Friday, November 14, 2008

oh, lets do a drunk post

Apologies to Geo-Joe for the title there.

Sitting with patients today, I realized that my training basically prepares me to unpack the most unbelievable of patients baggage. During my training, mostly in acute psyche admission's units, I usually unpacked psychosis or manic states.

In the more stable outpatient population, where I am now, I unpack something entirely different.

For the most part, I help unpack trauma and long denied and buried emotional discourse. I help them unpack their pain. It is quite a raw experience. And when the patient was in an acute state of psychosis or mania, during my training, this was pretty easy to fix. Well, at least calm the pain to a level where they could be discharged.

So now I see patients in the community. Post discharge. And i don't have to unpack all the pain with them, just the parts I can aim the drugs at. And what ever else they can tolerate. The entire package gets unpacked during their therapy sessions with counseling staff. I explain to the patient's that we are limbs on the same tree, the medication and the counseling. A big tree they can use to shade them during their time in the hot, hot sun.

My task now, it to embrace pain. Not embrace their pain, but be comfortable with idea that they have pain I cannot effect. I have fully long since learned to sit with their pain and not absorb it. Yet I still fall into the trap of trying to fix it. Working their problems over and over in my head, like some sort of mental rubix cube. This happens when I shower at night, when I am trying to sleep.

Here's the thing. Life is full of all sorts of love and hate, good and bad, yin and yang. I have a prescription pad, a warm open heart, and two ears to hear it all. I do not however, have a magic wand. And really, I shouldn't. That would make the struggle mean nothing. We all have a certain amount of personal responsibility in our own lives. This includes my patients.

So there, there is a post after two glasses of wine. And I believe that I now qualify as the world's worst drunk blogger. I get all meaty in the head after booze. Why can't I just relax?

Maybe I need a third glass :)

11 Left a message at the beep:

Anonymous said...

You are of great depth, Mrs.
A true see-er(?) in this life.

Your patients are fortunate to have someone that carries their truths for longer than the allotted time of an appointment. You never know what you might consider outside the arena.

I say that you are in a good place in regards to this job. You are striking a great balance of recovery and reality.

No one could ask for more than that.

And since my little guy is at my mom's I've had a few beers. So, I might be the worst drunk commenter. (Ha! We even get drunk on the same nights!)

Not sure if what I mean can come across in present state, so...
I think you're great. And, you're doing great things with your time here. Thank you. We need more Mrs.Halls's in the world.

Mr. Poopie said...

This is, by far, the greatest of pitfalls for healers. I see it with massage all the time. Even when I make a conscious effort to cut myself off from becoming emotionally involved, there is still a part of me that tends to absorb their pain. I guess I wouldn't be any good at my job if I didn't care about my clients, but it's damn near impossible to not be drained after a day of trying to rid people of stress and injury.

James said...

It is great that there are some individuals like you in the world. Cam said it all better than I could.

Michelle J said...

This is one great post Holly!

I can relate just a bit, not on your level but on the level of one in therapy!!


Holly Hall said...

Cam: You are a very nice commenter! Go beers!

Mr. Poopie: It is true, it is only natural to care about the people you are helping. So true, so true. I think when I am really struggling, I just remember, hey, that pain is not MY life. In fact, my life is going really well! Fabulous infact. That snaps me out of it. :)

James: Thank you James :)

Michelle: Thank you for sharing :)

I am the Walrus with braces. said...

I want to have sex with Pamela Anderson in this picture. Only in this picture though.

GeologyJoe said...

no apologies necessary.

just keep doin' what your doin'.

Ole Blue The Heretic said...

Come on you really were not that drunk.

You job seems like it takes a lot of energy to perform.

Holly Hall said...

Hello I am the walrus with braces: Are they braces on your teeth or suspenders? Either way, good luck with your quest up there.

Geo-Joe: Thank you and will do!

Ole Blue: Yes, there is energy in my job, and at the end of the day a glass of wine can really hit me. But, the words, these posts, sometimes they are like my kids, they keep poking at me until I pay attention and let them out to play here. And really, by the time I type it out, I have already composed it in my head.

Little to no energy required there


Bruce said...

Gee, I thouught this was exceptional for being boozed up on vino. I think you should drink a whole bottle and start a novel.

You touch on the key element, which is getting the patient / person to have a certain amount of personal responsiblity in their lives. The older I get, the more I find this to be a very rare thing, at least in a modern, service society.

Holly Hall said...

Bruce: I was indeed imbibing the night I wrote this. Turns out, I can go on and on even when altered. But, like most of my posts, they are written ahead of time, in my head.

It is all a matter of jotting them down. Really, no brain power needed.

And yes, personal responsibility is hard to come by. But, I am finding that I starting to require it right from the start with my patients. It is a matter of um, giving them the option of being in charge, which most people really like!



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