Where the dogs of society howl

Lots going on.  Mainly feeling lost.  I’m still on FMLA per my psychiatrist.  I’ve been off all this month and won’t be going back until next month.  I’m having a hard time keeping my medications down and we’re not sure why.  My moods are cycling rapidly and I’m thinking it’s because they aren’t being absorbed properly since the surgery.  I’m worried about having all this time off, how it’s going to affect my job.  It gets more interesting: I have an interview for another job next week.

I reached out to a friend of mine regarding a possible job opportunity in a private practice setting.  I was doing some research and found that working midnights with bipolar disorder is a no-no.  Apparently most people working midnights – mainly those in the healthcare field like nurses – with bipolar disorder have circadian rhythm issues, leading to shift-work disorder (which I’ve been diagnosed with).  This triggers mania and many times, hospitalization.  Sound like anyone we know?!  

So I got freaked, reached out to a friend and asked if she knew of any job opportunities.  She reached out to her boss who reviewed my resume and offered me an interview.  I miss doing therapy.  I remember my old supervisor said to me ages ago while I was in training after graduate school and doing therapy in an underprivilaged area with substance abuse clients.  I was burning out hard, between the clients and the administration I couldn’t seem to meet anyone’s expectations of me and wanted to quit doing therapy altogether.  I told him that I wanted to work in a hospital doing intake assessments and case management to take a break.  I said that it would be “one and done” – I’d never see the people again after they left; no need to build rapport and no need to terminate; they couldn’t accuse me of abandoning them if I’ve known them for 20 minutes.  He told me that I was an excellent therapist and working in a hospital setting was “a waste of my talent.”

He burned out too and moved out of state.

I didn’t listen and got a job doing assessments.  The population I work with tend to abuse the system.  I often see the same faces – sometimes 3 times a week.  I’ve had some people discharge because they tell me they are not suicidal, turn around in the parking lot and walk directly back into the hospital stating they are suicidal and homicidal and want 3 sandwiches.  The record turnaround is 7 minutes – I actually counted.  It is rare that I assess someone that actually needs help.  I got into this profession to help people.  Will I have better luck doing so in private practice?  I think so.  I think I will because people are paying to be there.  Sounds messed up, but it’s true.  This is your “managed” care/health system at work, USA.  I have “managed” in quotes because there is nothing manageable about it and you, my dear reader, know it.  I’d be ignoring the system by leaving, but I’m not single-handedly going to overhaul the health care and mental health system – I know that.  Contrary to popular belief by many recent graduates in my field, you cannot change the world.  You can only make a dent.

Here’s where my trepidation lies.  I would have to file quarterly and withhold my own taxes.  What a pain in the ass.  I’d also have to go on the exchange for health insurance.  God please no.  Right now every doctor I work with is in network because they all work for my employer LOL.  If I go on the exchange, there’s no guarantee they take that insurance and I’d have to pay astronomical premiums.  It would take several weeks to build a caseload and get paneled with insurance companies, which means I would not be paid by the patients or insurances for those weeks.  Weeks.  Flipping WEEKS, man.  I’m torn.  Do I liquidate my house fund to pay my bills while I’m not paid for those few weeks – if I’m even offered the job?  Do I leave my awesome co-workers because I hate the population I work with?  The population, the crushing rules of administration and low wages are what keep me from wanting to stay are my job.  I know once I get a full caseload as a private practitioner I could rake in double what I’m making now, but I’m afraid.

I’m terrified.  What if I’m not good enough?  What if I fall on my face?  What if I messed up my taxes?  What if my clients don’t like me and I end up without anyone and I’m broke?  My psychiatrist told me it takes a while to build a caseload too.  How do I work both jobs to cover my butt?  Work midnights and days?  I freaking can’t.

And Mom’s going into surgery.  They said it’s going to last 8 hours and due to the definite blood loss, she had to sign a waiver permitting them to give her a blood transfusion.  So I’ve been scared about that.  Lately her voice has been irritating me for some reason and I’ve been blocking out most of what she says, but I think it’s me being irritable because of my mood cycling.  I apologized to her if I had been short or curt with her and explained I had been tuning her out.  I told her I’m scared shitless about her surgery next week.  I wish she didn’t need it.  She’s going to lose 20% functionality of her back in all directions.  She seems excited she’ll never have to load the dishwasher again.  Lucky.  Not the way I would want to avoid that chore, but still lucky.  I’m just scared – I keep telling myself not to tune her out.  Not to put this bed vibe out there in the Universe, but if her being annoying is the last thing you ever hear her say, hear it anyway.  I try to remember that and listen to her give me instructions about how to feed her fakakta fish.

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Angels lie to keep control

Hopefully this is the darkest I’ll ever get on here, folks. 

Hopefully this is the darkest corner in which you’ll have found me and the deepest within the forest of depression I’ll ever hide. 

Before I finished my last post was the first time in a very long time I had come to suicide.  The sheer amount of stress and depression was all consuming and swallowed me whole. 

I’m still fighting my way out, but at least I’m able to function right now. Over the weekend I wasn’t taking care of my hygiene, wouldn’t get out of bed, ate my husband’s entire birthday cake, 2.5 pints of ice cream, and wouldn’t engage in day to day human activities like talking. I blew up on my mother for asking me to pick up something off the floor. 

My husband says I don’t treat him like he matters when I’m this depressed. He says I don’t treat him like a husband but like a buddy or a friend. It comes from years of pushing people away. Every time someone gets close to me, I step back. It’s so strange to never live in the same household as my father and pick up his traits.  

I have 2 friends – Alissa and Elizabeth – who are both very close to me. I’ve known Elizabeth for over 20 years. We reconnected a few years back and have grown closer since. She’s truly a good friend. She tries to psychoanalyze me at times which I’m not the biggest fan of (not qualified to do!), but I know she means well.  Here’s the deal: for every inch she scooches closer, I pull back six. It’s not something I do consciously, it’s just done. Moving closer would make me too vulnerable and I’m in no position for that.  

My other friend, Alissa is also a counselor. She suffers with depression (I personally think she’s got more than depression, but I’m not in the business of diagnosing my friends) like I do so we commiserate together. We both work in the same area with the same population so, again, we commiserate about work stress and drama. She and I have grown very close. As she grows closer or needs more support, I fucking run – I don’t understand why.  When I need support, I hide from her until I feel well enough to express my feelings without being under suspicion of being suicidal. I’m always afraid she’ll petition me or send the police to my house to check on me because she’s a counselor. I refuse to go into a hospital involuntarily – I know what they’re like and I’m not ruining my career by sitting next to a patient in a group session. Fuck that shit. I’ve always gone voluntarily. 

Back to the husband thing, I always back away. I told him I distance myself from everyone because it’s habit at this point and – as much sense as this doesn’t make – if I did commit suicide, I will have put so much distance between me and everyone else, it’s like it wouldn’t have mattered much if I was gone. Just a buddy, not a wife. 

H: “That doesn’t make any sense.”
Me: “Depression doesn’t make any sense. What kind of disease has you thinking that in order to survive you have to die?  Our purpose as humans is to propagate the species. We can’t do that if we’re dead.  Depression isn’t based in any reality; my thinking isn’t real.  It makes you focus on what it wants you to focus on – which is mainly your depression, nothing else.  But you always matter; you’ve always mattered.”

I explained that it’s difficult talking to him about my deepest and darkest thoughts and feelings because he’s never been there. While I’m delighted he hasn’t, explaining what Hell looks like and how it felt versus describing how it feels to someone who’s already been there are 2 separate things. (I can’t go to support groups – I may run into patients there.). So I keep to myself. I understand my Hell and I know my pain. I’ll get through this if it kills me – whether by my hand or G-d’s.