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Sophy

My Triage Experience

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Hey,

So "triage" is a pretty important topic in my life. Growing up in a difficult/ chaotic/ abusive family which resulted in PTSD, I've basically been exposed to triage constantly while growing up and during much of the recovery phase.

It continues to play a big role in my life, with long-ish periods of triage/ surviving alternating with shorter periods of living/ thriving.

Like in an Accident & Emergency Ward, I find that if I apply all the proper triage principles and protocols, I can survive and function relatively well during triage phases.

I get the typical triage fallout that you would expect (exhaustion, irritability, feeling empty and numb, being emotional/ teary, withdrawing, etc) which feel disturbing, but I find that if I can remind myself that that's what's happening and that these are typical triage responses and if I can give myself permission to feel like that, then I can cope with it relatively well.

Obviously, the aim is to reduce the number and duration of these triage phases in my life. But while they are going on, I need to deal with them as best they can and make sure that they don't damage/ hurt/ stress me.

I've currently got a super intense triage period going on, which will last another 75 days (until my summer holidays). (Of course, that's only if no new major life challenges pop up unexpectedly, but for now I'm going to work with what I know and worry about what happens when it happens/ cross those bridges when I come to them.)

There are many intense challenges I'm facing at the moment (work, finances, projects, stress, etc) but what I struggle most with at the moment is that for the next 75 days (until the end of June) I have a work schedule/ roster that is technically unmanageable. I'm working day and evening shifts which are not compatible. I am basically working 12 hour days (if you count the commute to and from work) and have one night per week (Monday nights) where I'm getting only 3-4 hours of sleep, due to how the shifts are placed. This leaves me bone tired until the weekend, where I can catch up on the lack of sleep a bit and then the cycle starts again the next week.

On Tuesdays, it takes all my strength, inner calmness, humour and determination to make it through my workday, without crying. On the way home from work on Tuesdays, I really struggle to not burst into tears from sheer exhaustion/ sleep deprivation. And when I'm that exhausted and emotional, it's hard not to fall into a huge pit of depression and doom and gloom.

It's taking all the energy I can muster to get through these next 75 days of triage (this recent triage phase has been been a 2 year triage phase so far with only tiny breaks in between). It's of my own choosing (to a certain degree). At 40, I decided to make some major changes in my life to move even further beyond my PTSD childhood. Those changes have come with a massive amount of work (and some expected and some unexpected stressors and hurdles).

So I'm not looking to "escape" this particular triage phase (tho on some days I do develop escape phantasies, when I'm feeling particularly emotional and exhausted). I just need to function as well as I can and make sure that I look after myself and my health as best I can given the circumstances.

I'm really grateful for the support I've been getting here at DF.

I'm really exhausted at the moment so am feeling too tired and empty to reply to other people's posts much at the moment. I just don't find that thoughts form in my brain much or that I can find words or sentences for the thoughts I do have. My brain is just too tired and craving sleep.

I think posting about my triage experience is pretty much all I feel up to as I'm going through it and I hope to be more communicative again, once the most intense triage phase is over.

I'm too exhausted to even try explaining the concept of "triage" at the moment. It's kind of explained briefly in my "signature" and I explained it in the thread below too. (The method of splitting tasks up into boring/ difficult/ threatening has been helping me hugely during this triage phase too.)

 

 

Anyway, that's all I can think of for today... I've used up all the words in my head for now...  : )

XXX
Sophy

Edited by Sophy

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I have yet another triage day ahead of me tomorrow and am feeling daunted by it. It's Sunday tomorrow and I want and need a day off, but that's not going to happen.

I have a list of things I need to get done tomorrow, but the list is longer than the day will be, so I guess I'll have to just triage the list and strike everything off the list that is not absolutely utterly necessary tomorrow and then deal with any fall-out from that in the days ahead.

I can only do as much as I can.

And I need to get a couple of hours of R&R in, else I won't make it through the week without crying or without feeling close to a breakdown.

I've had many years of being non-functioning or low-functioning due to depression. I guess currently I'm (relatively) high-functioning, despite depression.

It's difficult to feel a sense of satisfaction or achievement at the moment. Although I am working my butt off, 7 days a week, I never achieve as much as I *should*, so no matter how much I do, it's always less than my target. It's difficult not to feel constantly dissatisfied with that, but without a sense of achievement, it's also hard to find motivation or to try and stay in a positive frame of mind.

I need to keep focussing on the summer. Then my workload will become easier. Tomorrow it is 74 days to go of my current workload. I can do that.

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It is difficult to find a balance after non/low functioning periods, but it is necessary so we don't burn out. You don't have to compensate for the years you were not able to conform to the expected achievements. Try and focus on the things that are most important and if possible. Taking a bit of time to plan for summer to see what you are working towards as part of your R&R could also be helpful hopefully. 

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Sophy,

I think I hear you wanting to find purpose to gain a sense of accomplishment.

beyond surviving is thriving.

to have desire inspite of depression is a win.

-bbqdad

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Hey guys : )

Thanks for your ideas - yeah Louis, I should try and spend more mental time picturing what the summer will be like... Try and focus on what life will be like once I've dealt with the present hurdles.

I think I'm not allowing myself to "go there" emotionally right now, cos I feel like I have to be "prepared for the worst" or at least prepared for further hurdles during this triage phase... So many weird, unexpected problems have come from left-field so far... Tho to be fair, surprising solutions have come from right-field too, so it's kind of balanced out, but it's still been too much suspense, stress, worry, uncertainty... So I'm bracing for more stress and not allowing myself to think that I will find solutions to all of these tasks/ problems eventually and then it will all be okay...

I will try doing it tho - even if it's just little glimpses of "This is what I am working towards/ this is what I'm putting in the huge effort for"...
 

So it's Sunday today and I have another full day of triage ahead of me and am feeling kind of sorry for myself.

Surely Sundays are for sleeping in, having a luxurious and lazy brunch in PJs in front of the TV, having fun, being silly, free floating... and not going through depression/ anxiety/ triage.

I just want to hide under the covers and sleeeeeep. But I know I can't afford to and if I did, work which is already overdue will stockpile further and become completely unmanageable.

Ah well. 74 days to go til the summer. No Sundays or days off til then.

I guess I'll start the day with dumb chores like laundry and work my way up towards the more challenging tasks that I'm feeling anxious about.

Thanks for this being a space to share our difficult stuff. Most people don't get it. I have a neighbour who complains why I don't come round for a coffee now and then. I've tried explaining it to him - that I don't even have enough hours in the day to do all the stuff I need to do *urgently* and that I'm currently having coffee with NO-ONE... but he just looks at me blanky, like it's an excuse. My dad too - he is lovely and usually gets stuff like this, so I will have to have another talk to him... He wrote me an email last week saying he'd downloaded all sorts of interesting documentaries and films for me and could I download them please as they are taking up so much space in his Dropbox... I don't even have the time/ energy to write him an email explaining I don't even have the time/ energy to download that stuff LET ALONE the time/ energy to watch any of it.... *sigh*

Also the roomate/ friend I'm share-housing with - he kind of "gets" how massive my workload is, but he seems to forget it daily... He'll start blathering on to me about absolutely irrelevant/ trivial stuff and I'll stare at him and remind him that I'm walking round like a zombie currently from being so overworked and that I do NOT have the headspace for anything trivial and that I CANNOT "fake" having the headspace either to be "polite" in a small-talk conversation... Sometimes he remembers and goes "Oh yeah, sorry, that's right" but often he just gets annoyed and takes it personally like I'm not interested in having a conversation with him.

Usually, with a "normal" workload, I would accomodate all of these people and go out of my way to make an effort. I would usually even allow them to trample on my boundaries a bit... *sigh* Now that I'm sooo overworked and just triaging through each day, I'm really good at boundaries, haha... I just say "Nope" in a really convincing "It's not gonna happen" way and I don't even feel particularly guilty about it, cos I know I'm not doing it to be selfish, there's just no way humanly possible I can add anything to my workload at the moment without imploding... : P

Kay. Laundry. Dishes. Recycling. Bills. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.

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Okay, I've just started a "Things I Want to do in The Summer" list... : )

I've already put 5 small projects on it that are fun and inspirational but which I CANNOT do at the moment, cos there is literally no TIME.

If I put nice stuff on that list, I think it will feel more attainable - not so faaaaaaar off in the very, very distant future 
: )

Edited by Sophy

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On 4/15/2018 at 0:44 AM, Sophy said:

Okay, I've just started a "Things I Want to do in The Summer" list... : )

I've already put 5 small projects on it that are fun and inspirational but which I CANNOT do at the moment, cos there is literally no TIME.

If I put nice stuff on that list, I think it will feel more attainable - not so faaaaaaar off in the very, very distant future 
: )

I think this is a really great idea. Stimulate your dreams of what you want to happen.

my summer goal is to see my daughter I have not seen in two years.

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So... 72 days of triage to go... I think I will celebrate when I get to 50.

Today is my worst-day-of-the-week. I had 4 hours of sleep last night and while I'm coping at the moment (it's noon) I know by this afternoon at work I'll be getting exhausted and teary... *sigh*

Just got to keep plodding on for now...

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17 hours ago, Bbqdad said:

I think this is a really great idea. Stimulate your dreams of what you want to happen.

my summer goal is to see my daughter I have not seen in two years.

How old is your daughter Bbqdad?

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9 hours ago, Sophy said:

How old is your daughter Bbqdad?

She is 27 and married. She works as a nurse and doing well. I saw her two years ago, and then I had a manic episode that hospitalized me and left me out of work. Not able to live independently for a while and unable to travel. Now, I have since been back to work and planning a summer trip.

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22 hours ago, Bbqdad said:

She is 27 and married. She works as a nurse and doing well. I saw her two years ago, and then I had a manic episode that hospitalized me and left me out of work. Not able to live independently for a while and unable to travel. Now, I have since been back to work and planning a summer trip.

I'm glad to hear you are doing better. I know some ppl that struggle with manic episodes - that's really difficult. Good on you for working through it.

I'm really struggling today. Yesterday on only 4 hours of sleep was miserable and today's not much better cos I couldn't catch up on much sleep.

I hate everything today and just want to cry and sleep.  : P

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Sophy,

i am so sorry you are having a terrible time. I know you have been under a lot of pressure and lack of sleep is making it worse. For me lack of sleep can be a trigger and symptom of manic episodes. So I watch out.

hope you get some rest soon.

-bbqdad

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