It's been a while since I've written anything. I'm not really sure why, but writing has been hard lately. I've sat down to write this post many times and then stopped-- I've deleted words and retyped them, erased the whole thing and started from scratch.
Before I was ever a nurse, I sat in a classroom at Cape Fear Community College in a course for nursing assistants that I was taking for the summer to jump start my nursing career. Our instructor, a woman known as "Hosk," had all of us go around the room to introduce ourselves and state one or two things that we love to do in our free time. After everyone had shared their various passions and interests, Hosk said, "now I want you to remember this day. Remember the things that you just shared that you love to do. If you find that you're going more than a few days at a time without doing those things, you need to change something about what you're doing and re-evaluate. Make sure you take care of yourself as you enter the healthcare profession." I was 18 years old and so naive. Of course I would always make time for things I love-- who wouldn't? I couldn't imagine what that life would look like.
Fast forward 11 years. I know exactly what it looks like now to live without doing the things you love every day. I am now almost as burnt out as they come as a healthcare professional, at the ripe age of 29. I don't recognize myself anymore physically or mentally; I say things I don't mean and have an attitude that's just garbage most days when I am at work. I get easily annoyed and roll my eyes at the smallest of things. It has taken using other people as my mirror to make me realize this, when I see someone's response to something I have said or when a colleague doesn't understand why I am so annoyed about something.
Healthcare has certainly burned me out. I brought everything I had to it as a young nurse; I worked the long hours and the night shifts. I worked the holidays and the rotating weekends and missed so many celebrations and time with family. I stayed late charting and came home to eat dinner at 9:30 some nights. I skipped lunches at work, skipped bathroom breaks and worked so so hard to keep my patients safe.
In my role as a provider now, I thought maybe things would be different. And in some ways, they are. I take regular bathroom breaks now, sometimes even extra ones just to get a quiet moment away from the questions and pages and phone calls and e-mails. I eat lunch most days, though sometimes it's at my desk while pouring over labs and trying to figure out what treatments to pursue. I work longer hours than I did as a nurse-- maybe not in a given day, but in a given week, I work more than full-time hours. My days are long and made longer by living over an hour from where I work. I try to set boundaries at work but fail most days. It seems that as a provider, you're expected to just work constantly all in the name of patient care. Wouldn't it just be patient abandonment if you didn't?
But my brain is tired. My body is tired. My emotions are wrung out. I feel like a shell of who I was when I went into healthcare. And when I think back to that day when I started this journey into healthcare, when I named the things I loved to do and promised to make time for them-- I'm sad because I realize I've neglected all of the things that build me up and settle my soul.
I've started reclaiming some of them over the past few months. I started making it a priority to spend time with the Lord everyday, to get involved with church community again and be in the presence of other believes who are trying to figure all of the mess out. And I started running again--bought the new running shoes and signed up for the race and built the race plan. I started reading a few pages from a book each night, even if I can't finish a book in a day like I once could; it helps me to read of far off places or books about bettering oneself for those around you. And my final claim back on my life is reclaiming my blog and my writing. Writing is life-giving to me; I still hope to someday write something that I can publish and that people will display on their coffee tables or in their beach bag for their weekend trip.
So, here I am, coming back. I don't know how much I'll be able to write in this space or what it will look like to be here. It'll take some time to find my voice again-- who knows if I even write the same anymore, or sound the same? I'm excited for the journey and to step back into something that I love and that the Lord has given me such a passion for.