I keep meaning to post more, I’m just so bloody absent minded…
Had another appt with accessibility office this week, with the same lady I complained about, she made a big deal about being assessed while my anxiety isn’t controlled, whatevs lady, I did the assessment anyway. I also found out that the doctor I’ve been seeing diagnosed me with avoidant personality disorder and never told me… but it was written in on my referral form. Thanks for telling me! I don’t disagree just would have been nice if she told me…
I talked to a classmate the other day who told me she was really bummed I was leaving the program and that I would be really good at the job. It just reopened all those doubts I have about leaving the program, talked to my counsellor about it but don’t feel anymore resolved… I can’t tell if I really feel like it would be better for my health to switch or if I’m just avoiding it because of past stress and anxiety.
I’ve been avoiding (there is that word again) saying exactly what I’m going to school for but to put it into context for you all, I’m a midwifery student. In Ontario (and some other parts of Canada) it’s a regulated profession funded by the Ontario government. It’s a fucking tough job but the rewards! tiny babies and mamas being born! I can’t imagine a better reward then watching that miracle. However, midwives here work on call, there are a lot of call schedules but the common ones are shared care: 2 midwives share a caseload of 8 births per month and work out off call time as either week on, week off, or several days on and several days off. Keeping in mind that is just for births (the team would also be responsible for 8 backup births as 2 midwives attend every birth, but the second usually gets there when birth is imminent), they also have prenatal and postnatal appts that are worked out between them and their call schedules. The other main way of doing it is what is called primary care, in which 1 midwife cares for 4 births a month (plus 4 backups) and all her prenatal/postnatal care unless at a birth. The first system is more time off call but much busier when on call (as you are have more women potentially birthing) the other is more time on call but less women to follow. It’s a really great system for childbearing women, but really tough on midwives, the average career length for a midwife in Ontario is 5 years. Most burn out from the stress and ridiculous lifestyle.
Mind you I knew this going in, I knew what a midwife did, I knew what their schedule was like. As a student it’s more hectic, in my placement I followed 2 midwives who shared clients, I could be going to multiple births plus up to 4 days of clinic and many postnatal visits in a week (the first 3 postnatal visits are at the parent’s home), it was extremely tiring (which I also expected) and there were many emotional moments and ups and downs (which I also expected). I fully expected to be stressed and stretched to my limits, but what I did not expect was how my anxiety and IBS would creep up on me the more tired I got, being woken up in the middle of the night for a birth, though exciting, was also anxiety inducing, going to clinic on little sleep to do 8 hours of appts was anxiety inducing, doing things wrong and not know things that my preceptors expected of me was anxiety inducing. I lasted a month, by the end of january I had lost 6lbs and had panic attacks at the thought of being called for a birth or going to clinic in the morning.
So here I am, wondering if once I get more accustomed to the job if the anxiety levels will fall or if the lack of sleep was the biggest trigger and if so means my mental illnesses are just not compatible with the midwifery life. I could try again and repeat the year and the placement, but if I can’t do it I cannot justify switching programs as I’ll have racked up another $20k debt (cant work during school cause on-call time and I have to maintain a vehicle which is bloody expensive). In some ways I feel like switching programs to something with a more regular schedule is running away but in other ways I see it as the ability of keeping sane. So what to do? My counsellor pointed out that if I got my degree I could do graduate studies in something else. Sure I could, but I could also change programs now and spend less money (cause I could work) and still end up in the same place. I have a passion for midwifery, I have a passion for supporting women and pregnancy and childbearing, I have a passion for advocacy, but I’ve also come to realize that midwifery in Ontario isn’t as focused on advocating as I would like, it’s focused on women but also limited in so many ways due to politics. I just don’t know.
On the plus(?) side I saw the doctor today who is switching me to Prestiq, an SNRI, she is also referring me to a psychiatrist as my case is now “too complicated”, which made me laugh. However it could be several months until I can get an appt with a psychiatrist so for now I’m weaning off the prozac and trying the Prestiq. I love having free health care but sometimes the wait for specialists really sucks!
I have to laugh, the prozac is so freaking activating, I’ve been yapping people’s ears off all day. Two weeks ago my counselling session was short because I just didn’t feel like talking, today I could have talked for several hours. I stopped by a professors office and chatted to her for an hour, then to another student I didn’t know well for a whille, then the pharmacist for a good 10 minutes. Now I’m writing a short novel. I need this anxious energy to go!