We all have baggage. The things that happen to us throughout our lives - for example child hood bullying, our experiences of adolescence or educational systems, personal relationships including marriage and work issues. Stuff happens, and isn’t necessarily properly dealt with. We move on, get on with life, just brushing those issues aside. But and this is a big but, sometimes those poorly dealt with issues, those things we think we have moved on from return to bite. For me it has been about being made (almost two years ago now), to accept a job at a lower grade (with pay protection), a job with less organisational responsibility but which carries less power and authority (something I didn’t know I cared about). The organisation is bigger and less personal, but for the most part I am happy. It is just that sometimes particularly times of stress when I can’t get things done in the way I would like I realise that some of my issues with the process that happened at that times haven’t been dealt with as well as they might. This isn’t a serious issue for me or anyone else, but what if the monkeys on your back did affect the way you lived your life and your interactions with those within it.
These thoughts have been prompted by a series of posts on the Nursing Voices forum on which I remain a forum guide. I say remain because I have continued in this role all be it intermittently since the site changed ownership. For one there is no interaction these days with the site administrator which wasn’t the case when Shane was around. I am a less frequent visitor these days but was prompted to visit at the weekend following the reporting of an abusive post.
What I found was an individual who was taking his anger out on a number of people from both the cyber and real world. People who the person felt were making it their life’s work to cause him irritation and anger. He was upset with his nursing school instructors whose fault it was he was failing his course, he was upset with his student colleagues who were just pretty stupid and he was upset with other forum members who tried to engage with him and discuss his issues on the forum. From the content and tone of the posts it was pretty obvious that the person brought with them a wealth of life experience but whose posts demonstrated a level of unfinished business that made me question whether nursing might be the right profession right now. If colleagues, teachers, managers, and people in the cyber world wind you up quite so much then what will the patients do to you. As we all know patients often don’t listen, don’t follow advice, and often know what is best for them. How we deal with the issues thrown at us is more than learning how to deal with disease processes and how we behave in difficult and stressful circumstances will define us as nurses.
For me this has been food for thought about the way in which previous life events impact on the way in which we portray ourselves to others and how perhaps they might judge us on our behaviours both in real life but also here on the internet.