Moving up the ranks

This week I reached a milestone that I’ve been working towards for a couple of years without actually realising that I’ve been working towards it at all. I became a Youthline Phone Counselling Mentor.

I’ve been with Youthline for over 2 years now. The first of those was spent in personal development and basic counselling training. The second was spent as a phone counsellor. It has flown by and I still vividly remember my first few shifts in the phone room. They were pretty unpleasant experiences. Every time the phone rang I’d feel sick. What if it was someone that wanted to kill themselves? What if it was someone that was angry and abusive? What if I didn’t know what to say, or if the call ended and the person was still crying? You just don’t know what’s going to be there when you pick up that phone.

Somewhere between then and now, picking up that phone just became second nature. Now I see the looks of horror on the faces of new counsellors and remember how it felt with well masked amusement. I remember going to an early supervision group and doing a check in at the beginning. We were asked what motivated us to sign up for shifts. I said that my motivation was to get as many in as possible in order to break that fear. I meant it sincerely.

Anyway, that’s all in the past. Last weekend I went on the Mentor training course and I passed my assessement on Tuesday night. Essentially that means I won’t be on the phones much any more. My job will still be in the phone room, but it’ll now be to support and help to train the new counsellors.

A lot of people volunteer at Youthline to get credit for their Psych or Counselling degrees or diplomas. They tend to use phone counselling as a means to an end. I had always intended it to just be an end. I had no desire to move up the ranks. It just kinda happened. Trainees aren’t allowed to do shifts without a Mentor and there are very few left within the organisation, so I stepped up.

As it turns out, I’m looking forward to it. It was time for a new challenge.

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Tears of God.

Winter has come and it’s come with a vengeance.

When I went to bed last night it was stormy. I quite like that at bed time. When I woke up this morning it was even stormier. I bloody well HATE that on work days. It is still 20 degrees, although to be fair, that’s pretty standard for autumn – even winter in Auckland doesn’t really get particularly cold.

New Zealanders that live outside of Auckland think they are particularly funny when they go on about how much it rains up here. It’s sub-tropical for goodness sake! What do you expect? The general nature of Auckand rain is completely manageable. There are frequent showers in the winter time, but that’s just what they are – showers. There are rarely more than one a day (if that) and you can sit one out in 10 minutes or so. In other parts of the country you can rest assured that if it’s raining when you get up, it’ll be raining when you go to bed. I think that may be the case here today, however…

I dislike the first storm of the winter particularly badly. Not only does it cause me to mourn summer but it makes people crazy. The ground is hard so the water sits on top and causes floods. This makes people drive like maniacs. They either turn into aquaplaners or they turn into old women and fail to hit the 20kph mark. Not conducive to a good day for someone as impatient as I am.

So today I have hauled out my start of winter clothes. I am wearing long sleeves. It’s quite a strange feeling. Aside from my week in Canada, I have been wearing short sleeves for the last 5 months. I am also wearing flat shoes. I own one pair of flat work shoes and they come out about twice a year – usually as a result of some kind of ankle injury. Today it is because I have houses to look at during my lunchtime. I don’t want to be sprinting to the car and back in dangerously high shoes. Wow. Sometimes I am just too sensible for my own good.

So to summarise – winter is here and it’s bloody depressing.

On the positive side, my car was way overdue for a clean.

Appropriate work behaviour

Recently I have become aware of something that I’m going to have to nip in the bud. You know how every morning you walk into the office and you have your morning routine? Get a coffee, fill your water bottle, check your email, read your favourite blogs, do a search on all the forums you belong to, to make sure that no one has been talking about you in the night, *stops to breath*, make sure nothing failed overnight, check your diary to see what you have on for the day, write in your blog etc etc? Well, I’ve noticed that mine is getting more and more out of control. Yesterday it took an hour and a half before I got down to actually being productive. That is just bad form.

I do start work half an hour early in order to get some of this stuff done, but it would seem that is no longer sufficient. Due to the fact that I can’t come in any earlier, I might have to reconsider my routine somewhat. Some of those blogs might have to be culled. Actually, I might just start randomly deleting emails without reading them. That ought to save a bit of time. It’s either that, or I don’t shower.

Speaking of naughty work things, I have a gripe. I am SICK TO DEATH (ok, not quite to death, more like to a bad cold stage) of people that finish the water in the water cooler and then don’t change the bottle. There is always a spare bottle sitting beside it all ready to go. It would take 30 seconds. Unless you are really old or handicapped, there is no excuse! I have decided to set a trap. I am going to dress in green and hide behind the mangy hired tree that stands beside the cooler. Next time someone walks off without changing the bottle I am going to bust them.

I’ll take a photo and expose them on the cafeteria noticeboard.

The Pox

I’m covered in spots. It started yesterday. I woke up and accused the cats of putting a flea in our bed. It was a ridiculous accusation because the cats hadn’t been in the bed. Then I realised that there was a flea in my car, one at the gym and one under my desk at work. Holy hell, it was like I was being followed by some evil devil flea. It was relentless and seemed to have a leg fetish.

I was pretty grateful for the fetish. The last time this happened the flea was way keener on my ass. It reached a stage where I was so itchy that I stopped caring that I was doing innappropriate scratching in public.

Anyway, due to the fact that I’m fairly sure that fleas don’t follow people around, it became clear that it wasn’t actually a flea at all. I’ve got hives.

I very rarely eat fruit. I don’t much like it. I like apples, but only with cheese. I never drink fruit juice. I get my 5+ a day by eating vegetables and salads. But in the weekend we had friends over for lunch and they brought a pineapple. I ate pretty much the whole thing. And for some reason I had a juice craving as well. You’ll be surprised to hear that I wasn’t sensible about it. I skulled a litre of juice. Then I ate most of a rockmelon.

The pineapple and rockmelon were so good that I bought more. And ate them. So now I have the hives.

True to form, now that I can’t eat pineapples or rockmelons, I really REALLY want them. I went to the supermarket this morning on the way back from the gym and stared at them for so long that people started staring at me. Luckily I was hit by a massive scratching attack which brought to light the reason for not going there. So I left, fruitless.

Anyway, rather foolishly I am wearing shorts today. Not only are my significantly less than flawless legs on display, but I seem to be scratching all my skin off.

Well sedated

I made a bit of a mistake this weekend. A couple actually, but one that I’m still paying for. On Friday I had a disagreement with someone that I love. It resulted in anxiety. It is not uncommon for people to behave unskillfully when anxious, and that is exactly what I did. Paul and I stuck to our not going out together plan, which worked well. I ended up home by midnight.

Due to the anxiety that I was feeling, I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to take sleeping pills. I had Youthline training on Saturday and didn’t want to be sleepy for it. Those things are notorious for putting you to sleep at the best of times – not because of the nature of the course, but because you sit around on beanbags in a warm room for hours on end.

We have two kinds of sedatives. Pink ones and blue ones. You take one pink one or two blue ones. I remember that now. Somehow I got that wrong at the time. After taking enough of the drug to sedate a horse, I went to sleep. I’m surprised that I woke up at all.

Saturday wasn’t good. I had trouble doing simple things, like walking. Needless to say, I fell asleep several times during training. I hoped that no one was noticing, but after the third person commented I realised that I wasn’t fooling anyone. I went home and slept hard for a couple of hours, waking up just in time to get ready for mum and dad’s 60th.

Well, what a disaster that turned into. It would seem (as if everyone in the world doesn’t already know this) that alcohol and sleeping pills are not a good mix. After about my 4th or 5th glass of champagne I started losing my balance. Not long after that I started losing my memory, followed quickly by losing the contents of my stomach. Mary drove me home before midnight, and I vaguely remember having to stop and be sick.

The next thing I remember is waking up in the morning in the spare bed. Shaun says he didn’t put me there, so I have no idea what went on in the night.

I’m still poisoned today, but I sure have learned my lesson.

All grown up

My best friend Paul and I are finally growing up. I’m not 100% pleased about it but I guess it had to happen. We are notorious when we go out together. In the 32 years that we have been best mates, we have never managed to stick to a single plan that we’ve made with good intentions. I don’t think we’ve ever had ‘a quiet drink’. So we’ve come up with a new strategy. If it works, it will ensure that we get home before sunrise.

It’s a big weekend for me. Tonight we have a friend’s going away party down at Suite. Prior to that I have my 10 year work anniversary dinner. Hmmmm… free booze followed by a party at my brother’s bar. Recipe for disaster? It wouldn’t usually be an issue, except that tomorrow I have a day long workshop at Youthline – training to be a mentor. Then tomorrow night is mum and dad’s joint 60th, also at Suite. Neither of those things are going to be that much fun on either a hangover or no sleep. Or both. Oh, and there is also my new thinking about having babies status to consider. Having said that, I think babies look quite cute with wide set eyes.

So… Paul and I are doing the party in shifts. He is going to head there after work and leave at 10pm. I am going to arrive at 10:15pm. How incredibly sensible! I really have matured. I’m feeling all self-righteous.

Things may go down hill on Saturday night because we’ll both be there for that, but you have to phase things in slowly.

I’m not quite sure when life came to this.

Good breeding

My sister and I have reached the stage in our lives where we should be procreating. She has been longing for babies for a while now. Her husband is gagging for them. After trying unsuccessfully for a year the natural way (I’m not going to spell it out, there are other sites for that) and they started entry level fertility treatment and are starting to see some positive signs. It’s only a matter of time.

It is amazing what modern medicine is capable of. You can have pills or shots that basically make your body do whatever you want it to do. Incredible. As a result, we kind of just expect that we’ll be able to get pregnant when we want to. We wait until the last minute, once our careers are established and we’ve enjoyed selfish lifestyles, and then we just expect that we’ll get knocked up as soon as we try. As young women, we spend our entire youth trying NOT to get pregnant, without realising how we might be sabotaging out bodies. The pill really does have a lot to answer for.

So anyway, as I was saying, my sister is doing fertility treatment. She is amazing. No alcohol or caffeine at all for months, and that’s before she’s even pregnant. She is about to start another round so I have my fingers crossed for her. For them, I should say.

My approach to getting pregnant, as with my approach to everything in life, is a bit more gung ho. I’m not sure that I’m ready for it, but I know that if I don’t do it now I never will. I’m scared of all the things that I’m going to lose. I know that they will seem like small sacrifices when I hold that baby in my arms, but until then the whole thing is just scary. So the fact that I’m not getting pregnant isn’t heartbreaking. More than anything it’s just frustrating because it’s something that I don’t have much control over.

People are getting knocked-up all over the show so I it’s not like I’m going to be the only one. But I’m still scared. I know that when it happens to Mary I’ll be desperately jealous though, so I guess my sub-conscious is telling me something.

The most difficult thing about it all (and anyone that has tried to get pregnant will tell you this) is that you kind of fall into this sex routine, whereby there are certain days that you are susceptible to falling pregnant. I call it mating season.

Anyway, I guess it all comes down to the fact that I just don’t like being told what to do, even if it is by nature.