Saturday, March 3, 2012
The New Normal
I'm beginning to get a sense of the new normal. What has been changed is irrevocable. Something has been lost and much has been gained. It's still all such a shock how this came about that I feel stressed, tired and have really not quite integrated the whole experience of my parent's accidental discovery, though I could not have expected a better outcome.
Partly this has to do also with ongoing work stresses that are mounting as the drive for Obama Care pushes the system of medical economics towards its intended collapse so that the new order of health care can be established. (Please note this is not a political rant, just the experience of a front line health care provider. No political responses please). We are being told to see more patients because reimbursement from the government is being cut and that translates into the need to see more patients to keep operating.
It slows my bouncing back from the highly emotionally charged experience of coming out to my parents in an unintended manner as the numbers of patients I am expected to see increases dramatically. This week I saw 46 patients in a 40 hour week. I owe this miracle of services rendered to my wonderful relapse prevention group that I look forward to running each week. There is no time for a break in a schedule such as this.
Self care is the most important way to get back into balance. When one is under stress, good sleep hygiene is important, even crucial. If you can't get your sleep right, nothing else will follow. There are a lot of things one can do besides taking medications; one can listen to soothing music, practice meditation and progressive relaxation techniques. It is helpful to turn off the TV, not read, stay away from video games or anything that is stimulating for at least a half hour before bedtime.
Another important aspect of managing extreme stress is to pay careful attention to your nutrition. Be sure you are eating a very healthy diet. Cut down on caffeine. Adding vitamin supplements, especially B complex vitamins and fish oil supplements are really important to reduce or avoid depression, as is vitamin D and it's subclass of D vitamins D1, D2 and D3. The D vitamin complex is fat soluable as is E and A. Do not exceed recommended doses unless instructed to by your physician becaiuse while water soluable vitamins wash out of your body quickly, the A, D and E vitamins accumulate in fatty tissues and can be toxic if overconsumed.
Getting exercise is also important. You don't have to go to the gym and spend hours working out. Taking a brisk walk for 20 to 40 minutes can do wonders. If you have health concerns, again please consult your physician before starting a program of exercise.
For those of you of faith, practicing it actively is very helpful. Those who are not of faith can practice meditation and that can be equally helpful as well.
If you have practiced these suggestions and after a period of two to three weeks and you feel no improvement, please consider speaking with a therapist or a medical doctor. They can help you with objective feedback and perhaps medication if necessary. Many times medications are not necessary, but they can be very helpful, particularly if you are prone to anxiety and/ or depression.
While I take this time to regather my inner resources, it is also a time of preparing for the final task. Transitioning at work or accepting that this place of long term employment may not be what will work in the future and I am considering alternatives that might require relocating.
One Day at a Time, as a successful self help program advocates is the way to approach difficulties in life. As I regroup, I am planning to present my intention to transition at work to my employer in the not so distant future. This, to me seems like a much more straightforward proposition. Either they agree and support my plan, or I remain as I am for the short duration in order to secure a position where I can work as who I am. Fortunately, I have some ideas and irons in the fire to handle such a circumstance if it were to arise. While I would much rather stay where I am and continue to build on the successes of the Transgender Health Care program I have created, I am also quite open to a new avenue of exploration of career opportunities, hopefully in the Southeast U.S. where transgender health care resources are more scarce, not that there isn't a great need all over the U.S., it just seems to be more acute in the sunny south. I like the climate and I am at home there.
So in a couple of weeks, I intend to go forward with my plan to present to management. I had hoped to accomplish this by last November, but 3 and a half months off my plan isn't such a bad delay considering that the one thing I dreaded most is done, over and mainly successful, though not perfect.
That's more than "good enough" for me.