Friday, May 9, 2008

Downward Spiral

As 2001 turned into 2002 my life was going in a downward spiral. I was depressed, unmotivated, and uncertain about many things. My relationship with Jeff continued to be a strong aspect of my life. As far as my living situation, job, feelings about our country, and my feelings about me in general were all areas of unease.

I started to really dislike living in Seattle. (I apologize now to anyone who lives there and thinks it is the greatest state going). Have you ever seen Sleepless in Seattle? Remember all the rain in the movie? Well that was no lie. It not only rains a great deal in Seattle it is also very dark. Here in Ohio it can be a cloudy or a gray day, but you can still see shadows to remind you that the sun exists. (Ohio is not my dream state either by the way)The rain was not helping the depression. I do much better and feel much more alive and motivated when the sun is out and shining. The time change was also difficult with my work schedule. I was working nights and Jeff would be home asleep. When most people were working I would be sleeping. I do enjoy the night shift and this was my decision to work this shift, I just did not see much of the real world. I also always had to keep in mind when calling the east coast that they were three hours ahead of us. Sometimes finding the time to call someone could be strenuous.

I enjoy nursing, but there are many aspects to a nursing job that make the job very stressful. For example I worked the 7PM-7AM shift. Now if you think that the patients are asleep during this time think again. It is busy. In a 12 hour shift I would be on my feet nonstop. I was supposed to have a lunch break and more often than not I had no time for a lunch break. It was nonstop activity. To this day I miss the patients and patient care. I miss adult conversations and the feeling of accomplishment and feeling like I am contributing to our family monetarily, but I do not miss the feeling of being so hectic and on the go. Another aspect is the fact that the hospitals are so understaffed with nurses. I had at least 6 patients in my 12 hour shift. I felt like all 5-6 of my patients were not getting the best patient care and teaching available. It is hard to be in the middle of something with a patient and have your pager constantly going off because another patient needs to go to the restroom, wants to talk to you, or just soiled their bed. Many times we had one aide on the floor, but she was helping with over 50 patients. It was crazy. Another aspect of me and just growing as a person was first hand witnessing some of the things I have seen on television or read in a book or magazine. I grew up being a pretty sheltered person as my husband and friends like to remind me. I was working in downtown Seattle passing the homeless as I started my shift. This was a county hospital and we took everyone regardless of income. I had many patients that were homeless. It was so upsetting to know that there were patients coming in for care just to get a meal, a shower, and shelter. These are the things that I took for granted. The sad stories that I kept coming into contact with were also adding to my depression. One in particular was a young girl. She had just been married and was on her honeymoon. She and her husband were in a car driving around Mount Rainer. As they were driving up the mountain the snow on some of the trees was so heavy that it caused some of the trees to snap and fall over. The tree killed her husband. She was in the ICU for quite some time. When she came to our floor she was starting to regain more of her memory. I remember crying with her. I could not even imagine. She had many broken bones and came a long way. They did not think she would make it either. Heartbreaking!

The images on television and the stories about September 11th continued. We were educated on who the attackers were, who lost family members, who lost parents, children, and loved ones. We heard story after story of heroism and we saw story after story of death and funerals. At times I would want to run from the coverage and at other times I wanted to be reminded. I wanted to know how our country was going to respond. I wanted to know why. The uncertainty and fear of what had happened when we were all so unaware of that it could happen the way it did was alarming. How safe are we? Is the government doing all they can to protect us? What can we do? These were all questions that frequented my mind.

When Jeff and I had quality time together we often spent time having “table talk”. This was just sitting at the kitchen table talking about our future, our dreams, and our wants. More often than not we were also playing a game of Scrabble. During “table talk” one night we discussed the future and we decided that maybe moving back to the east coast would be better for me. Jeff really enjoyed and liked his job. So this would be a hard decision for him. We also knew that we would be getting married it was just a matter of an engagement and when and where. I was no longer feeling comfortable just dating and living together.

One day when I went into work another RN came and was talking to me. She asked me what was wrong and I lost it. I started crying and having a panic attack. I was in the bathroom and unable to stop crying. This was another experience for me that taught me that I could no longer be so unhappy with all the things going on in my life. I ended up having her taking me off the schedule. I was unable to work let alone think clearly and be in charge of patients care in the state I was in. A few days or weeks later I found myself in Dr. Pablo’s (not real name, but the name Jeff and I gave him) office. He ended up increasing the Paxil that I was on. This was not my first panic attack and depression was something that I had been diagnosed with in 1999-2000.

One day Jeff was on the phone with my dad. My dad owns his own business. You can understand more here about the company. ( My dad offered him a position in the sales department. I have to say again that this was a very hard decision for Jeff. I am grateful every day that he took this job so that we could move closer to family and friends. Had Jeff decided not to return to Ohio I don’t know how our relationship would have turned out. I don’t know if I would have been able to stick it out in Seattle or if I would have moved back alone. This is another example though to Jeff and I how powerful God has been in our lives and our relationship.

We soon were engaged and came back to Ohio to look for a place to live. We also had a wedding to plan. Stayed tuned for the wedding and our first home in the next post!


Jocasta and Wayne said...

That time sounds terrible. Thankfully you and Jeff did move.

I see that it's only 10 days until you go to Hawaii - you must be very excited!

Will Piper said...

As a teacher, I can relate to the stress of "service-to-others" focused professions. Oddly enough, one of my best friends had family that lived in Seattle and would complain about the rain and his state of mind being a bit down when visiting there. Granted, that might work well for Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam and the whole grunge movement, but not for us all. My friend ended up currently living in Cleveland (ironically enough). It sounds like you made it through great though. Looking forward to the next stage in the adventure.

Will & Jeni

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