Next week will be my last two days of work. I work at 2 services, as a mental health worker; in one, I have already had my final day, last Thursday. In the second- the one that I started at in 2015- the 25th will be my last day.
2 services. 16 people in each. 32 people. 32 people I will, most probably, never see again.
In 2 years, seeing people nearly every day, you get to know them. Despite all kinds of ideas about detachment and boundaries and so on, they get to know you pretty well too. Maybe not about the ins-and-outs of your life, maybe not about your family, maybe not about your favourite pub. What they do see is probably something that cuts through all those things, straight to the chase: your style of being. What I mean by that is that every individual has a series of styles: a style of talking; a style of moving; a style of expressing; a style of interacting and connecting. If you are a fairly transparent person, then the style of being people (at work) see is most probably the style closest to the one you use when you are out-of-context, in the world, in your life. When I said that I was leaving, people I have been supporting told me things about myself that I hadn’t noticed, about the way that I interact and the way I behave. I was surprised, but I shouldn’t have been. Why should insight be only one way?
It’s strange to be leaving. This time last month, working in those two services had worn me down to the point where even the one month’s notice I had to give seemed like too much to work through. And yet, on Thursday, I found myself in tears. 16 down, 16 to go. Excluding coincidence, like I said, that totals 32 people I may never see again. 32 people whose names I will try to run through in my head so I don’t forget them. Some whose names I might anyway, one day, forget. Who will also forget mine.
I wrote each person a personalised goodbye message. Some were easier than others, some more thoughtful than others. One person told me she will stick hers to her noticeboard.
One week from today, I will be out of both services, for good. Something I have been wanting for a long time… something I have been vaguely dreading for a while. Off into the unknown- but everything’s unknown until you know it.