A man's descent into madness
6/7/21 Thoughts: Two Thoughts on Meaninglessness
At work today, I had two depressing thoughts that I cannot get out of my mind. Who knew working on the psych unit isnt full of rainbows and marshmallows. Some days are filled with though provoking dread: today is one of those days.
My first thought is the feeling of abject meaninglessness of the type of work that I do. One may be surprised that a therapist would feel that way about their job. I liken my job as the metaphor described by Camus in the Myth of Sisyphus. The largest portion of my work day consists of creating treatment plans on intake and discharge planning. Imagine the surprise of a newly licensed social worker when you realize that a huge percentage of the patients that were on your treatment team were there in both your first month and second month. As time increased I began to realize that at least half of the patients on my caseload just keep coming back. On good days I can rebel against this meaninglessness that I feel by going out and doing my job to the best of my abilities. Many times I do feel a large sense of accomplishment as if I were the one rolling the rock to the top of the hill. This rush can be felt when I somehow work up some complicated discharge plan and somehow everything comes together. Of course the rock rolls right back down to the bottom of the hill. Imagine walking in on a random morning and feeling the massive feeling of disappointment when something in your plan fell through. Johnny left his rehab and starting smoking meth again; Jenny decided to pop a months supply of her benzos in just a week and is now having anxiety attacks; Sammy decided she did not need to go followup with her doctor after discharge and stopped taking her Abilify, and now she having homicidal thoughts against her family. You work with the patient to create a plan, the patient tells you that they know how to not come back, yet they keep coming back.
Honestly, I am looking forward to doing longer term therapy with the second job so I can actually work with the same client for an extended period of time. Maybe I will actually make a difference? Who knows.
Speaking of meaninglessness, let us get to the second thought of the day. Two patients one at 9am and another at 4 close to the end of the day asked me the process of applying for disability. This phenomena happens weekly, but something was different today. Both of these patients are younger than me. While I am not disparaging anyone who is unable to work and needs disability to survive, I will say that it is not recommended for someone who can still work. Both of these patients had significant mental health issues, but neither one of them seemed severe enough that they feel the need to completely quit all of their dreams for a paltry amount of money. For someone who has limited work experience, the amount of money that one would receive is about 800 dollars a month which is far under the Federal Poverty Line. I honestly could not imagine wanting to just say fuck it and live a life of barely scraping by. I guess it feels worse since although the majority of the patients on my caseload are either unfunded or on disability and Medicaid, but the majority of people try to accomplish their dreams and work until the illness prevents them from working. I feel for these people who are wanting to stop working towards their goals so early in life. Imagine being 25 and not looking forward to anything.
I hope these people reconsider at some point, I can remember being 21 and haing depression so bad that I did not want to live. Time was able to make some things get bettter.
Somedays I feel completely clueless on how to help people at my job. Today is one of those days.
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