Clare:

I just wanted to take a moment out to say thank you for all your support and encouragement over the last year and a half.

18 months ago before I first walked into your office, the dream of moving back to NZ seemed so far away.  I had hit my lowest point ever and was struggling to rebuild myself and my life in the face of four years of being in toxic work environments.  I really feel like the old me again, the me that isn’t fazed by things, that can take on anything and everything that’s thrown at me and the me that is excited by the world and the opportunities within it.

18 months ago I couldn’t imagine being where I am now, having the opportunities that I have in front of me, the plans and dreams I have and to feel that these dreams can be achieved and made real.

I believe that there are people and moments in our lives that have such a significant impact on us that they change ourselves, and our lives forever.  I don’t think I’ve told you this before because it seemed to early, because my transformation wasn’t complete.  I had one such moment the first day I walked into your office.  Looking back I’m sure it was an opening question to ascertain what my values, attitudes and beliefs were, and what motivates me to get up and go to work in the morning.  Your first question to me was ‘why do you work here and for these people?’  It was one of those ‘lightbulb’ moments.  I can still clearly remember, and relive my reaction and the thousands of things that flew through my mind in that moment.   It made me realise how much I had been pushed onto another path, and how different this path was to the one I believed in, feel comfortable or safe in, and/or wanted (ironic really given that my path scares the crap out of most people!).

It was the smack in the face I needed to bring me back into a state of consciousness about my life, to take control of my life and navigate my way back to MY path. 

 My memory of this moment is etched in great detail in my mind, as is the moment a week later when you asked me what has changed since last week, to receive the response, ‘I’m moving back to NZ and leaving my profession’.  I don’t think much phases you, but I don’t think you were expecting that response.  I know I can be challenging and difficult to negotiate with at times but you quickly learnt about me, how my brain works, how I think, and how to work with me.  That is a skill!.  Oh and nothing I say seems to surprise or phase you any more.

So I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you.  I know it is your job and that is the response I say when people thank me.  But there’s doing your job and doing your job well.  A jobs worth does their job, but do they do their job well?  And do they deserve thanks for it?  Probably not.  You were ‘just doing your job’ I know, but you are excellent at your job.  I believe that, as a clinician I made a real and tangible difference to the life of one or two people a year and that was good enough for me (at that stage of my career).  You were that person for me.

You were the person that was the difference that made the difference in my life.

I will never be able to repay you for that and will always be thankful for it and, when I sit in the sun with glass of wine in my hand, a hug smile on my face reflecting on my life, who I am as a person, where I am, where my life is going, and what opportunities are out there (some of which I don’t even know about yet), I remember that moment in your office on the first day as the catalyst for it all.

I had always said I’d write a testimonial for you; the moment didn’t seem right.  I was still in the transformation process of getting my life back on track.  I truly believe I am now there so now feels a good time to reflect and say these things to you.  I am now on a new path and am excited by the present but also the journey ahead and hope that you continue to be a mirror or side barrier (like the ones in ten pin bowling) that helps keep me on the right path.

Clare, previously from the NHS… Now NZ!