I apologize in advance, but probably for the next few weeks, most of my posts will probably be me geeking out about psychiatry, recreation therapy and how much I love my job.
So, I just completed my first week at my new job. I absolutely love it. It’s amazing the path you take to return to what you are meant to do.
I do appreciate all the things I learned from my time in grad school…even my time with the state. Eventually, this wound will close; I promise. My knowledge from my past experiences helps a lot without me having to sit behind a desk on a computer hating life.
During my orientation, I met a nurse who has a brother around my age who has MS. She said he’s had a hard time adjusting with the illness because he went from being a successful IT engineer to someone who has MS. MS is basically a disease that causes lesions on the brain and spinal cord. Depending on the location of these lesions, that part of the body shuts down. It’s a progressive illness that causes permanent disability that usually leads to death. That’s hard to hear at 27 years old so he’s been pretty depressed.
She talked about him quite a bit during training and that he missed working. I told her about vocational rehab helping people get back to work who had disabilities and gave her a few resources. Even though I hated the job, and it didn’t work for me at all, the upside from it is that I now know a ton of resources for how to help people with disabilities go back to work if that’s what they choose. She was pretty grateful and I hope things work out for her brother.
After two days of orientation, we were put in assault training in case things ever go wrong. Honestly, assault training is probably one of my favorite things about orientation at hospitals because not only do you learn how to protect yourself at work, it also applies outside the office. Although I am glad I know it, I really hope I never have to use it. But, as of now, I can:
Immobilize a person by myself…well, until help comes quickly. Very quickly.
Get out of a choke hold from behind as well as the front.
Dodge being grabbed, punched and kicked.
Remove objects from someones hand, get out of a bite and get out of a headlock.
Take notice everyone. I’m kind of a ninja now, so you may want to think twice about coming after me. Just saying…
Overall, the week was really great. I got to meet my coworkers who are…SANE!!! I work with another recreation therapist who is my supervisor and a music therapist. (By the way, music therapy is awesome and to see it in action was a real treat.)I didn’t really get to lead any groups because they wanted me to get a feel for the schedule and how things run. Next week I get to lead groups alone and do whatever I want. I love that we have free reign to design our own groups and programs and show my clients that having fun can also be very therapeutic.
For example, there’s a cool activity that involves blowing up a balloon, and writing every negative thought you have ever had about yourself on that balloon. You can do this alone or with a friend, friends, spouse, parents…whomever. Anyway, when you are done, take a look at the balloon and reflect on everything you put down. The cool part comes when you get to pop it. For people who have a hard time asking for help, you have to ask someone to pop your balloon. For others who always ask for help, you pop your own balloon. The point of the activity is to show that although the problems are still there you have the power to take ahold of them by yourself or through others. It’s pretty neat and something I recommend trying.
The best part of this week was meeting the people I would be serving and getting to know them all. I can’t share their stories here of course, but lets just say I will try to think twice about whining about my life from now on. Nothing makes me more thankful than having somewhat decent mental health. Mental illness has got to be worse than anything I’ve seen; although I am fascinated by it and geek out over it on a daily basis, never would I want to go through life dealing with a mind gone totally wrong.
A lot of my clients have schizophrenia and let me tell you, I would never wish that disease on my worst enemy. It’s terrible. When I see some of the histories of the people I work with, where they used to be, and where schizophrenia has taken them, it’s horrifying. We already know so little about the mind; to know that it is capable of turning your life completely upside down is frightening. There’s a few simulators out there if you ever want to get a glimpse of what it is like. Jensen Pharmaceuticals makes a great one. Although it is different for everyone I’ve encountered, this simulator does give you a taste of what it is like. Warning it’s kinda disturbing:
So, that’s a little about my week and what I will be doing and who I will be working with. I’m actually really excited for work on Tuesday, which is something I haven’t felt in a long time. Although my time at the state was unpleasant, if it weren’t for that experience, I would have never realized how much I missed being a recreational therapist and I wouldn’t have this awesome job.
Sometimes it’s necessary to step off the path. With enough faith and perseverance, you’ll eventually end up where you are supposed to be.