Tales of a mental health worker. – By @JacobDeFig

By Jacob de Figueiredo


Tales of a mental health worker.

I’ve already touched on my old work a bit in previous scabs, but as I sit here, a day before I finally move away from the comforts of my family home, I have begun to reflect on my life over the past couple of years. The ups and downs, the twists and turns that I’ve tried to embrace with open arms. A step into the unknown. To then quickly return to the warm, familiar embrace of the known. As if nothing ever happened. It’s like I’ve been on some seriously intense 2 year long acid trip and have only finally started returning to a very hazy and intense reality.  Reading this back I feel that a lot of it doesn’t make sense and I really shouldn’t I have put my “chilled classical music” playlist on and typed whatever came to my head whilst listening to “Nocturne OP Posth in C Sharp Minor”. It really got me feeling like an academic man of letters writing his memoirs in an attic as he contemplates existence itself. But it’s genuinely nonsense.  Maybe play that song and read it back and see if anything changes. Might awaken something in you.

Seriously though, I’m having a mild crisis. I often think about my old line of work during my day-to-day advertising learning’s. Don’t get me wrong, I bloody love the ad game.  The thinking, the people, the energy, the playfulness, the glitz and glamour, the ability to leave your mark on this planet… It’s pretty incredible if you think about it. But my old work really did leave me with a feeling like no other. One that’s super hard to put into words. A warm tingling down the spine, the heats the soul and makes you feel alive. (yeah boiiii) being apart of someone’s recovery process is truly an experience I’d recommend to anyone if they get the chance. I really do miss it. But sometimes in life, you have to be selfish and think about what’s truly best for you. I’ve got nothing but cold hard admiration and respect for the NHS staff that I had the god damn pleasure of working with. Completely overworked and underpaid and the burden that they bare is human life. And what a heavy burden that is. But my god I’ve never seen passion like it. Never have I met such incredibly dedicated and caring individuals who want to do nothing more than help 24/7.  Mental health doesn’t sleep and it feels like neither do they. 

When I’m scamping myself into a small coma or trying to crack a glue stick brief I stop and think about what they’re all up to. Are any of the patients returning, do any of them remember me? Are they ok?  Have I managed to save any lives and make a small difference to their existence? Is that women still barking like a dog under the table?  Probably not, but I’ll literally think of anything not to work. Tehehe. Maybe I shoulda stayed. Maybe not. Maybe nothing matters? Maybe everything does? Maybe I should turn this classical music off.

And some of the stuff patients used to talk to me about, my god. Incredible. Staff used to say to me, you’ve gotta laugh at what the patients say. Otherwise you take it home with you. And boy did I laugh. I mean I’m an easy laugh as it is but when a patient covers an entire whiteboard in nonsensical symbols whilst performing all the sound of music tracks you can’t help but crack a little smile. I’ve been mistaken for the reincarnation of elvis and had to sing some of his songs to please a patient. I’ve had to look after real dogs that patients had stolen from houses because they thought they carried religious meaning. I’ve laughed and cried with these people and boy do I miss it sometimes.

The schools kinda similar though, we’re taught mindfulness, which patients are taught.

We’re taught to stay in a playful child state, which patients are taught to help deal with trauma.

We’re taught with how to deal with anxiety and rejection in the work place which patients were also taught.

We’re taught how to learn about ourselves and find our purpose on this planet, which, you guessed it, they’re also taught.

Woah maybe I never left.

Someone send help.


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