Sunday, October 6, 2013
AnonymousOT - love her blog
I was searching the Internet for something I had written about a child's handwriting progress as I wanted to bring up the picture for his upcoming IEP meeting - essentially when we started together, it was some of the worst I had seen - I had all these papers with a single line or two on them with pencil, then red marker scribbles on the rest. Now the handwriting is so amazing.
Anyway, as I searched, I came across a mention of my name and it was in this post,
Now that I link it, it sounds like maybe AnonymousOT was talking about burnout for us, but actually she was talking about the challenges of burnout in general and referenced several "OT superheroes", I am proud to say I was included in her list. I've had a hard time reading blogs this summer between a lot of distraction in personal life AND, most importantly of all, the sad demise of Google Reader which is how I did all my blog perusals.
ANYWAY, I wanted to share this post because I know many of us have struggled with these burn-out feelings, or will struggle, or currently struggle. I'm currently in a great place where I LOVE LOVE LOVE what I am doing with the kids and need to write more soon as well as make more videos, but I have definitely been in dark places OT-wise. Not so much literal burnout so much as feeling like I wasn't doing as good of a job as I should be able to. But here's the thing about burnout.
The question that is so important.
Is it really burnout of OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY or is it burn out from your JOB? Because I can't fathom a day, even on its worst day, that I wasn't absolutely passionately madly in love about the theoretical tenets of OT, even if I'm upset or seriously burnt out based on job issues, insurance issues, etc. How can anybody not love a job where we look at any person in any situation and figure out how to make their life easier?
I can honestly say I have not learned a single fact or theory in at least 7 years that I don't immediately apply to OT in some way. Okay fine, I guess if I learn about chloropyll or something I'd struggle to make the leap unless I could go into "reaching for the sun" or something. But you get the point. Nothing I learn goes to waste if it has even the slightest, tiniest, seed, that could be used to further OT development.
And everything I learn I then think of how I want to best share it with others, because learning to me is most valuable when others can learn too, reflect, grow new branches, share, critique, whatever. Help further AOTA's Centennial Vision for occupational therapy. I take pictures of things all day every day I want to share. Unfortunately I run around so much I don't always get to post most of them, considering if I posted as often as I would like to with new information/ideas, I would post forty thousand times a day with only the TEENIEST bit of exaggeration.
I now tell my kids that my job is to make their lives easier. Of course go into more detail after that to clarify what that means (ie I'm not implying they will get to sit and eat bonbons all day because of a decree I make). But essentially, after years of still struggling to come up with an "elevator" definition that is fast yet all encompassing yet not too vague, I've found that "making lives easier" is the easiest way to get it across to my kids and even a lot of adults if I only have a second. I give a few examples of how it can apply from age zero to two hundred in any setting and what "occupation" refers to, etc, if I have time. But if I only have one second? We make lives easier.
Maybe AOTA's headquarters peeps are reading this (hi everyone) although probably their eyeballs declared revolt years ago since they've known for a long time I don't know how to shut up. But anyway if they are, they may be banging their collective heads against a wall for perhaps using a definition they don't fully agree with (???), but I like to think it's the awesomest definition of all. It's such a comforting idea - we look at the world in the way that allows us to make lives easier for anybody and everybody and then everyone wins, and then everybody ideally gets to "live life to its fullest" due to helping learn "skills for the job of living" due to wanting to make lives easier. Occupational therapists, woo woo.
WIN WIN GUYS! WIN WIN!!! Sis boom bah rah rah rah 2 4 6 8 who do we appreciate...OT OT OT....flashback to my classmate Stephanie from OT school doing a cheerleader OT chant for us in our Miss OTPF video :) Oh the memories. Speaking of memories, she just had her first baby. So many of my OT classmates are on their first, second, or even third or fourth??? babies. Mostly firsts and a few seconds. I feel so old.
I've got to say I have no idea I went from searching for a kid's handwriting to burn out to ending with a cheerleader flashback, but it's why I'm good at improv... ;)