Recently, I published an article on my blog and in Invisible Illness that was inspired by a former patient at a mental health and addictions facility where I work as a nurse.
This patient had a lot going on: an addiction, borderline personality disorder, and a history of significant trauma. He didn’t have particularly adaptive ways of getting his needs met, so he frequently sought help from staff. When he still couldn’t get his needs met, he displayed regressive behaviours such as crawling on the floor.
Most of the staff had no patience for him. They saw him as attention-seeking and dismissed his concerns as invalid.
That’s not the kind of nurse I am or am ever willing to be.
Yet it can be easy to lose hope, and decide it’s not worth the potential negative repercussions of swimming against the current at work. I know I would have zero support from management in taking a stance against the predominant viewpoint on the team.
Sometimes, though, hope comes from other places.
The feedback on the article, both here on Medium and on my blog, displayed so much kindness towards this individual and the care, or lack thereof, that he had received.
I hope somehow a little bit of that positive energy reaches him wherever he is now, but it certainly gave me hope and strength.
Hope that there is kindness available for people who are struggling.
Strength to swim against the current in my own small way in a workplace where I often feel alone in my professional values.
Hope that even when kindness isn’t available where it should be, it is still readily available from strangers who care because of the shared humanity that ties us together.
Strength to keep telling stories that deserve to be told.
And gratitude for being part of a community that values kindness.