The Road to Behavioral Health

Littered with many changed plans and broken promises, I found a light at the end of a 4 month journey after leaving the SNF setting: Behavioral Health.

Might just be me, but who applies for jobs in bulk as a set it an forget it measure?

I do it, not often, but certainly enough to wrinkle my face in confusion when I get a rejection letter from a random research group at the University of Space Cadets saying that they’ll keep my information for future opportunities. I mean, I really didn’t have working in a hospital setting at all on my mind, and certainly not in psychiatry. When I left the SNF, I felt like my medical SLP persona was a day dying in the west, and all that was keeping topics like dysphagia alive for me were my reflections in my book and a couple (fake-it-til-you-make it) early intervention cases that brought feeding to the forefront, as well as my impostor syndrome.

I was no more versed on behavioral disorders than working with autistic adults from the scope of an SLP, yet I’d convinced myself that if I scooped up a double serving onto my plate that the confusion on both sides would cancel each other out.

I’ve had the passing thought at least weekly that group therapy is still alien to me… maladaptive behaviors (to such an extreme) are usually contra-indicated to the services I provide… and that psychosis is best left up to the psychiatrist and God – The SLP has no place in it.

But, with time and a lot of flexibility, I’ve been more glad to take my footing in a job for which I said I was only going to the interview for “fun”… and actually had so much fun that I came back for the long haul. When I met my team, I got that “when you know, you know” feeling, and it became all the more meaningful when I greeted my first patient.

So, all of my patients have intellectual disability. Nine times out of ten, they are autistic. Ten times out of ten, they are a colorful story waiting to happen.

No admission is the same, no day is the same as the last. So far, I’ve run the gamut of split personalities, girl drama, tantrums, food wars, in-house thrift shopping, property destruction, bullying, baby mama drama, attention-seeking, nudist tendencies, and hoarding, and paired most of these to some speechy activity to address them.

My life here is more interesting than anything I’ve ever experienced in a job setting, by far.

Join me, because we’re in for a crazy ride.

Self-published and Self-sabotaged?

This post is, really, an apology post.

Wherrreeee have you been, you may have been wondering? Maybe not. Either way, I’ve got to say, I hoped to be way more consistent than I’ve been.

This entire journey sprouted from the decision to self publish my book Tattletales of a Speech Language Pathologist: the CFY’s Guide to Surviving the Skilled Nursing Facility. Well since then, I’ve also decided on a self-led organization, self-funded toy drive, self-teaching in a new job position, and self-sacrificing in as many areas of life as I can name in a moment. In the least amount of words, I have bitten off far more than I can chew.

When I say “self” I should clarify that I haven’t been completely alone on any journey, and I’ve been glad to accept advice and assistance where it’s been offered. My publishing journey has been made much more light and easy with the laughs and stories shared between myself and my editor and new friend Melissa. Friends have shared in my joy and bought my book.

Still, achieving work-life balance has been inevitably impossible since I decided to bring SLP to the forefront in all of these different kind of ways. If you’ve known me for some time, or if you’ve read my book, you know how important mental health is to me. That being said, I want all of the things I do by my “self” to equate with the amount of things I do for myself.

If there’s one thing I’m going to always do it’s to give the real… I’m a storyteller, so naturally I try to entertain along the way. I’m not going to pretend, however, that underneath the giggles and creative prose, that there’s not a single thing left that gives me pause.

Loving, living, and thriving in this field is a choice. Loving, living, and thriving with self is a must. So, finding the balance is really the daily goal.

While it seemed to me that this may be achieved as a series of solo tasks, the truth is that a solid community might be the best way to structure around self- goals and needs.

That being said, I count on you to make this journey as meaningful as it was once intended.

I have a few questions:

How would you describe the community you currently are or want to be a part of?

How is this community helping you care for your self?

What tactics have you learned to achieve balance between your job and your calling?

Feel free to comment below or message privately.