I woke at 4:00 a.m. and my first thought was that I wanted to die. My second thought was that the people in my life would be better off without me to muck things up. My third thought was that I have bipolar disorder and my brain is attempting its quarterly push to kill me. I have to say that of all of the things that suck about having bipolar disorder that the unwanted, out of the blue suicidal ideation wins the prize. The second suckiest thing is the weight gained from the medication because people don’t know that you are on all of this weight gain inducing medication and they think that you just don’t care about yourself.
My husband has told me that he thinks that I am spiraling into depression. I say that I have had a number of very difficult events that were out of my control. I hate when I have no ability to make even small changes in a situation.
I haven’t written anything in months (?) because I felt like my life was on hold waiting to start back to school, waiting for my internship begin, and waiting for things to be different than the monotony of the previous 7 months. Then school started and my class was absolutely mind-numbingly boring with busy work. Last project to be finished today.
Now, I would like to talk about my internship or lack of internship. I have worked for Middle Flint Behavioral HealthCare (notice, I’m using their name) for over a year. During that time, I was forced to take a leave of absence and they were forced to hold a position due to the Americans with Disabilities Act. That does not mean that they have to hold your position or a similar position. That is part of this story. The main problems with Middle Flint started at the very beginning of my first internship. Despite my best efforts to establish my boundaries and to require that they fulfill the contract that they signed with my university, things didn’t work out that way. My “supervisor” would not meet in person for individual meetings, she insisted that I count group supervision towards those hours and my favorite thing, I was required to have 50 clinical hours and ended up with 87 hours. Why? Because the concept of an intern, someone still learning, didn’t seem to sink in with these people. I had one day a month that I saw individuals with schizoaffective disorder from 8:00 – 6:00.
So, we come to this summer. In FEBRUARY, I submitted to them the release form from my doctor. Two weeks before my internship was supposed to begin they stated that it was incorrectly worded (vocational v. work). I had to make an appointment with my doctor to get a new copy of the letter. This was during the first week of what should have been my internship. I e-mailed, called, and showed up at the HR office to no avail. A week later, I received notification that the letter was still not clear enough. I contacted the doctor’s office, he rewrote it including the information that they said they wanted. No-go on that letter either. Finally, he wrote a 4TH letter, which he was very unhappy about writing, and they deemed it acceptable.
Now we are four weeks into the semester. I begin my internship working with kids with behavioral health issues. Did I choose this? No, wait that should have been HELL NO. I like children, one-on-one. I was dumped into a position with no guidance and a supervisor who kept telling me that she was overwhelmed. And, the kids, I really can’t forget about the kids. In one room, with no behavioral plans because they are forbidden by the state and punitive measures are not allowed also, there were kids with ADHD (okay, I can handle this), Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder (this is often the precursor to Antisocial Personality Disorder, which includes sociopathic and psychopathic behaviors – though we don’t call it that anymore), and wide range of disorders that I wouldn’t even begin to diagnose. After one week trying to do psychoeducational groups, I was an absolute wreck. After Monday of the second week, I was having panic attacks. My university made the decision that it was not a safe, healthy, or ethical position.
I want to say one more thing about Middle Flint, they do the best that they can for their clients but they treat their employees terribly. I know one counselor who has worked at Middle Flint for more than two years. In their mind it is a 24-7 job, I once received a call at 11:15 from my supervisor. She was angry that I didn’t answer, but I said, “I have a 1.5-year-old and her staying asleep is important to me.”
Now, I am back to no internship, and questions about what the future holds for me. I will say this, tomorrow I will call my doctor and express concern about my thoughts.