A New Chapter- Mental Health

This was my first week in a Mental Health ward, this time as a clinical pharmacist. Honestly, don’t think I made as many interventions as I would have liked…I feel.. lost… in my old rotation , I got into a groove of checking for VTE prophylaxis, checking the antibiotics were appropriate, checking pain relief was appropriate, and that regular medication was started/stopped as appropriate…. then I go go mental health.. where bloods could be done monthly.. my longest stay patient has been there SIX years..😱😱😱 and I am unsure what my role is …. it’s very “What the consultant wants”… and reminds me of the old days where I would have a chat with the consultant regarding some questionable things 😅. Consultant isn’t always right…

I feel like I am surrounded by unknowns and that sort of builds up my anxiety of what I don’t know. The anxiety of being in another hospital and not knowing how they do things and their practices.. messes with my head 😭😭… it’s only week one, but everyday just feels that I am unproductive and everything takes a long time to get used to …😓😓😓 Planning go do some learning this weekend!

In addition to that, its so strange to be fully into mental health. In mg surgical rotation I got a small taste of mental health, but now it’s like really full on in your face mental health…😭😭 Another big learning curve is coming for me..

People are so unreliable

I’ve pretty much all but given up relying on people. It seems like everyone is fickle, unreliable, and do not take responsibility for their actions. It’s been waves of disappointments on disappointments. I am just highly disappointed in so many people. It’s so frustrating for me, that my life is made harder by unreliable and inconsistent people. I really hate people honestly. At the end of the day I am still a person, so do I hate myself too? I should just become like them. Unreliable. Useless. And a liar. It is what it is I guess.

Tired of all the BS

I am so tired of people breaking the rules, this lockdown 6.0 goes on and on because of those rule breakers

Why can’t you just suck it up? And do the right thing so ALL of us have to suffer.

Then on the other side, people are flaunting the generosity of payments from the government. I want to pretend I didn’t hear or know about it, now that I know I feel. Defeated. That this is Australia. The people who need help dont get help. The people who are fine are abusing the system

People can get vaccinated but choose not to.

How the hell are we supposed to get out of this if people keep choosing to do the wrong thing?

The people Actually DO do the right thing are not rewarded in anyway and in the end, they keep fighting for some made harder by a few selfish people.

I am really sick of lockdown and I just really really wish I could go home.

Embrace Loneliness

I believe you have to embrace being alone. It’s so true how you can be around people, yet feel so alone and isolated.

And when you are alone, you can feel like no one in the world cares about you, if you suddenly disappeared without a trace. If something happened to you, no one would notice, because you are all alone.

Yet, the sounds of people talking too loudly about things you don’t care about, can make you wish for peace and quiet.

So in the moment, appreciate you are alone. You don’t have to make small talk, you don’t have to ask how their day was. Just relax knowing you can eat when you want, sleep when you want, go out and do something you want to on your own. No need to consult with anyone else or what they think. Life is freedom to do whatever you want.

Yet sometimes, society makes you feel bad for being alone. Life and society wasn’t designed for people who are alone. It’s like the loners are shunned in the world.

All the Reminders of the Memories

Now that you are gone, all I have left is fragments of moments in times that are embedded into my memory.

There are so many triggers to the reminiscing that takes place.. It can be a smell, a song, an image, a place.. everything reminds me of you

It’s like the world doesn’t want me to forget you, but I NEED to forget you. How can I move on when I am constantly living in the past?

I hope these feelings of sadness will not last.

Did the bed always feel so cold? Was food always so tasteless? Was life always this mundane?

You lighted up my bleak world with colour, flashing lights, and bells… but now it is quiet once again.

I can only move on when I make fresh memories, try new places, meet more people.

Does a place exist where nothing reminds me of you?

Feeling Dry

Contrary to the title of this post, Melbourne has been rainy and wintery all week. However, I am dry and dehydrated..I have mouth ulcers in my mouth, my skin is dry and bleeding, and overall I feel unwell. But, I can’t explain why I am unwell. I feel guilty that I feel sick and so so tired.

I am feeling my zest in life is slowly fading. I feel dizzy when I play badminton…I am scared that I will injure myself once again. What are hobbies again? Everything just is hard to concentrate when I feel like I need to continue working

I am aware that I am thinking about work was too much…even on my lunch breaks and at home, I am checking my email constantly. My team leader calls me before and after work…It’s just ongoing and infiltrating my life and it is mostly my fault. I always take on too much and too often, I never learn my lesson but I love the exhilaration of being on so many committees and so many projects. But spare time is no longer mine. Maybe it’s time to take a step back and let others help.

When did I become so bad for asking for help? When did I become so independent? It must be pride, arrogance, and distrust…

Things need to change, I can’t go on like this in fear that I will crash and burn.

Work Addicted

I just spent like almost an hour researching something for someone I don’t know in another town, which has nothing to do with me and this is after I have had dinner and am at home. I think I have a problem switching off work.

I work in a mental health hospital dispensary, yet I get phone calls from around South Australia from people asking for advice about psychotropic medications. I would just like to clarify I am not a medication expert hot line, there are people who are paid simply to answer these medication information questions.

Yes, I might know a bit more about antipsychotics and other psychotropic medications than some pharmacists, but I am by no way close to a specialist of any kind in mental health.

When asked a question I don’t know, I get obsessed with trying to finding the answer and unfortunately there isn’t an answer as it was with this case.

I’ve just come off from 3 days of being on-call and being asked all sorts of questions that put me outside my comfort zone and made me think on my feet… So I guess an email about a question relating to long-acting anti-psychotics didn’t seem too bad at first. But unfortunately, I am not paid to just answer people’s questions all day and hence, I did it at home…not good, but at least I learnt a ton lot about antipyschotics!! Too bad it’s my last week at this mental health hospital.

Sometimes I wonder why I try so hard…

*lifts up glass of milk*. Cheers to new chapters.

The end of a chapter and the start of the next

The cogs of change are changing again and life as I had known it for the last 9 months , funny how it started as a 4 week gig. When did it change? When did I stop caring, stop striving, and lost my focus?

I think I did bring it upon myself…too scared to let go of what is safe and what is familiar and immerse myself into the unknown. I am not sure if that is partly the reason why I find myself in this predicament. But then ironically, I prove myself right. It didn’t work out, but at least I have a some form of security in knowing that I have the second job while looking for something new.

It’s scary. Not knowing what my future will be like. But hey, this has been happening every few months before a contract ends. I still remember the terror and anxiety I felt when my first contract was almost ending…I was worried did I make a good impression? I’ve always worked hard and did my best to be nice to everyone. But I guess when you so hard and with no recognition, you start feeling under appreciated, tired, stressed, and burdened. Too scared to complain because you want to be chosen to stay there, yet everyday feels harder than the day before.

This good bye was inevitable. There are regrets, but there are also moments where I had a confidence that I did not have before and I am proud that this difficult situation developed that in me. Standing up for my rights and of others is something that I strive to do. I think it has something to do with respecting yourself and speaking up when something things off or wrong. Working in a mental health institution has always been a goal of mine and I have fulfilled that and believe this was be a stepping stone into something greater.

Apparently, with this company there will be an exit interview…this is not something I have done before, despite working in so many places previously. There is so many things I want to say, but I need to be careful of saying anything too bad,  because I need this people to be referees. There is never a way to win is there? Better to leave on good times than bad. I am both scared, yet also looking forward to a change of scenery. Bring on the last 3 weeks of full time work…

Stay Tuned for updates

The Breaking Point

I think we all have a limit.

A point where just one small thing can put you over the edge.

Something small that usually wouldn’t bother you.

But you have had enough.

I think you know it’s happening, even when you try to convince yourself everything is okay.

People think you are fine when you are barely holding yourself together.

You try to brush it away, pretend it is not real…BUT IT IS there and it eats away like you like an internal parasite.

The parasite is eating away at your and slowly it takes over your whole body.

Slowly you become an empty shell…Where you feel nothing, care about nothing, and do things you didn’t care about.

It’s a ticking timebomb and someday…you are gonna explode.

Then you will know.

It’s too late.

You’ve reached your breaking point.

Recipe for Burnout

Covid is a great excuse to become burnout in my opinion. Asides from work, I usually make time to go to the gym around 3 times a week for classes and try to play badminton 1-2 times a week. I would visit my elderly Aunt and Uncle whenever I had time and also visit my sister and her baby whenever I could. Due to Covid restrictions, badminton, gym, and social outings were gone from the calendar and I didn’t visit my aunt and uncle as much because I could be a risk to them. Take away all the things I did out of work, it just left me with work..and more work. Oh yeah, also study… I am almost finishing my graduate certificate in disability studies…

If anything, I had to work more hours, longer days without break. So of course, I am not a great machine that can keep going and going. I stopped working. Literally. Couldn’t work, because I had become so sick. Sick of the unpaid overtime, sick of not being able to say no to an extra shift because I felt guilty, sick of looking after sick people. It’s a real thing.. this vicarious trauma…

Due to the stress at work, I was so exhausted when I got home, but I would still force myself to do some work out. Gone were all the things that I had preached on this blog and to others… Healthy Eating habits? I craved and gave into KFC every time the migraines came back…I have never spent so much money on SNACKS and they aren’t all healthy snacks either :(. I have been so busy at work, I don’t even drink enough water because that would mean having to go to the toilet!! I am just overeating snacks… and it’s terrible! I’ve also been splurging on things I don’t necessarily need with my new credit card.. Oh..what I have done.

Anyways, I am not writing all this JUST to complain about my situation, because I know we have it pretty good in Australia. It will get better, I hope, because the situation is ever changing! Just as fast as we were put into restrictions, the restrictions are being lifted faster than I imagined too. Life will become better soon. But until then..Just keep fighting on, because it can only get better from now.  Take time to look after your mental health, have you done something just for you today?

Maybe, it’s okay, that I am acting the way I am now…As long as I realise that I can’t stay like that forever! Now that I am aware, I will be more conscious when I go pass KFC or purchase something I REALLY do not need.

Staying Fit During Covid-19

Hi All,

Thought I would like to share my personal first experience of trying to do some workout at home!! While I was quite disappointed that my gym was closed due to the pandemic, I understood that this was for not only my health, but the health of many others too. I have to admit, I was hoping the Covid-19 restrictions would only last a few weeks or so, but it looks like it will be much longer than that! So, I had no excuse to keep putting off the exercise, just because gym was closed.

So like most things, before I start anything new or out of the ordinary for me…I asked those around me what they were doing. How many days did they work out in a week? When did they do it? Who did they do it with? What equipment did they use? It was interesting and innovative the answers that I received. From using your bed, to handbags, and hand sanitisers as weights.

So off I went yesterday. After finishing work, I changed into my sports gear as if I were about to head to the gym or badminton. Grabbed a towel from the bathroom, spread it on the bed room floor, got my laptop and placed it in an easy to see location. Typed in google and brought up Blogpilates (who I know is an online Yoga instructor from some other Youtubers) and clicked on a 14 minute yoga stretch video. I don’t want to get into the hardcore stuff yet, I am unfit and tight from not exercising properly! It was important that I put the phone away, made sure my door was closed, and didn’t stop the video. I have to admit it was a bit hard trying to keep my eyes on the screen while doing some weird position and difficult trying to copy what she was doing. But, at the end of it, I felt a lot better! I needed to do some core work outs too, so I looked up “5 minute work outs” on Youtube and got this video of a man doing 10 different exercises over 5 minutes with no break! There was planks, pushups, and other difficult stuff, but after that I was puffed out, hot, and a bit tired. It was a good work out, I think. Was tired this morning, but I had a good sleep.

I think it is really important to keep exercising amidst this time, as it is not only good for our health but also for our mental well being and SLEEP! My sleep has been so bad lately, probably because I am not using up all my excess energy before I sleep :(. I am going to aim to do exercises at home 3-4 times a week and continue my daily walks during lunch breaks. I hope you can find some time to schedule in some exercise in your schedule too!

Take care and stay safe.

PS: I gave into FOMO and bought an expensive yoga mat from Ebay.. xD Hopefully it arrives before the gym reopens!!

JL

Random Rants: Reporting your colleagues

Today was a tough day. So many challenges, upsets, and unexpected upsets…

In the past, I think I have wrote about how in my line of work I face people that have issues with drug and alcohol withdrawal. They are rude, aggressive, and partly I know the reason why they act that way. However, when today I was faced with a rude and difficult staff member, I was flabbergasted. There are times when I want to throw in the towel, give up, and swear at everyone and storm out, but do I do it? No. Because I want to keep my job and in the Chinese way we describe it “Save our face” (or dignity). As I said in my post about being a ‘Professional‘…

But wow. There was a staff member who lost it. Literally lost it. I don’t work directly with her, but I first talked to her on the phone, let’s call her “X”. She called up asking about whether some “trial leave” medications were ready. I said, well has anyone dropped off the script to pharmacy? She was shocked that a doctor actually had to write a script …I wasn’t rude to her at all, but I was explaining what is the normal procedure for a trial leave. The doctor SHOULD write the script based on how many days the patient will go on leave, they indicate when the leave will take place, and if there is no clinical pharmacist in that ward, then we ask for the medication charts so I reconcile the script to the chart. In this case it was also a Webster pack, so it was crucial to have those drug charts. She asked when it would done, as we hadn’t even got the script I said around an hour…and normally we need 24 hours notice normally for Webster packs and they wanted one on the spot. RUDE. Then she said she was going to put an incident report in…I was like…Are you going to put one in for us? Because this is not our fault that you guys didn’t organise this trial leave at an earlier date… and she said, she was going to write a report reporting everyone involved apparently. Whatever floats your boat mate.

In this case, the doctor wrote the script as a discharge script. He wrote one months worth of all the medications out and did not specify whether it was for leave or for discharge. I tried calling the number he listed on the script, and got no answer. I called the ward to clarify how many days the patient was going on leave and whether or not it was actually a discharge, because occasionally we do one week’s Webster pack (Which is a 7 dose pack that we make up so the patient can punch out their meds easily) and give the rest of the medications on discharge.  This will change how much the patient has to pay and if they have to pay. If it is leave medication, they don’t get charged anything for any of the medications or the packs. If it is discharge meds, the patient will have to pay the full cost of all the medications plus a $6.60 Webster packing fee. If the doctor just wants the patient to only have one week Webster pack, we don’t charge anything for the medications in the pack and just charge $6.60 for the Webster packing fee. As you can seem ,this is important to know as it will affect how much medication is dispensed and who is paying the cost. The person I called on the phone didn’t seem to understand this and I could hear that person “X”, swearing at us in the background, saying “Why can’t they just do their EFFINGJOB”. I was like. … WOW…so I politely asked the person on the phone, “Who is that in the background?”. She said, “Oh I don’t know their name, they are just passing by”. Obviously lies as she put me on hold while the rant in the background continued. I just want to do my job, you shouting and insulting us in the background. Does not help. Not one bit.

Anyways, I told my boss about what I heard on the phone…and she said she would send an email to someone high up and tell them that’s not how you can treat pharmacy staff. Thank you to those in higher positions than mine. I am just a small potatoe that gets bossed around.

About a half an hour later when the managers spoke to one another. The staff member X, whose name I did not know came and asked if there was a “Josie” around. I said, “We don’t have a Josie, but my name is Joy”. Hastily, she said, “I came to apologise for my behaviour earlier, I was stressed out from work.” I said that’s fine, but “what is your name?”  Because I have no idea who she is, she then says “My name is Donna, but don’t worry I have already been reported”, then she stormed out. That was the best apology ever. NOT. Obviously someone told her that she had to come apologise.

I normally wouldn’t stoop that low to do an incident report on a staff member, but my boss did. The politics at work are insane. We work in a mental health facility, but I feel like half the staff should also be patients there. The world is a crazy messy place.

I have dealt with some difficult situations before, but this was really new to me…how can you treat other health professionals in this way?  That’s beyond me.

Well I just had to rant this one out…because I keep lamenting and thinking about it…but I really need to get on with that assignment due next week .. T_T…Wish me luck..and someone remind me why I decided to work two jobs and study part-time too?!?

Almost the end of 2019…

I think it’s time for a reflection.

Big things, small things, decisions… risks, investments..friendships, relationships, money, time, study, work, career….goals and dreams.

If only we were able to do it all and achieve it all… Sometimes you feel that one life-time is not enough. You feel like there is much to chase after, yet you also fail to appreciate what you have achieved already and what you have.

Sometimes I feel regret at what I sacrifice in order to get closer to what I want to achieve. I question myself, is it worth it? To be so driven towards something that gives you temporary joy when you achieve. I am somewhat afraid that when I finally reach the goals and final destination to where I want to go, I fear it won’t make me as happy as I had hoped.

This fear… will it stop me from trying? I think I will regret most not trying hard enough. But even though i am striving towards my goal…I am also trying to pursue my career goals… and then there’s my bucket list of things I wanna do before I am 30.

I think I am going through what I call a “one third of life crisis”. Not sure what I want, but everyone around me seems to me talking of marriage, getting married, having kids, buying houses… and then there’s me.. not sure what I want to do. I am sure I am not the only one who feels that way though… life is meant to be more simple than we make it. We complicate it by over thinking, by worrying about what hasn’t happened yet… or worrying that something will never happen.

FOMO is so real. I try to avoid it, aside from Linked In and a fake FB account.. I don’t go on social media. But even in the brief moments I have gone on these apps…I’ve managed to make myself feel bad.. I compared myself to this person because they got into medicine this year… oh and this one got a “Senior Pharmacist” position, even though I graduated first!! Or this one got into the hospital residency program…so much to compare myself to…you get my gist. I know I am supposed to feel grateful for where I am, so many would kill to be in my position..two well-paying jobs… good work place… mostly good colleagues…

But sometimes, your brain just shuts down and just wants to run away from it all and just have a break, before your break.

Nobody knows

Nobody knows what goes on inside your head

In turn, you don’t know what goes inside theirs.

We go through life guessing, assuming, and dictating what we think others are thinking. Little do we know how wrong or maybe right we are.

How can we know someone, better than we know ourselves? We could know someone, but maybe they changed or perhaps you were only seeing an act that they put on?

How do you really really know someone? I guess you can’t. You can just hope that you do and trust they are who they say they are.

Random rants: On Replay

Do you ever have times .. usually at the middle of the night.. when you are trying to sleep because you have work or a flight early tmoro morning… and you cannot sleep.. because you keep ruminating over something again and again… so much so that the story becomes twisted and strays from the original. Your emotions, feelings, and thoughts taint your memory of what really happened…

The story becomes what you want it to be instead. A fragment of the truth, but what is the truth? Each person will tell it in a slightly different way. Just look at the bible, in the New Testament there are several books written about the same event but by different people.

Alas, this late night post to try to get off my mind what has been weighing on my mind for the last few weeks. I think, I need closure, I have to settle things, for once and hopefully for all.