My life is falling apart. Okay, maybe not actually, but it really, truly feels that way. And, I am helping it along. For those of you who read one of my earlier blogs, When things fall to pieces, you know all about how my work kind of screwed me over, and how my primary care let me down, and how I wished I could have had my therapist to talk to but she has her new policies. Well, since then I promised that I would let you all know how it went, what the outcome was… and I’ve sort of fallen down on the job of following-up, so this blog is going to do a whole lot of that. Hopefully it won’t be too boring.
First, let’s start with, did I get the letter to return to work? Yes, I did get the letter, but it wasn’t quite as easy as I expected. I was fortunate to get in with the psychiatrists office on Thursday (the incident happened last Tuesday). I saw a nurse practitioner whom I’ve never seen before. She and I definitely did not jive. She implied that I should have been diagnosed with bipolar. Then she wouldn’t listen when I told her I know the diagnostic criteria for that and I do not meet them. If I did, I’d own it. She later backtracked and said she wasn’t implying that it was Bipolar, just that she felt we should try mood stabilizer because SSRI’s have never worked for me in the past. My thought: okay, then why even mention Bipolar? Just prescribe the meds, keep my diagnosis as depression and PTSD, and let’s get on with this. Turns out, she didn’t even prescribe a mood stabilizer. She gave me an antipsychotic (even though she said, “you have no signs of psychosis but again the SSRIs don’t work), and she gave me klonopin (she said, “this will help slow down your racing mind so you can get some sleep), and Prazosin (she said, “this will help with nightmares”). I will say, the nightmares haven’t gone anywhere but the vivid memories I have of them upon waking have budged. So, that is promising; however, all the meds have made my blood pressure plummet (it is usually either 120/80 on the nose or it’s high) which has caused a whole other slew of problems with life/work.
Monday, as I was getting read for work with my 76/45 BP (I triple checked) and 120 pulse, I could barely stay standing long enough to shower and dress and brush my teeth, so I asked one of my co-workers to let my students in the class (knowing I’d be late). I didn’t realize just how late I’d be, however. I probably shouldn’t have been driving, in hindsight. Long story short, my appraiser (the first one on the scene of last weeks tear fest, aside from the teacher who called her) was sitting with my kids when I got there. And she was pissed that I didn’t call her to open the room and let her know that my students would be unattended. Shall I remind you that they are seniors? Most of them are 18 or 19. They had instructions. They were being well-behaved and quiet, by my appraisers own admission. My kids are good. Anyway, this isn’t about them, though. Unfortunately, because of me, my coworker/teach friend had her master key taken away. And, apparently, they do watch the cameras outside our rooms. Tuesday I was late again but I text the boss lady and let her know, so that was fine. I have had to let all my students know I am on the radar though.
Speaking of my students: they are amazing. They all missed me. I got several hugs. Someone jacked all of my snacks, so my sweet kiddos have me all kinds of snacks, without prompting. I decided, after having a pretty extensive internal struggle, that I would tell them the truth about why I wasn’t there. I wanted them to know that I respect them enough to give them honesty (and I expect honesty from them in return, so far this has been a pretty mutual agreement). In response to my story, they were insightful, understanding, funny, empathetic, and fiery. They, in true teenager fashion said things like, “Miss, you shouldn’t let them get away with that. You should tweet it; I’d retweet for you.” Haha I love them.
On the note of not letting work get away with it, apparently they did nothing wrong. According to our union lawyer, the school did everything they did “in good faith.” So, it would seem forcing someone to stay in a room and talk to several different strangers, and forcing the person down to HR, forcing them to go on record, tarnishing their record, is all okay, as long as it is in good faith. Needless to say, this is my last year at this school. I will finish out the year with my kids, and I will finish out my contract, but I am done with the school system.
This is where I am assisting my life in turning itself upside down. It was my initial plan to finish my M.A. in School counseling, become a school counselor in the Fall of this year. Then begin working on my Psy.D or Ph.D in Clinical Psychology. Given that I am completely down with that institution, that means my plans have to change. This morning I switched my degree plan to M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling; fortunately, most of the classes are the same and all of my school counseling classes will count as my electives, so I am not behind in the degree or anything. It is just that this degree plan requires almost double the hours. I am pretty good at school though, so I’m going to see if I can take 5 class this Summer. Maybe 5 in the Fall. Then start my internship in the Spring. I just need to expedite the process because changing my degree means I can no longer just complete the program online, which means I have to move closer to the campus (I am 2 hours away from the campus now). This could all turn out to be an absolutely rash, crazy, bad decision. But, I’m in it… so it’s happening. I’ve already started the job hunt. This, of course, will mean that therapy would be 2 hours away, one direction instead of 1 hour… so, I’m not sure what that would mean for my therapy… and, damn it, I am not starting over.
More on what’s happening in my therapy in my next post.