This past month has been a trial of various medications in order to allow me to overcome being anxious about dealing with clients. I have a therapist, a couples counselor (because this kind of thing makes your spouse crazy), a primary care internist, and the psychiatrist. The actual diagnosis is being worked out, but this is a marathon and not a sprint. So, cost THIS week of therapy: $205 for the combined therapists and @$290 for the psychiatrist. I get a small break next week: one therapist is out of town. Oh, insurance covers NONE of this so it is out of pocket.
My PCP, therapist, and psychiatrist all agreed that I have PTSD. The psychiatrist mentioned that there are two main types: several small instances (non-combative) vs single/multiple combative PTSD. She thinks I have both. I had a boyfriend in junior high that abused and threatened to kill me and my whole family. He held me hostage with threats against his own life, attempting suicide when I broke up with him. Less than a year later, my father died when I was 16 and in a new school. Two big traumas. Then all of the little money grubbing digs, all of the rich doctor heartless jokes, all of the animal abuse, euthanizing 10-30 patients a weekend on emergency. The fear of never knowing if when I told an owner "I have a 90% chance of saving your dog, but it will cost at last $2000 and might go up from there," what they were going to say. Some would hug me and tell me to go ahead, then send thank you cupcakes. Some could not afford it and I euthanized their dog, but still got a nice card and sometimes bakes goods...no recriminations. And some called me a thief. And some just yelled at me. And when you have PTSD, all your limbic system processes is that all of things that stand out are the traumas. And you have constant cortisol release. And then your hippocampus shrinks. And you become angry and at its most base form, anger is fear. I was paralyzed when picking up the phone. I was paralyzed going into exam rooms.
Given my previous history, I would have been better off going into pathology or anatomy or research. But I am an adrenaline junky...jumping horses goes along with that, diving competitively goes along with that. I despite what my doctors think, I believe that I am high functioning ADD. My psychiatrist says that my brain just works differently and that I have a busy brain. It makes me good at solving problems, but does not help with the mundane things. I can diagnose and manage several severe medical cases, remove a spleen in 10 minutes, and start treatment on an animal my techs show me through the surgery window and I am closing the splenectomy. However, I cannot clean the house. I can cook a fabulous meal without a recipe but I cannot repeat it. I can create pictures that make people cry. I can give lectures and create inventions, but I cannot work through the mundane task of patenting them. Talking to a single client picking up the phone is trauma inducing. Giving a grand rounds lecture to an entire human hospital staff makes me high for at least a day. Instead of a wall that only lets a few things in, my mind is a colander, letting all sorts of things in and out. The box that all the exec want people to think outside of does not exist in my world. And even though my doctors all agree that this a 4 D way of thinking makes me a wonderful doctor, it makes me a shitty wife, and a less than mundane mother. At this point, I am agreeing that polygamy is a good choice...if I could have a wife that did all of that day to day stuff...how perfect would that be?
I am finding my way in this new world of purely capitalistic veterinary hospitals, where so many hospitals are competitors and not colleagues. And so many hospitals are being bought by corporations. I am navigating the land mines of the big box companies forcing pharmacist, with no veterinary training, to sell veterinary drugs that they *MIGHT* learn about through the hazy filter than is their rep (and do they know what they can trust, do they know about the interaction of Comfortis and Ivermectin products??.) I am trying for education rather than anger. I have already given one pharmacology CME, might as well charge Wally World for more.
And I am fighting this battle with suicide. Veterinarians have one of the highest suicide rates in the world...next to dentists. Money problems, easy access to drugs that kill, a feeling of helplessness, of being devalued....those all come into play. PTSD and the unending anxiety also
So you vets and human health care workers...you might have some PTSD too. ED medics, nurses, and doctors are at risk. Be safe. Get your help. I am mortgaging my future to do so, because without this help, my future will be in the state run loony bin or in the ground.
Yes, it is a downer post. But it is true to my life. Off to watch more TED talks and work on my next lecture. If I get my grant, it should gain some national attention.