Am I Weird?

I’ve recently had some people tell me that I’m weird.  I take it as a compliment.  If some one told me that I was normal, I might be a little hurt.

I was having a conversation with my recruiter for my first nursing agency about the current assignment that I’m on.  I was telling her that I don’t like block scheduling.  Block scheduling is when they put your days together.  I was working 3 days in a row a lot.  I was told in the interview that block scheduling would only be used if the nurse asked for it.  The first month, the hospital had me working block scheduling every week.  When I spoke up and told the manager, she stated that usually travel nurses like block scheduling.  I don’t.  Even my recruiter was telling me that most of her recruits like block scheduling.  She called me weird but again I took it as a compliment.  Because I spoke up, they stopped the block scheduling.  I know that as a travel nurse, I have to be flexible.  I can do block scheduling maybe once a month but I don’t like it.

I had a friend call me when she had a supernatural experience.  She was feeling very uncomfortable about the situation.  I told her that because of the way that I grew up, things like that are just normal for me.  I’m very comfortable having supernatural experiences.  She called me weird.  Just another compliment for me

I was recently telling a patient that there is no normal.  What is normal for me may not be normal for another person.  Medications don’t work on every one the same way.  Some patients may have side effects while another person taking the same medication may not.  Some patients want to know the side effects of their new medication while some others don’t.  One patient told me that they didn’t want me to go over the side effects because then they would have every side effect mentioned.  They would just take the medication information but not read it.  That was that patient’s “normal”.  They believed that looking at the side effects would bring the side effects on.  I didn’t think that was weird.  I understood.  I still had to provide the patient with the information but the patient also has the right not to listen to the information provided.

When patients ask what is the normal schedule for bowel movements, I have to tell them that every one is different.  Some people go after every meal, some go once a day, some go twice a day, some go every other day, and some people go every two days.  I can’t say what the “normal” schedule is.  I then have to ask them what is their normal schedule.  Some people haven’t thought about how much they go and I’m the first person to ask them that question.  I’ve had some patients ask me why I need to know when the last time they had a bowel movement.  One patient said that was a weird question because they didn’t come to the hospital for that issue.  I told that patient, that is was a part of the admission assessment, we as healthcare workers need to know.  We don’t want the patients to become constipated while in the hospital.

Some of the conversations that nurses have would be considered weird by other people.  Nurses talk about bowel movements, wounds, and other things that would make some one else feel uncomfortable.

After graduating RN school, I applied to work at the GI lab where I interned at.  I was excited to work there.  It excited me to see the inside of the stomach and intestines.  Unfortunately I didn’t get the job because they hired another of my classmates that applied earlier than me.  Another of my classmates called me weird for wanting to work there.  I thought it would be interesting.

I don’t consider myself weird, I consider myself a normal Shavawn.  I’m just being myself.  I used to hate when some one told me that I was weird.  I wanted to be normal and fit in.  Now I just want to be myself and if some one thinks that is weird, then I’m okay with that.

I wonder what the world would be like if more and more people embraced their weirdness.  That may be just what the world needs.  The world doesn’t need more people trying to be the same.  The world needs more and more people that are willing to just be themselves and love themselves for it.

Ready or Not?

At work, last week, I had a very uncomfortable conversation with some other co-workers.

I had just clocked out for my lunch break and was looking forward to just sitting down.  When I got to the break room, there was already 4 other people in there having lunch.

As I was getting my lunch from the fridge, I was listening to their conversation.  They were talking about another co-workers weight.  They were talking about having an intervention about her weight.  They were hesitant to do it because they didn’t know her very well.  One of them had been out with her once after work but still didn’t know her well.

I sat down to eat my lunch, just hoping that I wouldn’t get sucked into their conversation.  Unfortunately one of them asked for my opinion.  I told them that it was really up to that woman to decide to lose weight.  Having an intervention won’t make her be ready.  I understand that they are concerned about her health and weight but it may make for an uncomfortable work environment if they did the intervention and she wasn’t ready to lose weight.

I told them about how I lost weight.  I told them that many people had told me over the years that I needed to lose weight.  Some people even told me that I look good with some weight on me.  Ultimately it was still up to me to decide to lose weight.

Becoming the food police wouldn’t help either.

I remember a few years ago, at work, I was at lunch and decided to eat a doughnut.  One of the patient’s family members had brought in some doughnuts to thank the staff for taking care of the patient.  One of my co-workers walked in and sat down.  She said to me that I shouldn’t be eating that doughnut.  “A moment on the lips equals a lifetime on the hips” is what she then stated.  I didn’t pay attention and kept eating the doughnut.  I remember that hospital because most of the nurses were skinny.  It was only about 3 over weight nurses and I was one of them.  I was uncomfortable every time that I went to work because almost every one that worked on my floor was skinny.

Another incident that I remember was when I was in RN school.  I would change my eating habits when eating with the other nursing students.  I would eat healthy around them.  I didn’t want to expose my eating disorder to them.  One of the other nursing students told me that I should be skinny because of the way that I was eating.  I told her that it was the way that I ate at home that was keeping me over weight and I didn’t exercise.

Even some of my patients commented on my weight.  Some of them would say that I would look so much prettier if I lost 50 pounds.  At the time, I chose to take it as a compliment.  At least they thought I was a little bit pretty.  I didn’t want their comment to ruin my shift so I just smiled and laughed and went on with my day.  I was uncomfortable being at 180 pounds but to myself I was pretty.

Its become acceptable in our society to comment on some else’s weight and not to focus on the real issue.  That person might be going through a rough time in their lives.  Some people deal with their issues by eating.

I call that swallowing your voice.  In the process of eating, you temporarily get away from your feelings.  You don’t want to deal with your issues so you eat so that you can go numb from your problems for a while. 

The problem with swallowing your voice, is that the “high” or numbness goes away when you finish eating.  When you finish eating the guilt comes in because you may have eaten half a dozen doughnuts in one sitting. Then your issues still haven’t gone away.  What I would then do is plan what I was going to have for lunch or dinner.  That would usually evolve half a dozen doughnuts or a whole cake.

I was thinking about those incidents today and remembered something my life coach told me once.  She said that over weight people wear one of their problems in public every day.  When an over weight person goes out into public, almost every one can see that they have an issue with food, self care, depression, or some thing else.  Not every one who looks at a skinny person can tell what their issues are.

My life coach also once told me that people that are over weight are usually over weight for a reason.  That reason is rarely about just the food.  The over eating is usually a symptom of a deeper issue.  For example, my issues were my self esteem, not knowing myself, and not loving myself.  Until I dealt with those issues, I would continue the eating disorder and the up and down roller coaster of my weight.

You can tell someone else about their problems but they don’t have to do anything about it.

It is up to that individual to deal with their problems.  When I was over weight, I didn’t need any one to tell me that I was over weight.  I already knew it.  When some one told me about my weight, it would just make me feel even worse.  I would then reach for food to comfort myself.  It just became a vicious cycle.

When that person is ready to do something about a problem that they are having, then they will deal with it.  I was only able to deal with my issues when I was ready.  I got to a point where I realized that I couldn’t continue the way that I was.  I was stuck.  Like one of my friends told me, “when the person is ready, the teacher will appear”.  When I was ready to deal with my issues, my life coach was doing a special and I hired her and I dealt with my issues.  It wasn’t a coincidence, it was meant to be.  The teacher appeared when I was ready.

Another example is when I see patients coming back to the hospital with the same problems.  Those patients just tell me that their medications need to be adjusted.  I educate them on their diets, exercise habits, and taking care of themselves but they don’t have to listen to me.  The evidence that they don’t listen is when I see them a couple of weeks later back in the hospital.  I have to realize that I can’t “fix” their problems, it is up to the patient to take care of themselves when they go home.  When the patient is in the hospital, the hospital can control some things like their diets and their medications.  Sometimes that works and some times it doesn’t.  If the patient wants to have some one bring them unhealthy food ultimately we can’t stop them.  When that patient goes home, they can change their diets and medications when they want to.

I just told my co-workers that it was up to the other co-worker to lose weight.  We can’t force her to lose weight.  We can’t make her be ready just because we are ready for her to lose weight.  We don’t know what is going on in her life right now.  They said they were uncomfortable even talking to her about it and that is why they wanted to get some one that was close to her to talk to her about it and do an intervention.

Thankfully after I gave my opinion, the conversation turned to hiking and running marathons.

Pleasant Surprises

I was doing my laundry last month and happened to look at myself in the mirror.  I realized something at that moment that was a pleasant surprise.

I have maintained my weight for over a year.

I haven’t maintained my weight since 2001.  Ever since 2001, I have been going up and down with my weight dealing with my eating disorder.

This past year, I haven’t been dieting.  I just found a life style that I love and that I can maintain even when I’m traveling.  I was worried when I became a travel nurse that I wouldn’t be able to maintain my weight.

What I have found that works for me is not to deny myself any thing that I want.  Just last month, I went to the Cheesecake Factory and ordered a cheese cake.  I didn’t feel bad about it either.  I wanted it so I ate it.  I used to feel guilty when I ate certain foods or I was afraid that I would revert to my old habits again.

I finally found a balance.

So what did I do when I realized this pleasant surprise.  I wanted to celebrate.  I had already booked a photography tour of LA.  I was going to turn that into my celebration time.  I’ve learned to celebrate the victories that I have in my life.  I had a great time on the tour and I loved the photos that I brought back.

For me, consistency is the key to maintaining my weight.

I consistently eat vegetables and fruits and exercise.  Before working with my life coach, I consistently ate doughnuts, cakes, and lunchables.  That is why I consistently felt tired, sad, drained, and burnt out.

Consistency is also the way that I achieve my goals.

With the help of my life coach, we broke down my goals into small action steps.  Some times the action steps were easy and some times they were challenging.  Even when they were challenging, I still wanted to do them because the steps would get me closer to my dreams and goals.

I consistently want to feel at my best so I have to consistently take care of myself.  On New Year’s Day, I woke up in a sad mood.  I thought to myself, why do I feel so sad today.  I remembered that I had eaten some muffins the day before.  I realized that almost every time that I eat certain foods, the next day I feel sad.  I had no plans for the day but I decided to make some plans.  I looked up hiking tours in the area and found a sunset tour.  I immediately started to feel better and excited.  I know that being in nature always makes me feel better.  I ended up having a great time on the tour and getting to see an amazing sunset and the full moon.  That was another pleasant surprise.

Now when I talk to my patients about their diets, I tell them that consistency is the key.  I used to try to overhaul my whole diet in one day and that never worked.  I could keep it up for about 3 months and then I would go back to my old habits.  With my new life style, I just added in some foods gradually and let go of some foods gradually and over a year later, I’m maintaining my weight.

Self Full

Self full is a term that I learned from my life coach, Karlee Fain.

Self Full means that you fill your cup up first and give the over flow to your clients.  You take care of yourself first.  In filling your own needs first you have more things to give to other people.  You can give your best self to your clients.

I recently read this article about nurse burnout and it stated that nurses are selfless people.  Nurses put their patients first , are overworked, and have too many patients which is just some of the reasons that lead to nurse burnout.

I used to think that putting my patients first was the way to go.  Many nurses would agree to that and said that in the comments of this article.

In my opinion, I have become a better nurse since I started to put myself first and become self full.  I get more sleep, I have more energy, I have a better attitude, and I’m not burned out anymore.

When I got my first hospital job, I didn’t take a lunch break for about 6 months.  I had been working this job for over a year and I had become the charge nurse.  I still had to take a full patient load and do my charge nurse duties.  To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement.  A full patient load was 6 patients and sometimes 7.  I would survive off of some graham crackers and some juice all day.  I didn’t even have the energy to drive an hour home and would have to get a hotel room if I worked more than one day at a time.  I thought I was putting my patients first and being a good nurse.  I was being selfless.  I was fast approaching burn out.  The only time that I took off was when I was sick, which was becoming more and more frequent.  Sometimes I would even go to work sick.  One time the room started to spin and I felt like I was going to pass out but I stayed at work.  I didn’t want the other nurses to suffer because I couldn’t find another nurse to take my place.  I hadn’t taken a vacation in over 6 years at that point.

One time a nurse had to leave early because of a family emergency.  I tried to call another nurse in but no one wanted to come in.  I had to divide the nurse’s assignment and give them to the other nurses.  Since I was charge nurse, I couldn’t take anymore patients because I had the extra charge nurse duties.  One of the nurses was a new grad and had just gotten off of orientation that week.  She refused to take more than the 6 patients that she already had.  She stated that she didn’t feel comfortable taking 7 patients and that she would be putting her license in danger if she took 7 patients.  At the time I was very frustrated with her but looking back now I respect her decision.  As a new grad, I would be very uncomfortable taking 7 patients.  She was setting her boundaries and standing up for herself.  She knew her limits.  I ended up having to take 7 patients and some of the other nurses had to have 8 patients.  Luckily I found a nurse to come in about an hour later.

To be self full, I take care of myself.  I meditate, eat a healthy diet, exercise, get in nature, sit by the beach, sit by a lake, journal, drink water, and relax.  Doing these things keeps my cup full and overflowing so I can give my best self to the world and my patients.  I know that my days off are important so that I can take care of myself.  Even at work, I take my breaks and my lunch break now.  Sometimes that doesn’t always happen but I at least step into the break room and try to eat my lunch.  I want to be the best nurse that I can be and that means taking care of myself before I end up passing out because I haven’t eaten any thing since 5 am.  Some days I just relax at home because that’s what I feel like doing that day.

Most nurses work 5 or 6 days a week.  That is when being self full gets even more important.  On the 1 or 2 days off, the nurse should do something that uplifts the nurse’s spirit.  It could be something as simple as watching your favorite TV show or just sitting in the sun.

Being self full also means setting boundaries for yourself.  I don’t like to work over time unless I want to.  Most nurses tell me that they just assume that travel nurses will work over time.  I tell them that I also want to be able to explore the places that I go to, so I try not to work over time.  Some nurses look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language when I say that.  The hospital brings in the travel nurse because they don’t have enough nurses to work on the floor.  For myself, I know that working too much will lead to me feeling burned out.  Exploring different places and doing different things has made me a more balanced person.  The people that I talk to love to hear the stories of the places that I’ve been as a travel nurse.  They love to hear of the things that I did at those places.  The nurses are also noticing that I’m a much happier person even under stress.  I don’t attribute that to luck.  I attribute that to me being self full and taking care of myself.

Being self full is one way that I’ve learned to combat feeling burned out.

Ask yourself what can you do today that will help you to feel self full?

 

It Comes Back To You

 

My cousin posted something on Facebook that made me uncomfortable.

She just asked if people would share something good that they did for someone else and how the good came back to them.  She stated that it isn’t bragging to tell the good that you’ve done for people and how it came back to you.

Even when I was answering the question, I became uncomfortable because it did feel like I was bragging.

I think in my case it’s easier for me to share the things that happen to me instead of the good that I do for other people.

I asked myself why am I uncomfortable telling people some of the good things that I’ve done for other people and how it’s helped me and how the good came back to me.

My answer was that it does feel like bragging when I tell some people about the good that I’ve done.  It feels to me like I’m waving a flag telling the other person that I’m a good person.

Because I’m a nurse, I do good things for people every time that I go to work.  When I do some thing nice for my patients, I end up telling them that I’m just doing my job.  Some patients tell me that no I’m not just doing my job, I’m being a good person.

Then I had another thought after answering that Facebook post.

What if that is what is needed in this world?  What if the world needs more people to talk about the good that they do and how it makes their lives better?

Doing good things makes good things come back to you.

For example, I was grocery shopping and I was checking out.  The guy in front of me was done and he was leaving.  I saw that he had left his wallet on the counter.  I waited a few seconds cause I was waiting for the cashier to say something to the guy.  The cashier didn’t say anything.  I don’t know if the cashier saw the wallet or not.  I picked up the wallet and walked to the guy and gave him back his wallet.  He thanked me and told me that he didn’t live around here and would not have known where he left his wallet.  A few days later, when I was checking out of the hotel before I was going to work, 2 cars parked behind my car in the parking lot.  I was concerned because if I backed out I was going to hit one of the cars.  A guy that was there helped me to get my car out of the parking space without hitting any of the cars.  I thanked the guy after helping me.  The good that I had put out into the Universe came back to me.

The energy that you put out into the world, whether good or bad, comes back to you.

Being a nurse, sometimes I go to work and teach the patients and sometimes the patients teach me things.  I wish I could tell the story of the best patient that I had but its not my story to tell.  This patient had so many things going wrong but the patient had the best attitude.  The patient had a very gracious attitude and aura.  I loved going into this patient’s room and being around the patient.  This patient taught me that no matter what the circumstances are, you can choose to be happy.  I will always remember this patient.  The patient was doing good things by just being gracious and thankful.

Some times just being yourself is doing a good deed.  That is how you change the world.

The world needs more people willing to do good things and share the good things that they do for other people.  Doing good things not only helps the other person but it also helps you too.

In the comments, share some good things that you have done for other people and how it came back to you.  It’s not bragging.

 

 

 

Living My Life on My Terms

 

 

I’ve recently had some people in my life tell me that I’m not living my life.  One person even told me that I’m in the exact same place that I was in 10 years ago.

It is their opinion since I’m not dating or in a relationship then I’m missing out on life.  To some people I’m not living because I’ve never been drunk or high.  To some people because I don’t have my own home then I’m not living my life.  To some people because I don’t have any kids then I’m not living my life.

At the end of the day, I don’t have to agree with their opinions or let their opinions change the way that I view or live my life.

I know that I am living my life.  I don’t have to be in a relationship, have kids, or be drunk to know that I’m living my life.  Only I get to choose whether I have any kids or get into a relationship.

I am in love with the life that I have now.

When I was working in the nursing home, the statement that I would hear a lot from the women was: “I was going to do something but then I had kids and life happened and I never got around to doing what I really wanted to do.”  “I wish I could have travelled the world, but…”  “I wish I could have lived on my own.”  “I wish I could have gone after my dreams.”

I always wondered what would have happened if they had not let things get in the way of their dreams.

I don’t want to end up saying any of those things when I get older.  I want to be able to say that I did what I wanted to do.

Every one has their own journey in life.  Every one has different lessons to learn in life.

I recently read an article about Tracee Ellis Ross who is living life on her terms.  She states that she often gets some people telling her that she just hasn’t met the right guy yet and that its never too late to have kids.  All of her accomplishments don’t mean anything to those people because she doesn’t have any kids or a husband to focus on.  She is selfish because she doesn’t want kids right now or she is failing at life because of her status.  She has won a Golden Globe and yet to some people that just isn’t enough.

She goes on the say that she is going to live her life on her own terms and not be controlled by the expectations of others.  She is going to be the brave Tracee.

I can completely understand what she is saying.

I tried to live my life on other people’s terms for 30 years.  I was never happy.  I was told that if I lived my life how other people wanted me to live then I would be happy.  If I got a house, dog, kids, a good career, a husband, or just a boyfriend then I would be happy.  Thankfully the Universe had other plans for my life.

I recently had a friend say that if she had a daughter, she wouldn’t want her daughter to live a life like mine.  I was hurt for a second and then I let it go.  I was tempted in that second to list the things that I have done and the things that I’m doing now.  I was proud of myself for not doing that.  At the end of the day, her opinion of my life will not change my opinion of my life. If I had a daughter and she lived the life that I’m living, then I would be proud of her.

In my opinion, I am a beautiful, strong, badass, and powerful woman.  I dare to live my life on my own terms.  I am in love with the life that I have built.  I dare to go after my dreams and to be myself.  I love myself.  My life has meaning.  Three years ago, I would not have said any of those things about myself.  To some people I live a very blessed life and to some other people I don’t.  Success and happiness are defined differently by different people.

A woman doesn’t have to have kids or have a husband to live her best life.  Oprah Winfrey is the perfect example of this.  She isn’t married to her boyfriend and she has no kids And she is living her best life.

I commit to living life on my own terms.  I commit to being the Brave Shavawn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why are we Lying?

 

One day last week, I worked on the floor without a CNA or a secretary.  I have an appreciation for every body who works in the hospital.

If one part is missing every one feels it.

I was so busy that day, I didn’t get to get a lunch break.  Only 2 of the 4 nurses got a lunch break.  The other nurse that didn’t get a lunch break told me that she wasn’t going to tell the manager that she didn’t get a lunch break.  She said that she learned a long time ago that doing that too often would lead to trouble.

I thought back to my first hospital job.  This was the first job that I got after coming out of RN school.  This hospital didn’t have computer charting.  Most everything was still on paper charting.  I had 6 or 7 patients a day.  Most of the time I didn’t start charting until after my shift was over.  I was leaving work at 9 or 10 pm.  Most of the time I would leave and there would still be another day shift nurse charting.

When I became charge nurse the job got even harder.  I still had to take 6 or 7 patients and then do the charge nurse duties.  Most of the time, I didn’t get a lunch break.  When I clocked out I would say that I didn’t get my lunch break.  After about 5 times of clocking out that I didn’t get a lunch break, I was called into the office.  The manager told me that I needed to work on my time management skills because I should be able to take a lunch break.  Since I didn’t want to be called back into the office, I just stopped clocking out and saying that I didn’t get a lunch break.  I still didn’t take a lunch break but I didn’t let management know.  I felt like I would get into more trouble if I kept telling them I didn’t get a lunch break.

Working in healthcare is already hard and stressful at times.

Making the healthcare workers feel like they have to work 30 minutes for free is not ok.  In the past, I felt bullied to lie and say I got a lunch break when I didn’t because I didn’t want to get into trouble.  I would eat while I was charting at the nurses station.  Now I don’t lie.  I want the management to know that if you don’t supply the floor with a CNA or a secretary or enough nurses then they are making my job harder.  When the schedule was made, management knew that on some of the days there would be no CNA or secretary on the floor.

I understand that sometimes there are call outs.  This day, there were no call outs, there were just not enough workers scheduled for the day.

Now when the management looks at that day, they can say that every nurse except one nurse got a lunch break.  They managed great without enough workers.

That day I felt so busy.  The nurses came together and helped each other out thankfully.

One small step that we as healthcare workers can take is to stop lying to management.  Tell the management when you don’t get to take a lunch break.  Let them know that they might need to hire more workers.

Letting management know is not only helping the workers but it is helping the patients.

I appreciate every body that works in healthcare.  When one part is missing it makes every bodies job harder.

 

Self Care is not Optional

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Ever since I started to practice self care, my perspective on life has changed.

Recently a co-worker asked me why I didn’t work any overtime.  She told me that she thought that all travel nurses worked over time.

I explained to her why I chose to be a travel nurse.  I chose to be a travel nurse so that I could live in different areas.  I want to be able to explore the different areas that I go to.  I love to travel and meet different people.

Even if I wasn’t a travel nurse, I would choose not to work over time.  The reason for that is because I am a better person and a better nurse when I take care of myself.  Part of taking care of myself is not working too much and making time for self care and fun.  Eating right and exercising are also parts of my self care.

On my days off, I can do whatever I want to do.  I can go hiking, just sit in the park, yoga, or just stay at home.  Those self care practices help me to stay centered, creative, and in balance.

When I was just working and not taking care of myself, I wasn’t balanced.  I was frustrated and overwhelmed.   I was stressed and I was burnt out.  My patients could tell too.

Now that self care is a priority, I’m happy and I can maintain it.

Unfortunately, the trend that I’m seeing in nursing is to make self care optional.  Its ok to work 6 or 7 days straight, as long as the nurse is getting paid well.  Its ok for the nurse to be really tired coming into work.  The nurse had 12 hours to sleep in between the shifts.

What some people don’t take into account is that the nurse also has a personal life.  When the nurse goes home, they have to take care of that home.  The nurse also may have children to spend time with.  The nurse may have a significant other to spend time with.  The nurse may have aging parents to take care of.  The nurse may have pets.

I’ve seen and heard of nurses working 6 or 7 days a week for months at a time.  They come in to work and they state that they are so tired.  They state that they wish this day would hurry up and be done with.  I have to attribute that to them just wanting and needing a day off.

Too much work and no fun or self care makes a person very stressed.

I recently read an article in Cosmopolitan magazine titled: “The Stress Solution You Haven’t Thought Of”.  The article talks about taking mental health days off from work and how important it is not only for the company but for the employee as well.  One of the quotes that caught my attention was, “Taking time off lowers the stress hormone cortisol.” – Richard Shuster.  Another quote states, “Days off can improve sleep, boost mood, and lessen risks for heart disease and depression.  And being away from work actually makes you better at work.” – Jessica Goodman.

I can attest to these statements.  When I get 4 days off a week, I come into work less tired and stressed.  When I work 4 days in a week, I feel more tired and stressed.  I love being a nurse but I also love having a thriving personal life.  I love spending time with my family and friends.  I love being able to go hiking when the sun is shining.  I love to sit around the lake and write in my journal.   I can give my best self to my patients when I’m operating at 100%.

I understand some nurses need to work more days in a week for financial or personal reasons.  This is when self care becomes even more important.  When working more hours the need for self care rises.  The nurse needs to be able to have some time to relax and to do the things that help with their stress levels.   Even if its something as simple as taking a bubble bath.

Self care is not optional.  Self care is not selfish.  Self care is necessary and important.

 

Mental Health Issue or Illness?

About 3 years ago, I was renting a townhouse in my hometown.  It was 5 separate townhomes connected together.  My home was in the middle.

About a week after moving in, I was sitting in the living room watching television.  All of a sudden, it sounded like someone kicked the front door.  About 5 minutes before I had taken the trash out.  I looked out the front door and I didn’t see anyone.  I went outside and didn’t see anyone on the street.  I was scared.  I called my dad and he told me to call the police.  So I did.

My parents arrived before the police officer.  When the police officer arrived, he told me some very important information.  I didn’t know who had kicked the door.  The police officer told me about what had happened with the previous renters.  The previous renters had had some problems with the neighbor that lived next to them.  The neighbor was hearing loud music and accusing the other neighbors of doing it.  The police officer told me that this neighbor had been caught throwing rocks at the house at night and yelling for the previous renters to turn down the music.  The previous renters had been asleep at the time that the neighbor started throwing the rocks .

At that point, I had already signed a year long lease and so I just had to hope that that situation wouldn’t happen to me.

The next week, I had gotten home from work at 10:00pm.  I lived an hour away from my job, so I would leave the house at 5:30 am and usually get back home around 9:30pm.  When I got into the house, I was sitting my things down and then my door bell rings.  I go to the front door and its the neighbor that had thrown the rocks at the house with the previous renters.  The neighbor asks me if I had been playing loud music all day.  I told the neighbor no and that I had just gotten home from work.  The neighbor asked me if I had an alarm clock that had been left on.  I told him no.  I used my phone as my alarm clock and I took my phone with me to work.  The neighbor then went to the other town house on the other side and asked them if they had been playing loud music.

The next week, I met some of the other neighbors.  I asked them if they had heard any loud music.  None of the other neighbors had heard any loud music.  One of the neighbors told me about the problems that they had had with the neighbor about loud music.  That neighbor said that they had not been playing any loud music or heard any loud music.

Over the next 2 years, I had a lot of problems with that particular neighbor.  I was woken up at night by loud banging on the wall that connected our town house together.  One night I heard the neighbor yelling to turn down the music from outside.  I couldn’t see the neighbor when I looked outside.  I was woken up one day by loud classical music.

Looking back on the situation, I was meant to be in that town house.  I was actually looking to rent the house to the right of my town house.  I put in my application for that town house and some how my check got lost and returned to me.  When I called the realtor, she stated that since she hadn’t received my check that she had rented the town home to another renter.  The next week, I found out the town house right next to it was up for rent.

Also looking back on that situation, I feel like the neighbor might have had a mental issue or illness.  No one else was hearing loud music.

I now have sympathy for that neighbor.  While going through the situation, I was scared.  I was scared that that neighbor would snap and lose it one day.  Since the neighbor thought that I was the one playing the loud music, I was scared that the neighbor would eventually hurt me.

How scary would it be to be hearing loud music that no one else is hearing?

How scary would it be to admit to yourself that you may have a mental issue or illness?

It was probably easier for that neighbor to blame the other neighbors than to admit that something else was going on.  I know that it would be easier for me to blame the other neighbors.

I don’t know if I would have the courage to admit that I was hearing loud music that no one else was hearing.  I would be afraid to take the medication.  I would be scared of the side effects of the medication.  I would be scared that the medication might not work.  I would be scared of having to tell people about my mental illness.  I would be scared of the changes that the mental illness would bring to my life.

Thankfully mental illness can be managed well with help.

There does need to be more mental health hospitals in the country.

When I wanted help for my eating disorder, I wanted to find a therapist that specialized in eating disorders.  At the time, I wasn’t able to find one in the Atlanta area.  I found group meetings for eating disorders but I wanted one on one help.

People who get help for their mental issues or illnesses are courageous.  It takes guts to admit that there is a problem.

I do hope that the people who bought the house after I moved out aren’t having any issues like I had.  I wanted to tell them about the neighbor but the landlord really wanted to sell the house.  So I kept my mouth shut.  I did tell myself if they asked me then I would tell but they never asked.

Its ok to ask for help

Recently some of my Facebook friends posted that no one should be posting their personal problems on Facebook.

To some extent I agree but if a person needs help and that person has no one to turn to, I would like them to post on Facebook.  I don’t want to hear about someone being horny or their sex life.  I almost deleted a family member from Facebook because of that issue.

Most people only post the good things that happen in their lives.  Most people don’t post that they didn’t get the job because of them being late or having a bad attitude.  Most people don’t want to post that they got fired because they weren’t doing the job or they were being lazy.

One of the reasons that I write this blog is to show people that you can overcome your problems and that everyone has problems.

When I was going through my eating disorder, I felt alone.  Yes I had family and friends that I could have talked to but I felt ashamed or that I might be judged by them.  I knew that there were other people that were going through an eating disorder.  I felt that because I was a nurse that I should know better.  Now I love to see and read blogs about people with eating disorders and how they got help with them.

I wish that more people would share their problems so that every one would know that their problems are not unique and that they can get through their own problems.

There was one time that I was glad that a Facebook friend shared their problem.  This friend’s posts were becoming suicidal.  One day this friend posted a date and a time that they were going to kill themselves.  I didn’t know where this friend lived and there were other people on Facebook that were concerned as well.  Finally another of my Facebook friends messaged me and told me that she had sent the police to this friend’s house.  Thankfully that friend didn’t commit suicide because they had posted it on Facebook.

In my opinion it is ok to post the hard times that you are going through.  Maybe one of your friends can help you or maybe they can refer you to some one that can help you.  Maybe one of your family or friends has been through the same problem that you are going through and can tell you how they handled the problem.

I’m glad that I reached out and asked for help for my eating disorder.  If I had not of asked for help, then I would not be where I am at in my life today.  I would not be happy.  I would still be waiting on my husband to make me happy.  I would not have the energy to have a blog, be a travel nurse, and be in school to be a life coach.  I would not love to exercise.  I would not have fallen in love with myself.

On Facebook, I see a lot of people saying that you should keep your next moves silent so that no one will know what you are up to.

I don’t believe that.

One of my best friends told me that when you are ready the teacher will come.  When I was ready to do something about my eating disorder, I sought out a life coach.  I told her my dreams and she is helping me to get to them.

Recently my cousin called me and told me one her of dreams and what she was trying to do.  She asked me some questions because I’m a nurse.  I answered her questions and helped her.  Hopefully she will get the business up and running.  I’m proud that I was able to help her and that she thought of me.

Its ok to tell people what you’re trying to do and to ask for help.  For example, I was talking to another nurse and I told her that I’m in school to be a life coach.  She said she didn’t know what a life coach was and I explained it to her.  I even gave her my life coach’s website.  In the future, she could be a client for my life coach or myself.  I know that if I don’t let anybody know about my business then I won’t get any clients.  My ideal clients are going to be nurses.  So I need to talk to other nurses about my business.

I guess some people are afraid that if they tell any body about their dreams then that person may steal their ideas.  I believe that there is enough room in the world for many ideas and many businesses.

Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, it means that you are strong enough to recognize that you need help.

When my friend posted that Facebook message about harming himself, he was being strong enough to ask for help.  When my cousin called me, she was being strong enough to ask for help.  To turn some of my dreams into reality, I needed some help.

Sometimes it takes some help for your dreams to come true.

In high school, I wasn’t doing so good in math in my senior year.  Math was my favorite subject.  I usually did good in that subject.  I was just telling myself that I would just study harder and do better.  The teacher was concerned because I was doing bad.  She wanted me to get a tutor but I was against the idea.  Getting a tutor felt like failure to me.  I wanted to be able to do it myself.  When I wasn’t able to leave early after the senior picnic because of my math grade, my parents told me to get a tutor.  I ended up getting a tutor and passing math.  Looking back at the situation now, I just wonder why I was so against getting a tutor.  I guess I just wanted to be able to say that I got a good grade on my own, with no help.  I didn’t want some people to know that I needed a tutor or that I needed help.

I don’t know if I would have passed the class if I had not gotten a tutor.  For some reason, I was just not getting trigonometry as easily as all the other math classes that I had taken.

Its ok to ask for help.