Writer’s Block

I sometimes wonder if starting a blog was a mistake.  Give me an assignment, and (with a lot of stress) I can write it pretty well, but when it comes to sharing things that effect me personally? All my writing skills go out the window.  I have wanted to share my story in the hope of showing people who have been through tough times, that they are not alone, and I want to fight for those who are denied help and abused.  But at the moment, I feel like I am failing in both.  I do little things here and there, but I don’t think I am making any difference at all.

Ever since this morning, one tiny thing has triggered a whole cascade of thoughts.  I know I’ve achieved a lot today.  I made it to PND support group which this term is a combination of an exercise class and sharing time.  I missed 2/3 of the exercise class, but made it to the sharing time. I then spent the afternoon getting an ultrasound for my abdominal pain, a cortisone injection in my wrist, heaps of xrays and a psychologist appointment.  Then home for time with the kids, neither of which went to bed until after 9.  Apparently I have little night owls.  It’s more than I’ve squeezed in a day for some time.

I’m very sore – the injection actually went very well – I was terrifed after the badly botched cortisone injection in my wrist for de guervains tenosynovitis, but this one was in a slightly different place in my wrist and afterwards, for a few hours, my wrist was painfree for the first time in many years.  I overdid it a little during that time, but it’s not too bad.  It’s a really good sign that the local anaesthetic worked for the pain for a few hours because it usually means for me that the cortisone will actually work (I’ve had lots of cortisone injections in various body parts with varying success).  What hurts however is my shoulders from being twisted in all sorts of various angles, both during the injection and in the xrays I had on my shoulders, elbows and wrists after.  I’m hoping though they’ll be better in the morning

I guess though that’s the nature of chronic pain – sometimes testing and treatment can make things worse.  All you can do is hope and pray that the extra pain is temporary and leads to enough improvement (even temporarily) that is worth the pain.

But that’s not what is bothering me.  Physical pain bothers me very little.  It hurts very badly, but rarely gets me down.  The same can’t be said about people who lie to me or hide things from me.

Ever since sharing time at my PND group this morning, just something another mum raised, totally irrelevant to me personally, meant I discovered that a mental health service I was seeing over this year and last year (and no longer seeing) either lied to me over a treatment option, or at the very least, misled me and hid information from me.  I don’t understand why.  They know I’ve worked in mental health and am going back to work in mental health, did they really think I wouldn’t find out?  Did they not stop to think about, with my history of being horribly abused by the mental health system in Brisbane, not just the physical assaults and the sexual assault and worse, but the terrible lies about treatment options I desperately needed that were repeatedly hidden from me so I couldn’t ask to access them – all things I told the people at this service I was seeing here – that I would not be hurt to find out they, at the very least, misled me?

I’m no longer seeing them so I can’t ask if what was raised was true – but honestly, deep down I already pretty much knew, just not for sure until now.  It’s something I asked several people there, many times, and while no one said “we don’t offer that treatment option”, they did say “if people need that, we refer them to other services. We only act as a referral service.”  I want to believe I heard wrong, or perhaps the lady talking about it was referring to seeing someone they referred her to, not actually at that service, but as much as I really want to believe one of those, I know I heard correctly.

I’m not going to ask the service themselves.  The person who I always get put onto is a psychologist who is always rude to me and wrote a heap of inaccurate garbage in my file, including inaccurate suicide risk assessments because she ignored everything I told her.  But I’ll speak to my case manager about it because his service has the information – to be honest, that’s part of why his service didn’t take me on as a client last year and referred me back to the other service – because the service who didn’t tell me about this treatment option should have been the one to provide treatment which is why last year, no one else could understand why these two services didn’t take me on for treatment.  I just got bounced between the two for around two months being assessed and then told that both were closing my file.

Sorry if this slightly confusing – I don’t want to go into too much detail, at least until I can decide what to do.  In the meantime though, I will call my case manager and ask him if what I heard today is definitely correct.  I know it is, but I need to hear it confirmed.

I just feel so hurt and let down again.  Yet again, the health system has failed me with lack of honesty and I don’t know why.

It’s the story of my life really.  Friends, family, teachers, physical doctors, mental health professionals… it’s like I have a giant sign on my back that says “lie to me and mislead me, my feelings don’t matter”.

I guess I overcame my writer’s block.  I just wish I had a more uplifting or useful post other than a vent about being failed.  Sorry.

Bullying and harassment education

Well today we had the bullying and harassment education session for graduate nurses.  I sometimes wonder why they run these programs.  I am yet to meet someone who doesn’t know what bullying and harassment is.  It seems those who are the least likely to do it are the ones who pay most attention and those who are most likely to do it, don’t absorb thing.

Having been a survivor of bullying and harassment all my life, including workplace bullying and harassment, I found the whole thing a little traumatising.  What surprised me though was hearing so many others report workplace bullying.  I must admit, I have been very lucky in the ward where I work now.  The workloads we get can be insanely huge, but I’ve not seen any bullying and harassment and only had one workmate who is critical and unsupportive – but she’s that way to everyone so I wouldn’t call it bullying.

It’s funny though, what some people consider bullying. One workmate commented they considered walking into the tea room with everyone using their phones to text/use the internet/etc is inappropriate.  I would say that happens on our ward a lot and to be honest, when that happens, I cheer.  I do like some interaction, and I like my workmates (they’re pretty great actually), but sometimes I just want to sit down and eat my dinner and take a break from interaction. It’s not that people are ignoring each other – they will talk if people want to talk – but they don’t force talk simply for the sake of making conversation.  Especially as someone with aspergers and social phobia, I love the freedom of not having to talk unless I’m in the mood for it.  I would never call it bullying.

But I guess though some people find it makes them uncomfortable, and if they’ve never been through serious bullying, it may feel like it is a form of it.

The good thing to come out of today’s session is I think I’m going to get the courage up to make a complaint about a doctor I worked with in the past. All the doctors that regularly work on our ward (at least the ones I interact with – I can’t speak for the ones I haven’t interacted with) are really friendly people and go out of their way to treat the nursing staff as equals.  But not all doctors I’ve worked with in the past are like that.

I don’t want to go into too many details, but there is a doctor I’ve worked with in the past, when I was suffering a depressive episode myself, who constantly ridiculed people with depression (behind their backs, not to their faces – at least he wasn’t quite that cruel).  I didn’t report it at the time because I was too depressed and, to be honest, outright scared. I haven’t reported it since then because I’m scared of the career consequences because I love working in mental health and scared if I complain that it may lead to me not being given a position in mental health again as retaliation for making waves (I mean, I hope it wouldn’t be the case, but I’ve seen it happen to other people in other hospitals), but my other fear is I’m still on a contract in my current position.  Even though it’s always implied that if we do a good job, our contracts will be renewed, there is still that fear that if we make a complaint and offend the wrong person doing so, that our contracts won’t be renewed.

For all the talk about bullying and harassment and how victims of it should speak up (we even had to watch a video by a senior director with them pushing victims to speak up), there is still that worry about the career damage it can do by speaking out.  And for me, that is unknown.  I don’t know anyone (outside of the people I work with) who has worked for the organisation I work in.  I don’t know if they are supportive of people who make complaints or if they rip apart those who make complaints (as happens in some workplaces).  I’d like to believe they are supportive, because I have found them supportive in many other ways (especially now in my current position, they’ve been really supportive of me having depression and anxiety), but I just don’t know and that fear is eating me up.

I’ve spoken to an advisor (one of their equity and diversity team) about whether I should make a complaint or not, and she’s going to look into it without giving out details of the complaint, but now I wonder if I have done the right thing saying anything at all.

As I said, I’ve been a victim of bullying and harassment, and all sorts of abuse.  And for most of it, speaking up has only made things worse.  As a kid, the bullying I went through started when I started preschool when I was just three and a half.  It was worse in primary school, and even worse again in early high school.  I was emotionally and physically bullied.  In preschool the bully was a teacher’s pet so speaking up just saw me accused of lying (why would a four year old lie about being bullied???).  In primary school, I was just given the excuse that it was normal child behaviour, except for one kid who had genuine intellectual issues and I was told it wasn’t his fault (although I felt the school could have done more to contain him).  In high school I went through hell and even though the teachers were sympathetic, they claimed there was nothing they could do. Thankfully by the end of year 10, all the violent bullies had long been kicked out or dropped out, and that just left the emotional bullies, who were more tolerable.  Speaking out however never did anything.  All I ever got was a “we know” from staff.  And while it was nice to have their sympathy, in the end it didn’t change the bullying.

Ultimately all long term abuse can be considered bullying.  Trying to speak out about the abuse at home when I was a kid only made things worse.  The psychiatric abuse I suffered after Sammie was born, speaking out made the abuse far worse.  Speaking out about my exhusband’s abuse of me just made him more obsessed with trying to hurt me.  And they are not the only people who have abused and bullied me where speaking out only made the abusive bully try to hurt me more.

So naturally I am afraid.

But then I tell myself – this doctor treats people with depression.  If he truly thinks the things he says, how negatively that must impact how he treats his patients.  Even if by some miracle he is still a great doctor, one in four people suffer depression at some stage in their life, and I can’t be the only staff member to go through there who has depression.  The things said affected me very deeply – what if the next depressed staff member to work there ends up killing themselves over his comments?  I would feel incredibly guilty for having not said something.  As it is, I feel incredibly guilty waiting this long to get the courage to even get advice on whether to make a complaint.

Have you been a victim of workplace bullying?  did you report it?  were you supported?

Can’t Think Straight tonight

I apologise for my lack of interesting posts two nights in a row.  After work tonight I am in so much pain I can’t think straight.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do if I can’t get on top of my pain.  I’ve come home and taken strong painkillers and they haven’t even made a dent in the pain.  Hopefully some sleep will help if I can sleep tonight  Sorry readers.

Just can’t tonight

Work was good today, life was not.  Had some more bad news last night (this time financial related) and I’m just not up to talking tonight.  I slept even less last night – I didn’t sleep at all despite trying for 8 hours, I finally fell asleep when Sammie left for school and woke up half an hour later. I was too tired to go to my last anxiety therapy group today which I’m really disappointed about, but because we didn’t get Rose to childcare until mid morning, it was too late for me to try to get much more sleep when she was gone. I got about 45 minutes sleep but was late for work as a result because I slept through my alarm.

I feel so tired that I could cry but I am too exhausted to produce tears.  Hopefully tonight will be more successful in sleeping.

Sleep problems, and mania, hypomania and mixed episodes

Well it would appear I’m not having the best day. Nothing major happened – pretty much nothing at all happened (not the housework, not church, not any of the other things I wanted to do today) because I was so tired. I was barely able to sleep at all again last night, and even trying to get some sleep during the day today was a total failure.  In the bipolar world though, I am pretty lucky.  I have heard from many others that even one sleepless night is enough to trigger a manic (or at least  hypomanic) episode for them. For me it’s the reverse – sleeplessness doesn’t lead to mania, but mania sure leads to sleeplessness.

My entire life  I have suffered sleep problems. Continue reading

Some bad news and why in the past I self harmed

I’ve been feeling a little out of sorts today.  Not the grumpy type of “out of sorts”, just the type where you don’t feel quite right.  I couldn’t sleep much at all last night and when I did, I kept having vivid nightmares.  Same when I tried all morning to get more sleep.  I mean, I’ve been having a lot of nightmares since starting cymbalta, but they have been a lot worse the last week, but last night was the worst insomnia and most nightmares I’ve had in a long time.

Continue reading