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What’s happening and where to next?

After slowly sliding down a very dangerous and icy slope over the last 8 weeks, this week I reached break neck speeds and eventually came to a not-so-graceful stop in the emergency department last night. Almost double over with some pretty epic chest pain and dizziness, it was the reality check I needed. With 6 hours of sitting around, with intermittant bursts of conversation with the ever-so-lovely Miss S, I had some time to think and realised I just need to let go. Just a little bit. I’m holding on so tightly to something I can’t even understand that I’m bringing myself down and making myself sicker in an attempt to protect myself. I’ve beel learning to find my voice and I’m trying to ask for help.

At the beginning of the week I made some calls and scheduled in some appointments with J and C. Yesterday I met with C who gave me some pretty scary ultimatums. Either I start to pick the pieces up myself or the control’s going to be taken out of my hands and someone else is going to have to do it for me. Being the control nut I am, I’m doing my best to work it out for myself. So I went to her. I sat. I talked. I asked her what I could do. She spoke to me about uni, how much it’s impacting on my life and how much of a toll it’s taking. She mentioned how much she wanted me to try the day treatment program. I brushed the idea aside because of uni, I don’t want to fuck up another semester.

I discussed why briefly with MissS last night, but it came up in conversation with J again today. She asked me why and I found myself explaining when I thought I really had no idea. Uni seems to be the only thing I have that is ‘mine’. It’s what I want, I worked my fucking arse off to get it. Nursing is what I want my life to be about and I don’t want to let go of that. It’s something I’m passionate about and strive to succeed in. It’s makes up my identity. If I let that go, even just to defer, for treatment it feels like I’ve failed. It feels like there’s nothing there that I need nor want to do, nothing that makes up my days that I feel like I have to get done. If I defer uni, then what am I going to do have there that I want? Even if I defer for the sake of recovery, it feels like I don’t have anything to put the effort in for. Even though uni is stressing me out and bringing me down, it’s my saving grace as well. It’s been giving me a purpose and I’m scared to let go of that, scared of where that will take me. So, after lengthy discussion, we realised that there needs to be a happy medium, where I can still have uni and have the possibility of engaging in stronger therapy.

My problem was I couldn’t work out any options. I could only see two, part time or defer. Neither of those I was too keen on. So I asked J what she thought about me talking to the dean. Whether I could see what ideas she had. She thought it was a good idea and off I went and hunted down my dean and organised a meeting. We chatted about where I was, what was happening, I filled her in on ED history and told her that I was struggling at the moment. She asked what support I had so I ‘introduced’ her to the team. She asked about a psychiatrist and when I said I was struggling to find one she said she’s speak to her partner, as he’s a mental health worker, and one of the other tutors and find me some names. I was blown away by how quickly she jumped in to support and how willing she was to help. I still can’t quite believe she was so cruisy. We sat and discussed a plan and the stress of how I’m supposed to do this is starting to relieve. I can see, if not light, then something that could provide the path to find that light.

So what’s the plan from here? What am I actually doing?

– Going to uni two days a week. This gives me room to negotiate potential day program for three days a week.

– Deferring prac. Even though I’m absolutely devastated about this, the option was taken out of my hands. The dean said by just looking at me she wasn’t going to let me go. This means I’ve got 4 weeks left of semester and then have a 6 week break, rather than 9 weeks and a one week break.

– Deferring my exams until winter term, this gives me some extra room to study and less pressure right now.

– Finding a psychiatrist to review my meds, because clearly something isn’t working.

– Making regular appointments with my team, working with them and fighting.

– Finding more geographically suitable housing.

– Staying out of hospital.

– Doing the absolute best I can to stick t0 my meal plan and build it back up to where it was not too long ago.

– Checking in with the dean regularly to make sure I’m okay and that I’m as supported as I can be.

This isn’t how I wanted things to work out, but reality says that this is how it is and I can’t fight it. I’ve just got to make the best of what I’ve got and try to get my life back into my control. I don’t want to be a frequent flyer in the emergency department and don’t want my life to spiral so far out of control I’ve got nothing left. I need to start picking up the pieces now before I completely lose sight of where I’m going. It’s going to be hard. Getting back on track is going to be terrifying and brutal, but I need to do it. Baby steps is all, and even if I take the same step over and over again, at least I’ll be doing something.

Now I’m off to class and watching the clock until home time. I’ve been awake for far too long and desperate for sleep!!

Exhausted

Tomorrow sees the end of almost 6 months of holidays. I go back to uni, but not only that, I’m starting a new uni. New people, new classes, new teachers, new campus. New. Different. Unknown. I’ve been arsing around all night trying to put things on my desk just the way I like them. Nothing seems to be in the right spot. Not quite sitting right. Not quite how it should be. Trouble is, I have no idea what I want it to be like. I’ve given up for tonight. I’m writing this post, sending an email, taking a shower and crawling into bed where I’ll fool myself into thinking I can lie there with the blankets over my head and pretend this week didn’t exist at all. It’s Monday and I’m already tired of it.

Today I spent the day putting all my thoughts and energy onto someone else. Focusing on them, helping them, making sure they’re okay. Giving someone else all my love and attention. Holding their hand and doing what needs to be done to make sure they’ve got all the support they need. Helping to hold the safety net beneath them, or even to hold them up as they tentatively make their way across the tightrope that is recovery.

Now, I feel like I need… Something. Anything to detract from the lingering thoughts in the back of my mind. Anything to distract me from the suffocating black pushing its way into my head. The depression has set in harder than ever the last two-three weeks. I’ve been overwhelmed by all the appointments, the hassle of organising uni, the fear that a friend is struggling and I’m not going to be able to do enough to help them. This is where I throw myself into everything that opens up and fill my diary with commitments and activities. This is where I try to pretend that I can handle it. This is where I bite off more than I can chew.

The incessant nagging voice in my head at the moment is becoming unbearable. Screaming constantly at me, reminding me how fat and disgusting I am. Just in case I’m likely to forget. Which I’m not. Especially not when I seem to be constantly surrounded by reflective fucking surfaces. Reminding me that I’m not worthy of this position at uni, or my treatment team’s time. That I’m pathetic and worthless and useless and vile. That I’m selfish and greedy. That it’d be better if I fucked right off. So would everyone around me. I wish She would just FUCK OFF! It’s draining enough to get through the day without the constant chatter. I’m beyond terrified about starting at this new uni tomorrow.

Uni aside, this week is a big one as it is. I have my second appointment with the eating disorders service at a hospital near by. I’m scared of what this appointment will involve. My last one saw me leave in tears and being unable to recall what I did between leaving the office and making my way home. I’ve only partially disclosed to them my history of sexual assault. I’ve not told them who the perpetrator was. I haven’t told them the full extent of the effects it’s had on me. I’ve only mentioned it briefly before changing the subject. I’m not looking forward to that conversation at all. This time though I’m going to have someone come along for support before and after the appointment. Apart from that I’ve got to see my psychologist and GP. I’ve got to function like a normal person and drag my fat arse out of the house every day to avoid getting myself stuck in the trap I create when I isolate myself.

All I want at the moment is for everything to stop feeling so stifling and suffocating. For it to stop feeling like I’m dragging my feet through quick sand every day. For the dark to be lifted and the heavy black to subside. For things to be less of an effort and more of an experience. For life to come naturally and become exciting and interesting. For the pain, not only mine but that of my darling friends, to ease and things to become a little easier. I can’t help but feel pure fury at the universe for being so cruel. I want to be in control again.

I’m exhausted with needing to pretend all the time.

I’m exhausted.

A letter to my brain.

Dear Brain, 

Meet Silverthorn – I would really appreciate it if the two of you could cooperate this afternoon. It would be a huge help and significantly beneficial to my education. It would also reduce my stress levels, dear brain, if you could do your best to hold onto every piece of information Silverthorn has to offer. I promise that you will be allowed to have a rest soon, but I really need to get these exams over and done with and I’m sure you could agree with me when I say a resit is going to be really inconvenient. I’m sure you understand how desperate I am.

Thank you for your cooperation,

MissL,

xx

Hit By A Truck

I really feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. I’m so emotionally drained and physically exhausted.  Our mental health presentation this morning went really well, everything went smoothly and our class was interested and engaged. We received a distinction (22.2/25) for the assignment. Although it went well and I was happy with it, I did find that I was easily triggered by small statements or even our own information. On the plus side there were no tears!!

I spent the afternoon with the lovely Cassie, driving around the outskirts of the city ‘exploring’. We went to the pet shop for ‘puppy therapy’ and then to the beach and had hot chips on the headland. We got stalked by hundreds of seagulls! They wouldn’t leave us alone. Among the seagulls were three magpies, we tried to feed the stray magpie’s among them because they were different and special. It was really cool to play with the magpies and get them to come up to us. I had the camera and snapped some pretty cool shots. It was all fun and games until the seagulls got cranky with us for not sharing our chips and left a lovely present on Cassie’s shoulder.

Tonight I need to revise my steps for the four possible scenarios that I might be given in tomorrow’s assessment task. Although I know how to do most of them, I really struggle with administering nebulisers and forget EVERY time record their resp rate and auscultate before I administer. Tomorrow afternoon I’m going to take some time out for myself, maybe take mum out to the beach and go for a swim in the wave pool if the weather is nice. Then this weekend I’m going to sit myself down and catch up on my Psychosocial unit and put together study notes for my exams at the end of the month. I have 5 weeks and 2 days until holidays. I just need to hold my shit together for those 5 weeks. I just wish I had time for the nervous breakdown that I feel I deserve!

Now, I’m going to do the dishes, iron my uniform for tomorrow and go over my step-by-step list of what I need to do tomorrow and then sleeeeeeeeep! So. Freaking. Tired!

Day 30: A letter to yourself.

So, here we are. Day 30 of the 30 day writing challenge. It’s been a pretty big month for me – I’ve managed to come through some pretty dark days, found myself slipping back into depression and getting caught in Her grasp once again, but ultimately I can say that it has been a good month. I know that I can still fight, I know that despite falling into disordered patterns again and despite feeling like the light at the end of the tunnel will never appear, I know – somewhere within me – with the help of my care team, I will do this. I will. I have to.

I’ve passed my anatomy course, after resitting my exams, which is brilliant. I’m so happy I don’t have to do the unit again. I’m feeling confident about one of my exams (still waiting for results though, so we shall see) and awaiting results on another to see just how hard I have to work to pick up my game. I’m determined to make it through this semester with nothing less than a ‘pass’ on my transcript. No matter how hard I have to work, how much of my life I have to dedicated to my desk and text books I’m going to do it. I refuse to fail again. It’s just NOT an option.

So here goes. Day 30. My letter to myself:

Dear Me, 

The thing I like most about you, Miss L, is your ability to keep on keeping on. You always get through the darkest times, and you always find yourself feeling stronger and more confident afterwards. You’re passionate and driven. You’re going to be a nurse, and a good one at that. You know what you’re talking about. You know where you want to be and why. You’ve got BRILLIANT friends and family surrounding you, holding you up, wiping away your tears and helping you through this. Don’t forget that. Utilise everything you have. You’re going to come out the other side of this battle SO much stronger and so much more empathic because of your own journey. You’re going to be a fantastic advocate for your patients. You’re going to do everything within your power to be the best nurse you can be. I just know it. 

        I know that you’re not feeling so great at the moment, but that’s okay. You’re doing okay – you’re fighting and you’re still here, that’s the main thing. I’m proud of you for how strong you’ve become. I love that despite everything else, you’re still determined to do the best you possibly can at uni. Even if it seems tough at the moment, or if you’re feeling like you can’t handle it – do what you do best and keep on keeping on. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself on the other side of the river, looking back at the rapids and stepping stones and reflecting on how much stronger that journey has made you.

      Don’t give up, Miss L. You’re beautiful – even if you don’t feel like it right now. You’re strong – even if you feel like you’re falling apart. You’re smart – even if you feel like you can’t get your shit together. You’re perfect – even if you can only focus on your imperfections for the moment. Take it easy on yourself, lovely. You’re more brilliant than you let yourself believe.

Lots of love,
     Me xoxo  

 

*Photo’s sourced from flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahcate/

Day 28: What stresses you out?

At the moment, the thing that is stressing me out most is uni. I’ve got so much to get done and it seems that each day just passes me bye with a sneaky little wave and a smirk that says “Ha, another day gone!” on it’s way out. I often find myself sitting at my desk rubbing my tired, weary eyes staring at the ‘to-do’ list I’ve created. It seems to be ever growing. It never, ever stops. For every little thing I tick off, I add another two or three to the bottom. I’ve begun to think I’m not cut out for this uni thing. There’s so much work, and a lot of the time I really don’t have the energy to get it done. I’m behind in work, at risk of failing, lost all motivation to care. Am I just wasting my time? Am I stressing myself out over something I shouldn’t even be doing? It seems like I’m way out of my depth here. I wake up and the first thought that runs through my head is “I’m never going to get all this work done.” I just want this semester to be over. I want the workload to stop. I want a break. I don’t want to feel guilty about going to bed because I should be studying, I don’t want to feel guilty for going to my medical appointments because that’s another day where I don’t get any work done. I don’t want to feel stressed all the time.

Sigh of Relief

The sigh of relief you breathe when you hear the exam supervisor say “time’s up” is possibly one of the most satisfying feelings I’ve ever felt. Knowing that the exam is over, and all the stress of preparation and pre-exam anxiety is behind you almost outweighs the impending results. I know that what’s done is done, if I pass – I pass, if not then so be it. I can’t change the results, so there’s no point working myself up over them. I think the exam may have gone okay. I still know that there was a lot that I wasn’t sure of and that my grades wont be exceptional, I’m just hoping for a pass.

Me at exam time - walk away quietly and no one gets hurt :p

I still have three exams in the coming weeks, my numeracy/nursing calculations exam, my theory component of my anatomy resit exam and my physiology mid session exam, some how I feel a strange sense of calm. I’m not stressed to the max like I usually am at exam time, I’m just doing one thing at a time and doing what’s possible for me. I still feel like I’m completely swamped, but I’m not too phased any more. It’s like today’s exam took up about 95% of my focus and I felt like that exam was so time consuming, that now it’s gone I realised how huge and demanding it was and how much that one exam had managed to over power me!

I realised this morning that I’d all but forgotten about an entire unit for this session. The unit is delivered on line, and there are no lectures or tutorials to attend, which means the little heading sits on my blackboard site waiting for me to click on it, unfortunately getting overlooked as I frantically navigate my way between anatomy, physiology, clinical and mental health. My priorities have shifted now that anatomy practical is out of the way and that poor, lonely little heading will get some of my attention this week.

I’m trying to decide what I want to do this afternoon. I’m so tired. So very tired. I couldn’t sleep at all last night, crashing out at about 330am, to be woken at 4 from nightmares, then snoozing until 0430 when I got too restless and decided to get up, shower and do my house work that I had planned for this afternoon. I could attack the neglected little psychosocial unit, but I think first I’m going to go and have a little power nap. Or I could just have a power nap and take the evening off – I think I deserve it after all the study I put in over the last few days, don’t you think?

xx