Monday, September 29, 2008

So what am I suppose to do?

What is wrong with me?

I have been not feeling great.
Can't sleep, the beginnings of depression, and I cannot concentrate.
My therapist is in agreement that things are getting worse.

So I have new health insurance
Student insurance, which is shitty insurance
So I had my first visit with my new Psychiatrist

I was nervous, very nervous.
I told him my mental health history
And the various diagnoses I have had:
dythemia, major depression, bipolar II, Borderline personality disorder, dissociative disorder NOS.

Am I bipolar? maybe. I am certainly fucking depressed alot of the times.
My Dad is bipolar. When my atheist dad decided one day that Jesus magically made dinner and looked to the sky with glee to tahnk him for all of the green lights on the way from the grocery store.......There is no question of diagnosis there.

Yeah, my dad had a psychotic manic moment. He is fine now, really.

Have I ever been manic? No. hypomanic? Yes. Who has not been hypomanic at some point? Okay, so maybe my hypomanic moments involved some fully nude naked Canadian strippers... that may sound hypomanic to many people, me? I am not so sure.

So the Doctor saw my history, my med list, and my complaints (cannot sleep) and told me he thought I was on a cocktail of meds that were not really indicated. He said that the mood stabler I was on wasn't very effective for bipolar II so it might not be doing anything. I have seriously wondered why the hell I was on this drug (I did not see a benefit) However, I have read alot that said it was the drug of choice for bipolar II.

He was not going to change my meds because he just met me. He told me I should stop drinking caffiene and exercise more (very reasonable). And if I have suicidal thoughts, to try to not obsess over them. (are you kidding me?)

So...what do I do with this?
What is wrong with me?
Am I unipolar, bipolar, or just fucked up?
If these drugs are not right for me (I agree, I totally agree)
Why am I still taking them?
And again, why have I gone to all this therapy, taken drugs, and...

end up always depressed? I am not complaining about being sad, but thinking about sticking a gun in my mouth is shooting is a really crappy thought to start your day with! (no, I ma not actively suicidal right now, no worries).

Basically, I have been given my prescriptions, and told to make an appointment some time between one month and two. (don't hit your ass on the door on your way out?)

Seriously, The doctor was very smart and reasonable and he did tell me to call him if I needed to. still just make me kind of lost.
I actually feel worse now than I have had in a long time.

It just seems hopeless.
This just made me really very sad.

I feel like I have been rejected by a mental health professional for the upteeth time. I just felt like he showed me a carrot and just hid it away.

I feel like....shit

I just feel like shit

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Anyone from Downstate?

(That would be in New York)

In my social work mental health policy class, we have to explore a county in my state and determine what services are available for people with mental illness. We are to determine what barriers may be present, and what advantages that they may have.

Anyways, My group was assigned Westchester County. It was very interesting for us because the county is similar in population and many demographics than the county I live in, except the per capita income is double ours.

This county seems to be rich in resources, as in many agencies that can serve the population. It seems that the county may be a model for childrens mental health. So what could be bad?

Well, as I live 8 hours away from this county, it is hard for me to speculate. I called some advocacy agencies and was not given any useful information.

So my educated guesses:
Transportation is a big issue. As it is so close to NYC, I am sure many people rely on communter trains to get to NYC. However, I bet the local public transportation might just be crap. It seems most communities that are close to a big city, but are still far away, usually reley on people DRIVING to the bus station to get to work. Their local community is still an autodependent area.

Cost of living: The cost of living in Westchester is pretty damn high. I bet many people struggle in the working class, yet are well above the poverty line. This is that syndrome in which McDonalds pays $10...but it is well under a living wage. You may no longer qualify for foodstamps, and other benefits. You slip between the cracks. Not enough money to be secure, too much to get help.

This is my thinking...any comments?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Critical mass....

On the critical rehab unit. I am seeing things that most people could only a imagine.

I have been working in the acute rehab department of a "Regional Trauma hospital." The hospital serves a 8 county area. When someone has fallen, and can't get up, or has been "sick as sh*t" they would mostly end up here. And we get the sickest of the sick.

Alot of the patients have just had spinal chord injuries. The majority of the patients I help are new para and quadriplegics.

There are others who are sicker than sick sick sick sick. Young adults who stumble upon an injury, and then get MRSA pneumonia, and then..."oh by the way" you have a funny looking cyst.....Yeah those.

I have seen the kinds of Traumatic brain injuries whereas there are so many stitches, I lose count. There are people who can walk, while in a coma. You can see it in their eyes that they are trying to swim their way out.

I have learned what happens when someone has a very big fall. And how someone can manage after breaking multiple limbs.

There are some people who I get to know, that I wonder if they will live very long.

When are patients are discharged, we not worry about IV's, but central lines.

I am only a student, but I cannot believe the responsibility I now have. It is not a "true" responsibility, as I am only a student, but none-the-less I feel that I have it.

I had a family come to me with a serious concern
I was the one who made sure that women got home care
If I didn't sweet talk the wheelchair van people, that man would not of gone home
Yes, We were the ones that made sure the surgeons got the DVD from that other hospital ASAP
Yes, I talked to one of the department heads in the state capital to find out some obscure Medicaid law

I just find it really bizarre that In a hospital of med students and residents, and students.... that I talk to the attendings so much. And it is always so weird to walk up to a resident and tell them what to do (Of course, only in a messenger kind of way). It is like we are the doctor's clinical secretary. "Dr x, your attending wants you to write a Rx for the blah blah blah." (Which of course I have no idea what it is for-usually some medical equipment). It is just weird.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I hate papers I hate papers

I had writing APA papers! I hate term papers, I hate it hate it hate it! Some people have test anxiety, I have writing anxiety! My first paper of the semester is due tomorrow. I was the queen of procastination yesterday!

Thank god (for me) that my morning class was canceled (however, it is now about the time the class would of maybe not very good).

I have this afternoon to write this paper. I am going to go to school so I can work in the library instead of being distracted at home.

Of course, I am exhausted. I couldn't sleep last night. I tossed and turn for hours. Despite taking seroquel and benedryl. I resorted to taking klonopin. And I still had trouble sleeping.

This is sucks. My body and brain suck. I have an appointment with a new psy-doctor soon. I had to change docs cause of my new insurance. Maybe the new psy-md will change my meds a bit.

I need to sleep.

I need to get my papers done.

However, I did an outline and made all sorts of notes so hopefully the paper will be easier to write.

And thankfully my class tomorrow is at 6PM. So even if I am at my internship, I can review the paper with fresh eyes.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I am exhausted!

I just got back from my internship. Their were only one social worker/ discharge planner, where they usually have three. And then there was me!

Anyways. I did three assessments, one discharge, set up three family meetings, met with four patients, found a home health care agency in a small rural county....
I also attended the treatment team meeting. Did a stack of paperwork...and ......oh my god!

Okay, Seriously, this amount of work is not really a lot of work. However, I was still trying to learn the EMR system to chart and I kept getting lost trying to find room numbers (they are totally fucked up). And where the hell is the fax machine?

I would be in mid-eval, and the doctors would come by to round. I would be in mid eval and the x-ray people would be there. I would go see a patient, and they would be sleeping.

One if the docs kept smirking at me whenever I walked by.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


At my internship I am rocking. The employees floor thinks I am the new employee. The patients say hi to me in the hall. And one of the attending doctors introduced himself to me by his first name. I know that is not that big of deal, but an attending at a teaching hospital?

The green eyed rage

I have issues. And...I currently have the hiccups. At my school (and most graduate schools of social work) Individuals with a BA in social work can be accepted into the "advanced year" where-as they only need a year of MSW schools to be a MSW. It is completely understandable that those with an undergrad degree in social work should not have to "re-learn" the "foundation" year curriculum. However, and going through the hell that was last year, makes me cautious towards these "advanced students." Oh, not to mention that they are label "advanced students." What does that make me?

In some ways, I think these students have gotten a better education in basic social work skills. Concrete things, like completing more psycho-social assessments. At my school, the traditional students have done more treatment plans and interventions. Also, we completed a research project in the community, a program evaluation. Some of us had projects that could have been publishable. Actually my group's project could have been publishable, and the prof even offered us advise us (directed research) if we wanted to. If I thought our conclusions were really novel I may have been inclined to.

Anyways. My pride was harmed in a small way today. We were talking about VA benefits and I spoke about groups that are given priority for care. Well this Advanced BA SW student did her undergraduate internship at the VA. (I did my first year at the VA). Anyways, the discussion wore on me the wrong way.

It was my own jealousy, annoyance about the "advance year students" that really made me defensive. Yeah. I have a huge issue about being in the same class as the advanced year students. They just graduated from college. The traditional students graduated with a BA or BS too. Some in very closely related fields. Some even had other Master's degrees. And this transaction felt uncomfortable to me.

I was feeling shitty about being told I was wrong by this student.
My self esteem deflated like a lead balloon.

However, on my return home, I open my 'federal benefits to veterans" book......and found out that I was right.

what do you think?

I wonder if this is similar to what nurses go through. With RN's and BSN's and all of those configurations.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


I have a new computer. Oh boy! I put all my pics on a thumb drive. I checked all of my thumb drives. No piotures! CRAP

Mums the word!

Yesterday my friend Kathy and I shopped for Mums. In the past I used to drive her bat-shit crazy with my shopping. THIS year, it is HER, that have become the manic plant shopper...

Now...I am the "flower lady" in my neighborhood. I have lots and lots and lots of flowers. Mostly weeds,,,I mean perennials. I LOVE my garden and spend lots of time in it.

Anyways, K. bought a new house with her hubby. I taught her how to grow pretty flowers. Now she is hooked! She still needs me, because she still a beginner. With the names, sun/shade, annual/perennial info.

So we bought mums, and mums, and more mums. And then we began the great search for pumpkin's. And we also got silly spider thingies too.

Anyways, we ended up at home depot, lowes (seriously, they have good mums), and three garden centers. I have already gotten some mums this year, but her addiction wore on me, and I bought more. My three mums from years prior are just about in bloom. So pretty. I also bought some pretty asters.

If I actually have time...maybe I'll post some pics!!!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

By the way....

I LOVE my internship. I am interning with the discharge planning social workers in acute rehab. This is INTENSE acute rehab. I am interning at the local level one trauma center. We deal with alot of spinal cord injuries. A lot of other trauma, and people who were very very sick. A lot of emotions, activity, and healing happens on the ward. A lot of sadness, a lot of hope. I am able to check my life baggage at the door, and focus on the job.

Except when I nearly cry when I leave the room after talking to the patients who have endured so much.

It is a teaching hospital so it is amazing how many people I meet in a day.

School has begun!

I am now officially stressed out. Actually, as far as the mental status exam...I am cognitively concerned about my mental health. Through out the summer I have been having some problems sleeping. This is always a red flag for the hypo manically disposed.

I was given a Medrol pack for my asthma last week. That made me all sorts of high and manic like. But the drugs have leeched from my system. I still have the sleep issues. Last night I laid in bed for an hour....
I have been getting my little panic attacks too. And a little sad.

Being bipolar and a grad student is not easy. I saw my Psy-MD last week and talked about my sleeping concerns, and we thought it might be anxiety (and the steroids of course). I had an appointment with my psy-Phd today and we agreed that this was a red flag. I promised to call psy-md if it doesn't resolve by next week.

I was feeling *great* and then started school, which is always so stressful, and my new internship. I am really stressed about school and become moody when I have too much academic reading to do.

So...we wait. We take old Rx for klonopin if things get worse.

adopt your own virtual pet!