One coping mechanism I have adopted to deal with my Depression and Anxiety is to keep busy. Sometimes I boarder on being too busy and burning myself out, but generally I am at a steady pace of flat out. One of my projects that I have been working on has taken its next step.
In everyday life we all wear masks. Sometimes we put one on so we can work our retail job with a smile, sometimes it's so we can visit our mother in law and keep things civil, other times it's simply so others don't ask us how we really are. That's the mask I have been wearing, and it's starting to get heavy.
I would love to say that I was coasting along, achieving things and kicking goals, staying motivated, keeping everything under control. But I would be lying. Though I have achieved a lot this week, mainly around the house, I have been riding some wave of energy that I know is slowing down and beginning to break. I know that my Psychiatrist can only adjust medications so much before he has to wean me on one, and start me on another. Which just creates weeks of pain. I may not be doing well, but I am surviving, and thats a start.
Most weeks have their ups and downs, most have lessons to be learnt and things to take away, most have happy memories and troubling memories. This week was no different. I have found a new well of motivation, and I have been drawing upon it to achieve things around the house, work my shifts, spend time with the family and try and squeeze in some self care. But not everything goes as planned.
In recent weeks I have been endeavouring to be more motivated, I have endeavoured to achieve more, I have endeavoured to complete tasks that have been on my mind for a while. I have tried to accomplish a lot of these and failed at most.
When reflecting over the week that has been it has certainly had its ups and down. I crammed for my final A&P exam, I was a nervous wreck for weeks leading up to said exam, I featured in my local paper, I started journalling again, I still have this headache I can't seem to shake, I started looking into investment properties with my wife, and I got away with a check up with the Psychiatrist without a medication change. This week has been hectic, in both the amount going on and the severity of the emotional drain. My week can be summed up with Shake (mainly caused by anxiety), Rattle (from the medication), and Roll (because I just have to Roll with it).
Never have I starred into my computer screen, mulled over for so long, pained at the thought of a post as much as I have today. Not because I am unable to write, or because of time constraints, or lethargy. My issue has been how to express what is going on in my Brain, I was reminded of the opening verse of a very well known epic poem by Edgar Allan Poe.
Well its been an exciting first year for Maintain the Rage, and myself personally. To mark this moment I want to share with everyone some analytics from the past 12 months, some lessons I have learnt in this time as a blogger and what is in store for the future.
I feel the need to discuss what lies at the core of everything I do, everything I feel, everything I am. My faith. It is not something I usually talk about on such a wide platform, but it is not something I am ashamed of either. My faith to me is like the unyielding companion on life journey, the supportive friend, the shelter in the storm. In my faith I know who I am and where I am going.
Being a parent is difficult, you need to be a; taxi driver, chef, nurse, teacher, disciplinarian, psychologist, launderer, cleaner, alarm clock, personal assistant, earn a living, and somehow keep it all together. This is made more difficult when you add a large dose of Depression on top. It doesn't change what you do, just how much additional energy goes into achieving it all.
Nursing is a tough gig by anyones standard, the demands put upon us to know medications, procedures, illnesses, conditions, symptoms, cultural traits and behaviours, be able to assess pain, nutrition, hydration, mental state, and to be able to perform our ever increasing mound of responsibilities while maintaining our smile, our professionalism and conducting our duties with aplomb. Then on top of all that add in a large dose of self doubt, insecurity, second guessing, negative self talk, fear, paranoia, anxiety, reluctance, demotivation, and malaise. That's Nursing with Depression.
Firstly, I apologise for the delay in this post, and the absence of last weeks. I was suffering terribly with my depression, motivation was at an all time low, and i had zero energy. Since then, I have seen my psychiatrist, had a medicine change, had a drastic change in diet, and felt better about myself.
Dear Luke, I received you letter and thought it pertinent to issues a reply. I would like to start by saying thank you for continuing to provide the medication that is both prescribed and needed. I am aware of the events of the past several months and wish to convey my viewpoint and hope that I am able to provide you with some sort of understanding as to my actions and subsequently the feelings you have been experiencing.
Dear Brain, There have been several events over the past months that has me concerned. As co-resident of this body we share, I felt it pertinent to contact you in the interest of working through these misadventures. I would like to discuss the sense of absolute dread for no apparent reason, the overall sense of apathy and laissez faire attitude towards almost everything, and what can only be described as the unwillingness to retain the simplest of information or focus on the task at hand.
I am finding it difficult to be motivated to achieve anything. Betting our of bed is difficult, going to work is difficult, enjoying the time with my family is difficult. Everything feels cumbersome and laborious. I have spoken to my Psychiatrist and he is even a little unsure of a clear direction of where to go.
I am feeling at the lowest point for my my motivation that I have felt since taking my medication. Everything is a struggle, or effort, the things I love doing are chores, and even playing with my daughter or spending time with my very pregnant wife is emotionally draining.
I write this as I prepare for my fifth shift out of seven in a row, at which point I will have a day off, then have eight more in a row. I spend my time at home either sleeping, studying or attempting to spend some quality time with the family. I am not work fit at all.
After the past 18 months of study, placements and headaches, I have finally made it. I am working as an Enrolled Nurse. Though this is just the first step on a long road it is an important one, and one I am enjoying every step of the way.
So as my medications begin to take a better effect and I can see improvement on the anxiety front, I am faced with returning to work and the beginning of University in a couple of day. The reality of how much work I have ahead of me is starting to hit home, and I would be lying if is said I wasn't a little nervous.
This week has been an improvement, when compared to those recently. I have had fewer anxiety attacks, not to say none, more days with a positive outlook, and fewer ideations. When all things are considered, a reasonably good week. Then to top it all off, my Nursing Registration came through finally, so I can now start work in the coming weeks.
After seeing my Psychiatrist, and following a dismal week of terrible anxiety and low mood, we have decided to make some medication changes. We have also decided to continue with weekly visits, and I have no doubt after talking with my Psychologist today, Monday, that will change to a more frequent visit as well. It's going to be a long road to recovery I feel.
I write this post following a rough week of anxiety and frustration. I write this knowing that I am going mohave a rough couple of weeks ahead. I write this knowing that despite complications my Psychiatrist is doing everything he can. I write this so people know and understand what I am going through. I write this to normalise the conversation. I write this as I am sitting here scared that I will loose myself.
So over the past couple of weeks I have been writing about my journey through a poor state of Mental Health; New Year Just Me, Breaking Point, and First Steps. Since then I have seen a Psychologist, and a Psychiatrist and been on differing medications for a fortnight. This post will be a reflection on the week that was. Please note I will not hold back on what I have experienced.
In any journey to recovery there are the first steps that need to be taken. For a broken limb its weeks in a cast, for and infection its antibiotics, but for depression, anxiety and other effectors of Mental Health, the first step is asking for help. I have now taken my first step.
I write this post as my Mental Health is at one of its lowest points I can remember. I share this with you all for two main reasons, so you don't fall into the same pitfalls, and to keep me accountable. For some of the readers this will come as a shock, for others and inevitability. Let it be known, I may not be OK today, but I will preserver.
I like to think that things are going pretty well. I completed my Diploma of Nursing at the end of last year, I have secured a full-time job as an Enrolled Nurse at the Facility I wanted, I have a new baby girl due in the early days of April 2018, and my other two children are doing swimmingly. Yet, I feel drained, I feel apathetic, lethargic, I feel that everything is an effort and one more often not worth beginning. I am struggling.
So my darling little girl, Darby, is turning two in a little under two weeks, and she is in full swing of the terrible twos. Though she is by no short order the worst two year old I have seen, looked after or heard of, she is definitely pushing the boundaries and exercising her authority.
For those who haven't been keeping up with whats going on, I have completed my Acute Care Placement and subsequently my Diploma of Nursing. It was a great 5 weeks, there are daily Reflections to catch-up on, and a wonderful experience. Following on from that we all had our Badging/Pinning ceremony on Wednesday as a graduation of sorts. I was then lucky enough to be asked in for an Interview at one of the Local Private Hospitals.
Over the past Five Weeks I have completed my Acute Care Placement for my Diploma of Nursing, to catch up on the day by day click here. Over that time I learnt may very valuable lessons, what many tasks drains can be used for, the effect of different sound care products, the differing cocktails of anaesthetics, and how diverse the multidisciplinary team really is. But given that most of that can be learnt from a book or educator I will leave those particular lessons to them. Instead, I will focus on the lessons that are picked up along the way, shared by other nurses and learnt from the patients themselves.
Day 25, my FINAL DAY of my Acute Care Placement, my final day in Theatre and my final day as an EN student. All in all, a momentous occasion. I saw my first set of Dental surgery, completed the last of the task book, enjoyed a nice lunch out provided by the facility and very un-ceremonously completed my placement.
Day 24 of my Acute Care Placement. My second last day at the facility, a return to the Operating Theatre and a series of new experiences. I had the privilege of sitting in on an abdominoplasty and bilateral brachioplasty first up this morning, then spent the afternoon in recovery while the three theatres were rushing out patients every 20 minutes.
Day 23 of my Acute Care Placement, hump day of my last week, my second day in Theatre, and the day I had my final performance appraisal. Not a huge day according to the lists, with the exception of the Eye Surgeries, of which there where 27. But it was still a big day when you consider the implications of a potentially negative appraisal.
Day 22 of my Acute Care Placement, and my first shift in the Operating Theatres of the facility. I was assigned one of the three theatres and given specific instructions of Blue is Bad, don't touch blue. I was also left a little bit to my own devices as to what experience, what to get out of the day and who to follow around. I decided to make the most of it and get as close to the action as possible.
Day 21 of my Acute Care Placement, my last day on the Mental Health ward and my first exposure to Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT). It was the first day on the ward that I felt truly in control, I knew what was expected and what to do fully. It is a shame that it has taken the four days t find my groove, but I am glad I found it in the end. I am also intrigued by ECT and TransCranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), both of which can be used to treat severe clinical depression, both use electricity but in different ways.
In case some of you haven't realised, I am a bit of a geek. I love Star Trek and most other Sci Fi movies and shows, Board Games, Role Playing games, and Warhammer 40,000. Now I love to assemble and paint my miniatures, just as much as I love playing with them with my friends and family, and having a good laugh. However, over the past 18 months, thanks Nursing School, I haven't had the time available to enjoy my hobby of choice. Until this week.
Day 20 of my Acute Care Placement, my first AM shift and my second last shift in Mental Health. The day was certainly busier than the PM shifts have been of late, read day 18 and 19 to catch up, but still very different from the busy of Surgical or even Medical. I have started to see the report I have been developing with some of the consumers bearing fruit as I move around the Ward, they have begun to open up and actively talk with me about their issues, feelings, and psychosis.
Day 19 of my Acute Care placement, my second night on the Mental Health Ward, my last Afternoon shift of placement, and the start of my last Late-Early swing for placement. The afternoon was similar to yesterday, quiet, controlled, and so much different to what I have experienced thus far. The advantage I had tonight was the company of a 40 year veteran of Psychiatric Nursing as my RN for the shift.
Day 18 of my Acute Care Placement and my first shift on a Mental Health ward. I didn't quite know what to expect from this afternoon. I didn't quite know what my role was going to be. I know that I was going to be dealing with complex and numerous medications, emotions that were on a knifes edge, and triggers from consumers that vary from noises, to visual cues, through to hallucinated triggers.
Day 17 of my Acute Care Placement and my last shift on the Surgical Ward. The ward was packed, and I mean not a bed spare, hot swapping patients within an hour of discharge, sending them onto other hospitals for rehabilitation. Proper busy. As a final shifts and pseudo send off from the ward, it was finishing on a high note.
Day 16 of my Acute Care Placement, and my second last day on the Surgical Ward. Not knowing what to expect from a Monday evening, I didn't go in with any level of expectation, when I arrived I went through the list of names and beds, checked against the surgery list and endeavoured to plan out the evening as best I could. That was almost useless. Theatre by the end of my shift, was operating nearly four hours behind. Patients were only being seen at times we thought they would be returning. This made for a slow and disrupted afternoon.
A quality most look for in an employee, partner, friend or simply a person they wish to engage with on some basic level, is honesty. To that end, in June I wrote two articles #3Rs and Controlled Chaos, revolving around how I Reflect, Relax and Recharge and how I spin all the plates in my busy world. The honesty part of all of this is, I haven't been recharging as much as I needed to, and I have been sacrificing my friends and family in the effort to achieve everything I have been of late, and neither are sustainable.
Day 15, the end of the third week of my Acute Care Placement, and my first afternoon shift on the Surgical ward. I didn't know quite what to expect from an afternoon shift on Surgical, however with an emptying ward, no new admissions, only two theatre cases and most of the patients being day three, I wasn't anticipating a busy shift.
Day 14, for my Acute Care Placement and a return to the Surgical Ward, for what was is my last AM shift before a three day stint on the PM. The ward was surprisingly empty, compared to the chaos that was yesterday. There were several discharges, a fair spread of second day orthopaedics and abdominoplasties, and a day two TURP. I would have the inordinate pleasure of being assigned the patients at the end of the passageway, the furthest point away from the Nurses Station.
Day 13, Hump Day for my Acute Care Placement and a return to the Surgical Ward, for what was promised to be a busy day. And it didn't disappoint. The ward was full, there where four patients on the waitlist for a bed and 90% of the patients on the ward where only One Day Post Op. I was assigned two patients at the end of the ward, and assisting the RN and EN with the other six, where possible.
Day 12 of my Acute Care Placement and my return to Surgical Ward. After a wonderful, if not busy 8 days in Medical (Days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9). Today saw me be assigned a patient to be responsible for, a new admit, and a support role for the RN on the ward. It was listed to be a busy day, with the return of an Orthopaedic Surgeon and a two patient wait list.
Day 11 of my Acute Care Placement and my return to Surgical Ward. After a wonderful, if not busy 8 days in Medical (Days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9). My day was less about assigned patients, as I was buddied with another EN, and more about getting things done, getting exposed to some new procedures and supporting the team.
Day 10 of my Acute Care Placement and the first day on the Surgical Ward. After a wonderful, if not busy 8 days in Medical, I and the rest of the Students, have been rotated to different Wards. It was also my first experience of a Late-to-Early swing, finishing at 2300 the night before and starting again at 0700. I am not going to lie, I was a little rough around the edges this morning and could have very easily gone back to bed. But, I persevered, arrived early and eager to do my best.
Day 9 of my Acute Care Placement, my last night on the Medical Ward, and what a night. The night started much the same as any other, we had enough staff, we were in control, everything was running ok. Then an overflow surgical admission hit our floor, and a new medical admission, then the Theatre was ready for their new patient, and a patient was hypertensive with no action helping, Doctors came and went with their new orders, and the night somehow... vanished.
Day 8 of my Acute Care Placement, and I'm still on the Medical Ward, though not for much longer. Today was one of those days where I should have gone back to bed and rolled out of the other side. I had to try hard to focus, and if I didn't, I would forget what I was doing and miss a step. Today was also one of those shifts where you walk on the ward to almost chaos, staff are blurs, voices can be heard from everywhere and the paperwork is still sitting in the nurses station. I should have taken that as a hint that it was going to be an interesting shift. I did not.
Day 7 of my Acute Care Placement sees my Second Late shift on the Medical ward for my Facility. The staff are becoming more familiar as I work with nurses I have previously, the processes are beginning to become more streamlined as I continue to work with them, and even the Patients are beginning to become a little more familiar, as some of them are in for a long stay.
Day 6 saw the return to the Medical ward, however, this time was the Afternoon shift, 1430 till 2300. The shift began with a in room handover of the all patients, and then oddly, 30 minutes after beginning the shift, afternoon tea. I was assigned three patients, two of whom were on contact precautions, and one with a Intravenous Antibiotics, which I am one allowed to monitor and report on, not actually hang and administer.
A lot of what I do in my life is on a volunteer basis, Scout Leader, Student Representative Council, Student Participation and Retention Committee, CQUniversity Diploma of Nursing Society, and writing this Blog. I get just as much, if not more, satisfaction then I do from my paid vocation. This had me thinking about the attitude some people have today around Volunteering. It is common to hear opinions like what am I going to get out of it, what does it pay, and why would you give so much time to that?
Day 5 and the end to the first week of the Acute Care Placement, so much learnt and still so much to go. This week has seen so many polished skills, improvements on time management, patient care, and assessment ability. The facility and its staff have been extremely accomodating, patient, and nurturing towards not just myself but the other students as well. The staff afford every opportunity to be exposed to new procedures and give the students a go, often at the expense of efficiency, but never at the expense of patient care.
Day 4 of my Acute Care Placement was an Introduction into routine, management and additional skills. I was given two Patients to by the NUM as my case load for the day, with the additional instruction Anything else interesting that comes up, which tickled my curiosity and intrigue just a little. The patients I had assigned weren't overly difficult, but had large amounts of medications and high level personal cares. I also had the opportunity to complete a surgical admission, and see it through to handover at the theatre doors. I had the opportunity to insert a Indwelling Catheter on a female patient for the first time.
Day 3 of my Acute Care Placement saw a complete shift from yesterday, there were two RNs on Shift, plus the Nurse Unit Manager (NUM). It made life so much easier for skills, assessments, medications, procedures and patient care. I was free to do more with the patients as I had the supervision I needed to legally perform the tasks. I seem to be learning more and more everyday, which I expect to do for the rest of my career, and it seems that no matter how much I seem to learn, it still seems I don't know enough.
October 14 to 16 2016 was my first camp, JOTA/JOTI 2016, as a Scout Leader, I had no Uniform, no training and no clue. Since then I have had some crazy adventures, lots of training and plenty of lessons learnt. This year, 21 and 22 October was the 60th Jamboree of the Air (JOTA) and 21st Jamboree of the Internet, and my first time organising and running the event for the Central Coast Region (Central) Scouts and Guides. This post will be a compare and contrast between how I saw the event last year as a fresh eyed Scout Leader and this year after having a Scout Section for the entirety of this year as a Solo Leader, following all of my formal training as a section leader, and after meeting and collaborating with the other leaders in the Region.
During my time in the Navy we were going through a period of Culture Change. We wanted to shift away from the mentalities of old, the drinking, the boys club, the bastardisation and the initiation nonsense and move into a tolerant, caring and supportive environment. It was met with resistance, people were claiming it was turning the Navy soft, it was bowing down to the masses, but the Admiralty persevered. To the betterment of the Australian Navy as we know it. Culture change in any organisation, whether five people of 35,000 people is difficult. It takes determination, resolve and broad shoulders to deal with the comments that will inevitably head in your direction. If you have ever been part of culture change, whether the instigator, a staff member, or new to the workplace you know how hard it can be to stay out of the political arguments, and get down to the job of moving forward. I want to discuss with everyone three easy ways to support and effect culture change from the bottom up. I will address Acceptance, Rebellion and Action, and your part in it.
We all go about our daily toils for various reasons, we go to work because we all enjoyed breakfast and thought more food would be great, we send our children to school so they may become educated and hopefully out perform us, we wash our clothes so others will actually talk to us and we clean out homes so we don't wind up on reality television. These mundane activities all have reasons, motivations or at least some sense of why. But have you every stopped to consider the reason why you do most of your actions? It may surprise you that some things you do you simply do because you always have. In Leadership we always discuss this notion of culture change and how we can go about it, and the hardest thing to overcome is Thats the way we have always done it. No one knows why, or who made the decision, simply thats the way its always been.
A departure from my normal posts and an open wound that I refuse to let heal, this post will be about Suicide and raising awareness. As a former ADF member, Nursing Student and Ship Mate of a someone who committed suicide I have a personal interest and mission to raise awareness for our Brothers and Sisters in uniform.
Through out our lives we get called a lot of different things, whether by virtue of our job, by our loved-ones, our friends and those around us. These names, these titles, carry with them a certain level of expectation from the person giving them to us; it places us in a position that we may not fully understand ourselves.
I have been reflecting this week on my personal journey, my failures and triumphs, the good leaders and the bad, the men and women who invested their time in me, and those who left a lasting impression. I reflected on leadership and the importance of Mentoring those who we lead and not just giving blind directions. I reflected on the importance of walking a journey with someone beside them, not in front leading blindly, or from behind barking arbitrarily. This lead me to write about, what I believe, is the most important facet of Leadership, and that is Mentoring. The understanding between two individuals at different points on their journey to walk together and learn from each others experiences. This may sound like a different model of mentoring than what is commonly taught, namely where an experienced person takes an inexperienced person and attempts to impart knowledge and experience on them. I kindly draw your attention back to the person leading from the front. Or where a person will share their experiences with staff or individuals via a mass email while never actually allowing time for the people to engage with them personally, I draw you attention to the person barking from the rear.
There are numerous baby websites, books, journals, and magazines that will gladly tell you that there is a million things you should get for your new bundle of joy. Couple that with friends, family, mothers, in laws, outlaws and everyone in between, there is a lot of information to sift through. With the announcement of My wife and I having our second child together, third in total, this week I felt it prudent to share some lessons learnt from the first one, Darby. I will cover the things that I Would do again and the things that I most certainly Wouldn't.
I have been reflecting over the week, and discussing with fellow Nursing Students, some of my previous work history, what it entailed and why I am not still doing some of those jobs. It forced me to look at the jobs in a different light. While I was doing them, I genuinely enjoyed them, then for one reason or another, I stopped enjoying them, I left, and began a different journey. In this post, I will explain three of my most recent, most intense and most enjoyable jobs that I have been involved in, what I took away from them and why I eventually left. I will talk about my life as a Croupier, my Navy Career and my time as a Not-For-Profit employee.
A brief look into what I am planning over the coming months, what it means for me personally and what it means for this blog. As with everything in our lives, planning is important, but we shouldn't lose site of the journey. For me this whole journey of becoming as Nurse has been wonderful, insightful and joyful. I am also aware that God decides I am needed elsewhere then I must go, that is after all how I wound up in Rockhampton in the first place.
Continuing on from Part 1 that was published last week, I covered how my wife and I maintain boundaries and structure, push for improvement and love unconditionally, as a united front with both of our children. This week I will be discussing how I try to, and sometimes don't, hold it together when things don't go according to plan. I will also be talking about how we are all human and lose our temper, but as parents we need to regroup and own up to those actions. And finally, I will cover how important it is to understand the children you love so dearly.
I have decided to talk about my favourite subject, my Wife and our life together. But before I loose the male portion of my readership this isn't going to be a love story with walks on the beach, champagne breakfast and how I was the perfect embodiment of Casanova. Instead this is going to be how my Wife and I stay together, keep it together and Maintain Our Rage. The three main concepts I wish to convey with regard to Our Rage are; Communication, Priorities, and Making Time.
Sharing some of the simple things that have helped make me a Studious Student and the habits that can be adopted to ensure that you too can be the best that you can be.
#SpeedBump not a #Roadblock - Overcoming apparent adversity through #LifesChallenges
Student Voice - What does it mean to me? #Advocacy #Reformation #Honesty
Scouts - The Journey so far
Five Community Care Reflections - A look back on the week that was
A reflection on my Aged Care Placement, given my looming Community Care Placement