Sunday, March 28, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Importance of Charlie-Care

"Self-care" is a fun phrase that tends to be thrown around a lot by organizations that have counseling or outreach programs. Apparently, burnout is a problem for employees and volunteers who staff the hotlines and "mobile health units"of rape and abuse, low-income abortion assistance and sex worker outreach/needle exchange/HIV testing organizations. Astonishing.

Anyway, staffers have to learn to recognize the signs of burnout and make self-care plans. We get worksheets with helpful ideas to get us started! Or, as I like to call it, "77 Suggestions and A Drink Ain't One"

Here are some gems:

20. Skydiving
23. Play on a teeter-totter
38. Imagine myself achieving my goals and dreams (lol)

(---and my personal favorite---)

52. Tell myself the loving words I want to hear from others.

Way down this list, at #59 to be exact, we encounter "Pet an animal". This is my version of petting an animal






(I'm also singing 'Always be my Baby' to him, but I guess that isn't apparent)

The past 9 months have been rough. I feel like to be a successful counselor, I needed to be in a much better frame of mind when I started than I was. And I don't think it helped that I took a lot on pretty quickly. But, it is getting easier and I think I am getting better at "establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries" and "managing my discomfort". I had my first suicidal/self-harming session a couple of weeks ago and it was really hard. I lost it after my shift was over. I think the hardest thing for me is not knowing what happens to people after our brief encounters are finished; not knowing if they are ok. I finally got certified as an HIV counselor/tester this week and my hands started to shake when we role-played giving someone a positive result.

I guess we'll see how that goes. But for now, I'm going to keep reminding myself how happy I am that I have Charlie (and lots and lots of other good things and alcohol) in my life.

What an angel.





Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy Birthday Julian and Bailey!

Happy birthday friends! I am late for Julian (by 5 days) and early for Bailey (by a couple of hours). My video recording thing on my computer has decided to freeze every time I try to play a song. Which is a problem when it comes to the production of dancing Charlie birthday videos. Sooo, these pictures of Charlie in festive attire will have to serve as a stand-in until I manage to fix the problem. Rest assured that Charlie will return to his rug-cutting ways once all technological glitches have been fixed.



Charlie celebrates Bailey and Julian's birthdays' proximity to Mardi Gras!


Charlie celebrates the best birthday present of all! The sure-to-be-announced news that Mei Xiang is pregnant!


Charlie models my brother's AC/DC trucker hat. Everybody wins!


Charlie is tropical (?) with a tropical reptile friend (?) to celebrate the imminent arrival of summer!


Charlie wears sunglasses, claws them off his face several times, effectively ends celebratory fashion parade.

Happy Birthday!

Love,
Andrea