Just like that, we’re at the end of the year. This year has been a really big one for me yet, it feels like it’s gone by in the blink of an eye and I feel as though I haven’t appreciated it as much as I should have.
Recently, I’ll be honest, my mental health hasn’t been at its best and I have found balancing work, blogging, freelancing and writing quite challenging. Not to mention having huge imposters syndrome at work. I’ve gotten quite used to doing guest lectures about ableism now, so much so that I never really get nervous even when this is paid. Speaking is always slightly nerve-racking but I like the challenge and get more excited about it than nervous. A few weeks ago along with other founding members of AbleOTUK, we presented at The Occupational Therapy Show and so many people asked me if I was nervous before presenting and I wasn’t, yes, presenting with my peers is a lot easier. But I was just so excited and privileged to be there that I almost had no room to be nervous.
Yet, when I’m lecturing a work this is a whole different ball game and I get beyond nervous!! I do know why — it’s because when I’m presenting with AbleOTUK and doing any talks about my story and ableism I know the content very well, so of course, I’m going to be more confident. Whereas at work it’s not like I don’t know the content, given I don’t know it all for example the university I work at has more of a focus on occupational science (the theory behind occupational therapy) than my degree did. Yet, with the content, I deliver I do have to refresh myself on it as it’s not my every day like talking about ableism is. I know I put more pressure on myself because it’s work and I’m getting paid but it’s also because I don’t want to tell students the wrong thing.
I know, I know, every lecturer, teacher and educator feel like this it’s just quite different to what I normally do. Yes, of course, I use sources to back up what I’m saying when I’m talking about ableism but the presentations I give are more to make people think about ableism rather than to be assessed on it. With this in mind, this is why I’m being hard on myself at work, because I want to get it right and do my best for the students. I know this will come over time and I’m young and I’m not saying everything is disability-related. Yet, I’m constantly thinking do the students understand me? Do I need to use AAC more? Again, referring to my previous post — am I using my experiences of disability too much? Am I giving my opinions too much?
Like I’ve previously said I’ve come a long way to get here as a disabled occupational therapist and making the point that this does influence everything I do. Why am I questioning myself? Part of me likes the fact that I question myself because I always want to be challenged and improve my practice. Yet, again why do I let disclosure have this constant hold over me?
Yes, question this by all means, and I know I keep saying it, but thinking of how heightened my mental health was 18 months ago, I’m proud. I’m proud to now have worries and stresses about work rather than the stresses being finding work. Yes, my occupational balance isn’t perfect and like I’ve mentioned earlier I do have a lot going on, but I’m privileged and proud to be in this position. I started my blog on a whim because I was fed up with not being heard now I’m an occupational therapist who loves every single aspect of her work!
On the other hand, it is not all about being productive either, I mean, I do like to be busy and I get bored far too easily. However, we live in a capitalist society that’s based around working and being productive but there’s so much more to life than that and a whole array of occupations to explore. Okay, I know using the word ‘occupations’ is technically me using my OT hat, but we are all occupational beings!
Yet, I’m currently going through quite a personal journey — I will spill the beans about it soon, I’m not ready to yet, but a factor that’s making this personal journey harder is how much I work. As I said I love my work and there’s nothing I get involved in that I don’t enjoy yet I do realise there are other areas of my life that I need to focus on. For example, as previously mentioned exploring moving out. As much as I love what I do, I know I keep myself busy to avoid dealing with other areas of my life such as moving out.
But it is time to focus on me now. I still have plenty of work to do — I ain’t going to be looking at moving out before I submit my manuscript in the spring. Yet, I’ve realised now that I do need to face the next set of transitions in my life, it won’t be easy and thinking about my next stages does make me feel anxious. But I can’t put it off forever my professional journey has been amazing so far and now it has led me to this, a by no means easy but content position. I need to focus on my needs as a disabled person for a while to not just benefit my career but my overall future.
Have a lovely winter break! Thank you for your continuous support!