Career Shameer

It’s 10:44 in the morning. I got off of work two hours ago. I am sleep deprived from the last few days, and quite irritable. That’s the perfect time to belch out a post. Agreed?

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but my best cognitive realizations and abilities are birthed from pure, elegant exhaustion. I did much better in Calculus at eight thirty in the morning after four hours of sleep than I did in an afternoon class after a solid seven and a half hours of sleep the night before. My brain is backwards and I appreciate that.

However, I am at a rather jarring crossroads in my life right now. After the last three years of being in and out of psychiatric hospitals, on and off psychiatric medications, jumping around from (ignorant) diagnosis to diagnosis, gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight again, in and out of a four year relationship, it’s left my education in shambles.

Most of you know I currently work as a Peer Support worker at a Peer Respite house and if you didn’t know, now you know. Somewhere on this blog I still have the post I put up about my first day of work there. I’ve been there for 2.5 years by this point, the longest job I’ve ever held. I started when I was 20 years old, a month or two away from my 21st birthday that I don’t remember. In my interview I told them I was a Pre-Med student eager for a career in psychiatry to fight the system.

I am now 23, four months away from my 24th birthday.

I’m not quite sure what happened. I was fully invested in my psychology degree and unscathed by the physics and math required for Med-school. I was a little perturbed about chemistry. I can’t balance an equation to save my fucking life. Another fun fact: put a Calculus equation in front of me, or teach me Linear Algebra and I”ll eat it alive. Put a pre-algebra word problem in front of me and I crumble, I disintegrate. As a writer, you think I’d understand what word problems are asking of me. As someone pretty decent at math, you’d think I’d understand how to calculate what’s being asked of me. Both of your assumptions would be horribly, horribly misled. I’m sure you can, then, deduce how well physics went.

My point in all this rambling is I can’t figure out what I want to study in college anymore. My psychology degree is almost complete and I don’t much care for it anymore. Every psychology class I take I no longer take interest in. Perhaps it’s from 1) living the experience of mental health issues and realizing textbook explanations are pale in comparison, 2) understanding the corruption that lies in the mental health industry/business, and 3) from working in the exact opposite environment that I would be working in were I to pursue my original career choice.

Perhaps it’s my stubbornness. I don’t want to answer to Insurance companies. I don’t want to be solicited or bribed by pharmaceutical salesmen offering me money to push certain drugs. I don’t want to have to deny someone my services because their insurance won’t pay for me because they don’t want medication. I don’t want to make that choice for them, it’s not my business. I don’t want to go into private practice and have to charge 300 dollars an hour and limit myself to an elitist group when we’re all very much aware that the people who need the most help are often struggling with housing, substance use, financial issues, as well as their mental health.

I don’t want to work for a county that would allow me to see that population but underpay me significantly and overload me with cases. I don’t want to only be allowed to see those people for 15 minutes when they need so much more time than that. I don’t want to be considered a doctor that only hands out medication. I don’t do well with rules that are illogical and all of the aforementioned happens to be just that.

And yet I feel that to not pursue this would be abandoning my own people. I feel the difference I wish to make can only begin with legitimizing myself, and unfortunately that requires a college degree in this day and age. But if the passion for the classes isn’t there anymore–where does that leave me? I still have a fiery passion for exposing pharmaceutical companies for what they are, for guiding people through their own mental health journey, for offering other opportunities and healing besides medication and hospitalization, but I just can’t handle sitting through these fucking brainwashing classes and pretend to care about what they’re saying.

So do I start over? Do I accept the psychology degree and switch to a different discipline? Do I follow my original plan, which would require a hard science degree? Do I have the confidence for that? Or will word problems best me? Will I make the same mistake, get the degree, and then not want to pursue the discipline? Will I even be able to get the degree? Or do I say fuck school all together and live the rest of my life check to check, roommate to roommate?

I’ve been off all meds for a couple months now. No antipsychotics, no mood stabilizers, no antidepressants, no sleep medication. I’ve 360’d my diet, and now exercise five days a week for an hour and a half. I’m making a lot of changes and it feels like it’s only natural that my career path do the same.

The real problem is i’d love to have a career in physics and a career in peer support. That just doesn’t seem realistic though. Research during the day, peer during the night? Sounds exhaustive.

What’s helped you choose your career path? Are you still searching for something? Are you at a crossroads too?

How I see Myself

 

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How many times in a day do you confuse yourself? 

It’s a strange question,  I know.

I don’t mean confuse yourself by picking up an item, putting it down, and then asking yourself “where did I just put that?”

I mean in terms of personality. In terms of defining why your depressed, why you’re anxious, what situations make you anxious, what situations make you depressed.

How times a day do you have trouble managing your emotions?

Mine get mixed up so heavily I feel I’m on the cusp of insanity. I can’t focus on anything, I can’t identify any feeling, every sound infuriates me and I can’t even listen to music without feeling like the lyrics are confusing my thoughts.

Like right now. Which Is why I’m struggling to write at the moment.

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When I get this way, the only emotion I can truly identify with is anger and frustration. So I listen to aggressive music and think about how happy I’d be if I saw that one Laundry worker from the healthcare center on his knees in front of the three APS agents in business suits and sunglasses.

I switch personalities quite frequently. Not in a DID sense, and not in the average sense where you switch on your “charm” to go confidently into an interview and switch off your “bitch” so the interviewer doesn’t throw you out of her office. In public, we all switch certain traits of ourselves on and off. That’s average behavior.

I switch from generally content to unbelievably aggressive/disinterested to generally depressed and suicidal and each of them have a separate personality attached to them.

My content personality is the average, one. It’s anxious and unsure and insecure about the majority of decisions I make in my life, including if someone asks me “what do you want to eat?” That personality will always beat the rest of me to the punch and say “I don’t know” in fear of insulting the other person if I pick something they don’t like. That personality gets offended to the point of tears if someone says “No, I don’t want that”. That personality feels like it’s done something equal to the social crimes of Hitler. Yes, that is my content self. 

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The depressed personality is lethargic and generally not anxious. It may be brought on by the anxiety but generally that personality will keep me locked in my room, in bed, and ignore the anxiety of missing class and ignore the anger of missing class. I might cry out of anger or sensitivity.

Contrary to what many people believe, my emotions do not have a wide range. When someone asks me what makes me happy . . . I don’t really have an answer. I have to think very hard. When someone asks me what makes me sad . . . I don’t really have an answer for it, I have to think very hard. I know the things that typically make people happy or sad, so I just say those things. Things don’t make me happy or sad, they just make me satisfied or unsatisfied.

The truth is, I’m just really good at faking it. 

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The personality of “unbelievably aggressive/disinterested” is my baseline personality. It’s completely separate from the other two. It was never developed like the others, it was always with me, therefore I consider it the baseline.

The older I’ve gotten the more I’ve realized my “disinterest” is in . . . well, everything.

I don’t care much about other people’s opinions. I don’t care much about what they like nor do I care to discuss their interests in length. That, to me, is “chit-chat”. I hate chit-chat.

I listen to other people’s opinions. I give them respect when they’re based on fact. I do things they like or give them things they like because I know that’s normal.

And I know as you’re reading this, perhaps your eyebrows rose and you’re thinking “and you want to be a psychiatrist? You want to listen to people?”

Here’s the thing.

How many psychologists do you know who have given up therapy because listening to the horror stories of other’s lives took a toll on their own mental health? I personally know a few.

I might not convince you, but trust me: you want someone who is capable of separating their emotions from your emotions. You want someone who can help you find logic in your illogical thought patterns.  You want someone who understands what you’re saying, and can think outside of the box you can’t for ways to use your strengths and weaknesses to your advantage. You don’t want someone who will bathe you in sympathy and be just a friend. You want a helpful friend you can trust. 

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Helpful, Motherfucker!

I am a nice person. I’ve learned to be nice. I’ve learned social customs, I’ve learned how to make people laugh, and I’ve learned to tolerate things. I know that I have a gift in terms of the way I can relate to people (it’s a one-way street in this case, I don’t feel I relate/connect to anyone), the way they flock to me for advice or just so I can be an ear for them. Since I have this gift, I might as well put it to use right? That’s the logical thing to do.

My aggression got me interested in psychiatry. The blatant disregard for logic in the world of business and medicine also got me interested in psychiatry. The people get helped in the process and that’s my main goal.

This is how I see myself. A shoddy integration of three distinct personalities. How do you see yourself?