I am a facebook user,like millions of other people and like you know,there are quite a lot of interesting and wonderful people and some total strangers, communicating with each other.
So….there was a lady known to me,but that moved away years ago, that decided to hit the readers on Facebook, with some truth.She stirred up something,that has been swept under the rug for years.Every once in a while,the discussion would flair up,but then die a sudden death…..She didn’t name anybody and didn’t give too much info,but it clearly concerned her,for being so angry about it.See I was there once and I immediately knew exactly what she was talking about…….
The dreaded word called:DEPRESSION
If you are familiar with my posts,you’d clearly see why I actually needed professional help many,many years ago.I was even shocked,on the day the Psychologist diagnosed me with major depression.Well,I had to start telling some of my family and of course my boss needed to know,as well as the nurse relieving me,on the days I am off-duty…..What a surprise,to find out,that the three weeks sick leave she took two-three years ago,was not due to what they said it was,but she was admitted to a Psychiatric hospital…..even writing these words now,it doesn’t sound right.I still see it in my mind,as one of those heavy burglar barred Hospitals,for the mentally challenged.See this was exactly where the stigma of Psychiatric Hospitals began.Depression wasn’t seen as an ILLNESS and so many people still today, believe that suffering from depression,is being mentally challenged.
There are no guidelines and depression doesn’t choose race,age or sex. I didn’t have a clear indication,that I was suffering from depression.I saw it as feeling off,or that it was a low immune system,maybe my working hours…..Well,actually it was my past….my upbringing,alcoholism in the household and an abusive mother,my premature pregnancy,my abusive marriage into more poverty,losing a husband to death,raising 4 children….Then the Doctor said something I couldn’t believe…I had to quit my job,as a nurse and find something else,if I needed to earn an income.I’ve been nursing for so many years,wasn’t computer literate and nursing was really the only thing I wanted to do.I just love the elderly and all my decisions revolved around them.I was on call during my days on duty and had to be available for 24 hours.The nurses were pushing me to the limits,with them coming late,or put in last minute sick notice and because the old age home paid them far less, than the the salary they actually deserved,it was difficult to get hold of them,to stand in,in an emergency.Then the senior staff,just didn’t stay very long.Most of the time I had to do the work of 2 nurses in one day,like all the medication.To be able to take my days off,I had to put out all the medication,including the drugs,for the person relieving me,as she only handed it out and made sure the residents take it on time:6:00,8:00,12:00,:17:00 and 20:00.That does not include the antibiotics,that they mostly get at separate times.Then they’d get sick and needed much more attention and intensive care…..the old age home would not employ more stuff and with an inside resident count of 45 by best of times,I had to do with only 3 caregivers and because registration with the Nurses Council was not mandatory for any of them,I had to do the work as the senior nurse,in the wards too.
I began developing health problems….and no one connected it to depression…why would they?I was my old chirpy self….always there for everybody else. Trying to solve more and more problems for others, because I was fine. I was fine, always laughing and smiling, whilst deep inside I was dying slowly. I had another operation, developed problems with my Thyroid, struggled with Hypertension, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Cholesterol, just too name a few. It was absolute agony, just to lift my head up, to swing my legs off, of the bed, to make up and get dressed. I wore less and less make-up and my hair was just long enough, to be tied up with a hairclip. We worked 12-hour shifts at a time and it was far too long for me. I couldn’t wait to get home, just to get away from the buzz and demands of what my job was expected from me….just to get into comfortable clothes and relax. I loved the elderly, but the job itself was piling up, on my shoulders. Without realizing it, I let the bosses play me into their hands and what used to be favors in the beginning, all became part of my job description. I was physically and mentally tired, but I had to work and I just needed a break, according to everybody….
To discuss your personal life with strangers,just didn’t seem right, yet I began to open up more and slowly but surely, we discovered all the underlying issues, that accumulated to my admission to the Psychiatric Institution.Things I have “filed” away deep inside and forgot about….deep things and of great importance.At times it drives you crazy and at times it makes you furious. Going back in time, isn’t always easy and my life was everything but perfect.Because I didn’t treat the obstacles as they occurred, it snowballed, but I still didn’t attend to it. In my mind, it always was my imagination,or I was too sensitive….maybe it wasn’t meant to hurt me…well I could easily really have gone crazy, had it not for the treatment, that included highly trained professional staff and Specialists.
Thinking back on it,I’ll always be grateful to Bloemcare in Bloemfontein, South Africa.They probably kept me from tragedy and I think I speak for more than just me.
Rather let people to think you’re crazy, by going to a Psychiatric Hospital, than care what people say and rèàlly go crazy
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