Department of Health

Self-care stories: Positive self-talk

Summary

Listen to how John used helpful self-talk when returning to work for the first time after he was assaulted by a patient in his health service.

Occupational violence and aggression post-incident support

  • 01 June 2018
  • Duration: 1:55
  • Size: 3.51 MB
  • John:

    Last month I was assaulted by a patient at work in the waiting room. It was really frightening. After it happened I had a few weeks off. I was feeling pretty worried about coming back to work. I really wasn't sure how I'd cope on that first day back. I was really dreading it.

    Before I was due to go back, my manager and I had a good chat about strategies that might help me manage on my first day back, and what supports were available. I tried to predict what I thought the hardest parts were going to be, and I came up with a bit of a plan of what I could say to myself to help me cope and stay positive to get through the day.

    When I was getting up in the morning, I just kept telling myself 'Today may upset me a bit, but I can cope with it. I've faced difficult challenges before. Just do your best.' And I kept reminding myself that 'I have people at work who can help me if I need it.' Somehow I managed to get through the drive to work just repeating that to myself.

    Then it was getting into the clinic, in the waiting room, I was sure that part would be the worst. It helped a lot to just keep saying to myself 'Relax, you're in control, take a few slow breaths. You can handle this'. It wasn't like the anxiety didn't happen at all, I still felt pretty sick in my stomach going into that room. But I just kept telling myself 'John, you're still in control; things are going OK'. I managed to keep the anxiety under control.

    When that part was over, I thought to myself that it really wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. In the end, I reckon I handled it pretty well. I think tomorrow will be a bit easier. And, you know, it was really good to see all my colleagues again. That was the best part of the day.

Reviewed 29 November 2021

Was this page helpful?