I have an eating disorder.
It feels so strange to say that. Somehow it rolls off my tongue as easily as telling someone I have high blood pressure...or a hangnail.
I'm not really sure where to begin.
I know a lot of rumors are going to be going around, and as much fun as a good game of telephone is I'm going to tell the real story myself.
I'm checking into a residential treatment program on Friday.
It has all happened so fast. Or not. I suppose the fact that it has been a way of living for me for 17 years contradicts that. I have always gone to therapists to deal with "regular stuff." Making sure my antidepressants are working, making sure I'm not unbearably anxious. They'd ask how the eating thing was going and I'd always tell them I had it under control. I was only doing it 2-3 times a day. (Those were my "good" weeks.) I would say it so nonchalantly. I wasn't trying to minimize it - it just didn't seem like a big deal to me anymore. Sure it scared me for the first few years. But seriously....17 years later it is just a way of life.
A month ago everything changed.
I started seeing a new NP after things didn't work out with the crappy prescriber I had forced myself to stick with for 2 years. I went to the first appointment and gave her a brief history and she was immediately ALARMED! (Seriously, the caps were necessary to portray her reaction.) She didn't understand how I had never focused on this disease that could kill me at any given time. So that kind of scared me. The whole "I'm not going to think about it" thing wasn't working out anymore. I agreed to go see a whole treatment team to figure out how to fix this nagging issue. Now I had an NP, an ED therapist, a nutritionist, my GI guy and my PCP who all decided to become ALARMED! at the same time. (It didn't help when they found out it was more like a dozen times a day....we were way past the good weeks of 2-3.) They started pushing brochures at me for residential treatment centers. They were talking about heart attacks and arrythmias and my throat randomly bursting. Or getting throat cancer. And not in the distant future. Like now. I have to go get an endoscopy to make sure my throat cells haven't started mutating or whatever.
So now I have a million people who are worried and angry and supportive and loving and I am totally overwhelmed. My husband is also totally overwhelmed. We are so lucky to have so many people who give a crap about us. I will be leaving my family behind on Friday for a minimum of 3 weeks. I keep trying to remind myself that it is better than that whole "throat bursting" situation which would probably end with me never seeing them ever again....but this is so hard. I don't have enough time with them before I have to go. I have multiple appointments today to get bloodwork and an EKG and to meet with my PCP for whatever else she wants to talk about.
I am already exhausted and I haven't even started yet.
I hope my baby doesn't forget me. I hope my daughter doesn't become overwhelmed by this whole situation. I hope my husband doesn't run off to Mexico after the first few days ever of him being a "single dad."
I hope this fixes it.
It is 1:45am. I haven't felt like writing for months....but now....here we go.
In our job, burnout rates are very high. So many people walk through the doors all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. They want to HELP people. They want to CURE people. They want to eradicate mental illness one disorganized person at a time.
It is a difficult job.
We see so many things in our jobs. SO MANY THINGS. Like, literally, normal people wouldn't even be able to comprehend the things we see. People who think they're superheros? Check. People who have been to hell and back (literally)? Check. People who are stuck with the emotional regulation of an adolescent for their entire existence? (can you imagine living like that???) Check.
It takes a toll on the patients and the staff.
I have seen so many....SO MANY....wonderful, insightful, smart, HEADSTRONG people start out in this job and then.....they run out of energy. Too many patients called them names. Too many people took their advice only to come back through our doors a week or two later. Too many lost causes. Too many....
It breaks you down.
I am lucky. I went into my job knowing NOT ONLY did I want to be a psych nurse. I wanted to be a psych nurse AT THE HOSPITAL THAT HIRED ME. Seriously lucky. I have seen many a thing. I love my patients. I absolutely LOVE my staff. I love teaching new staff and watching them grow into their role. I love the fact that many of them are petrified of going out on the unit to deal with the unknown and a few months later they are taking charge and are making their presence known.
I hate the turnover rate.
It makes me so, so sad to see so many good people go from this job. For most, this job wasn't for them in the first place. For some.....it was just too taxing. I love to teach people. I love to watch people reach limits they didn't know they could reach. I love seeing someone leave from their shift saying "I really think I helped **** tonight!!" That smile on their faces....it is everything.
So, keep going, keep doing what you love to do. Keep trying to make a difference in someone else's life. If you have a little extra to give, give it to someone who needs a little help.
That is all.
Help people, my friends.
Mother and wife by day, psych RN by night. So many different ways to view life. I try to take everything in and be very slow to judge.