Monthly Archives: April 2017

“You Know She’s Bipolar…”


There it is again. That whispered phrase, “You know she’s bipolar.” 

To remind you, or let you in on what I’m talking about, I work in a hospital. And where I work, we don’t have a mental health unit, we don’t have mental health doctors. In fact, in this area, we barely have anyone who treats mental health cases. We have MHMR, one private doctor, and a mental hospital that, apparently/supposedly, releases people before they are stable. 

So with that little bit of knowledge, when we have patients that have a mental health diagnosis, some nurses seem to think that they are more difficult because of their diagnosis. Or that they are crazy, or something. But bipolar, that’s the one that always gets whispered. 

I don’t really understand it. I know that some bipolar patients can be difficult to work with because of our swinging moods, but that doesn’t mean that we’re crazy or trying to be difficult. 

Understand, too, that there are people in the hospital that just aren’t all there in their mind, regardless of their mental health diagnosis. And this particular patient was talking out of her head, kind of like she wasn’t all there. I was being kind and trying to help as much as I could. But she said that she wanted to report a couple of nurses. So I went to talk to the charge nurses, who was giving report to the night charge. They were both very understanding of the situation. They knew that she wasn’t all there mentally and that she “says things that just aren’t true.” But then the night charge goes and says, “Well, you know she’s bipolar.” By this time I had been closing the door, thinking the conversation had been over, but when I heard that, I said excuse me and he repeated his statement. To which I replied, “Well so am I but you don’t see me talking out of my head!” They both just looked at me for a moment. Unsure of what to do or say. And then he was saying something about her being severely bipolar. I was walking away already. 

How is it that in a hospital setting, we have such a stigma on mental health? Shouldn’t there be less stigma in a hospital setting, you see these kind of people every day. People who are sick and dying or whatever, needing life saving medical attention who happen to have depression or bipolar disorder, it shouldn’t change the way we approach them, how we treat them. 

The stigma is everywhere. And I want to change that. If it takes standing up to one nurse at a time who thinks that bipolar is something to be whispered and is something that is scary or makes someone difficult, then that’s what I’ll do. 

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Pacing


I’ve started pacing again…

Around the house, around the yard, at work… On my days off it’s a lot worse. 

It’s like I can’t relax, I can’t rest. The longer I sit still, the more upset I get. I have to move. I have to do something. 

At work, it’s not so bad. There’s plenty to do, so I just stay busy. But when there’s a lull in how busy it should be, I’m moving. Because I can finally sit, for a minute. But the minute ticks by and I have to move. 

This weekend should have been fun and relaxing. We went to visit a friend. And I was anxious the whole way up there. When we got there I started pacing.  Sitting on the edge of the seat, fidgeting with my hands, pacing again. I finally took an Ativan, it helped a little. I’m having to take them a lot more. 

The same thing happened today. More pacing. Another pill, this time I went and took a nap because I just couldn’t handle it. 

I go to see the doctor Thursday. So I plan on telling her that I’m more anxious. That I’m having to take my emergency pills almost every day. That my sleeping patterns are still off and that I need some kind of help. Something needs to change. I can’t go around feeling like this all the time.