I know when it started. A patient I saw one time ended up in the ER after a suspected drug overdose. Technically, it’s the first time it’s happened to me. I didn’t feel responsible. I felt like the system had failed her. The system I work for. They made her jump through too many hoops to get help. I was frustrated by the system’s negligence. Then a few days later I had to hospitalize a patient. It was the first time I had done it within this system and it was stressful. It was during that process that I lost any awareness of my body. The week ended with a rapid fire succession of patients that can only be described as bizarre. One of them had only one eye and it was challenging to try to maintain eye contact. My two eyes to his one made for an awkward imbalance.
There has been a resurgence of pain and at least two migraines since then. Before I realized it was happening the shades were drawn and I was in darkness. I waited for each day to pass until three o’clock so that I could go to Starbucks and get my half price Frappuccino. That was the highlight of each day. The rest was just about scraping by, waiting and struggling to get through each day to the end, each week to the weekend. Push, push, push.
Just a few weeks ago I had drawn the conclusion that I was a decent parent. That’s usually one of the first places to get hit. My son was moody and distracted and unmotivated. It all became my fault somehow. Just one more example of failure. I’ve been doing good work but I hardly noticed it. The familiar mantra began in my head. “I can’t keep doing this”.
On a whim I threw a few job transfer requests through the fax line. Maybe if I move closer to my partner I’ll feel less burdened. Maybe if I move closer to the city and out of slumville I will feel more alive. And then the circular thinking… all of the possibilities become shot down by mind. There is no way out. Nothing will help. I will always be in pain. My son’s troubles will only increase. I will never be able to move. I will never get out of this system I work for. I’ll never feel alive again. I can’t stand how I look. Nothing is right. Frappuccinos go back to full price again.