Hoo boy! Where to even begin with this post? Two nights ago I woke up at 3am with a burning pain in my chest and thought I was having a heart attack. I wasn’t (thank goodness) but it did make me realise that I need to make some inroads into this job search in order to bring my anxiety levels down. I also need to exercise more, cut down on the sugar and the caffeine and study for my board exam. But you can’t study on an empty stomach, right? And the caffeine is fuel for the brain …
So I’ll keep this post brief. My superego is already telling me that I’m wasting valuable time and that I should be doing x, y and z (tidying, studying and applying for jobs). Not to mention the tax. But there are so many questions. Do I stay on in the military for another year? Work in a prison for a year or so (interesting connection)? Police? Locum at a hospital (if it’s even available)? Take the plunge into private? Start approaching anyone and everyone I know connected to Psychology? Not being in any hurry itself could be a problem. The temptation is to take things one slow step at a time rather than rush into anything. But I also need to be aware and open to any possibilities.
On the reading front, I’m almost finished with Sexing the Cherry and I’ve had very mixed feelings about it. In other words I loved it and hated it. I found myself drawn more to the Dog Woman than to Jordan. What an amazing character, and the fact that I’m reading a Vintage Classics series that twins this book with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein draws attention to her as a ‘monster’ (but one that’s quite easy to relate to). I saw the very grounded Dog Woman and Jordan as two sides of a single personality. The flighty, slightly manic, head-in-the-clouds Jordan and the earthy, massive, violent but also tender Dog Woman. Winterson provides a very unexpected take on gender and sexuality for a start. Will be interested to see what others thought.
Yesterday I also had a charming (and short) visit to my local library. The librarians there usually make me feel like a) a leper; b) a book-thief-just-waiting-to-happen or c) a very small boy who’s done something wrong. Admittedly these could all be my own projections but the woman in the children’s book section was quite different in that she was helpful, chatty and just generally nice. I was looking for kids’ books to help someone who suffers from anxiety. One of my child patients had a bad experience with a ‘evil spirit’ and has not been able to make progress in getting over it. I’m a great believer in talking things out and was looking for some well-illustrated stories to help her to start constructing her own story. Top of my list was the wonderful and brilliant Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak but I also took: In the Night Kitchen (another one by Sendak); Some Things Are Scary by Heide and Feiffer; The Tale of Rabbit and Coyote; and Catkin by Antonia Barber and PJ Lynch.
Not all of these deal with anxiety but I want her to see the progression of these kinds of stories. Basically the beginnings, middles and ends so we can start drawing up a story of her own. My supervisor might well tell me that I’m interfering in my patient’s process and that I should stick to open-ended play therapy and provide paint, playdough etc. I’m certainly not trying to prescribe what she should do, but I think the narrative approach could be a useful one.