Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why I needed a Twitter-cation

After being away from Twitter, other social media and MIA from e-mails for a week, I returned this Sunday to peak back out and say hello.  I also decided to write a brief explanation of why I needed a break from anything besides my 9-5 job.

The Bad:

  • As a Counselor on twitter, it's hard to continue to be engaged.  I often felt like I worked 8 hours then came home and kept working on twitter; interacting and (hopefully) helping with people with mental illness.
  • My passion for helping people became overwhelming and I was staying up late to finish a conversation, complete a blog post of think about someone on twitter.
  • The (TW) ongoing suicide, self harm or pro-eating disorder posts; as a Counselor in person if someone is going to hurt themselves there are things I can do and feel powerful and in control.  On twitter, especially with the high rates of those with BPD and self-harm/suicide I feel hopeless and ignoring certain people or posts was still not preventing me from sleepless nights or thinking I should have done something to help at 2am.
  • My 9-5 job is very, very stressful.  If you are unaware I work as a Dual Diagnosis Counselor in a Women's Prison.  Until this evening at 8pm, I was 6 months behind on filing- now I am 2. 40 hours a week doesn't cover the workload and I mostly refuse to stay much later for my own sanity leaving me with heaps of work that sits, stresses me out then gets noticed by the boss.
  • I have "too much compassion," this might sound weird, but I begin feeling too much for people (maybe the honest words is co-dependent) and I was struggling with drawing a boundary.
  • Having boundaries is difficult online for me, and I found myself not being able to say no to the many requests for help.
  • Essentially I was not going a good job of self-care and didn't feel like I was ever "off the clock."
Moving Forward:
  • Although I will be back on twitter, I am going to set some self-limits on how often I am on.  Checking twitter while I do my 9-5 is no longer going to happen. Just morning, evening and maybe a check in during lunch.
  • I will continue with the contests (I really enjoy it) but need to figure out some online format that is simple for me to track.  I will not be mailing books out, as that turned out to be more expensive than I presumed as well as it taking 4 weeks. The last contest probably took 6 hours to tally, choose, order, mail, track and in one case even re-order.
  • I plan on continuing to respond to DM's from those I know, or answering brief questions, I am no longer responding to people in crisis- but refer elsewhere for their help.
  • If anyone posts about suicide or anything I feel I can not handle, I will *edit* Report to Twitter to follow and possibly re-tweet for others to help, but not give support myself and not engage in any "therapy-like" behavior.  If the same person has ongoing SI or ED chat, or continues to post pictures I will "block" them for my own safety.
  • I will continue the BPD Interviews, but only set-up one a week.  If it takes 6 months to get them all done, so be it.
  • I will be in bed by 10pm if I have work early the next morning, midnight if I do not.  
  • I will drink 6-8 glasses of water and weekly Vitamin D supplements.
  • I will eat better, consume less caffeine and spend more time playing with the dog than hitting refresh.
  • I will stop from extending myself too far and pull away before I feel overwhelmed.  
  • If I need to take a break, I will not beat myself up or feel like I let anyone down.
  • I will read a book every 2 weeks to once a month.  These books will not ALL be mental health or addiction literature.
  • I will be more gentle with myself.
  • I will remind myself that I am not a masterpiece, but a work in progress.


  1. I think you have been very wise to stand back and reassess what is working for you and what isn't. I also think it says lovely things about you that you were so personally involved in people needing help - but at the end of the day, you are only one person!

    More time reading and with the dog sounds excellent. People will understand that you will get back to them or work more on your projects when you can.

    Excellent choices and goals all round. I guess that's why you're a pro! :)

    1. Thanks for the compliment. Part of the reason I posted this is because people think therapists are infallible. It's why I share some personal stuff on here and on twitter; bad and good.

      An elementary school teacher told my parents *cough* 20 years ago *cough* "Alicia has each finger in a different pot," referring to how involved I was with different activities, sports, types of friends and interests. For now I need to focus on one thing at a time, and put myself first.

  2. Wonderful article on how we ALL need a break even mental health providers!