My friend Jesse just got back from his appointment with my psychiatrist this afternoon (and I’m telling you, I’d better start getting some discounts for all the business I’m sending him!) with a new diagnosis of “golden turd syndrome”. I somehow doubt this one’s in the DSM, but it ought to be: it’s when your life looks golden on the outside, but you feel like shit on the inside.
That concept has never come up during any of my sessions, but it’s a good one because my entire LIFE has been that way. I grew up in a “good” family, had nice things, married a great guy, had four beautiful, healthy children, and so on. Even my own sister believes I’m the golden child, the one who had all the luck……the special privileges…….the undeserved blessings (the inference being that she never had any of it).
Well, not to discount the abundance of blessings life has indeed bestowed on me, but I’ve ALWAYS felt like shit on the inside. It started way back, as far back as I can remember, and I’ve never believed for a minute that I deserved as much as I’ve been given. I finally got past feeling totally worthless—it took fifty years—but other than in my most grandiose moments, I think it’s only because of extraordinary grace that I’ve received so many of life’s great gifts.
However, to whom much is given, much is required, and that’s where I keep falling down on the job. It kills my soul to have to admit when I can’t fulfill an obligation, and that makes me feel even less deserving. Just in the past three weeks, I’ve come to the sad conclusion that I am no longer able to practice nursing as I once did—the kind of all-out, balls to the wall, old-fashioned floor nursing I used to be so good at. And that was BEFORE we knew my husband was sick.
I can’t do it anymore. I get distracted too easily, can’t handle rapidly shifting priorities, and God forbid something out of the ordinary happens during a shift, because I can’t get back on track once I’ve dealt with the situation. Five years ago, I was an expert at it; now, I feel like a kindergartener who looks at the second- and third-graders on the playground and thinks she’ll never be as big as they.
Granted, I haven’t had much of a chance to get a routine down since I’ve mostly been doing admissions—something I AM good at—but it didn’t take many shifts for me to realize that it’s time for me to hang up my stethoscope as far as being a real, live, working floor nurse is concerned. I’m staying on as one of the ancillary nurses, because I must work and that’s a job that I can handle. But now I’ve actually scared myself by trying to carry on as I did when I was younger, before bipolar and its associated complications really began to plague me……and there’s no unringing that bell.