The Golden Turd Syndrome

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.

Another loss. 




Published by bpnurse

I'm a retired registered nurse and writer who also happens to be street-rat crazy, if the DSM-IV.....oops, 5---is to be believed. I was diagnosed with bipolar I disorder at the age of 55, and am still sorting through the ashes of the flaming garbage pile that my life had become. Here, I'll share the lumps and bumps of a late-life journey toward sanity.... along with some rants, gripes, sour grapes and good old-fashioned whining from time to time. It's not easy being bipolar in a unipolar world; let's figure it out together.

6 thoughts on “The Golden Turd Syndrome

  1. You sound so extremely strong. My mom is 53 and has bipolar and I think she’s finally found herself in the last few months and its amazing to see. I think it’s such a powerful statement just knowing you aren’t the same as you used to be. I couldn’t be prouder of my mom for going day by day. I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn about the disease and understand what’s needed from an outsider.

    You are beyond strong. Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to more!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you….I appreciate your kind words and wish I were as strong as you make me out to be. Inside, I’m a terrified five-year-old who just wet her pants!

      I’m glad that you’ve taken such an interest in your mother’s illness. Not all young people try so hard to understand, let alone see things from the sick person’s point of view. Your mamma did a good job raising you. 🙂


  2. I normally just read your posts in my email, so it’s been a while since I have come to the actual site…it looks different. I like it.
    Now, I asked him if Golden Turd Syndrome was in the DSM-V and he said there’s a section in the back where you can add stuff, so yes it’s in his copy. He could have been joking, but quickly I learned HE could have not be joking also.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so sorry about your realization that you have another loss. This is why I was unable to work after parents got sick in 2010. And this is another loss as my first is 1994 with .loss of spouse. Luckily I had insurance inheritance following deaths and that along with managing finances allowed me to not fight my disability anymore.

    It maybe forward of me….. but do you have any insurance?, do you still have mortgage? if you do then get with financial planner to make that money go as far as possible. I know it is hard to talk about but Will would want you to be taken care of.
    I am so happy you have family to provide emotional support. You need to ask the hard questions.others do not want to bring this up to you as they fear they will upset you, so you need to be the one.

    Your friends in real life and online all open their hearts to you.


    1. I wish we had some financial backing, but we don’t have ANYTHING other than his Social Security and what little income I have from work. No equity in the house—we rent—no inheritances, no savings, no stocks, bonds, investments, nada. We don’t even have credit cards. The only thing we are rich in is friends and loving family, and while it doesn’t pay the bills, it helps us stay strong and hold onto hope. ❤


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