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Self-Injury vs. Suicide

Saturday, September 26, 2009

About a week ago, I requested to be checked into an in-patient psychiatric program. I had been self-injurious and was afraid of what other method(s), I would try to injure myself and use as an excuse to avoid making job applications outside of the organization that I currently work for.

Starting a week ago Wednesday, I started popping and scratching open some bumps/boils on my right ear. The drainage from them not only caused a crusting on the ear, but a burnt like appearance.

This past Saturday, I started poking at some of the boils, that I couldn't get open with my hands, with a sewing needle to help relive the pressure and get rid of them. I also peeled off the crusted part, which lead to pulling off some more skin and caused more bleeding than I was comfortable with. (This is coming from a nurse.) When I saw blood running down my neck and dripping from my ear, I knew I needed to get help. I didn't call ahead or pack any clothes, as I knew that I was likely to talk myself out of going to the psychiatric hospital.

I was checked in after quite a hullabaloo. First, I went to the psychiatric hospital, as I did not know that on weekends and after 5 pm, I was to first see someone in the emergency department first. Then the insurance company didn't want to pay for inpatient treatment, as I was not suicidal. (This was still not resolved when I checked out Wednesday afternoon.)

After the resident physician and my out-patient attending physician examined and talked to me, they did decide that I needed in-patient treatment. I was informed that I would be seeing a different psychiatrist, one who studies the way antidepressants work, inpatient, as I seemed to be resistant to many of the medications I had tried out-patient. I was fine with this.

Sunday, I meet with a nice on-call attending physician for about 1 1/2 hours. As we talked, it was decided that it looked like I had some OCD related to perfectionism in body image and work performance to go along with my depression and anxiety. He also prescribed me a sleeping pill, as I had been having difficulty sleeping. (I used this the next couple of nights but made sure I could go without it before leaving the hospital.)

On Monday, I meet my psychiatric team. The attending seemed cold, as the only time I heard anything out of him was when he assessed my wanting to hurt myself and or others. I said, "Thank God, he had a medical student," as she did most of the talking. I found out that this was not the case as I got to know him though. He even laughed at a couple of my jokes. (He just happens to be one of those brilliant researchers that comes off as not being much of a people person.)

The staff were great. Working through the group therapies was helpful. It was also great to have a roommate who was very sweet, as we helped each other throughout our stay. Pastor came on Tuesday, which helped me grieve the loss of my job and the idea that I was going to have to work for a different company than I had for the last 7 years.

I got to go home Wednesday night. Thursday, my doc gave me off, so that I could work on making the applications that I was supposed to work on Saturday. I did get a couple applications in. When I came back Friday for day therapy, he gave me some ideas for some other places to consider trying. I found one more job from that list of about 5 places.

I have the weekend to do things around the house. Friday evening, I called a couple of friends to let them know what had happened. I have e-mailed my 2-week resignation notice this morning. I have several letters, I would like to get written. Sunday, pastor expects me in church, as he knows how important being out and about and active in my faith life will help me. If it ever quits raining long enough, I need to get the lawn mowed.

I am looking forward to the change but am scared. I am waiting anxiously to hear about an interview. Thursday, I get to meet with my psychologist, as I missed this week's Tuesday appointment. I will being seeing my psychiatrist and or his resident daily until I hear differently. One of the next things, I got to do is look into cobra, as I don't want to lose my insurance coverage or my docs during this change.

Keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Change and depending on others is hard for me, but that is exactly what I need right now.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUZYBGOOD 9/26/2009 2:50PM

    Amanda, my thoughts and prayers are with you. At least you had the strength to get yourself some help. That took a lot of strength. Change can be a difficult thing, and job/employment change is on that list of top life stressors. Take care and know that we pray for you.

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Angry Energy

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Just typing this title was enough to make me feel sick in the stomach.

In my life, anger has been one of those "bad" emotions that you just don't show, at least not in public. This past week, I have had a couple big opportunities to let some of that anger out.

The first one was with my psychiatrist. He is still trying to get me to look for a job outside of the medical center where I have worked these past 7 years. I really don't want to leave a Magnet status facility when there are no others in the immediate area. (I am not going to sell my house in this market and lose money on it! In that case, I should have been renting these last 4 years.) Even though I stood up for myself for a little while, I eventually got so mad and scared that I just shut down and cried. I am glad that he gave me the time I needed to do that. (I think our 30 minute session was more like 45 minutes because of that.) I really didn't leave feeling better at the time, but after spending some time with my night shift cronies while they worked my nerves settled down.

That brings me to my next very angry moment. The next day I get an e-mail from my manager at work saying that unless I have paperwork for her or the assistant manager, I need to stay off the unit until my FMLA is over with. My first thought, was doesn't she know that some people kill themselves over notes like this. Next was simply, "Tap. Tap. Tap. Another nail in their coffin," referring to me now having another reason to leave that floor. All my manger can see is that I am a liability to the floor when I am up there. She doesn't know that I am not infectious, but hell most of the patients up there are. She sees me as a distraction to the staff doing their job, not the fact that they are supporting me in my recovery, so maybe, I can come back to work, at some point.

Anyway, so as you can probably tell, this past week has been quite rough on me. I haven't been able to sleep more than 2-4 hours at a time. Spend some of my time crying and or wanting to yell, but just don't see the point. As much as I want to be ready when people call me for interviews, I know that if this week's psychiatry session goes like last week's, I will need to take doc up on his offer to hospitalize me and or bring it up myself.

I am moving forward, tripping and stumbling along the way, but the important thing is I or part of my support system makes sure I get back up and keep moving forward.

Smiles & Tears


Gotta Get a Job

Friday, September 04, 2009

Things are happening fast on my unit while I am not there, and not necessarily for the good. One of our charge nurses is going to be staff in the ICU. Another nurse is going to the day shift. I know at least one nurse aide is transferring to another floor. On top of that our favorite medical receptionist has found a clinic job.

Management will find out on Tuesday that I am also working on transferring to another unit. I still don't plan on telling them that that is why my doc has me out on medical leave. With my ADA paperwork finished on Thursday, I expect to get a call from that office some time next week., also.

I have looked at the available jobs at my instition. It looks like I will end up doing something in research or quality improvement. I am thinking that the ADA paperwork will help me get around the fact that I am on probation until January 15th. (No holiday bonus for me, even if they have one this year.)


Can I Just Relax?!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Now that I am done with day therapy, my doc extended my medical leave for another 7 weeks to give me time to "find another job." Right now we agree on that, but don't agree where I should get that job. He wants me to look outside of the medical system I am currently work in, but I want to stay within that system.

When I last saw doc on Tues., he told me to forget about the job thing and just relax this next week. Tues night-Wed. morning, I stayed up with the night shifters at work and worked on my competency folder. That morning I went home so tired that I forgot to wait a wee bit longer and pick up my prescriptions at the pharmacy. That meant another trip into town that day to pick them up, as I was out of one of the medications. I also had a political action committee (PAC) meeting, that afternoon by telephone.

Thursday, I went and talked to someone in human resources about finding out if the ADA laws could help me out. She just gave me a form to fill out and another one for doc to fill out. (I wonder how long it will take him to get this one filled out, even when I give him most of the answers.) With doing that, I accidently left my stuffed dog, Beefsteak, in the breakroom. I called the charge nurse that night about midnight to find out whether he was there or not. I ended up picking him up during a special trip into the city Friday night.

Thursday night, I went out to dinner with my girlfriend and her two children. (I had just told her that morning about doing day therapy and the drama around finding a new job.) That night I went to bed by 10, but didn't get up until noon and it wasn't cause I was sleeping well. I was anxious and sad as heck. I then went to Walmart, grabbed a bite to eat, did some reading, and picked up a few groceries. (I was planning on picking up a few supplies so I could get started on some pins I am supposed to make the PAC for our nursing convention in October. Oops, I will have to add that to the list next time.) Slept relatively well last night.

So far today, I filled out most of my form for the ADA paperwork. I just need to get a little bit more information from my medical record before I fax it over. Now, I am working on e-mail and blogs. Just going to try to play things low key today. Tomorrow, I think I will go to Sunday School and skip church. (I want to talk to my Sunday School teacher, who is also a lawyer, to see what he knows about the ADA.) Monday, I go to group therapy over at the clinics, the first time in three weeks. Tuesday, is an appointment with doc and the psychologist. I guess I will find out what they think is in my plans for at least the next week.



Am I a Job?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day therapy went great this week. I really think I got quite a bit out of it. I would probably get a little bit more out of it, if I wrote the journal entry about "Changing my Identity and Job." I have been putting off for at least 1/2 of the week. I got this idea from when I talked to pastor, on Monday night. He told me that he thought that the reason I was fighting the idea of changing jobs was the fact that I had placed so much of my identity on my nursing career. He encouraged me to grieve this loss of identity and changing of jobs. That just led me to a flood of tears, but they purged the system of a lot of fear regarding the changing of jobs.

My conversation with my doctor and social workers went from being defensive to accepting the possibility of changing jobs during the week. By the end of the week, I was back to being quite defensive. Initially the conversation was about finding a job within the health care system in which I work. On Wednesday, I finally got a chance to talk to the social worker at the Employee Assistance Program. She took a history and even noted that with what I have been through she is surprised that I don't have a diagnosis of post traumatic syndrome disorder. (There was no talk one way or the other regarding changing jobs.)

By Friday, she had communicated with my psychiatric hospital social worker that she would recommend me working at least a year outside of the health care system I work in and then come back. This was shared with me by doc and my psych social worker. I was floored. I know that the policies say even though I am on probation there is a chance for me to transfer within the system, but it is rare that such a transfer occurs. At least during this meeting, my doc stated that he would extend my medical leave to give me a chance to find a job. (No one seems to be taking into account that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies here. When I talk to the Employee Assistance social worker on Tuesday of this week, I plan on bringing that up, as it is specifically mentioned in one of the policies I plan on taking with me to talk to her about.)

Doc then had me come back on Saturday, not a typical day therapy day, during which doc and I debated about whether I would be able to get a job within the health care system, if I was on probation. (This was a time, I wish I had the policies on me. It would have been a good time to discuss the ADA with him.) He absolutely does not want me going back to work on the unit I was on.

Today, Sunday, I did get up and go to church. I didn't have the energy to go to Sunday School like I would have liked to. My teacher is a lawyer within the community, who I was wanting to pass a few ideas by. Oh well, I may just need to call or e-mail him later tonight or sometime this week.

As for other communications that I have out on this topic, I have a note out to the Employee Assistance social worker, replying to an e-mail that she wanted to talk to me on Monday if possible. It tells her of my plan on calling her and the best phone numbers to reach me by. I also have an e-mail sent to my psychologist and the psychiatrist that runs my DBT group to ask them whether doc had contacted them about talking to me. Doc asked me about this during our visit on Saturday. I told him that I had not heard from either of them. Then again, I don't know at what time on Friday he contacted them. It is the weekend you know.

I am hoping that Monday will be my last day of day therapy, as I already have commitments on Tuesday and Wednesday. As I said above, Tuesday is the day I am to get back with the Employee Assistance social worker related to a job change. (If we get a hold of each other on Monday, who knows what will transpire.) Wednesday, I am scheduled to participate in a teleconference related to the state nurses' political action committee. Who knows what doc's ideas will do to these plans.

Oh well, I have just been busy enough & lost my Saturday, so the cover letter and resume did not get made this weekend. At least, I can be happy that I am not an inpatient.


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