I am doing my psych rotation right now, and I had my first patient today. She has bipolar disorder and presented to the unit with sever depression and suicidal ideations. Her hopelessness is like an endless abyss and she feels helpless to do anything to change her situation. She cannot see a future of anything other than this illness. Her anxiety consumes her despite the plethora of medications. She wakes every two hours with night terrors, not of horrible monsters, but flashbacks of a time when her life was happier that now seem like too distant memories. Half the time I hardly knew what to say that wouldn't seem like a trite platitude. When she burst into tears her pain was so palpable it stabbed at my core. I felt helpless that I could do nothing to ease her pain. No one could. And I just wanted hug each and every one of you.
Her pain was just as real as the pain from a tumor, or a wound, or a surgical incision. Maybe worse because those are things you can pinpoint, they're tangible. Mental illness is serious and terrible and I am grateful to Luci for making it real to me when even those closest to me couldn't.
So, I'm sorry. And I am always here for those of you who need it. I love you.