This picture was taken last October.
Even though I’m smiling, I was at a level of anxiety and depression most days that was previously not known to my soul. I was often simultaneously exhausted but tachycardic and anxious. Being a new RN brought back some of my bad habits including self isolation and deep shame and self criticism.
I often internalize stress and never really knew just how hard this career would be on my body, mind, and spirit. Things were made much more tolerable by working with an amazing team at my last job. Then, I decided to move to this beautiful place (from the picture above). I felt like I could breathe when I visited, so naturally any sane nomad would just up and move.
I could have never predicted that my move would be right before a pandemic. My entire world has been turned upside down while the entire world is turning upside down. I know I’m not alone in suffering. I also know that I have it really good compared to so many people right now. One minute I’m guilt-ridden that I’m not working in big city that really needs nurses right now. Then, I’m anxiously anticipating how hard my work will get hit in the next few weeks. I’ve cried while eating too many cookies over my sink. Sometimes hours and days pass where I’m just numb and laugh at all the memes about healthcare workers not having/re-using PPE, thinking to myself- we are all f*cked. Sometimes I just sit there shaking my head asking what the hell is going on.
To my nurse friends fighting in Phoenix, I miss you. It feels lonely and precarious being new at my job. I don’t know who to turn to during a crisis or code yet. I don’t know who I can be snarky with or who has the darkest sense of humor. Protocols are new or non-existent, things change everyday because of this pandemic. But, I do know that nurses are a special breed of human. They are people that show up, in the the worst of times. And even though I wish I was fighting this fight with the people that helped me become the nurse I am, I will stand strong in this new place and give it my all.
To my nurse friends that have reached out- our face time chats, marco polos, calls and texts are what is keeping me going. Thank you. To my family that checks in everyday, thank you. I love you.
To any healthcare professional that got a new job right when I did, I feel for and with you. I have to think that we were pulled in this new direction for a reason. Remember that we have a purpose, even when we are feeling completely out of place. Imposter syndrome is real. Just keep showing up.
To the nurses that are currently working or are headed to the worst parts of the country and the world to fight, I hope that someone has thanked you today. I hope someone thanks you every single day. I hope that you get the PPE that is necessary to do this job. I hope that you remember to take care of yourself.
To the nurses awaiting the tsunami, having hours cut for low census, hiding that one N95 mask in your little brown paper bag, not quite knowing what to expect… keep breathing. I’m waiting with you.
I know we can’t seem to escape reading about Covid-19. I know how sick to my stomach I get even talking about it for too long. I just finally got to the point where I want to surrender to this feeling of not being in control; something I have struggled with from the beginning of my nursing career. When I left my last job for a new challenge, this isn’t quite what I had in mind. I know that this isn’t what any of us had in mind for 2020. But, we are here now…
Anyways, just checking in. How is everyone?
Five years was a long writing break.