sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist, an unschooler, and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Posts tagged ‘real life’

Today is June 4, 2018

I went to a new psychiatrist today. This is my third psychiatrist in 2 1/2 years. I have not been happy with the psychiatrists I have seen. I have been disillusioned by the majority of the mental health community that I have encountered for myself and my children.

Today, I went to my appointment with a plan to be completely honest.

Refreshingly, the psychiatrist asked what brought me in today and I spoke frankly with her and she was real. She listened to what I said and spoke to my questions respectfully and authentically.

I decided quickly that I liked her.

She did not know what EFT was but she initiated asking me about it. She heard my perspective of my experience of depression and respected that I felt it was bipolar depression. She stated she was going to keep the major depressive disorder diagnosis for now, not sure why, but whatever, it does not really matter. She did understand Bioplar 2 and spoke clearly about it and asked specific questions about my experience.

I felt heard.

After the appointment, I thought about the law of attraction.

I was ready to be honest with the doctor and also wanted to be heard and that is what I experienced.

When I was depressed and sought a psychiatrist, I found one in an old building with no working air conditioning and so she ran a fan which affected my ability to hear her confounded by her soft voice, accent, and my hearing loss. And she only accepted cash payment, very inconvenient for me to have to have cash on me. I don’t have a local bank and so finding an fee free ATM is a challenge. Last thing I need when I am depressed is more challenges, hurdles, to going to the doctor that I most need to see.

When I was hypomania, bordering on manic, I saw a psychiatrist who although very open to alternative therapies and resources, was easily distracted and lacked focus.

Hmmm..

Something very funny about all of this.

The law of attraction is powerful.

I also worked today, at my newest job. The job where I feel like a queen in a palace. Quite an unusual feeling for me at work. I worked longer than I had told them I could work, but it worked out ok because the reason I had to leave early changed, an appointment I was supposed to have in the afternoon got canceled.

I have put in many hours at this new job and am happy to do so. I am getting the best pay rate at this new job, the best and the first time I have had a true increase in pay in over 20 years. Crazy, huh? No, I work in health care.

I went to get a massage today. A good friend offered a special on massages this month, 90 minutes for the price of 60minutes. I couldn’t pass it up, an opportunity to support her, get a great massage, and see my dear friend who I have not seen in a while.

I think I am now clearing toxins.

I feel like I need to exercise or something.

Restless discontent.

Maybe it is the fact that my husband, Don, and I are speaking in just 3 days and I am beginning to feel the panic of do I really know what I am doing speaking to a group of people about parenting?

This Panera closes too early, 9pm. I am used to the Panera that is open until 10pm. They are cleaning the floor already at 8:30 and out of 2 kinds of tea. I got prickly pear and don’t like it.

Restless discontent

That state of being agitated and bored and edgy yet uncertain

Not knowing what is going to happen next and ready to move forward

To move out of this feeling of unhappiness

Was I feeling unhappy?

life has been wonderful lately

Yet, a part of me is grieving

Grieving a loss

My life is about to change

Change in a good way

And yet, a change is still change and loss

Does change have to be loss?

No, yet it is a loss of the way life was…

And the way it was… despite the challenges, was familiar

I am entering into unfamiliar territory

I started 2 new jobs for 2 new companies recently

I lost my hours at a job I had been at for 8 years

They are choosing not to use me and also have changed policy so that even if they choose to use me, there would not be many hours for me

Body Language

A song by Queen plays as I write

Strange combination

Yet, body language is such a perfect image

For change, speaking to people

Not exactly the way Freddie sings about body language…

The way we communicate with each other

Communication includes how we say what we say

Respect

Consciousness

Collaboration

The three tenants of collaborative, conscious parenting

Moving through the restless discontent

The only way out of the mud, is through the mud…

Diving in deep

Deep into the mud

And Journey sings…

Workin’ hard to get my fill

Everybody wants a thrill

Payin’ anything to roll the dice just one more time

Some will win, some will lose

Some were born to sing the blues

Oh, the movie never ends

It goes on and on, and on, and on

Don’t stop believin’

Hold on to that feelin’

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Gratitude: Embracing Bipolar Depression

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out

And if you want to be free, be free

‘Cause there’s a million things to be

You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high

And if you want to live low, live low

‘Cause there’s a million ways to go

You know that there are

Cat Stevens sings as I sit here telling myself to write

Ups and downs, highs and lows

Bipolar depression and mood swings

Life challenges

Leaving me wanting to escape it all, at times

Other times ready to jump in and fight, power on…

Emotions

Feelings

Memories

Regrets…

Life for 48 and a half years and counting…

Opportunities come and gone

New endeavors

Staring new jobs, new people, new places, new computer systems…

Old jobs and people I have known a long time

Letting go

Moving on

Writing

Because I have to

Because it is what feeds my soul

Because when I don’t write,

I feel lost

Something is missing

Until I return to my keyboard

And figure out what to say

My life is awesome

Sometimes my life sucks

Circumstances and situations suck

Infuriated by government systems

Lack of organization and logic

Waiting

Mental health services

Sick care

Thinking of those things is a whole ‘ nother blog

Embracing myself and who I am

Embracing where I am

Right now

Right here

In this home

My 5 year home that I have lived in for 17 years…

With all its cracks and crevices and needed repairs

My house is nearly 49 years old, as am I

Built the year I was born

A good year

1969

I was born on Peace Day during the Vietnam war

October 15

I believe I choose to be born on that day

I was born 3 weeks past my mother’s “due date”

They allowed that back then…

Here I am

Now

Journey sings to me

Don’t’ stop believin’

Dreams

Writing

Aspirations

Hope

New endeavors with Don

Speaking

Speaking!

Writing and speaking my truth

My true self is emerging

i sing this song to my true self…

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere, somewhere

I know I’ll find you somehow

Somehow, somehow

And somehow I’ll return again to you

The mist is lifting slowly

I can see the way ahead

And I’ve left behind the empty streets

That once inspired my life

And the strength of the emotion

Is like thunder in the air

‘Cos the promise that we made each other

Haunts me to the end

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere, somewhere

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere you can hear my voice

I know I’ll find you somehow

Somehow, somehow

I know I’ll find you somehow

And somehow I’ll return again to you

The secret of your beauty

And the mystery of your soul

I’ve been searching for in everyone I meet

And the times I’ve been mistaken

It’s impossible to say

And the grass is growing

Underneath our feet

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere, somewhere

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere you can hear my voice

I know I’ll find you somehow

Somehow, somehow

I know I’ll find you somehow

And somehow I’ll return again to you

[Interlude:]

You see I know you’re out there somewhere

O yes I know you’re out there somewhere

You see I know I’ll find you somehow

O yes I know I’ll find you somehow

the words that I remember

From my childhood still are true

That there’s none so blind

As those who will not see

And to those who lack the courage

And say it’s dangerous to try

Well they just don’t know

That love eternal will not be denied

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere, somewhere

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere you can hear my voice

I know I’ll find you somehow

Somehow, somehow

I know I’ll find you somehow

And somehow I’ll return again to you

Yes I know it’s going to happen

I can feel you getting near

And soon we’ll be returning

To the fountain of our youth

And if you wake up wondering

In the darkness I’ll be there

My arms will close around you

And protect you with the truth

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere, somewhere

I know you’re out there somewhere

Somewhere you can hear my voice

I know I’ll find you somehow

Somehow, somehow

I know I’ll find you somehow

And somehow I’ll return again to you

Thank you Moody Blues and Azlyrics

Story of my life

Have you ever seen the video for the song, Story of My LIfe, by One direction?

I have always liked the song and having just watched the video, I like it even more.

And I am very picky about my videos. My favorite song currently is Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill, but oh my! I really dislike the video. It just does not do the song justice. I find the video cheesy. But I will focus back on the video I like…

Story of My Life by One Direction

Today is my half birthday.

Crazy? That a 48 year old woman is celebrating her half birthday?…

Maybe…

There is no cake or anything. I just always think about it when it arrives, 6 months prior to my next birthday.

And today, I am using the date to focus on me and my life for my blog.

What better song to use and after watching the video, I knew it was perfect.

Do three links to the video impress upon how much I want you to watch this video?

I will superimpose my blog within the lyrics of the song today….

“Story Of My Life”

Written in these walls are the stories that I can’t explain

I leave my heart open but it stays right here empty for days

April 15, 2018

I am 48.5 years old today. My 49th birthday is 6 months away. It is also “tax day” but being Sunday, I guess that will really be tomorrow.

I am very happy with my life right now. I would not have said that last year. Two years ago, I might have, but several years prior to that, most likely not. I have had more than my share of challenges over the past 11 years. Somewhere in all of it, I lost myself but have been working to uncover myself again. In doing so, I have discovered that the truest part of me has been lost for far more than 11 years.

The last time I remember being this confident and happy with myself was when I was 10, 11, and 12 years old and living in Bethel Park, Pa. I lived there for 3 years of my life: September 1979 through the summer of 1982. I made some wonderful friends in those 3 years and have some of my best childhood memories from that time period. I was a Girl Scout, a safety guard for the bus stop, part of the writing crew for a child run and produced news show that ran on the local channel and was facilitated by my 5th grade teacher at Washington Elementary School. I learned to play the clarinet and was in the band which continued even after moving across the state and when entering high school. I played softball for a church league and was a catcher and learned to hit the ball and even got a home run! I played softball the year before we moved to Pennsylvania, when we lived in Ohio, but we later found out that I really needed glasses and this explained my not hitting the ball for an entire season of softball. It is much more fun to play softball when you can see.

She told me in the morning she don’t feel the same about us in her bones

Seems to me that when I die these words will be written on my stone

I received my first journal, “dairy” when I was 10 years old. My sister gave it to me for my 10th birthday, October 15, 1979.

I still have that diary and every one after it that I have been writing in for the past 38 1/2 years. I have been a writer for as long as I an remember. My 6th grade language arts teacher was the best. I can remember creating a book of poetry in her class and I vividly remember her sitting down to review it with me. She encouraged me and praised m writing.

We moved a year later and somehow, my vision of myself as a writer changed. Somehow, when I was in high school and thinking about college, I never thought of pursuing a career in writing. Looking back at my life now, I see how everything I did was perfect to bring me to where I am today. I would not change going to E-town College and majoring in Occupational Therapy. Nor would I change all the places I have worked as an Occupational Therapist. Even the job I held for only one month. It all brought me to where I am now.

I used to say “I am a writer that got detoured by a career in Occupational Therapy”.

I don’t know that I would say that anymore.

I am a writer AND…

I am an Occupational Therapist.

Both are a large part of who I am.

And I’ll be gone, gone tonight

The ground beneath my feet is open wide

The way that I been holding on too tight

With nothing in between

The story of my life

I take her home

I drive all night

To keep her warm

And time is frozen (the story of, the story of)

The story of my life

I give her hope

I spend her love

Until she’s broke

Inside

The story of my life (the story of, the story of)

Any love song I listen to now, I often think about loving my inner child.

Nourishing the part of me that got lost, my true self.

I have been actively working to nurture my inner child for over 14 years ever since I began practicing EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique with Jan Luther.

I did personal work and went on to study EFT further and earned a level 1 and level 2 EFT training certificates. I also received level 1 and level 2 Reiki training. I am a student of Conversations with God. That goes back even further, I believe to before my oldest child was born over 20 years ago. I remember hearing Neale Donald Walsh speak at Unity of Charlotte when I was pregnant with my oldest child. I have read many self help books as well and engaged in classes on spiritual health and growth. I went to counseling with my husband when we fist met and before we even had a first fight. I attended further therapy on my own and joined a women’s group and continued to be in touch with those women for several years.

Written on these walls are the colors that I can’t change

Leave my heart open but it stays right here in its cage

I know that in the morning now I see us in the light upon a hill

Although I am broken, my heart is untamed, still

Depression has been a part of my life since my teenage years. I did not struggle significantly until my senior year of college at the age of 22. Although, high school was difficult for me and I lacked self-confidence and could not wait to move out of highschool. I excelled academically but socially was a very different story.

Moving out on my own after graduating college was a shock to my system. Somehow I envisioned that experience to be an extension of college, but it was not. I had challenges but found my way.

I met my husband in March of 1993, just four months after moving 600 miles south to North Carolina.

I can still see the add in my OT magazine for the job, it read,

Shouldn’t you be in Charlotte?

It spoke to me.

I am glad I listened. That is one “should” that benefited me!

Married in May of 1994

First big job change in August of 1995 with significant pay increase and less stress

First child born November of 1997

Changed to part time work (from full time) in January of 2000

Moved to new larger house in April of 2001

Child number two born February of 2002

Home full time in Summer of 2007, something I had desired since February of 1998 when I returned to full time work leaving my 12 week old son home with his dad

Spring of 2008, expecting my third child and when three months pregnant,

…Back to work because my husband was reduced from full time employee with salary to contractor paid commission only

January 8, 2009 my third child is born and I choose to stay home for a full year because that is why we had waited to have a third child…

So that I could be home full time

Our financial struggles began in summer of 2008 when my husband lost. his job, but never collected unemployment because he still had a job, as a contractor, paid commission, and he even had to collect the money from customers.

I sought work but it took a few months to get hired and worked many weekends ad other days as needed until December when I felt I was too pregnant to continue. I had worked up to the day before for my first two children, but this time I was 39 years old and very tired with this pregnancy.

I returned to work at that same job in spring of 2010 when my youngest was just over a year old, working “PRN” on a part time, as needed basis. I continued at that job until recently.

I could continue to list life events from this point on and yet, that would take hours.

I already have many blogs written about the challenges overt the past 10 years.

The important part…

Is that I am on the other side now

I have walked through the mud

Swam the swamp and come up for air

Hurdled the obstacles with bruises and scars

Badges of honor abound

And courage…

I am stronger because of it

I am also who I am because of all of my experiences

I am NOT what has happened to me…

I AM who I now as, as a result of my choices I have made about what has happened.

And I,’ll be gone, gone tonight

The fire beneath my feet is burning bright

The way that I been holding on so tight

With nothing in between

The story of my life

I take her home

I drive all night

To keep her warm

And time is frozen (the story of, the story of)

The story of my life

I give her hope

I spend her love

Until she’s broke

Inside

The story of my life (the story of, the story of)

And I been waiting for this time to come around

But baby running after you is like chasing the clouds

The story of my life

I take her home

I drive all night

To keep her warm

And time is frozen

The story of my life

I give her hope (give her hope)

I spend her love

Until she’s broke (until she’s broke inside)

Inside

The story of my life (the story of, the story of)

The story of my life

The story of my life (the story of, the story of)

The story of my life

The other side of depression, Bipolar Depression

I found this post in my drafts written February 12, 2018.

For some reason, I never published it. I suppose I felt it was unfinished.

Two months have past since I wrote it….Today is Monday April 9,2018.

I will first share the post as it was written two months ago and add to it at the end.

Written February 12,2018:

I decided today was a day to write about myself and my journey with depression.

I reread the post I wrote 8 months ago, shortly after I started on my current anti-depressant,

Seeing the Horizon

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is

Ah, but don’t you believe them

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is

Ah, but don’t you believe them

Bruce Hornsby sings in my ears as I write…

When I am in the midst of depression, I feel stuck like the words of the song, that’s just the way it is.

Yet, I never lost hope, but don’t you believe them.

I have now been on Prozac for 8 months and I feel I first really saw improvement back in October, after 4 months on medication. I insisted my doctor start me on 10 mg before moving up to 20mg for an easier adjustment for the medication. It’s what we did for my daughter and was recommended to minimize side effects and so I wanted to do the same for myself. It was also how the nurse practitioner had started me on a different anti-depressant 2 years ago when I first asked for medication help for my depression.

Here I am on the other side and looking back

Now if you’re feelin’ kinda low ’bout the dues you’ve been paying

Future’s coming much too slow

And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin’

Can’t decide on which way to go

Yeah, yeah, yeah

I understand about indecision

But I don’t care if I get behind

People livin’ in competition

All I want is to have my peace of mind

Boston says it so well. Thank you amazing musicians and azlyrics.

Reading my post Seeing the Horizon….

I feel that I am in a weird fog.  I don’t want to use someone’s suffering to figure out my own life. Yet this expereince today has affected me. I want to take from it to move forward in my life and in my choices.

In my post, Seeing the Horizon, I shared an experience I had going to a new location for my writing time and discovering a man on the floor. My first thought was he was sleeping, which seamed so silly after the fact. He had collapsed, fallen out of his booth onto the floor face down on the ground and I froze, witnessing the restaurant employees try to figure out what to do, offering him ice because he was clammy. And I stood there frozen, knowing what to do but unable to make myself step forward and speak up, “I know CPR”.

This experience and how I handled it has haunted me since it happened. I came to some peace with myself realizing it had triggered my PTSD from when my husband had a massive heart attack and cardiac arrest in my own home. I was so thankful the medics arrived before he went into cardiac arrest. I was grateful that a police officer showed up rather quickly after the restaurant employees tried unsuccessfully to help the man. One employee knew to roll him gently onto his back and someone called 911, while I sat there paralyzed.

I recently completed a 6 week Resiliency Course with the amazing EFT Master, Jan Luther and founder of The Ego Tamer Academy and Author of the book, “Grief is Mourning Sickness”.

This course involved 6 intense weekly phone calls and some other individual work with tapping (EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique) along with other exercises as part of a deep healing experience.

In my own personal work, through the help of Jan and the “borrowed benefits” of my group members, 5 other women, I discovered a connection between my own issues with medial professionals who have failed me and my children in getting the help we need with this experience.

This experience where I failed to respond to help this man in need.

In this realization, I was able to forgive the medical professionals who have failed my family. We are all human and we all make mistakes. On some level, there is still some underlying frustration with the failure to get help for my children when we really needed it. Yet, I have learned that moving past this resentment and anger is healing. Healing to myself including the ability to forgive myself for my own mistakes.

I have always been my own harshest critic.

In reflection, I have continued to move forward with great strides over the past two months.

I went through a long period of only needing 5-6 hours of sleep and getting up very early and accomplishing many things and jumping into many new things. While enrolled in the 6 week Resiliency Course, I realized my job of 8 years was not serving me and the universe had been pushing me to move on, and I had a difficulty phone encounter with my boss that led me to moving forward on my job search process that I had already started due to lack of hours. I also interviewed for and accepted two jobs, both “PRN” work, meaning on an as needed basis which is my status of employment at my other two employers. I have worked PRN for over 16 years since leaving my part time position when my daughter was born.

I was liberated when I moved away from the job of 8 years that was no longer serving me, nor providing me a pay check.

I found new work close to home and a better rate of pay.

I have been an Occupational Therapist for 25 years and for the first time in 21 years, I have found a position with a higher rate of pay than I have previously received. This is the nature of healthcare jobs in 21st century America.

I am still in process of completing online requirements for the one employer. I have begun work for the other employer and am enjoying my 3 mile commute. I have worked at this facility in the past and so I knew several of the employees when I interviewed for the position. Being a familiar place, helped ease my transition to the new job. Change can be hard even when I am not depressed.

I have come to realize that I feel I have had some underlying depression since my teenage years. Most certainly since the challenges that came about in my life after moving when I was 12 years old, just prior to my 7th grade school year. And all the challenges of puberty only added to the struggle for me. I had some bigger issues in college my senior year when my relationship with my boyfriend of 5 years ended. I think the depression was mild until..

Maybe until my daughter was born and the challenges of being home more and juggling the needs of 2 children, or later when I was trying to conceive our third child and having no success but having hot flashes instead. Even then, when I look back, that was a relatively happy period in my life. I was struggling in that year before our third child was conceived and then when I was 3 months pregnant, my husband lost his job. The very job that helped me to stay at home full time and for us to make the decision to have the third child I had always wanted.

My daughter’s OCD symptoms began about this time, but we did not acknowledge it fully until it exploded a year later, when her baby brother was one year old and she was 8 years old.

That was 8 years ago…

The following year, 2011, my husband had his heart attack.

6 months after his heart attack when he had completed outpatient cardiac rehab, I developed Bronchitis that was recurrent for over 6 months and then got in a car accident just over one year to the anniversary of his heart attack.

May 2011 and May 2012: challenging times

My car accident in May of 2012 was far more devastating to me than my husband’s heart attack.

I became a pessimist.

And I wondered how that happened, because I was always the eternal optimist.

Yet, I knew “life had dragged me down”…

Songs like this have kept me going. Music is my therapy.

I will close with the words of the late, great Tom Petty for he has been one of my biggest inspirations over the past several years writing about my depression.

Well, I won’t back down

No, I won’t back down

You can stand me up at the gates of hell

But I won’t back down

No, I’ll stand my ground

Won’t be turned around

And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down

Gonna stand my ground

And I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

Well I know what’s right

I got just one life

In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around

But I’ll stand my ground

And I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I won’t back down

(I won’t back down)

Hey, baby, there ain’t no easy way out

(I won’t back down)

Hey, I will stand my ground

And I won’t back down

No, I won’t back down

Freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, “the right to protest for right”

I read Martin Luther King Jr.’s last speech this morning in honor of his passing 50 years ago: April 4, 1968.

His last speech was delivered in Memphis, Tenn on April 3, 1968. I visited the Loraine motel several years ago with my family and visited the museum in honor of him. He had great influence on the America of today, the America where Barack Obama was elected President. I want to honor him and his life.

Reading his last speech was more powerful than I could have imagined.

His words in his final speech are powerful right now in light of all the challenges we face today.

And as I read these words, I thought about the teens who are protesting and marching today for change because of the large numbers of people who have been killed by gun violence, the children who have died while attending school.

And I have thought about the people who call the youth of today names and make comments about their marching and protesting, telling them to “go home” and “do something more productive”, implying that they are not worthy of the rights of all Americans.

Martin Luther King Jr. said these words after the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

He said them in Memphis, Tennessee on April 3, 1968 because of the sanitation workers strike due to poor pay and dangerous working conditions and the death of workers Echol Cole and Robert Walker who died in garbage compactors.

This great man spoke out in the places where great injustices were happening.

All we say to America is, “Be true to what you said on paper.” If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right. And so just as I say, we aren’t going to let any injunction turn us around. We are going on.

Watch this part of his speech, the end of it here:

.youtube.com/watch

If this great man were alive today…

I can only imagine the great things he would be doing if he were alive today.

He inspired many people and inspired great change in America.

Now is the time for more inspiration.

For great change is needed.

To all the young people of the United States of America,

I say this to you

Speak up

Speak out

March and protest peacefully

Words are more powerful than guns

Words are more powerful than violence

Words can change the world.

Bipolar Depression: When Life Just Sucks and the bills need to be paid

I have been on prozac, 20mg, 9 months now. I have birthed myself a new life.

Unlike the last anti-depressant I tried 2 years ago, I feel that the Prozac is helping me and not causing side effects and mania.

It makes me wonder, why didn’t I try this medication years ago?

Here I am now. And somehow it is all perfect and in perfect order.

It can be challenging to really believe that.

The idea that life unfolds, or we create it, just the way it needs to be.

And it is what we do with what happens that matters more than what happens.

We create our life….

Yet, there are those times when it really feels like life is happening to me

Sh#t happens

I work PRN as an Occupational Therapy in geriatric rehab.

PRN means no required hours and no guaranteed hours.

I sign up to work but they can “call me off”if they don’t need me something that can happen the night before or the day of…

I am employed with 2 companies, one for almost 8 years and the other for 4 years.

PRN also means you get paid a “higher rate of pay” because you have no benefits.

Healthcare changed in 2000 and greatly for me in the field of Occupational Therapy.

I had a pay cut and salary caps happened and jobs were hard to find for a while.

My work is very different than it was when I graduated college with my Bachelor of Science Degree in OCcupational Therapy in 1992.

All those Medicare cuts and changes that happened at the beginning of this century, mean I now make less money than I did 20 years ago. I worked PRN 21 years ago in addition to a full time job. At that time, my PRN rate of pay was double my rate as a full time employee. IT was $50 an hour. The current average rate of pay in the area where I live for a PRN OCcupational Therapist is now $45 an hour.

I now have 25 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist and yet 21 years later, I am making less money.

PRN means no increase in pay.

This is healthcare.

Or better named, sickcare.

I vent about this all the time to my husband and close friends and family.

It is time I write about it.

I began asking for a pay increase 4 years ago at my job I had been with for 4 years when I found out the current rate of pay for new PRN employees, therapists, was $5 more than I was making. I got told I would get the pay increase and then called back the next day and told, “I didn’t know there was a hold on raises. But you will be the first to get a raise when it changes.”

I asked again almost 2 years later, I was told I had to wait until the fall (it was early spring) when they do reviews.

As a prn employee, I had never had a review done.

First of September, my boss schedules a review for me. Wow!

I get told I will get the “pay increase”, in other words, they will now pay me what they are paying everyone else who was hired after me.

It will be in my December pay check.

December comes, no pay increase.

I was told that the regional manager forgot to allocate the money for my raise.

Apparently, they can only do raises one time per year.

I inquired about my options. I won’t even share that here because you would never believe it.

And I know my boss went to bat for me for the raise and then after the raise didn’t happen. I appreciate her efforts.

Much to my surprise, a year later, I get the pay increase!

After nearly 8 years working nearly ever week and most weekends for this company being available for most weekends and also being called off work when the caseload was too low, I now am getting paid what they should have been paying me at least 4 years ago.

$50 per hour

The rate of pay I made 21 years ago, when my hourly rate as a full time employee was $25 per hour.

GRATEFUL?

Sure I am grateful.

I feel like i finally made it happen!

Because PRN employees don’t get raises, pay increases, nothing.

I have been told that by my other employer, where I have now worked 4 years.

Why am I prn?

Because in order to be part time you have to average 20 hours per week.

They don’t have that many hours to give me at either place. I often work 20 hours between both jobs.

Many companies only have full time and prn employees and not part time employees.

So this is all good right?

Now the company is choosing to use prn employees as little as possible.

A secret policy that I have only learned about through the grape vine.

I have been called off work as a prn employee and I get that is part of being prn and the status of healthcare.

But now, I am called off work more and more.

It doesn’t matter how many years I have been with the company, nor my experience, nor the fact that when they do my quarterly relives now, I get glowing remarks on what I great employee I am.

What is the point of the glowing reviews?

It feels like a slap in the face!

I began getting the glowing reviews after I was told my raise wasn’t happening, because the regional manager forgot to allocate the money for my raise.

Now, just 3 months after my raise went into effect….

I am finding out not from my boss but from my co-workers, that the company is now choosing to use prn employees as little as possible.

Why am I writing about this and not going to my boss?

I have gone to her multiple times.

I have had many sit down talks with her about my concerns and issues.

I have reached out to her to find out about these rumors I am hearing.

She chooses not to fill me in and not respond to my phone call or repeated questions about the changes.

Each month, I am asked to give my availability for working weekends for the coming month.

I typically let them know I am available most Sundays for a full work day and most Saturdays for at least a half work day. On average, I tell them I am available for 6 our of 8 weekend days, every month, for nearly 8 years.

I find out about how much I am needed for on the Friday afternoon or night before the weekend.

I find out if they are calling me off work on the Friday before and sometimes not until 10pm the night before.

This is the nature of prn work in Occupational Therapy. (PT and OT work in adult and geriatric rehab)

I have been told, that despite my years of experience and time with the company, that if there are no evaluations, I will be called off first rather than the COTAS (OT assistants with a 2 year degree).

OK

It is a financial thing, they tell me.

Something I have never been happy with.

When I am needed for evaluations, they need me. But I am the first to go when the caseload is low.

That in itself sucks.

But what sucks even more

Is the company deciding to use prn employees as little as possible and not sharing this information with the prn employees.

Not openly sharing it.

We all know because we talk to the full time employees

Who are now required to rotate working weekends.

Not because they want to but because they have to.

Sometimes life just sucks.

I have seen that I am being called off more often and despite really liking my fellow co-workers and the facility as a whole at my weekend job, and have been looking for more work hours elsewhere.

My other prn job I work one or two days during the week as well as Saturdays when needed also has a low caseload right now.

And that is a crazy story with its own issues but I will save that for another time.

That being said,

I now have two prn jobs with very little hours for me to work.

And I have been looking for more hours and have let them all know that I am looking for more work hours.

Instead of more hours, I am getting far less hours.

In January, I earned enough to meet and exceed our expenses, to help pay down our debt.

My February pay checks totaled $1000 less, not quite meeting our basic expenses.

So far in March, I have worked a total of 5.25 hours.

It is only March 4, but I have only worked that many hours from Sunday Feb 25 through today, Sunday March 4.
I signed up to work full day last Sunday and today and for 5 hours yesterday and got 0 hours.

The 5.25 hours came from my other prn job.

But I may have 0 hours this week at my other prn job.

The caseload is low and instead of referring patients to our in facility outpatient therapy program, the facility is referring patients to a home health company who is trying to establish a monopoly in the facility, despite our company having a contract with a different home health company.

So I shared a little of that drama…

This is the nature of health care…

Sick care

I usually work at least 15 hours per week, 20 hours per week meets my expenses.

Sometimes I work 25 or more hours per week and other times 10-15, and it balances out.

But working only 5 hours in 2 weeks won’t pay the bills.

I have been asking about other prn work and have a number of companies to call and…

I updated my resume

Today, I am applying for other jobs. I have had that on my to do list for several weeks.

Now it feels urgent

When I began looking around for other work and asking my fellow prn employees and co-workers who work prn, I was looking to give myself more options and to seek work at a higher rate of pay.

I was looking for a third prn job to have the upper hand.

To be able to tell my weekend employer,

“NO, I have other work and work where I won’t get called off the day of or the night before at 10pm.”

I enjoy the jobI work weekends, I enjoy what I do as an Occupational Therapist, the patients I work with, and my co-workers, and the facility.

But I also value my sanity.

And, heck, the bills need to get paid!

Part of the reason, I have hesitated to find other prn work, more prn jobs…

Is because I am also a writer and actively working

To grow my writing, and turn Child-led learning into a paying gig

My husband, Don, and I are making plans to speak together on conscious parenting.

I run a local homeschool website, Charlottehomeschooling.com

I run Child-led Learning blog and facebook page and my goal is to grow that into a community and to also work as a child-led learning consultant.

I am ready to take my experience and skills and more to new work.

I am ready to use my skills as an Occupational therapist to begin a business in well- care, instead of sick-care.

Sundays are now writing time and planning time and goal setting time.

I can embrace my new Sundays.

I am also ready to see the $350 I typically earn (or used to earn) each Sunday, showing up in my life in new ways…

..so the bills can be paid.

I am ready universe.

I am open to new possibilities.

I am a writer.

I am Gina.

I am creating a new realization, a new experience, for my life

…and for my family.

Mommy Guilt: “shoulding” on myself

I should have…

I should have worked more hours when i was pregnant with baby number 3.

I should have returned to work sooner after he was born in January 2009.

I should have worked more and saved more while I was pregnant.

I should have returned to work sooner so our debt didn’t grow so much.

I should have known to move money from our tax rebate to pay down our home equity line of credit after my husband had a massive heart attack so that Medicaid would have kicked in sooner, rather than exhausting all that money we had from me working extra hours and our tax rebate.

The social worker should have told me the rules…

Someone should have told me that Medicaid says if you have more than $3000 in assesses (savings, checking, cash), then you wont; qualify for Medicaid…until that money is gone…

I should have applied for food stamps once we did qualify for Medicaid

I began the application several times, I should have finished it and sent it in.

I should have gotten more help then we would have less debt.

I should have done so many things….

I should have reached out for help sooner when my daughter showed signs of separation anxiety and other issues when I was pregnant with our third child.

I should have realized it was something more than just me being pregnant.

I should have gotten her help sooner so that her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, her anxiety disorder, her mental illness did not become so extreme and severe…

I should have gotten her on medication sooner…

I should have listened to my friend who suggested it might be OCD when it was in a mild state.

I should have gotten her to a therapist sooner.

I should have researched OCD sooner, when my friend brought it up.

I should have listened..

I should have gotten her help sooner so she did not have to suffer so much..

I should have gotten my youngest help sooner when he showed signs of anxiety and OCD from at least age 2.

I should have countered when the therapist said, “i don’t think it is OCD”

I should have completed the paperwork even though it took 6 months to get it from the Development and Behavioral Pediatrician

I should have gotten him in sooner and not waited as long as I did.

I should have taken him to a mental health place sooner to get him help, medication.

I should not have had so much fear about giving my kids medication…I should have found more support when I knew that was needed.

Going to the psychiatrist should have been paid for by Medicaid.

Medicaid should have qualified people to treat my children and I should have access to finding the resources without having to jump through a million hoops and experience unqualified people and ill equipped facilities and services.

My children should be able to go to the specialists they need because of their illness even though they have government assisted health insurance.

I work in health care, I should have better health insurance.

I have a bachelors of science degree in Occupational Therapy and training in mental health care, I should be treated with respect when the people from Medicaid speak to me.

Everyone should be treated with respect no matter what their educational level.

I should be able to access information about my health insurance and services for my children even though it is government assisted.

I have paid into the system since I was 15 1/2 years old and so now that I need these services, I should receive them if I qualify.

I shouldn’t have to jump through crazy hoops because my income varies from month to month and so does my 20 year old son’s income.

My 20 year old son’s income SHOULD NOT count toward our household income for the healthcare market place and definitely not for qualifying my younger children for Medicaid or NC health choice. My 20 year old son who purchased his own car, pays for his own insurance, and pays to attend community college part time all with his own hard earned money.

I should have listened to my gut when I realized even though their Dad had survived, that my three kids had gone through a traumatic experience and would need some counseling and help…

Survivors guilt…but he lived, there is no help when your husband lives…

I should have listened to myself because I knew that experience was traumatic for all of us.

I should have let go of “survivors guilt” because he lived and our friends who lost husbands to heart attacks that same year, did not survive. “I should be grateful that he lived.”

I should on myself and others have should upon me….

And I should on other people.

It is really a bad habit and not helpful to anyone.

I should have filled out the special forms and jumped through the hoops to see if my son could qualify for grants for college costs, because they decided to use the same year for 3or 4 semesters to look at our income, the year we took out $65,000 from IRA money to pay down debt.

I should have worked more hours.

I should have been a better mom so my children wouldn’t have mental illness.

I should have been a better me so I wouldn’t have mental illness.

I should have done something different to prevent mental illness?

Is that really possible?

Do parents of kids who have cancer ask themselves this question?

Maybe they do, Maybe they don’t.

I shouldn’t have to wonder about this.

My kids friends and their parents should have been there more for my daughter when she was crippled with mental illness, with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Depression.

They should have given her the love and support she needed just like they would have done if she had cancer.

WE SHOULD LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE MENTAL ILLNESS IS TREATED THE SAME AS OTHER ILLNESSES, PHYSICAL ILLNESSES WHICH ARE MORE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE IN AMERICAN SOCIETY.

Mental illness SHOULD be classified the same as other illness because they last time I looked, my head and brain are attached to my body.

We need to stop shoulding on ourselves and on others

We need to embrace where we are now and make the best choices we can in the moment and realize we can not go back in time (not yet) and change the past. What is done is behind us and we must keep moving forward.

We need to stop judging other people and their choices and instead come from love to reach out to and help others with respect and kindness.

I give you this challenge today…

Pay attention to how often you SHOULD on yourself or on someone else.

We are often our worst critic and as moms, as parents, we are our own worse saboteur.

Love yourself and respect yourself first.

Only then can you love and respect others.