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.