters? Your recovery is important, but your SI story is only part of you, it’s not the whole you. Same goes for your colleagues.
How do you cope with triggers? What do you do during films, TV, and in the street when a triggering image or thought arises?
Can you develop more ways of coping with triggers? You’ll need a range of tactics when stuck at work. I appreciate you can’t just break plates or go for a run in the middle of a shift!
Sometimes, the way we deal with triggers has to be mental, rather than physical. Can you flip your mind and literally switch mental channels? It’s not easy, so use bathroom breaks to sit for 3 minutes and breathe. I know, not the best location, so can you go outside for short breaks to count the clouds and breathe?
I can imagine how hard things might be for you, but I can’t advise you; I can only hope that I’ve given you some ideas that might inspire you or direct your focus. You can create ‘good days’ for yourself, so long as you can move away from any ‘bad minutes’. It’s all about how you approach difficulties, it’s not the difficulties themselves.