Well, Nurse Teeny went and did it again.
I took on too much and I hit bottom. Hard.
Meltdown -> migraine -> meltdown -> migraine. And so the cycle has continued for the past two weeks. Farewell, PTO. It was fun while it lasted.
I’ve now realized why I get crazy looks from people whenever I tell them I am working full time and studying full time. It’s because I AM crazy.
But this time I’m not letting the crazy win…
First and foremost, I am slowing the hell down. My curriculum plan was just plain sadistic. Maybe if I’m not trying to juggle 12 credits (including a doctoral level stats class), I’ll actually enjoy school again. Maybe not. But I’m giving myself the space to find out. It will stretch out my advanced practice certificate by a semester, which is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. If next semester isn’t better, I’ll reevaluate again whether this is the right educational path for me.
It will also push my ultimate DNP graduation date back by a year. At first this troubled me. But then I realized by the final year, it will be 99% online and/or capstone work. I can handle taking an extra year for a doctorate if I’m still sane at the end of it.
What I can’t handle is all the pressure I have put on myself to balance something that is impossible.
Second, I am really thinking about where I want to practice. I went back into acute care because I felt like I had unfinished business – some kind of pride thing, that I had to show I could do the clinical stuff just as well as the next nurse. But guess what – I can’t do it just as well and I need to be okay with that. The cerebral stuff comes much easier than the hands-on stuff. Relating to my patients and spending time with them is WAY more interesting and exciting to me than administering chemo or, God forbid, coding them. I’ve been aware of this cognitive dissonance from the beginning, but even with two years in community health and a lot of amazing non-acute-care nursing role models, somehow I still bought into the myth that “real nurses” are floor nurses. Rather than focus on my strengths, I’ve been dwelling over my weaknesses, which has handed me a whopping dose of anxiety. But as I told my therapist this week (yep, therapy rocks and I’m proud to admit it), what the hell am I trying to prove, and to whom? That is a question I am still trying to answer. Hence, the therapy.
Third, I am hoping that slowing down helps me reprioritize a little. I mentioned before concerns about my uterus shriveling up. And while that may have been a little dramatic, I am more than aware that my 33rd birthday is around the corner. S and I have been so focused on our professional/educational 5-year plans, we haven’t even really factored in our other goals. Not to mention the fact that I really don’t want to spend the next several years passing like two ships in the night. That’s no good for our marriage or for our emotional well-being. We keep saying it’s for a greater good, but I’m tired of being in survival mode for a greater good. It’s not a happy place to be.
In the meantime, life goes on. I should be studying for a patho mid-term right now. I have a weekend off to fly out west and see my mom get married!!!! In the midst of the turmoil, there are moments to treasure.
For that, I am thankful…