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Overcoming Defeat When You Feel Defeated

Jan 14, 2021

The Story
It was just recently that I started a new job with a major hospital system. I was excited about the opportunity to learn more and expand my scope of practice. Soon after starting the position that I realized that I would have some struggles with my supervisor. After only two days of work (only one of which I was trained on the system, the other was me sitting in the office) I was told it was time for me to start on my own. The training was limited and there was so much that I didn’t know but I was ready for the challenge. I was given all of my workstation equipment (camera, laptop, desktop, etc.) in a brown paper bag and told, “here ya go.” This was the start of it all. As I started my first day working with clients I soon realized in setting up my laptop that I couldn’t access the internet. Shortly thereafter I notified IT and was told that my supervisor was supposed to put in a request for me to work from home. Since this was not done I couldn’t access the system. I had to meet with all of my patients via phone. “No big deal,” I thought. I did my work and set out to meet my supervisor in the office the next day. Upon meeting in the office the following day, I realized that I didn’t ask some of the questions that were on the assessment because I didn’t have the assessment with me since I couldn’t get onto the internet. I notified my supervisor and was told, “You should know what goes onto an assessment, Denetra.” I walked away in tears feeling that I did something wrong, feeling that I wasn’t smart enough, I messed up. How could I not know this? The entire day was an emotional struggle. I was given very little time to input my notes from the day before when I couldn’t log in. In addition, I still had to see the clients for that day. I felt overwhelmed but continued to press through and eventually got all of my work done. I attempted to speak with my supervisor at the end of the day about how I was feeling. I was tearful and expressed my sadness in being told that I should know this. I tried to explain that each system and assessment is different and how could I know if I was never shown. Again, I was shut down and told that I should know and that I shouldn’t internalize it, but then I was told at the end of the conversation that I was doing a good job. I left confused. I should know, and I did something wrong, yet I did a good job.

These types of conversations were ongoing. Two weeks later I ran into another issue with a patient who was suicidal. I met with my supervisor and was told that he could qualify for a higher level of care. I asked, what are the levels of care? The response was, “You don’t know what the higher levels of care are, Denetra?” I said, no, I don’t. “You should know that, Denetra.” Again, I walked away feeling tearful and defeated. I struggled with the fact that I didn’t know and felt that I wasn’t good enough because I didn’t and then felt how could I know because no one has told me what they are. Again, I asked my supervisor if we could talk and set out to explain that I do understand what levels of care are but I am not sure what the levels of care are for this organization. I was shut down and told that I was internalizing the situation because I was tearful and that I need to brush up on my clinical skills. She made it clear that it wasn’t her responsibility to show me these things and that I should know. Then at the end of the conversation, I was told how good of a job I was doing, that an audit was done and she only had one question. I walked away feeling confused and bad about myself because I didn’t know. Yet still unsure because I was again told that I was doing a good job.

It was during this process that I came to realize that these conversations were evoking all of my past unhealed mommy and daddy issues. There were so many times in my childhood when I was told I did something wrong but I wasn’t sure what or why. Being raised in my family meant you do what I said because I said so. That left many gaps in communication. In addition, I was at times reprimanded harshly and walked away feeling confused. Now was the time to deal with this and heal from the past emotional pain that was silent and that I didn’t know was still there.

I started to work through all the times that I was fearful of going to my parents because I knew I was in trouble, all the times when I was beaten because of something small. The fear that I came under when I thought I did something wrong. As I got counseling on this it became a lot easier to be approached and also approach my supervisor. I felt more confident and less fearful and emotional. I was able to think more logically and less emotionally. I realized that the Lord was giving me victory over this issue.

As soon as I felt that I had the victory another situation would happen. Now I was approached because I was told that I didn’t document a patient's diagnosis correctly. I soon reviewed my notes only to find that I gave sufficient evidence to justify my diagnosis. I approached my supervisor with confidence explaining my rationale and was accused of giving push back and being defiant. Though I did everything correct I was still told that I diagnosed the patient too soon. I asked what else was needed and never got a clear answer.

Soon after this, I was approached again. This time I was told that a patient complained about an observation I made on their situation. I explained that I did make this observation and attempted to explain why. I was cut off and told I shouldn’t have said this. I walked away again feeling that I did something wrong but uncertain what and why. This seemed to be the start of a downward spiral.

Two weeks later the final explosion happened. I worked the entire day. I felt that I was very helpful to all of my clients that day. They all seemed very happy. At the end of the day, I was pulled into the conference room by my supervisor and told that there were 3 complaints from patients in one day and that my contract was terminated. My supervisor had a 3-minute talk with me. It went so fast and I was so shocked that I didn’t understand what was happening. I was told that a patient left my visit crying and that I was 30 minutes late to a session. I was in so much shock that I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t given any opportunity to explain what happened. I tried and was cut off and told that the company had a no-nonsense policy for the last visits. I felt that I was in a daze. She was talking and I was zoned out trying to understand how I was being fired after working so hard to do everything correctly. I was walked out of the building and told to bring all my equipment in the next day.

The Shock
As I drove home I was in complete shock. I couldn’t believe what had happened and wasn’t sure how to process it because I wasn’t completely sure what I did. I had no opportunity to explain. I called a friend and talked through it and also talked through it with another friend that evening but I was still confused.

The anxiety set in that evening. I was so anxious about what had happened that I ruminated on the entire situation the whole night. I couldn’t sleep thinking about how hard I worked, how hard I tried, and then let go not knowing everything that went wrong. I felt defeated and tried my best to process the situation over and over in my mind. My mind continued to travel in circles trying to put all the pieces together. I got up early the next morning and cried out to God to make things clear. He did reveal one thing that I could change but then made it clear to me that this wasn’t my fault. I couldn’t be settled with that. How could this not be my fault? I was fired. I didn’t succeed. I failed. It has to be because of something that I did wrong. I then thought about going through each one of my notes to figure out what I did. I figured I would do this prior to returning the equipment. I ruminated over the thought of doing this until the Lord said, “Would you trust not knowing?” I got on my knees and sobbed. I sobbed for all of the times that I walked away from a situation as a child and didn’t know why. I sobbed for all of the times that I was confused and believed it was all of my fault. I sobbed because I wasn’t able to trust God. But this time I would allow him to rewrite another brain pattern. This would be different. I confessed all of my pain from childhood to him and asked him to forgive me for the ruminating and anxious thoughts that I took on at such age, the stress that it caused, and the fear that I came whenever I felt that I did something wrong. I asked him to forgive me for believing that I am the problem.

The Grief, the Healing, the Victory
Now the grief set in. Though I had cleansed and prayed all day my heart my broken. How could I try my best for several months and feel so defeated and like a failure? I spent the entire day feeling in a dark place. I was embarrassed, disappointed, and sad. I felt ashamed. I had to have done something wrong. I walked around the entire day feeling very low. I felt that I had a weight on my chest. I came home and cried out to the Lord. I did my very best and still failed. I didn’t know where else to go from here. All I wanted to do was keep to myself and cry. This was bringing up all the pain of my past. All of the times that I did my very best and it wasn’t enough. All the times that I felt defeated. All the times that I felt I couldn’t do any better. I felt so low and wasn’t sure how to get out of the downward spiral.

It was now time for Bible study. I had no desire to talk during Bible study and I definitely didn’t want to share what had happened. I was so embarrassed that I failed. Certainly, I couldn’t let anyone know.

My friend expressed that the topic for the night was the Love of Jesus. As we started the study I felt the Holy Spirit tell me that he wanted me to share. Certainly, that wasn’t from God. There was no way I was going to share the way I felt. As the study started we talked about the fruits of the spirit and how these are in order: love, joy, peace, and then comes the character: patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. You really cannot have God’s outward character until he fixes you on the inside. We talked about the depths of his love and how to focus on his love and stay in praise when we feel defeated and dark. Everything we discussed had to do with how I was feeling. The darkness that I felt started to lift and I started to weep. I knew that I had to share. I got on the line and shared what I was experiencing and I cried out. I was in so much emotional pain. I was feeling all of the grief that l felt as a child when I did something wrong. I was believing the lie that, “I did my very best and this wasn’t good enough.” The women in the study surrounded me with their loving words. It became apparent that the Lord was using this study to heal my broken heart. He was using this study to help develop a new pathway in my mind. I then began to come out of that dark mental place. My mind began to lift and I realized that God used this job to heal me of this deep root that I had carried all of my life. The lie that it was all my fault. I’m the problem. I’m wrong. There’s nothing better I can do. My best is never good enough. In addition, he used me as a silent warrior for him in this massive medical system. I had the opportunity to share his moving principles with people who were broken and so many people expressed feeling so much better. I was able to share his truth.

This story is for everyone who feels defeated. Losing a job is so hard but losing anything that we’ve worked hard for is emotionally devastating. Praise God for his deliverance and healing. I’m just grateful that the Lord was a healing agent in this and brought so much light to it.   

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

I can do all things through Christ!
Philippians 4:13

Onto the next obstacle.
Never Give Up!