Archive for December, 2010

It sounds like a Christmas song parody or the title of a bad horror movie, but it is where I spent Christmas. (as an employee, not a patient!)

And not just Christmas, the whole holiday weekend: Thursday-Sunday. Although I’ve worked holidays many times in the past four years as a healthcare worker, they’ve never really interfered much with my family’s celebrations. This year I missed the big Christmas Eve celebration at my Grandma’s house. That was hard. I did see my family on Christmas day. I drove an hour home to S—, went to church with my parents, opened presents, had lunch, and drove back to I– to work. I was exhausted at work yesterday.

After four days, I’m ready for some time off. I’ve reached the end of my patience with a few of the patients. And with many of my coworkers. I’m sick of all the petty gossip, the arguments between shifts, the snarky comments, the thinly-veiled contempt of notes written on the white board. It seems to happen in a lot of hospitals. I’m not sure if it’s the large proportion of women employed as nurses and aides or the natural cliques created by shifts, but I can’t take much more. I don’t really want to hear what some aide said to some patient and how this nurse is always late with meds or how another aide never gives her patients showers. I’m there to work and there to help patients and that’s what I want to do. I want to leave the petty gossip back in high school. I’m beyond that now.

And I’ve applied to another research job (#18) at a substance abuse consortium. We’ll see how it goes. I’m afraid to get my hopes up too much.

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When I experience guilt, I really experience guilt. If I feel that I have done the tiniest thing wrong I am immediately overcome with an intense feeling of guilt.  But that’s not the worst part.

The worst part is the sudden anxiety/guilt attacks that occur for the next few days.

It’s essentially a panic attack, I have this intense foreboding that something terrible will happen if I don’t fix it immediately. But usually I don’t know exactly what it is. If I think back and try to come up with a trigger for the anxiety (which I do with most panic attacks) I don’t come up with anything. Instead I just come up with guilt. Reminders brought on by an unconscious thought crossing my mind. And BAM. Guilt attack. I have to fix my wrong.

Problem is, most of the time I didn’t actually do anything wrong. I just perceive it as wrong. Or I think that someone else will think it is wrong. And I can’t fix it. But I still feel guilty.

It’s debilitating. Honestly. I live in fear of doing something that awakens my guilt. It keeps me from taking risks because I’m afraid of making a mistake. It keeps me from trying new things. It gives me intense anxiety about getting pulled to another unit at work because on a different unit I don’t know every tiny little detail of each rule and therefore I’m less prepared to ward off a mistake. I don’t have the best chance at performing *perfect* work, which means that there’s a larger chance I’ll miss something. And feel guilt. Even when the other people on the floor forgive me because I don’t usually work there.

So often I want to ask doctors questions about their work and how they chose to go into what specialty they are in. But unless I have a complete set of questions worked up in my head I won’t do it because I’m afraid of sounding stupid and embarrassing myself, which causes more guilt.

And the guilt renews itself each time I see a person associated with the situation.

This perpetuates the eating disorder.

This is what is holding back my life.

And I don’t know how to stop it.

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If there were ice outside, I would blame that. But it’s just me. Falling back into my habits.

I’ve lost a couple pounds this week. I have no appetite (I think maybe the change to prozac has made that worse). There were even a couple days that I tried to eat and got food and sat down with it and just couldn’t get more than a couple bites down.

I walked into the kitchen several times today…once I took a bite from a banana and threw the rest away, another time I ate 2 raspberries, another I had a blackberry. I finally ate some sun chips and half of a 6″ sub tonight, but it’s not sitting well with me.

That’s not the scary part though. The scary part is the thoughts that are coming back. The sadness, loneliness, lack of motivation. The increased fear of gaining weight, feeling fat, thinking that everyone else’s life is so much better than mine.

And maybe at this precise moment, my life isn’t incredibly desirable. It’s been tough not getting a graduate assistantship (emotionally and financially). I can only take so many rejections. I’m fearing more med school rejections. I’m scared that I won’t be able to handle next semester.

And all of this is adding to the situation.

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Rejection number 17 (in the employment category)

I sort of expected it because they wanted someone who would be there for as long as possible. I went in completely honest and told them that I had applied to medical school for the fall, so I may or may not be around for another year and a half. If I hadn’t done that and had gotten the job I would have felt incredibly guilty the whole time. But it’s still hard knowing that it’s probably the main reason I didn’t get it.

And even though I expected it on one level, I still want to cry on another. I’m so damn sick of rejection. It sort of feels like nothing has gone the way I wanted it to for the past year and a half. I keep getting my second choice. In regards to starting the MPH program, I was glad to have the opportunity for my second chocie, but in all the others, it’s just been disheartening.

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It seems like things are starting to look up, but I’m afraid of getting my hopes too high too soon.

Probably the biggest help has been a medication switch. I was on Zoloft for two years before we re-evaluated it effectiveness. In the beginning I know it did help, but I’ve really been at a stand-still right there for the last year and a half. Looking back it probably made a difference because I was so incredibly low, but it really wasn’t the right medication for me. A few weeks ago I switched to Prozac. It took a week or so to settle out (a lot of times it takes longer than that, but I was already on an SSRI so they had some overlap). But now, I feel great! I haven’t been sleeping as much, I’m not as tired when I am awake, and a lot of the relentless thoughts I couldn’t get out of my head (spelling everything I heard with rhythms was/is pretty irritating) have started to subside.

I’m almost done with my first semester of graduate school. It’s been busy and I’m super excited for a break. I haven’t really had any free time here in I–. I moved here and two days later started work full-time and a summer class. I had three weeks off between summer and fall terms, but I continued to work full-time (and even some overtime). Starting on Thursday I have over 5 weeks of no school (I don’t have anything during finals week) and my work schedule continues at 60% (3 days/week). I’m excited to have some time to really get to know I— more than I do now.

And today I’ve gotten another surprise. I sent in my resume and cover letter for (yet another) graduate assistantship. This one as a coordinator for a learning community. At first I was hesitant about being qualified, but then I realized that I spent two years working with the music learning community during undergraduate and I had a lot of experience with group and event coordination from 4-H council in high school. So I applied. And less than two hours later….I got an interview offer! Tomorrow morning. I’m crossing my fingers, because it looks like something I would really enjoy, and they want someone to start ASAP. So wish me luck at 11:3o tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, I like my job, but getting something that adds more to my resume, pays better, has better hours, and is not as physically demanding would be outstanding.

Still waiting to hear back from my med school interview. I just got a rejection from Mayo last week (pretty much expected, although I lasted a month longer than last year!) I have my moments where I’m really scared that I won’t get in. And it’s not that I’m scared about continuing the MPH program, but I’m afraid that I still won’t have a GRA and I will have to spend another full year working as a nursing assistant. But I’m trying to be positive and believe in my chances at both medical school and a GRA.

We’ll see….only time will tell (I swear that’s been the mantra of the past 20 months of my life).

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