Most all of our articles in this publication are about our experiences as a nurse working with our patients and/or their families. It could also be about a lesson we have learned about a procedure that we want to share with both seasoned and new nurses that could make their job easier. There is also insight into difficult situations that have been shared to give a different perspective or suggest a new approach. MANY offer “food for thought.”
Last year around this time I wrote about PTSD and suicide which is prevalent around this time of the year. I mentioned that PTSD is not restricted to just our veterans; however, the fact that every 24 hours 22 veterans commit suicide is a staggering fact. PTSD can also impact anyone unable to cope from a drastic, life altering event.
Depression at the holidays has been written about time and time again and we know, without a doubt, that it exists for many. Maybe as you read this article you are depressed and are having difficulty with life this holiday season. So many memories are made during the holidays, and there is a picture in our mind of very special people with whom we had our best times. Memories are snapshots in our mind.
However, when our income, family life, or health are affected our lives can become a living nightmare. Do you have co-workers right now where you work that possibly may need a little boost from YOU? Yes, I’m looking at you through this article and I can see the expression on your face and your thoughts may be……”Hell No, I hardly have time for myself.” Don’t feel bad because this is a common response that is not always verbally expressed. BUT more commonly we express it by looking the other way.
Being older, and kind of retired, I have had time to reflect back on my years of nursing with other staff members. There were both good and bad experiences as we worked together. I regret that there were many situations when I responded to their needs as being “too busy.” It’s true, maintaining a family and trying to work, etc can drain a person big time, but how many times did I watch and use this as nothing more than an excuse? How about you? Let’s face it, it is easier for all of us to turn a blind eye to the people we work shoulder-to-shoulder with, than to give them a “piece of ourselves.” Are you reading this article and thinking, “Well I’ve never done that!” Okay, you can be the saint. But for many I bet this “rings a bell.”
It’s funny how a little time away from the scene can open your eyes to just how many mistakes you made and regret them. I hope by myself talking about them that you can think about the people you work with and look at them just a little differently. The regrets are not worth it.
Very few times do we know a co-worker’s entire background and all the “building blocks” that made them the person you see. Many may be wearing scars that are deep and engraved upon their very being, and others may be daily blocking the horrors of their childhood that they have battled for years. You never know. Sound like the job for a “shrink?” Yes you are right, and it is some of the best money I have ever spent. Depression is not something to be ashamed of, hidden under an invisible blanket…if you or someone you know is depressed….SEEK QUALIFIED HELP! You can win!!!
As I reflect on my career, I remember specific situations I regret and wish I would have went the extra mile. The wife had worked her “rear end off” to help her family get ahead and build a life just to find out that her husband had been cheating on her and wanted to “throw her away.” Isn’t that how one would feel giving your all and you are no longer wanted? I could have been a better ear. I could have helped to maintain her dignity and self worth because her trust was shattered.
Then there were ones in my “work family” that lost loved ones or they were caring for loved ones at home that were ill. How did I turn my back when I noticed the bags under their eyes from sleepless nights? Could I have volunteered to give then a break one night…one stupid night out of my life…to allow them a good nights rest? Could I have brought in some dinners or helped with a chore?
Let’s not forget the “working poor.” Maybe they are a single mom or someone whose spouse lost their job and money is super tight. You know they are struggling and it’s so easy to put some money in an envelope and send it to their home, put it in their coat pocket and mark it from Santa or someone who cares.
Anyone you know that is battling a disease and working? Know anyone that is NOT looking forward to life, let alone the holidays? Bet you can think of a thousand ways to help them.
ALL of these issues still exist. So many life depression situations can be helped. Again, depression is nothing to be ashamed of and if you can help…ask. Encourage others or yourself to seek help! Quietly keep someone else’s struggles to yourself and be someone who can be considered trusted. Stand beside them and with them to keep moving on. You can be part of someone’s healing or battle process if you just look around. Life is way too short to have wished you would have done something and didn’t. Compassion is not just for patients…spread it around in the up coming year!