Work has been pretty good lately in that it hasn’t been super busy. I’ve had only 8 patients on average at a time. But about 3 of them somehow made it feel like so much more. I tried to figure out what exactly it was that they were doing that consumed my time and drained me mentally so quickly. I figured it out…A million questions, a million requests, a million complaints. Can you do this for me? Can I have this? Your doing this wrong…One of these three patients would literally follow me around wherever I went. I finally asked her, ” Is there something you need?!” I felt cluster phobic! I just wanted to scream, stop asking me questions. Stop asking me to do things for you every second. Cant you see I am doing something already? that I am busy? I was amazed at the ignorance of how they were acting wasn’t bothering somebody. But they couldn’t see it. It seemed that they were sitting around just thinking of something they could ask me to do next or a question they could ask so that they have interaction with me, so that they could have attention. In the hospital we call these types of people needy and attention seeking. They are constantly seeking contact with us, parking themselves at the nurses station even if they can only just watch us work. Even when we tell them they cant stand there they don’t feel offended or embarrassed enough to leave. They need and want human interaction even if it means annoying somebody. I’m not going to put needy and attention seeking into only 1 category but the “diagnosis” that I find these traits in the most are the Borderline Personality Disorders. These people are manipulative as well or they lie to get their way and often get offended by us quite easily. But yeah anyways… It was a crazy few days there where I was extremely exhausted mentally by these few patients. My job can draining! But it really just depends on the day 🙂
So I know that I post mostly about how I work with people who suffer from psychosis whether it is Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar ext…but in our hospital we also have a Unit for patients who are considering suicide or have already made an attempt at taking their own life. I realized that I never post about that and that I do have some things to say about it and so here it goes. We actually have two Units for patients that come in because they are not safe from themselves, one is the Adolescent so 12-17 and then the other is 18 and up. These people are in the ward against their will because they are not deemed safe. Someone in authority whether it was a doctor or a police officer found them not safe from harming themselves or sometimes others. Most of the people that come in attempted to overdose on medication. That is the most common suicidal attempt we see. Some other ones we see are running out into the middle of traffic, putting a gun to their head, hanging themselves and stabbing themselves in the stomach with a knife. Something that I have found surprising is that a lot of patients when asked, ” How would you kill yourself if you could?” answer that they would drive their car off a cliff.
Another common thing we see among this population of patients is self-harm, where people will use razors or other sharp objects to cut their arms and legs until they bleed. We see this among our Borderline Personality Disorder patients of whom are mostly women.
Now I know that those of you who have never experienced severe depression before are probably reading and saying, ” This is crazy. Who thinks like this? Who talks like this? Who could ever even think of doing these things?”
It is crazy, your right but when a person is not in the right state of mind, is not thinking clearly and truly feels like there is no hope or happiness in their future, the idea of never waking up again sounds so wonderful.
You may also be wondering , ” Well who are these people? What could be so terrible in their lives that they would consider doing something like this?”
Well most of these people have had a difficult upbringing with sexual and or physical abuse, divorce or their parents were drug addicts ext…. So in turn they turned to drugs or alcohol and the cycle continued. A lot of the patients have dysfunctional relationships, are financially stressed, some had to give up their children, they have low-paying jobs. Basically when they are so many life stressors and not a lot of “good” life stressors going on depression is prevalent. I have noticed quite a large number of patients that come in because their significant other left them and they saw no point in living.
With depression I believe that it can be situational and biological. It can be because something traumatic has happened but it will pass in time. But I do believe that depression can also be caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. I know this to be true because I suffer with this. And I know how it feels to feel completely empty and hopeless and to feel like someone is literally stabbing you in the chest with a knife to where it is physically painful. I know what it feels like to not want to wake up. I know what it feels to literally feel no joy in something that I used to find joy in. I don’t think there is anything worse than not being able to feel happy. But I was blessed to find a medication that works for me and helps my brain function right. I can feel happy again and I hope that others find this too for themselves. I believe that I still have to provide myself with a good “situation.” But I want anyone who suffers with depression to understand that it is not normal to live like how I described, you can get help and please not feel ashamed. It is ok to need help.
Like we say in the hospital, ” If you had appendicitis you would get surgery right?” So please if you have depression or even think you may have it go to your doctor and ask for help. You can feel happier, it is possible!
I came into work to find a repeat patient, someone who had been with us before. I will call him Gary. At first glance most people would be frightened of Gary, he is an older man in his 50’s very large in stature. He has brown hair that is beginning to gray that he pulls back in a pony tail and most of his face is completely covered in facial hair. His mustache literally curls into his mouth if that helps. He has absolutely no bottom teeth, just black holes where his teeth used to be.
His physical appearance may cause a person to fear him at first but after talking to him a person would see how extremely kind hearted and loving he is. He actually has a wife at home for whom he loves dearly and wishes to go home to soon. The past two times I worked I spent a lot of time talking with him. He would ask me if he could talk with me and we would sit at the end of the hallway and chat for as long as I could get away for. Gary would say to me, ” The voices tell me to go kill and rape people and I cant live like this anymore. I just want to kill myself.” He then asked me, ” Do you think If I killed myself I would go to hell?” and then ” Do you think I’ll always be like this?” “What should I do? The meds don’t help.”
It broke my heart to give unfair answers such as, ” You will most likely suffer with this for the rest of your life.” And ” I don’t know what can help you.” I hated how there was no good answer to give him. In the psychiatric world their only fix is meds, but as someone who works in this field I can tell you that meds do not help these people, maybe for moments when it puts them to sleep but when they wake up its right back to where they started. Its a constant battle and it always will be. I have never seen a person with Schizophrenia permanently get rid of the voices. Ever.
I find myself racked with these questions constantly… Why cant there be more help for people with schizophrenia? Why does this disease even have to exist? Why does someone have to suffer with this their entire life? I keep asking myself these questions hoping that one day I’ll have a good answer for myself and I just cant come up with anything better than, ” Well that’s just their trial for this life.”
But I just can’t help but think that its not fair when I’m sitting in front of someone who says, ” Why me? Why is this happening to me?”
Count your blessings. I’ll say it again and again. If you have your mind and your body you’ve got everything. There has not been a day that has gone by since I began working at this Psych Hospital that I don’t walk out of those doors at 6:30am, look up at the sky and say “Thank you God, for I know how great I have it and please don’t ever let me forget it. I have it good and I want to always be grateful for all that I have, for I have the capacity to live a life so great that these people will never have the chance to do.”
So to Gary and to anyone else who goes through a trial like this I commend you, truly, for you are a lost and forgotten people who suffer more than most humans could ever imagine.