Welcome!

I’m Wrae and I am delighted to be here.

Please check out the “Learn More About Me” page 🙂

I am 35, and I’ve always loved writing. I’ve done some journaling, some poetry. I am on wattpad, and if you want that information, I’ll be glad to share it. This blog came pretty much out of nowhere but sometimes that’s the best thing.

I will be putting up a statement for legal reasons about what I will not tolerate on this blog, but in general, I’m pretty laid back. For sheer example, this welcome post is today’s post.

Guests are always welcome, I hope everyone enjoys what they read and leave having learned something or at least gotten a different point of view. As Jewel once said, “I’d rather see the world from another angle.”

I will have posts up on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also have book reviews once monthly on Wednesdays.

Happy reading!

Wrae

#SilentNoMore

I have a decade’s worth of mental health based work. It’s been an adventure that I wish I could go back to. Thanks to RA and a partial thyroidectomy, it’s not a possibility.

*sighs*

I read this article and it really stuck with me.

Working in the mental health field is physically and emotionally challenging. It’s a well-known fact when you start. I’ve learned so much about myself and others thanks to my chosen field. I really don’t think I’d be happy in many other fields.

As mental health workers we are trained (extensively, I hope) but there are so many things that training doesn’t cover.

When I sat through my orientation for the last mental health associate job I had, I learned a lot- I had to learn about all of the inpatient units. I don’t remember them telling us that we were in for such an adventure.

I met Josh at this orientation and I’m pretty sure both of us would have stayed even if we did know.

If you want a more in-depth idea of my main injuries, you can read this gem

The point is, these are the things that we face in the world of psych nursing and mental health workers. I guess if they really broke it down in orientation, some people might run on the first day.

We definitely don’t apply for jobs thinking, “wow, I’m gonna go into this job and get beat up, screamed at..” Most of us go into them ready to help others.

It definitely is NOT for the money, unless you’re a nurse manager or something. Some psych nurses do make great money but not all. Mental health workers?

Nope. It’s not great pay, but that’s not a good reason to go into this or many other fields.

As my friend Mackenna said, “this needs to be talked about and no one is willing to do it.”

She’s right. Many psych nurses and mental health workers don’t talk about the injuries that we endure. I didn’t want to tell my manager when I busted my toe. I knew I would have been sent to the camera room for a month or so and NOPE. I taped it up and kept going.

This Can Really Happen?

One incident was super scary. I was working the second shift in an adult unit.

This patient had a “wet brain” from alcohol use and was pretty aggressive, which is why he had a 1:1.

The lights were off in his room, but the door was open, plus there was someone watching a camera in his room. I also had a transponder with a button to hit in case of an emergency.

I was tired and ready to go home but a bit more aware than usual.

He had swastika and other tattoos that were a sign that we weren’t going to best friends.

(Reference: I’m half black and Jewish, and my skin tone is a nice shade of tan)

Y’all. He glared at me for a while before falling asleep, but I was okay with that.

But then he jumped out of bed, ran over to me and shoved my chair into the wall before I could hit the button.

Third shift was coming in and had a male mental health worker hadn’t heard the chair hitting the wall as he walked by, I could have been seriously hurt. Matt came in and peeled this guy off my chair and told me to get out.

I was GONE. I’m not sure I clocked out. It’s the only time I’ve ever feared for my life while working.

I remember shaking while driving home. Matthew was furious when I told him about this, but knew I wasn’t quitting.

I stayed until September 4, 2015, the morning of Jake’s funeral.

Did I tell someone in charge?

Yes. But not until the next day. I was so scared and shocked, more than anything else, that for once, I didn’t have words to put together about this.

If you’re wondering, he became a male-only 1:1 after that. If you ask me, I shouldn’t have been placed with this guy, to begin with. It’s clear he didn’t like black people. His size wasn’t an issue- I was well trained in Safe Crisis Management techniques. I’d taken down plenty of people bigger than me. Having brain damage from alcohol will do a lot to you.

*insert short girl joke*

I’m sure you can see the issues here.

Yes, changes were made so that further issues/injuries were lessened, but what if they hadn’t been? Someone else would have been hurt, probably worse.

I’m not afraid to stand up for myself in the workplace but there are so many who are. This is why I said something.

It’s All in a Day’s Work.. Or Maybe Not

In the course of 8 hours (or 12, depending on your schedule) a lot can happen in healthcare, whether you’re on a psychiatric unit, geriatrics or anywhere else.

We hear some vile things from the patient and/or their families. This is why I try to be as nice as I can to doctors and nursing staff.

Working with kids with autism is a whole different planet. Yes, it’s rewarding. Yes, it’s great to see progress.

However, I can’t say I enjoyed being scratched, bitten, kicked, etc. I don’t think anyone does, but most are warned before starting a position with this population. There’s a lot to be learned and a lot more fun to be had.

The tougher side does get to most of us. Being attacked isn’t just physically hard- so is trying to process it.

I’ve never considered bring charges against anyone in this way, because I’m fully aware that the patients weren’t always able to realize what they were doing. This is diminished capacity. Plus, if you bring charges, you get moved to a different unit or might be risking your job. Most of us aren’t trying to do either of those things.

Even “The Resident” Gets It

I’m a huge fan of that show and if you’re not watching, you’re really missing out. Last night’s episode, in part discussed nationwide staff shortages in hospitals. They even showed a patient getting aggressive with a hospital volunteer.

Been there. It’s not pretty.

Sometimes when there’s not enough staff in a facility, there’s a possibility of someone getting hurt- medical staff, patient, family members, for example.

On the show, a nursing student had a rough time with a patient, who verbally attacked her. She ran into a closet and cried, she was ready to quit.

No spoiler alerts, go watch the episode!

These are real-life situations that many don’t see. Even coworkers can be less than helpful in this area.

What Needs to Happen?

It’s hard to say, honestly. There’s so many laws and other organizations that are involved in making sure that healthcare workers are okay, physically and emotionally.

If you’re reading this and have been attacked by a patient, no matter what kind of facility you work in, your words matter. Tell your supervisor. If that doesn’t get anything done, keep going up the chain of command. You’re worth speaking out for.

The hashtag that is the title of this post represents those who are choosing to speak out and create change in the industry.

Research those laws (not my finest quality, but that is why Google exists). Send emails. Make phone calls.

Most of all, support your coworkers if they come to you about an attack. It really does wear on your psyche.

If you’re a healthcare worker, PLEASE let me know what you think!! Leave a comment or email: wraemsanders@gmail.com

The takeaway? Be nice to healthcare workers, it’s a hard career. (Now, if they’re being rude or otherwise inappropriate, feel free to shred them.)

If you’re interested in the Facebook group for the #SilentNoMore foundation and/or the page:

group

page

Back to the Beginning

Life has a way of pulling us forward and then yanking us back.

Right now, I’m being yanked.

If you need the back story to Lily’s issues, please read

The Things I Forget

Special Needs Round Two

Thoughts on a Second Diagnosis

So Many Late Night Thoughts

Lily’s pediatrician referred us to a dietician and a pediatric endocrinologist. We saw both in one day, which I don’t recommend. It’s physically and mentally draining.

A few highlights:

  • She doesn’t have any major thyroid issues. Meds may be needed in the future but not today.
  • Her pituitary gland is working fine.
  • No autoimmune issues. I’d be crushed if she did because it would be directly from me.
  • However, she’s sitting on the borderline of type two diabetes. Diabetes runs on both my and Matthew’s sides of the family. Her A1c has dropped, and it wasn’t that high, to begin with, but it would be good to work on this.
  • I turned in the OT paperwork and her dietician is signing her up for a cooking class in the spring.

Isn’t that a LOT to absorb in a few hours?

I didn’t sleep well last night at all (these appointments were on 11/12, two days before this post went up) and as Macklemore once said: “I gotta get this on the page”. For him, it means writing out a rap, I’m writing out my feelings via this blog.

I tried to relax by watching some TV and hanging out with Miss Purr, and that helped. I thought all the stress was gone and then I tried to go to sleep.

Nope. I don’t know what time I fell asleep but it was well after I got in bed around 9 PM.

It probably should have been a melatonin night.

How did she gain so much weight and I didn’t realize it? Jeez, I thought I paid more attention.

Developmental delays are forever.

You’re a crap mom for not starting the changes sooner.

How did you ignore Lily but go so hard for Julian and Cameron?

Do I even want to talk to Matthew about this? I can’t go through what went down in the beginning with Julian again. I’d walk first.

(For the record, I did tell him everything but not because I wanted to.)

These are just a few thoughts.

Trying to Not Feel Sorry for Me

I try to keep a positive outlook on life, even when I’m stressed to the max and/or angry at myself.

This gets really difficult when my brain attacks me. I already struggle with severe anxiety. It kicks into full gear when I have so much to think about.

I don’t sleep, I have a hard time relaxing. I usually don’t talk about it even though I fully know I should. The words are hard to get out of.

I try to remember that we are already making changes. Things don’t get easier overnight. It would be great but that’s not how life works.

I remind myself that Lily doesn’t have any major issues, the ones I feared. This is great.

There are three of these kids and one of me. I’m doing the best I can. I’m just not trying to do anything to make things worse for her. I guess that would mean not doing what the endocrinologist and dietician recommend.

I don’t know how I even thought that she would grow out of her delays. I guess it was wishful thinking. I’ve since realized that I was wrong and so I have to adjust my brain.

Let’s Go Back A Few Years

Julian was diagnosed in 2011 and it changed our lives.

I don’t think I forgot about Lily, but I feel guilty now for letting her fade a bit into the background. Does that make me a bad mom? Probably. Maybe not?

I’m not sure at this point.

As for talking with Matthew, that was non-existent for about three years after Julian’s diagnosis. He wouldn’t listen. He questioned my abilities as a mom, which stuck in my mind permanently.

It’s probably why all Matthew gets is facts, not an ounce of emotion. Even after therapy, I’ve had a hard time wanting to open up to him.

*sigh*

He finally got the idea because he wasn’t left with any other choices. I think that stayed with him because so far, nothing bad has happened.

I just know that I feel the same crushing guilt that I did in 2011.

I didn’t feel so much guilt about Cameron’s heart issues because we had no idea until his first episode. I do, however, feel bad for his migraines. That’s entirely from my genetics.

What’s The Plan?

Obviously, I’m going to follow the recommendations whether Lily is a fan or not.

I’m trying to keep perspective. Lily might need to drop some weight and get more active but there’s a student in my preschool class who might lose her eye due to a tumor.

This kid is barely three.

I will bawl if she does lose her eye.

The lesson?

There’s always someone who has worse issues. Lily’s are fixable. My student’s aren’t.

What else? Try to remember that I’m not as horrible as a mom as I tell myself I am and try my hardest to be patient with Lily.

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

Intimacy Is Not a Bad Word

Merriam-Webster defines the word intimacy as:

“something of a private or personal nature” and/or “familiarity”.

There are a number of reasons that we can be afraid of intimacy. Two examples:

  • Childhood issues, as in inability to attach to a caregiver, having been abandoned, etc.
  • Past negative events of being intimate with others- abusive relationships, sexual assault, etc.

Either of these issues can set someone on a path of trying to keep themselves “safe”. This can be both good and bad- it’s good to protect yourself from those who may have bad intentions, but may not be so great when someone means well and just wants to get closer to you.

The fear of intimacy can keep you from getting close to others. It can also cause behaviors like:

  • Purposefully pushing others away
  • Keeping friendships and/or relationships superficial so the person can’t see who you really are
  • Coming off as “cold” or “closed off” to others around you.
  • Fear of abandonment and/or rejection.

“Some People Are Worth Melting For”- ” Frozen”

I can’t believe I used a “Frozen” quote but…it fits.

There was a point in my life in which I had become cold. I didn’t even realize it, which is very common. I’d been dealing with anxiety and depression due to my marriage issues. Things were so bad that I felt the need to protect myself emotionally so that I could keep going. I was basically on my own planet.

When your husband is emotionally and verbally abusive, it hurts. It changes you and your marriage permanently.

I was quiet, had lost some of my humor and kept to myself for the most part. I just wanted to be left alone. I didn’t notice the tall, gorgeous man that kept trying to approach me at work.

That man was Jake.

I am forever grateful that I met him. He had a quiet, gentle spirit that helped me open up and heal. I was scared that I would get hurt (and I did) but somehow, I realized he was worth that risk.

He told me once that he didn’t know what to do because I kept brushing him off. I would literally walk away from him because I didn’t want to be bothered, but he kept trying- not in a mean or harassing way.

I apologized to him for seeming so cold- that’s not me at all, even then. I realized that I didn’t want to come off that way to others, so I tried my best to open up and let Jake in. It was one of my best ideas in years.

After his death, I had to address my marriage and where it was going. If we were going to stay together, I would have to work on my fear of being close to Matthew again.

I cried my way through lots of therapy sessions before I could decide to let myself take that risk again. Matthew had changed, so I needed to do the same.

I talked a lot about my fears and realized that I was the only one that could truly fix them. Over time, I’ve been able to be fully intimate, meaning emotionally and physically, with Matthew again. It’s helped our marriage a lot.

Thinking

How Can I Make Changes?

Changes are definitely possible, but they may not be fun.

Coming to terms with this fear can be difficult, depending on individual circumstances. Some may require therapy. Some can work through this fear on their own.

Either way is okay. Everyone’s different and heals in their own way.

A few steps for facing the fear of intimacy:

  • Think about it- what is it exactly that makes you fear intimacy so much?
  • Write it out- this can help sort out your thoughts.
  • Talk. Then talk some more. Rachel, my former therapist, once told me “If it’s on your mind and bothering you, you should probably say it.” I admit this was a big struggle for me, and it’s still an issue sometimes, but it is worth it.
  • Get informed. This is a deep fear for many and there’s information all over the Internet. The information for this post is from Psych Mind
  • Take small steps. Don’t rush into something because you’re trying to get past a fear. It may take years for intimacy to feel okay for you. Examples: Try opening up to someone you have wanted to but only about one topic. Let someone take care of you.
  • Seek a therapist if this fear is keeping you from living your best life.

Forming a sense of intimacy with others can be tough. Facing this fear can create personal growth that you may not have expected.

Has intimacy been a problem for you? What has helped you face the fear OR what keeps you from facing it?

Tuesday Thoughts

Bullying is a huge problem. It’s happening in schools, workplaces and other important locations in our lives.

I have told my children this: if someone is bullying you or someone else, they likely have issues that you don’t know about in or out of school. Maybe both. I tell them to be kind to the kids around them because they may need one person who is kind. It might be the thing that keeps them going.

Cameron once helped stop a fight because his friend was having a bullying issue- he was the one being bullied.

I was a bit surprised because he’s usually a very chill kid but he helps those he cares about. Nobody was hurt, but Cameron was definitely a buddy that day.

How do you encourage your child to be a buddy, not a bully?

Picture courtesy of pinterest

The Things I Forget

Parenting is challenging.

Every. Single. Day.

If you have one kid with any kind of medical issue and/or special needs, the challenge gets more intense.

Fair pic

Inside This Mom’s Mind

I didn’t realize that sometimes, after some years, that we can adjust to our kids’ issues so much that we can almost forget about them.

Sometimes. It depends on the kid.

It’s not that I forgot about Lily’s delays, but maybe I did forget that delays aren’t just during baby/toddlerhood.

Once she aged out of First Steps (early intervention) at three and went to preschool, I thought “okay, we’re good”

The person that completed her exit eval reminded me: “She may be behind in some areas as she gets older, but we don’t know which.”

She had a difficult time learning how to read. Even after she got good at it, she still asked to read to me, Matthew or my mom. These days, she’s reading “Dork Diaries” books, so I’d say she’s on track.

As you’ve read in other posts, she’s had further issues that pulled me to put her in therapy.

You can read those posts Special Needs Round Two

Thoughts on a Second Diagnosis

A Big Breakthrough

As of now, Lily is 4’9″ and weighs about 160 lbs.

Her pediatrician is concerned and as a result, she’s had labs drawn to see what’s up.

Of course, her thyroid is basically nonfunctional. I wonder where that came from? Mine was bad before losing half of it, but Lily’s levels are basically bottoming out.

Don’t worry, she is seeing a pediatric endocrinologist in early November. Her pediatrician is certain she will end up on the same meds that I am on.

We’ve changed her diet (still in progress) and she got referred to a dietician. The very nice dietitian asked if she could discuss Lily with the Occupational Therapy department and…

Here I am, filling out paperwork for an OT eval.

I know she doesn’t need speech therapy. She’s loud and there is no misunderstanding her. In that area, you can definitely tell she’s almost 12. The attitude is real.

In the years since First Steps, I guess we have adjusted the best we can.

Lily hates exercise, new foods, and most things yucky, except slime. She LOVED slime. At 11, she still can’t ride a bike. This doesn’t mean we haven’t tried. Julian even tried to help her ride a bike- he’s been on one since he was four.

While filling out the OT paperwork, I’m reminded that even though she isn’t a baby, she still has issues that are impacting her health. Her daily life.

*sighs*

How do I feel?

Tired. Overwhelmed. You know, the usual. I have many thoughts, some found in The Deeper Thoughts of a Special Needs Mom

Dunk tank

Birthday water fun

Trying My Best

Lily has ADD, minus the hyperactivity part. (Julian took that part and RAN with it.) I try my hardest to remember this when asking her to do things and when she’s in trouble. I forget that she is a bit behind her peers emotionally and socially. Being her isn’t always easy.

But yet, I entirely screw up. I lose patience. I get upset with her. I apologize and try to move forward. Some days are better than others.

Parents aren’t perfect, no matter how hard we try. We have to give ourselves some room.

The things I forget come back at the weirdest times!