Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 3 of Homeopathy - Why it sucks when you're the "expert"

So, two different subjects, one post, because it all ties together. Subject one, suicide, subject two, Ignatia Amara. Let's begin with subject two.

So the homeopathic remedy my naturopath has me on is called Ignatia, and it's for grief and balancing emotions and stuff. It can make things worse before it makes things better. It's definitely made things worse, or at least psychosomatically so, I'm not sure. Nausea. Ick. Bleck. Nausea. And lack of appetite, but the nausea feels better when I eat. random. Lack of interest. Yup, I've got that. It goes along with the "lump" in my throat. Exhaustion, oh yeah. I've slept eight and a half hours two nights in a row and still been tired, despite my b12 shot on Monday. Hopefully things get better soon!

Subject 1, suicide. Without going into too much detail, there's this girl I know, younger than me, but still over 18, and she's quite depressed. I've been a non-professional support for her for four or five years now, and I know her quite well (far better then she knows me). Here's the thing though, right now she's quite suicidal from what I can ascertain and really not doing well. We both think she needs to go to hospital, but she is scared of going and keeps putting up barriers. I offered to take her tonight, but no go, barriers put up. So we're at a stand still.

Now here's the thing, if she was a client, instead of a friend, I could leave this at work. I could leave this in the client's hands, provide them with resources, write a safety plan, and I could go home. But as a friend, she has my cell phone number, and that's how we've been talking, text messages. It's harder for me to set aside, because I care about her a lot (not that I don't care about my clients and worry about them as well, but it's a different kind of relationship). But I'm stuck. She's not actively suicidal, or if she is, she's not telling me, so I really can't call the police. I've had to call the police for people before, and it's not fun, even when they're standing in front of you telling you that they're going to walk out the door and hang themselves, and they've got the rope already. The police would not be interested in this. I also don't have enough "evidence" to go to the magistrate and try and get a "form" so that she's forced to be assessed in hospital. I have given her all the crisis resources, I have been through safety planning with her, I've done all the "right" things, and now it's time to let go.

Here's how this all ties together though. Among other people who are friends with this person, I am "the expert". I'm not an expert in this at all, but I'm the one they all turn to when things aren't going well for this friend. There is no one else for me to call, they could call me, but that's where it stops. This friend has a counsellor, but I'm not in contact with them, because I'm not a professional in this case as I've told her many times. I'm not at my best right now, I'm really not. But there's no one to pass this responsibility off on. I just don't seem to have it in me to tell my suicidal friend with very little support, yeah, I'm feeling "off" today, can you feel like dieing another day? I have of course set some limits and boundaries, and I definitely took some me time for self care today where I completely ignored the phone, but it's still hard. I guess it's never going to be "easy" though, when a friend is feeling suicidal, no matter how good a place I'm in. I guess I'll see what tomorrow brings!

My Naturopath

It's been a while since I blogged and I wanted to share something that I've done that seems to be making a really big difference in my life and encompasses a lot of things that I try and incorporate in my social work practice.

I started seeing a Naturopath after my massage therapist referred me to one. He thought they might be able to help with my body's seeming inability to maintain healthy iron levels. Well so far it hasn't helped with that, but it's helped with a lot of other stuff!

My naturopath is great. Costly, but great. She works as part of a group of naturopaths practicing family medicine in my city. Our first meeting was almost entirely talking, for an hour and a half. She really took the time to listen to me and get a very thorough medical history from me, plus a brief physical exam. She ran some blood tests as well, gave me a b12 shot, and started me on some higher quality vitamins then what I was already on.

Since I started seeing her, I've lost 22 pounds my body was carrying around, and really, I just feel quite a bit better (except of course for this depression type thing). She discovered I had a bit of a sluggish thyroid, not low enough for my doctor to have noticed I guess, but she put me on some herbs for it, and it really helped perk me up a bit. We're also doing an asthma diet, so I'm not eating eggs, wheat or dairy (not as bad as it sounds).

The really good thing about her though is that she listens, and she remembers. So if I tell her about something, three weeks later she'll be able to ask me about it and check in with me about how it's going. Although I'm still not 100% certain she "gets" me, I did somehow find it in me to open up a bit about how numb I've been feeling. She had lots of ideas of things to put me on (she's always full of ideas), but we're starting with a homeopathic remedy for grief and emotional balancing. And more accupuncture.

Another thing I like about my naturopath is that she is continually doing research and finding out about new things to try. She often has textbooks out when I come in, and she'll say things like "I've been reading about this... that we can try". For me that shows that while she sees me for 45 minutes every few weeks, she is still thinking about and working on my issues while I'm not there.

Final cool thing for this post, and I think the thing that connects it with my practice as a social worker. I went to my Naturopath for a very physical thing, my anemia. That was really my only goal. I'm still stuck on 3 iron pills a day to maintain my iron levels, BUT I have more energy, I've lost weight, my body/stomach are happier with me, and I'm starting work on this emotion business of mine. It reminds me of how my clients come to our program for help finding and keeping a job, but often we work on SO much more then that. People are integrated, they're not just one issue, work is just a piece of the puzzle. A big important piece perhaps, but just a piece none the less.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I wish I still had bad coping skills?

So here's the thing. I'm house hunting, and the market where I live is completely a sellers market. I was out bid on a house 2 weeks ago, that went for 20000 over the asking price, and then yesterday I lost a house I REALLY wanted because it went for 30000 over the asking price.

To say I was upset, would be an understatement. I don't know if it was the new homeopathy, the massage I got that day, being depressed, or something, but man I lost it. I cried for like 2 hours straight, just couldn't stop. I sat on the floor of my shower with hot, hot water pounding down on me and just sobbed. This was arguably a good experience for me, as it helped me release some of the pent up emotion inside me, that was sort of the goal of this whole journaling and opening up thing after all!

The amusing (now) part of this all was the conversation I was having with myself while sitting on the floor of the shower. Basically, one part of my mind was thinking of every unhealthy coping skill it could and the other half of my brain was shooting it down. One part of my brain was being incredibly black and white, and the other half was adding shades of grey. And let me tell you, I feel like in the moment it would have been SO much easier to be in the black and white negative side. Why? Perhaps a few examples.

1. A: You should cut yourself, cutting yourself would help you feel better. B: Yeah, but then I'd have scars and I'd be mad at myself, and even though it would feel good in the moment, it would hurt later. A: Well, you need to shave your legs anyway, and if the razor just, slipped... B: So, not shaving my legs tonight then, razor gets nowhere near me. A: then how are we going to make the feelings stop? B: I don't know...

2. A: Well, why don't we have a drink. I know you have some Kahlua kicking around. B: Yeah, that sounds good, wait, no, not only do I not want to do something stupid while intoxicated, knowing my luck, I'll find up sick and/or hungover.

3. A: Well, you're never going to get a house at this rate. You can't afford one, you might as well give up, it's impossible. B: I've only seen SIX houses and offered on two. I know the market sucks, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. A: Yeah, but you're never going to find another house that's just right for you. B: That's what I thought after the first house two, and then I saw the second house...

And so things went on from there, and the font on this blog entry decided it didn't want to be straight forward either. In anycase, I just so badly wanted to be able to yell and scream and do something destructive or give up, or quite, or something, anything, to make it all go away. But, the rational, self aware part of my brain that teaches CBT skills just wouldn't let me. Which is good to know, but is SO FRUSTRATING in the moment.

I don't know if this entry makes any sense. I'm getting sleepy, but I really wanted to try and get some of this out there.

To sum up, although my life is SO much better with all the coping skills I've learned, it also makes things more complicated, and at times I really do miss some of those negative options.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Look at me, writing an entry

My naturopath seems to think I should start writing again. She's probably right. Now granted, she meant journaling, but I think this is actually more therapeutic for me, and it's certainly "easier". Slightly less deep then what journaling could turn into.

Experiencing multiple loses in a short period of time, as well as having an emotionally intense job, a busy schedule, and friends who are having difficulties of there own, has in my case, led to a bit of emotional numbness. I get to try some homeopathy, which could make me worse before it helps, and I'm supposed to journal every day. We'll see.

In truth, except for my flat affect, life is pretty good. I've been looking at houses, which shoudl be more exciting than it is. I put an offer on one, didn't get it, and am putting an offer on another one tomorrow. I really like the one I'm offering on tomorrow and am praying very hard that I get it. Then of course comes packing, and moving...

Still president of our union local at work. Went to a good workshop on bargaining as we're renegotiating our collective agreement in April. I'm not quite sure when I'm going to find the time for bargaining, but here's hoping it doesn't take long. It's hard, because much as I stand in solidarity with my coworkers, I want to make sure I don't leave my clients at the wayside as they're the reason all of us got into this in the first place.

Perhaps that's enough writing for today. I'll be back tomorrow! Hopefully with more social work excitement as opposed to my dysthimic ramblings.