I started this blog as a kind of exploring place and a thinking space, to examine some of my unpopular feelings about hospitals, medicine, and mental health. I intended to be here in anonymity and to not risk my job.
If I knew more about the workings of WordPress, I would insert a slew of photos of people laughing hysterically.
I left my job of eleven years. It was stunning and shocking and, for a brief minute, shattering, if I am being honest.
Who shall I be, now?
The main reason I haven’t added any thoughts here over the past few YEARS is because I went to grad school, 25 years after earning my undergraduate degree. It would be accurate to say that I was unprepared for that level of time suck. But I was also so, so ready to add to my knowledge base. I had a lot to learn.
I have a new life, and it is beautiful. I am able to help people more than ever. I am able to know people when they are well, and when they are less well. I am able to put all the “heart” that I want into my work, with co-workers who feel like family.
I felt like was seeing a perpetuation of mental illness happening in the hospital, and it made me feel angry and helpless. Was it real? I don’t know. Was it that the responsibilities of my job changed and skewed my perspective? Maybe. I felt less trusted than ever before. I felt less competent than I felt on my very first day. But I also felt like my eyes were opened to a bigger picture – that yes, we could medicate the symptoms of mental illness out of our patients, but what could we do beyond that?
We could not provide stable housing, we did not embrace harm reduction, we had no ability to know patients long enough to offer strength-based treatment, we were in an environment that could not possibly offer trauma-informed care.
All of the above is what I do now. I listen and validate and problem solve with people who ask for assistance. I am the keeper of all the secrets.
I found my people and I found my place.