Update 092521

Hello, my zebras and spoonies! Thank you for coming in and hanging out with me today, I am glad you are here.

This week for me has been a bit of an adventure. So I finished my previous nursing contract and I have started at my next nursing contract. And well, stuff always comes up with change.

I have autism, and with that comes a strong need for sameness. But on the other hand, I have ADHD and with that comes a strong need for novelty. And I often find myself in an interesting balancing act (that’s what we’ll call it) between these two ever driving needs. If I do the same thing over and over and over again, I do tend to have a much more organized life and stable symptoms set. And I tend to have less flares. But I also tend to get bored and restless. And I just am not as happy. I need new things in order to feel like life is interesting. Why get out of bed, if all you’re ever going to see is the same thing over and over again? I just I need newness.

While I am feeling like the travel nursing lifestyle has been a really good choice for me because it is, in many ways, a balance of these two needs. Because doesn’t matter where you go, nursing is nursing. The standards of Nursing Practice follow you everywhere The way that you practice medicine is same. It doesn’t matter where I am, I’m a nurse, and my job is essentially, at its core, the same. But everywhere you go, there’s a nuanced difference in the way that things are overall managed. Of course, there’s different people and the facilities are different, where they put things and how they organize stuff, just there’s lots and lots of things different between different facilities. So there is the sameness and the familiarity of doing a job that I’ve been doing for 20 years. But there’s also the novelty and the newness of different places and meeting different people.

So that all being said, I’m finding that there’s also the challenge of the little anxiety gremlin that comes with all of this. I have a lot of anxiety about getting lost. I don’t really have a very good sense of direction, which is super common with dyscalculia, which is something that I have. When I get lost, I get anxious about being late. When I think about getting lost, I get anxious about being late. It’s a very important thing in my profession, that we are on time, and that we do things in a timely way. So being late really just isn’t acceptable. So I have a lot of anxiety when I go to new places, especially if I’m the person that’s driving because I am fearful that I’m going to get lost. And then I’m going to then, like make myself be ridiculously late. And it’s just not rational. I mean, from point A to point B, in order for me to get where I’m going for this new assignment, there’s like two turns. Two turns. I get on the highway and I drive straight for a really, really long time. I get off the highway, I take a left off the highway, drive a very short distance and take a right and I am at my location of employment. This is not likely scenario that I am going to get lost in between point A and point B.

And yet the anxious anxiety imp tells me that it’s going to happen. So yeah, there’s that. I’ve been dealing with that like all week because every time I drive this week, my brain is like you’re gonna get lost. Doesn’t matter that I haven’t been getting lost, even without using the GPS all week, and it’s been fine. And my rational brain is like: “dude, chill, it’s gonna be fine.” But my anxious brain It’s like, “Oh, but no, it’s not. The world’s going to explode. You’re going to fall into a hole and never find your way out. Ah!” To which my logical brain can only respond: “Like seriously, it doesn’t work that way. We’re going to be fine.” It doesn’t help. Logical brain can say nothing to make anxious brain feel better.

I am also somebody who struggles with imposter syndrome. I’ve been a nurse for 20 years, and I am really good at what I do. I know this on an intellectual basis. I’m frequently looked to by newer nurses for guidance on how to perform procedures. I am often asked to be a teacher and how to do procedures. I’m often asked to speak on numerous topics, often on mental health. I have certificates showing that I am an expert in my field. I know this anxiety imp is lying and that I am good at what I do and I have a very strong solid knowledge base. Yet I still find myself thinking that I can’t possibly be an expert, and it’s not rational for people to come to me for guidance or answers or suggestions, and there’s a part of me that still finds it insanely amazing that people put their lives in my hands and trust me with their health and well being.

When I look at my own personal life, and see the way that I often struggle with my own chronic illness I sometimes feel like I’m a train wreck. I mean, the reality is that I don’t always have my own chronic illness stuff under control, and that feels like a lie. Like, if I were a really good nurse I would be able to keep my own stuff, well managed, right? I mean like that’s what good nurses do right? And I get it, I get that, no matter how good your care plan is you’re always going to to struggle with stuff. And that when you have chronic illnesses, it’s complicated and difficult to manage. And it’s never going to be perfect, but this perfectionism in me wants it to be perfect and because it’s not that means I’m not an expert. Not very rational but there it all is. This big, complicated messy baggage that comes out every time I start a new position or job.

One big anxiety for me is meeting new people and what will they think of me and how will my first impression be. I know that I’m socially awkward and I don’t read body language at all. So when people first meet me, I have anxiety about how they’re going to respond to me and my inability to read their body language and how well am I dancing today, in the social dance to a music that I can’t hear. So yeah, this is particularly stressful. Especially since my job is all about meeting new people. I love meeting new people despite how anxious it makes me feel. People are amazing and complex and interesting in a way that nothing else on this planet can hope to be. People are everything.

These stressors, while they’re emotional and intellectual stressors, inevitably lead to physical flares, because your brain eats up an amazing amount of energy; an insane amount of the body resources. When it’s gobbling up all of these resources to process new information that’s being dumped into you, during the whole orientation process, and it’s just gobbling up resources in order to work through all the emotions that come with the anxieties and insecurities of the new job it not leaving much of anything for the rest of your body. You’re using a lot of those resources that you normally use to maintain the stability of your chronic illness. So it’s pretty common for people to have flares when they start a new job.

So that’s one of the hurdles that comes with being a travel nurse and having chronic illness is that every time I start a new assignment, I run a risk of having flares. And for me this week, it has been mostly my dystonia that has been problematic and I’ve been having a lot of challenges with right leg. Been having movements, foot cramping and pain. It got really pretty severe last night where I felt like somebody was driving a spike up through the bottom of my foot all the way up into my hip. So yeah, I’m just doing the best that I can and, but the reality is that the spoons have been scarce. I feel like all I have is an assortment of forks and knives, but I’m really doing the best I can and I have to remind myself that it really has been okay, and overall this week has been fine. Like nothing major has happened, nothing detrimental to my health and well being and overall, work is going well.

It’s been really weird being on day shift, this is the first time I’ve been on day shift in like 20 years or so, I don’t know. Yeah, a lot of interesting challenges this week. Overall I think that it’s going fairly well. And I’m hoping that as orientation comes to a close and I get more comfortable with the unit that my physical symptoms will chill out, and I’ll get back to a more reasonable schedule. Orientation always comes with a weird hodgepodge of a schedule where you come in for four hours and do this class and six hours over here and do that class so that’s also been part of the stress is that there’s this really piece meal scheduling going on this week. And we had one day off this week, because of all of the orientation stuff.

And hopefully as the orientation winds down I will also be able to get back on schedule for my blogging and my podcasting and you will not have weird days of posting popping up. I apologize. I am aware the my blogs and podcasts have come out haphazardly this week, just been trying to do things when the spoons are available. I’m sure all of you understand what I’m talking about there.

So thank you for coming and listening to my ramblings of an update. I hope that you are well. And until I see you next time, please take good care of yourselves!

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