DAY 2: Some Of The Frustrations Of My Job
In my line of work I've observed the types of foods that are being consumed by people with mental health issues and disabilities. It has made me very concerned about the health of some of Australia's most vulnerable people. I walk into homes, I open the fridge, I look in the pantry/food cupboards and I see various different types of foods. The main foods that take up the food pantry/food cupboard and the fridge trays are junk foods. The foods that are being consumed are what the clients enjoy. As a support worker we cannot deny them the right to eat the foods they want. We can at times use specific wording in the best interest of the client to choose the more healthier option. However, some clients like to go with the stuff that they like/enjoy. As I've stated above, it is the junkfood that they would prefer to go with. I've asked myself why this is. My answers were that not only do these individuals have a mental health problem and/or a disability, they're also uneducated and often unaware that it is not good for them. They want what they like/enjoy and/or addicted to.
The junk food they eat can contribute to their mental state/condition as well as their physical health. I've read the nutrition labels on these foods. They all have a large amounts sugar, carbs, etc. In some cases, individuals may only eat the junk foods and nothing else. It can be a little frustrating at times because you want them to eat, but you also want them to be a healthy individual. Sometimes the one thing a support worker may have to do is just accept that this is how it is and that's what the individual wants. But I see them as victims of a society that doesn't give a damn about some of them. If we look at it, we live in a world where the unhealthy products are flashing on a TV screens as advertisements that the majority of clients watch. They go to the supermarkets and the very stuff that stand out the most are the majority of the big name companies that are rarely in the best interests of all human lives. These are individuals who are likely to be more brainwashed because they are unlikely to have the support, the capacity to understand why it is not healthy for them because they may have intellectual disabilities, may not have the vocabulary, etc. It can be difficult for these individuals. That's why they become more vulnerable and are likely to be brainwashed into eating unhealthy foods. Other factor to this is the money that support workers have to spend is based on the amount of money that is provided for groceries. This all depends on what was spent with the last support worker, what the client will and what will last until their next payment. Most support worker's will want to go for the cheaper versions to save the client grocery because if they buy the good quality foods it's likely that the client will have less and run out of money quicker. In saying all there is lots we can do to assist/support these individuals to consume healthier foods so that they're not being impacted by foods that are not beneficial for their bodies or their minds. I've come up with different types of solutions in a few parts/areas of the work that I've noticed need changing and could be better to assist/support the clients to live fun and fulfilling lives. For example, substitution. We can have store that creates healthier foods that taste good, in packets that will stand out to the clients, resemble junkfoods but are lots healthier and charge them for a lot less due to their circumstances. That way they can eat healthier foods, enjoy the taste and be charged less. It is not to segregate, it is to assist/support depending on circumstances. The problem here is I do not have the money to invest in that. There is a lot of changes that can be made in my life of work to assist/support me as a support worker and the client. A support worker's job is not easy because of the contributing factors that prevent the clients from having fulfilling lives. Sometimes all that built up frustration that the client experiences due to their circumstances like any other person.. Lack of money, can't always afford fun things, and being restricted. So, this manifests in violence, abuse, etc. towards staff. But, nothing really gets done because lack of money, consideration, and regard for people who need extra assistance/support to live fulfilling lives.
Taking this to the point of the day. My reactions to all of this can be sometimes a deep suppression, annoyance and a bit of frustration. A reaction to not having funds to be able to create solutions to a lot of the problems that I see as a support worker. A reaction of feeling powerless to assist/support the individual to live a fulfilling and healthy life no matter their condition. A reaction of guilt for a I cannot stop them from eating unhealthy foods. A reaction of feeling sorry for my clients because I know they're victims of a world that doesn't show that it cares. We can make the lives of many individuals very fun, healthy and enjoyable -- we just need to pull our heads together.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed feel powerless in my job as a support worker to assist/support my clients to lead fulfilling lives.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel frustrated in my job as a support worker knowing about how the system works/operates and how much the way it works/operate effects my clients.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel powerless to make a difference in the lives of people who are being taken advantage of in this system.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel powerless to have fun, healthy and enjoyable days with my clients.
I forgive myself that I haven't accepted and allowed myself to see/realise/understand that I may not be able to enforce change, but I can create more options for my clients to choose from by/through changing who I am when I am with them even if it doesn't work.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel like a failure in my job as a support worker.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel sorry for my clients who are victims of a system that doesn't show that they care.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel a deep suppressed and depressed about not having the funds to create solutions for my clients and other support workers.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel horrible about how it effects other support workers when having to deal with all the same problems in this industry as a result of no change happening.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel sorry for my clients because they may not have the capacity to understand
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel sorry for my client when I watch them eat foods that I know is not good for their body, my body, my mind, their mind or anyone else's body or mind.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel sorry for the little amount of money that these individuals have in their lives to be able to provide for themselves a fun fulfilling life.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to feel sorry for support workers that are unable to fund tools to bring on that day to make life fun and enjoyable for the client and them.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe that it is impossible to make changes in the lives of people with mental health problems and disabilities.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to believe that it is impossible to make changes in the lives of my colleagues.
When and as I see myself feeling sorry for my client eating unhealthy foods - I stop and I breathe - I realise that it is my clients choice until there is another solution or option available for them, in the meantime, I can assist/support by using my words, and actions to see if they make a difference on the clients thought process when wanting/desiring the unhealthy foods at the shops.
When and as I see myself feeling powerless in my job as a support worker to help my clients live fun fulfilling lives - I stop and I breathe - I realise that I can assist/support my clients to the best of my abilities on the day that I work with them by planning, and buying some tools to for me to keep and then to use on the day that I work with them.