I am in the thick of studying for my certification exam. This is a bridge I must cross to go from a registered nurse to a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. I am studying my ass off. But I wanted to take a break to share why I am loving every minute of it. Loving it like it's my job.
First and foremost, I am a nurse. It didn't start out that way. I originally was an art major. But this is not relevant for now. It was by happenstance I took a class about the brain. Specifically, I took a class on what the function of the brain is and what neurotransmitters are. O glory day, the heavens opened up.
Neurotransmitters are the little chemical messengers in the brain. They are like magical signals that go from brain cell to brain cell and tell the cells what to do. What they lack in size, they make up for in sheer number. In fact, there are billions and billions of brain cells in the brain. And the brain itself is about three pounds. It is like Whoville in our skulls. Not too shabby of a set up.
I am fascinated by the billions and billions of brain cells. And yes, I am stealing this line from Carl Sagan. Brain cells are also called nerve cells or neurons. I don't want to get to technical, for fear of losing you, but please, I can't help it.
So in the Whoville in our skulls live on continents called lobes. The frontal, the temporal, the parietal and the bastard in the back, the occipital. I do love them all. Each lobe has specific purpose. But it is the frontal I love the most. This is in the front (big shock) behind your forehead. All self important and logical. It pays your checkbook and lets you figure out how to argue with your wife. Well, the last part is not recommended.
When things go awry in Whoville, it will be my job to help. But here's the thing, no one really wants help if their Whoville is depressed. Or if the Whos are getting all ancy and manic like. Treatment will be sought very rarely if the Whos start muttering to themselves or seeing Whos that aren't there. The stigma attached to mental illness goes both ways, in it's diagnosis and treatment. Even in modern, educated societies, mental illness is seen as a moral failing. You should see what I get in less educated, more 'fresh of the boat' patients. But I have my ways. Indeed, I gots mad skills. (hee hee a pun!)
Let it be said here, in this blog, and please repeat it everywhere you can: Mental illness is a MEDICAL DISEASE. Just like diabetes, just like high blood pressure. Only this medical illness is in the brain.
Which brings me back to my love. The brain. The neurotransmitters. It is like Homer Simpson to a doughnut to me. It is my passion and privilege to work with people who have mental illness. One that I hold dear.
And as I pore through this review material and review the stuff I hold very dear, I can't help but get all weepy. I am so fortunate to have found my place in life. I don't want to do anything else when I grow up. I have found the golden ticket.
So please, anyone who listened or read this, please send out positive vibes, prayers and thoughts for my test next week.
Have a good weekend.
And take care of your own little Whovilles!
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