Month: March 2013

Uncertainty

Definition: The state of being uncertain; doubt; hesitancy (Source: Dictionary.com)

Uncertainty reaches us at certain points in our lives, which is for certain. It is common isn’t it, that we all reach a point of not being sure about anything in our lives? That moment when we are not sure whether to go left or right? That moment when we stop and think, which way do I go now? We hesitate, we are in doubt as to which is right or wrong. Everything just feels so uncertain.

This is not a comfortable state to be in because I have found that all other areas of my life are affected when I am uncertain in one area. When I am in doubt about which decision to make about my relationships, my mind is full of scenarios all day long. I already make mini-movies of what would happen if I do this or if I don’t. This is so unhealthy, LOL but good practice because then you can sift the utterly ridiculous from the not so bad scenarios. My relationship decisions may affect my family life, may affect my professional life and in turn my personal wellbeing. One decision has a tremendous effect on all other aspects of one’s
life.

The feeling of uncertainty for me brings another tiresome feeling, RESTLESSNESS. I cannot sit still until I make that decision. All of a sudden everything seems to ride on this one decision and it just does not seem to be in your grasp. One would think just pick one amongst the choices and go with it. But this is the scary part. One voice says what if I make the wrong decision? Another voice then whispers, you will not know it was the wrong decision if you don’t try!! And you are screaming to both voices to shut up already because they are just confusing you more.

Life is unpredictable and sometimes we really cannot control what happens to us. Uncertainty comes from trying to take control of our lives and being in the driver’s seat. But this role comes with responsibility and hence we try to always make sure we are certain of the choices we make. I would not want to go blindly on my life path, taking chances and not stopping to think of the risks. So uncertainty in this case avoids jumping into a situation without carefully weighing out its consequences.

So whether you are not sure if you should take that job, go overseas, move a step further in that relationship, start that company my advice is *this is note to self as well* FOLLOW YOUR HEART!!!

Here are a few memorable quotes on uncertainty:

Faith means living with uncertainty-
feeling your way through life, letting your heart guide you like a
lantern in the dark-Dan Millman

It is in the admission of ignorance
and the admission of uncertainty that there is hope for the
continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn’t
get confined, permanently blocked as it has so many times before in
various periods in the history of man-Richard .P. Feynman

Although our intellect always longs
for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty
fascinating- Karl Von Calusewitz

Passionate Pain

Today was a hard day at work…I love social work, really I do but on days like today the pain of the work is real. The world’s problems are real, social problems are real, individual problems are real!!!At times the reality is painful to register, painful to comprehend and painful to deal with. Rape for example is the worst case scenario; rape of a minor, rape of a mentally challenged child, rape of any child!! Rape in South Africa has reached crisis proportions and an immediate intervention has become necessary.

Society is sick, society is troubled. What  brings the most pain is realising that as much as your role as a social worker means providing for and protecting children in need of care but there is only so much one can do in a society filled with men who do not see anything wrong with locking up a 12 year old and raping her continuously for days. As long as these vulnerable children are out there they are not safe!!!

All one can only do then is to show the child that you believe their story, secondly to reassure that it was not their fault in any way and lastly to give assurance that they are now in a safe place and should not be afraid. This is the point you realise the importance of a trusting relationship with your client. They need to feel safe and that can only happen once they trust you. Only after all this can one begin dealing with the trauma of the rape.

How much trauma can a single human being take? When it becomes almost normal for young children to get raped because this is not the first time it happened and you know it has happened to a couple of your friends below the age of 16? What kind of society is this to raise our children in? The work that a single social worker or a team of social workers becomes a passion filled with pain…the reality of the world is too painful to imagine.

Tomorrow is another day…I have to be strong so that I can give of my strength.

IM PREGNANT….WHAT DO I DO NOW????

Nothing brings my social work day to a complete standstill than news of a pregnant teenager. Well maybe complete standstill is a bit dramatic,but it’s close enough to the feeling I get.  This is not good news by any stretch of the imagination. For a residential social worker this is a disaster because the above statement applies “IM PREGNANT….WHAT DO I DO NOW????” It
is a reality that the teenager will sit with you in the office and stare at you blankly. It is up to you to make the plan for what
happens now that the teenager is pregnant.

FIRST THOUGHTS:

Somehow I sit and think of how upset and disappointed I can be. I am upset because I have to think for someone. I am upset because I have to come up with a plan for someone’s life when they themselves have no insight. I am upset because I know it starts here and before you know it a young girl has two kids before she is 20, three kids before she is even 25. I am upset because I know I cannot control their movements and they will still go and have unprotected sex as if they have not been taught better. I am upset because the circumstances are not right and a teenager being pregnant just carries on the cycle of poverty. Because what are you going to give to your child when you yourself rely on the children’s home for all your needs? I am upset
because you are giving birth to an already disadvantaged child; imagine the child already has no choice but to be where you are…which is in a children’s home!!!

ON THE FLIP SIDE:

Ok, there is a lot I am upset about. But then as a social worker it is the principle to not judge your clients. I have to use my skill of
empathy and put myself in the pregnant teenager’s shoes. I can imagine the fear you have finding out you are going to be a mother at your age…. I can imagine the thought of your family and friends finding out leaves you feeling scared and embarrassed….I can imagine the fear of your boyfriend refusing to accept the pregnancy or you already know he cannot provide for you….You thought he loved you and he promised to be there always but where is he now…You feel rejected…I can imagine the stress and thousand questions in your head. You worry about your body, you worry about school, and you worry about what people are going to say. Then you think let me get an abortion but you are so scared even of that.

AT THE END OF THE DAY:

As much as I would want to throttle the pregnant teenager for not knowing any better I understand the need for more support than ever at this point. The need for guidance not to make a more life-altering decision such as abortion or suicide becomes necessary.  So as we sit and try to figure out a plan I have to be constantly aware of the emotions going through the teenager’s mind at this point.  Roles are going to change; the teenager has to realize that they have to become more responsible at this point. The social worker can only try so much….at this point it is really up to the pregnant teenager to make a decision.  A non-judgmental attitude is absolutely necessary for the social worker to employ.  But one cannot help wondering that in this day of contraception including morning-after/emergency contraception teenagers still go out and get pregnant. I conclude it is the lack of education and also the fear of service providers that once the teenagers are educated and allowed access to contraception
that they will go wild and never think of protected sex. *bigsigh*.
WHAT TO DO!!!!!