It's so strange to think that in a week or two I'll be back at the hospital, working days, part of the 9-5 Monday-Friday, weekends off club. No patients, just meetings, typing, more typing, computers.
I'm trying to brace myself for it socially. When I was an EKG tech, I used to pretty much work the same schedule. Now I'm going to constantly be running into my old coworkers that are, of course, going to be asking how things are going, why I stopped working overnights in the ICU, why I'm not in school right now, etc.
I suppose the quick offhand answer that I can tell people is that a) I just couldn't tolerate the overnight schedule and needed to switch to a daytime job and b) it's summer (close enough), and I'm not taking any classes until the fall.
Still, though, I don't think there's much of a point in being really evasive about the fact that I pretty much crashed and burned (no doubt hastened by lack of sleep), and took about six months just to get a grip on my metal health. I don't really want to be an open book about it, but I also don't want to feel like I am hiding the truth.
I'm still on the ICU listserv so I get hoards of department e-mails, even though I won't be working there when I come back to work. One of the nurses recently injured her leg, and everyone is going all out. All the other nurses have a schedule posted for each day of the month and different people are signing up to deliver her meals. They are going all out to offer their support.
On one level, I think this is awesome, but it also really demonstrates how differently people react to a physical illness or injury, versus psychiatric illness. Even though I wasn't particularly secretive with my coworkers about what had been going on in my life, there was still this extreme hush-hush mentality which really lended itself to my general sense of social isolation. I don't know if my coworkers were worried that word would get out about my newly recognized flawed character, or what.
There seems to be this sort of uber-confidentiality thing going on with psych issues. Even at our hospital, whenever you go into someone's medical record who has been admitted to the behavioral health unit, you receive an electronic reminder (that you don't receive with non-psych patients) that the patient's medical record is confidential. What's up with that? I think it's sort of archaic.
I don't know where I'm going with this. There's some stigma with the psych stuff. I don't want to proliferate the stigma, but it's funny, it's like society is already geared to proliferate it for me.