I just found this site and after reading several of the postings, I think this might be helpful for me too. I don't really know where to begin, but to put it in a nut shell, in the past few years, I lost my father inlaw, mother inlaw, younger brother inlaw and most recently my mother. I had the honor of taking care of my mother inlaw and my mother in their homes with hospice. Being a nurse, it was the only way they could have come home. I thought I was dealing with all of these loses okay, I handled every conceivable detail that was needed and threw myself into work to keep my sanity.
Working in a hospital, I see suffering and death every day. At some point in the last several months, I've started to take anything less than "the best care" personally. My reactions to issues were much stronger and more emotional than my norm. The final straw was 2 weeks ago when 1st a good friend and colleague lost her father and then another colleague's son died in Iraq. Wanting to be a good friend and supporter I went to both funerals. The last one, that of a young man I had never met, but had mailed care packages to sent me into complete melt down. I sobbed as if it were my child and had difficulty composing myself. I must say, that I didn't react this strongly to any of my family loses, which really scared me. After the funeral, I went back to work and had to meet with an employee who was on leave due to her son committing suicide - another gut wrenching experience. Then to top it off one of my staff was making comments heard by me within earshot of a patient. I was furious that this person could be so unprofessional and insensitive. I spent the weekend fuming over this and decided to "write her up." While I had calmed down, the tone of the discipline apparently struck a nerve with my boss and HR. (I sent them the documentation to review before I met with the employee.)
The bottomline, was they (my boss and my HR director) called me in and said they were worried about me and that I needed to see someone. I spent the weekend beating myself up really well. I reran every action/reaction over and over again. On Monday this past week I went to work as usual and my HR director came to see me and said they wanted me to take the week off and see someone. I was crushed, but had determined over the weekend that I really hadn't dealt with all of the losses both personal and professional. I felt guilty, ashamed and lost. I was fortunate to get into to see a therapist whom I immediately clicked with on Tuesday and again on Thursday. My emotions have been on a real roller coaster. There are so many other things that have added to this situation but the worst is my husband who is still grieving his losses. Not meaning to be "mean" he has said numerous times when I was having a bad day, that even though I lost my mom, I still could pick up the phone and call my sister - - he doesn't have anyone left. I'm beginning to understand that this is not a contest.
I go back to work tomorrow and I'm anxious about it. I know how lucky I am to have people who care about me enough to "force" me to address all of this. I'm not used to being taken care of or after - - that's what I do, so this is really hard to accept. I have been trying to decide how to pay tribute to my mom (her birthday would have been tomorrow) and decided to put this posting together. I'm not going to reread or try to edit it, because I would probably delete it all. I have a long way to go.
Debbie: I was in a similar situation - only I had just started a new job - and two days after I accepted this position - I got put in the hospital with Graves Toxicity - and three days after that my Dad had a Stroke - Two days after that my Mom fell in her driveway and called me at work from her cell phone - while laying in the driveway crying for me to come get her - then a week later we found out my Brother has stage four cancer of the tongue and throat.
I found out that my thyroid had to be removed - my Dad was put into a nursing home - he had senile dementia - with multiple small strokes slowly killing him - my husband left arm went numb and then started hurting and we found out that he had to have surgery on his neck - two disc's replaced with 3 metal plates. Brother had two surgeries - cancer seems to be gone - don't know for sure yet - but - he can't pass the swallow test either.
My Dad died on April 6th. My Mom was put in the hospital on May 10th.
My point is - my work just up and fired me. Told me that I was a wreck and that since I was new - they spent $10,000 through an agency to hire me - fired me - because "I" was a wreck.
So - be happy that you do have a caring work situation that noticed that "you" needed to care for "you". I noticed that nurses - or caregivers in general don't seem to worry to much on themselves. And everyone - has to take care of their own emotional state.
I am sorry for all your losses. Tomorrow is your Mom's birthday - whether here on earth or in heaven it is still her birthday. That is a tough one. I have fathers day coming up and am pondering the same question - how do I deal with that - my Daddy just isn't here anymore.
Well - just wanted you to know - I am glad that you took the time to deal "some" healing and it may take a lot more to come. Celebrate your Mom's birthday - go see her - if you can - take her some flowers - Mom's love flowers. She will know you are there and she will probably be closer than you think. My hugs to you. Loretta
So sorry to hear about all that you are dealing with. Definately a lot to bear. You know it is so ironic that when individuals are in a helping profession, they can take great care of other people, yet have difficulty caring for themselves. I think that one of the best gifts that we can give to ourselves is learning to be self-nurturing. It is hard to do yes; however, we will not be able to effectively care for other people, if we do not care for ourselves. I think that it is a good thing that you are talking to somebody. It really does help. Being able to vent and talk to somebody who has an objective perspective is both helpful and encouraging. Lastly, I know how difficult anniversaries can be. With tomorrow being mom's birthday, maybe you can try to honor her memory by engaging in a ritual that she enjoyed, i.e. cooking a favorite meal, going to church, listening to a favorite song, etc. I know that these things can be painful, but they might also bring joy when a person is ready. I don't know if you can postpone your return to work date until later in the week, with mom's b-day being tomorrow. If not, just take the day one minute at a time. Try not to let anyone or anything push your buttons. You can do it. Just try to keep a positive mind frame. I'll be here to support you if you want.
Stay in therapy. I am surprised that you are functioning at the level you are. This isn't something that you overcome by sheer will power. You need a support system and therapy is a good place for it.
You might also need something for anxiety. We think that we are strong and we can overcome but some things you just can't walk away from as if it never happened. You deal with death but it's not the same when it's someone close to you. And even more so when you are the caregiver.
Take time for yourself. Take a leave of absense if you feel you need it and take time to heal. You should put yourself first now.
Thank you all so much for your supportive words. I'm at work on my lunch break and I'm hanging in there. I met with my boss this morning and she greeted me with a big hug and a welcome back.
I can't visit my mom's grave, because it's in Texas and I'm in Kentucky, so I bought her favorite pink roses and put them in a pretty vase at home. It didn't make alot of sense to my husband, but some how it comforted me.
Debbie, When I read what you wrote about the flowers-I thought it was very touching. I did something similar for mother's day-I bought 2 bunches of daises and brought them home-I took a couple of them to mom's grave. It made me feel better. Have a great day! Cherie
Actually, the therapist suggested perhaps taking something short term, but I'm really opposed to taking anything if I can avoid it. I'll see how I do over the next days. I did better than I expected at work today. I truly do love what I do and I think it's helpful to be around all of the supportive people who are my second family. What I will have to work hard at is not over committing and trying to take care of everyone else. I'm in management, so I don't provide direct patient care, which is probably good right now. Thank you for your support. I'm going to call my sister in a while and we'll tell mom stories and share a few tears. D