Thursday, July 30, 2009

Delusions Of Happiness

One of my favorite blogs is here. Gretchen provides tips on Wednesday and they are always salient and timely. This week was no different. I had such a bad day on Monday, I was still reeling from it by Wednesday. A sort of numb PTSD feeling like I experience after an emergency that doesn't go well or a difficult death. Because of HPPA, I can't go into the particulars but lets just say I spent most of a twelve hour shift in one room and it wasn't because the patient was unstable and the doctor unwilling to send the patient to the ICU. Nope, this patient was completely out of control and in order to keep him off the floor I had to literally sit at his bedside and reorient him constantly. If my other four patients needed anything, the charge nurse had to come to the bedside while I threw pills and whisked bandages off and slapped them back on my other patients. I could go into a rant about this situation and why the patient was out of his mind and who it is but I would be (deservedly) fined five figures and lose my job. Anyhow, early Wednesday, cruising my blogs when I'm greeted with the "9 Tips for having a good bad day"

"Where the hell were you on Monday" I mumbled into the screen as I begrudgingly started reading. Begrudgingly, because I was in such a place that "bitter" and "angry" was starting to feel like a baseline emotion. Basically, I dumped all the water out of my half full glass so it would be empty. To be really woo-woo about it: I was giving my power over to someone else, namely to a patient with self-inflicted dementia. Who frankly, given how they have cared for themselves don't deserve the level of expertise and compassion they have received in my hospital. Anyhow, by number three (ruminating) I was hooked and realized how fruitless hanging on to the "no good terrible day" had been. To clarify, I didn't spend Tuesday in the midst of whining and moaning about my day at Crazy's bedside. I forced myself out of the house and pulled weeds, deadheaded flowers and decompressed in the dirt. But I did find myself returning to Monday's events and wishing I never EVER had to work as a nurse again. Whenever I contemplate not being a nurse I get a little sick inside. This is my calling and I'm going to let one really fucked up alcoholic borderline personality push me away from the bedside? If I did this, shame on me, I would be giving him my power.

Wednesday afternoon, I looked to number 7: "Act the way I want to feel" Which wasn't hard because we had this unseasonably cool and humid day yesterday and before I even tackled Gretchen's tips, I had been in the garden overcome with joy we have tomatoes on the verge of ripening. But I had the nagging sensation of counting down the hours before I had to return to work on Friday and I did not want to return with dread and a heavy heart. I wanted to return with hope for a better day and a patient who had the right mix of psych drugs on board so his thoughts and actions were a little more organized.

Yesterday afternoon, after Wally and Beav cleaned the house for me (beautiful job they did, too) my Ipod gave me a wonderful song I just discovered and downloaded last week. Too bad it's from a regrettably sappy movie Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Bob Schneider is a few years younger than me and maybe he is being Gen X and ironic when he wrote these words but I have taken them at face value:

There is a universe that can't be seen
It's just a feeling if you know what I mean
A delectable dimension undetectable by sight
It'll fill up your heart in the dead of the night
Some say its an astral plane
Can't be described can't be explained

The world exploded into love all around me
The world exploded into love all around me
And everytime I take a look around me
I have to smile

Oh is our life just an illusion
There is no need to figure it out
The separation exists not in your love filled heart
But only in your mind
The real story's all around you
Even now it surrounds you
Even now I feel the power

The world exploded into love all around me
The world exploded into love all around me
And everytime I take a look around me
I have to smile

I contemplated these words for a long time yesterday and I felt my spirits (aka "vibration") lift. Since I have spent eleventy thousand dollars in therapy, I find it exquisitely simple to act the way I want to feel. Once upon a time I thought acting cheerful like some sort of Little Mary Sunshine--you just need to turn that frown upside down and it will be a sunny bright day and all your problems will go away!--sort of dreck was just that: dreck. How dare I live an unauthentic emotion! To feign happiness in the face of bitterness, despair or frustration was lying to the world. Maybe it is a lie. Maybe being happy when things look bleak is a form of delusion. Or perhaps its just a way of looking around the road blocks to the place where love is exploding and the love in one's heart is not separated by the hell living in one's head.

All I know is my heart is full and love is exploding all around me. Thank you Gretchen and Bob.

1 comment:

Nicola O. said...

I'm sorry you had such a crap day, but FWIW, you turned into a lovely essay. Loved this post.