For me becoming a Social Worker was inspired due to having a very special lady in my own life growing up, yes she was a Social Worker/Nurse (still to be clarified) and the times I had with her filled me with hope, being with someone so kind and loving was just wonderful and I thank her for the joyful days out, her smile, her kindness, her compassion, the light she put into my heart. I didn’t realise at the time that what we were exposed to was wrong, it was all we knew, it was our normal.
Then I became a parent, with all of that inside of me, tucked deep inside to scared to talk to anyone about it, I survived it, but did I?
I had no idea who I was, I had no confidence, no idea of my why, my purpose. Who could ever love me, like me, want to listen to me. What did I have to share, it was like a clip from a horror movie, tucked away and if I shared it, I would be punished. So my childhood was stolen, but that was ok, how dare I say anything about any of it, because in reality no one (society) truly understood the impact anyway. No one from my journey ever spoke of the Adverse Childhood Experiences or impact PTSD. It was the ‘pat on the back’ and you had no right or to share as it was considered self-pity.
So that was a snippet of my lived experience, in the first ‘system’ (family) of my life journey.
Many years fast tracked:
I got into university, in my late 30’s, never ever did I think I would get to university, that was for smart people, not people like me. I hadn’t read a book until I was 25, so believe me when I say, never in my dreams did I ever believe I ‘me’ would get into university.
The course was tough 9 to 5 five days a week. I failed it twice (long storey) but because in practice I excelled I knew it was meant for me and the new course director (another storey) was so encouraging, referring to my fabulous references. I did struggle academically and due to my ‘internal’ destruct and little self belief it did impact on my progress, but hey I got there! I passed, I did it… I was overjoyed!
So first day in practice, so excited, we had studied values (I had such limited vocabulary, it took me months to even understand the meaning of that word, let alone the other words within this profession) just imagine when words like empowerment, objective, oppressive and many other words were introduced, it was like learning a foreign language (parents/carers, I have and will never forget how I felt, and will always ensure anyone I have walked part of their journey with understands the language we use. Sorry of on a tangent I go, forgive me.
Getting back to my first day, I remember feeling so excited to be working with people I thought were going to be so kind, caring.. well, I was in tears on my first day, that manager I will never forget, or that environment. Twenty blue files were on my desk ready for me to assess. That was it, so no guidance, I had to pick up the files, read, prepare and head out.
But for me, my previous ‘systems’ where not easy, so this was just another one I had to observe, learn to fit in the best I could, but in reality I felt vulnerable and lonely. But we don’t share feelings do we, or we get into trouble.. here we go again. I had to survive. I didn’t stay there long, that manager, now a service director (still the same personality, sadly) was known for her not so nice mannerisms, I kept thinking what must she have been like with families, but I guess she was moving up the ladder, so that was now irrelevant.
I was so blessed with my next post, this manager met me in the post above and asked if I would work for them when my post ended, I asked if I could go sooner and it happened, I moved and she was one of the most amazing managers ever, she obviously actively engaged in the values lessons, because she was kind, supportive and it made all the difference. I stayed there for over a year but it was just to far from home, so I got a job nearer to home.
So let me get back on track as to why Im writing this… being a Social Worker!
I’ve walked alongside many families on part of their lifes journey, I love being a Social Worker, its’ who I am, it’s my why… Why? because of who I am, I felt I had a lot to bring, to share, to inspire, influence because of my own lived experiences, because without it I wouldn’t be who I am.
We knock on doors, we sit with, we listen, we empower, promote parenting, it is amazing when we see families move forward, out of our system with their children thriving. I’ve cried, sat up late nights completing reports, many all nighters, to ensure the timely completion of work for the system. I’ve worked when sick, missed health appointments, missed my own children’s school events, planned family events, appointments because we have to prioritise work. Ive been spoken down to by partner agencies, I have been shouted at by managers, it’s been tough but whats kept me and will always be my focus is the voice of the children, I have never lost touch of my Why.
It’s never personal when I knock at a door, the only people that can change outcomes for their children are their parents/carers, which is why we try so hard to work in partnership with and ask that we support them to learn what we have learnt. I ask parents to consider their child’s journey, reflect and consider impact. I don’t judge, I get life is tough and that every day is another day for us to embrace the opportunity for learning, that how we understand, change, grow is when we learn, open our minds to different ways of looking at things.. and can improve outcomes for children.
We only get one childhood and as we all know, it goes in a blink!
I will edit and complete this tomorrow… keep safe and well