Preparing for a Sleep Study

Hello All,

This evening I am preparing for my sleep study which I will be completing over the weekend. The hours are very odd, 8pm to 6am, but I suppose I will make it work.

I will be packing a book, comfy clothes, headphones, and a stuffed animal. in my opinion, you are never too old for a comfort item.

For now I am focusing on comfort food, and my last night of rest at home.

Mental health in pop culture

Media portrayals of mental institutions and mental health drive me to frustration and distraction. Recently my husband and I were watching season 1 of the Magicians. There are several references to mental health, psychiatric medications, and mental health hospitalization. There are a lot of stereotypes when it comes to these scenarios.

This particular show had over medication, straight jackets, ECT, and dismissive staff members. As a social worker who works in a hospital, with mental health patients, who refers people to psychiatric facilities. Also as a family member to several people who have ended up in mental health institutions, mental health hospitalization does not look like this anymore.

Yes some diagnosis benefit from ECT, but it is not just used on anyone, and other methods are tried first.

We do not use straight jackets anymore.

Family members can visit patients especially for family therapy sessions.

Staff are typically open and understanding of mental health.

In addition to Magicians, I have seen this stereotype play out in Gothicka, United States of Tara, and several other shows/movies. It does not help those who really need help. Instead of asking for help those with mental illness hide their symptoms due to stigma.

Please help break the stigma, mental health hospitalization is not a joke or plot point.

Continuing Education Goals 2022

30 Hours worth of Credits over the next 12 months.

I would like to complete 20 through Distance learning. I purchased a package through elite CEU and would like to get my money’s worth!

10 further live or in person credits through free sources. Social workers are under paid and my company does not have a continuing education stipend, therefore I look for free and low cost options where I can

Topic Goals:

  1. Dementia- I have seen more and more patient’s with dementia since the pandemic began. There are several types of dementia which were not covered while I was obtaining my degree. So, I would like to search further education.
  2. Behavioral health- Given I work with psychiatric patient’s as well as dementia patient’s it is always good to brush up on my skills.
  3. Ethics- Ethics is always a place to get some hours. Local laws and regulations update as the world changes and bioethics are ever evolving.
  4. LGBTQIA- I can always stand to learn more from others experiences, given that I can only speak from my own bubble.

Signs of Burn Out

Physical signs and symptoms of burnout

  1. Feeling Tired
  2. Frequent sickness
  3. Aches and Pains including muscles and headaches
  4. Change in eating- eating more or less
  5. Change in sleeping- sleeping more or less

Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout

  1. Feelings of worthlessness/hopelessness/helplessness
  2. Loneliness
  3. Loss of motivation
  4. Cynical outlook

.

Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout

  1. Stepping down from responsibilities
  2. Isolation
  3. Procrastinating
  4. Unhealthy coping skills: Alcohol, drugs, food
  5. Easily angered
  6. Change in schedule: coming to work late or leaving early

Please note that a lot of these symptoms can be like depression. If you have, had had, or suspect depression you should talk to your therapist, psychiatrist, primary care physician, or advanced practice provider. If you are unsure if you are feeling burn out or depression also reach out.

If you notice these signs or symptoms in a family member or coworker do not be afraid to check in with them, see how they are holding up. Sometimes some concern, a nice lunch, or a chat can go a long way. If you yourself have concerns, remember you are not alone and it is okay to seek help.

Signs and Symptoms referenced from Helpguide.org. Feel free to follow the link below for further information.

Social Work and Social Media

Everything on the internet is permanent, even if you delete content I am sure a determined person can find a place where the information is stored. This brings me to Social Media and Social Work. While I believe in the separation of my personal and professional life, I am not naïve enough to believe that client’s have not googled me. This is a solid reason in my choice to be mostly anonymous.

I have my profiles on other social media sites set that only friends can see most of my posts. To find people, I typically need to initiate the request. I also have my profile photos as generic as possible. Why is this important to me? I do not want my personal life to impact what my clients think of my work. My opinions and education have changed/developed in the past 12 years I have had social media; therefore, I would hate for something my teenage self-felt was true to be held against almost 30 year old professional me. My main concerns are my lack of grammar, spelling, and frustrations with the systems in Philadelphia Public School. While I still feel public school did me no favors, I can see those issues from a different prospective as an adult.

Additionally, I would eventually like to have children and I would like to shield my children from the work I do in the mental health field until they are old enough to understand what mental health is, what counseling is, and what social work is as a profession.

My recommendations for social media: Do have a presence and express yourself. Keep in mind that people can find you on social media and the internet. Decide what your privacy settings should look like for your peace of mind. Have policies, that reference your governing organization and local law, for social media and discuss them with your clients. Love your job but remember you are a person too and need to turn it off sometimes.

Sarah’s Favorite Podcasts 2021

  1. Voices for Justice
  2. Once upon a Crime
  3. Hell and Gone

Honorable Mentions

Crime Junkie- I have issues with the writing ethics of this podcast. There are documented concerns of plagiarism. It seems like Audio Chuck is hiring journalists, writers, and is working to give credit to sources, but I still have concerns. At one point several years ago I paid for their patreon episodes but until they show more dedication to ethically sourcing info I will not pay them for their work.

Casefile- Casefile is the first podcast I started listening to. I continue to listen to this podcast but in 2021 I was looking to expand my horizons as far as content creators.

Current Binge: Murdaugh Murders

Posting Schedule

Due to how many enrichment activities I have planned for myself, and my stress levels I will be updating my posting schedule.

Currently I have been aiming for a post every other day (including weekends, holidays, ect). Starting in February I will be transitioning to a strict Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule. This will make it easier for me to schedule content, I will be able to go more in depth on some of my favorite topics, and it may leave room for bonus content.

I look forward to bringing you content next month on psychology, neurotransmitters, and love!

Love and light!

Sarah

My Favorite Pet Youtubers

  1. Victoria Raechel- https://www.youtube.com/c/VictoriaRaechel
    Victoria makes a lot of video’s on hamster care which are great for all pet owner’s. Most comercial hamster cages, food, and enrichment are inappropriate at best and dangerous at worst. The internet, has really helped keep Gumball healthy and happy!
  2. Munchie’s Place- https://www.youtube.com/c/MunchiesPlace
    Munchie’s Place is a rescue and animal advocate based in the US. These videos have also helped me keep Gumball happy and healthy.
  3. ErinsAnimals-https://www.youtube.com/c/ErinsAnimals
    Erin is a huge pet lover! The budget friendly ideas, shipping haul’s, creative work, and How to’s inspire me to do better for all my animals.
  4. Saskia from Los Angeles Guinea Pig Rescue- https://www.youtube.com/c/LosAngelesGuineaPigRescue
    There is a little bit of everything guinea pig related on Saskia’s channel from health, husbandry, the reality of owning a guinea pig, and more. When I have a sick Guinea Pig I go to her channel when I cannot get into the vet immediately for routine care issues. (I then follow up with my local exotic vet) These have kept my littles comfortable, and have even taught my husband some good care tips.

2022 Goals

  1. Blog more consistently- I have found myself under water a few times in the past year between work, planning a wedding, my honeymoon, and licensure renewal. This year may not be any less hectic, but I hope to prioritize my personal work.
  2. Self-Care- This is a rolling goal for me. I often get so wrapped up in the here and now that I forget I cannot function with the proverbial “check- engine” light on. We are rolling around to almost two years in a pandemic, in my opinion we all need a bit more self care to make it through to the other side.
  3. Take time off- This may fall alongside doing self care, but I will continue to schedule intermittent time off throughout the year. My job has asked that everyone return their leave time until the pandemic waxes some, but after having lived this for two years I do not seeing the situation changing drastically for a while. Therefore I will continue to use my leave balances as I cannot pour from an empty cup.
  4. Make progress toward my clinical licensure- This one is not completely in my hands, the main thing holding me up is supervision hours which is something provided through my agency. We are supposed to received 1 hour per week, with 52 weeks in a year minus 2 weeks vacation I should average 50 hours a year. Last year I received 25 hours. However, I will continue to advocate for myself as that is my only way forward.

At the end of the year I hope to have accomplished taking care of myself and becoming a better person, the rest will be an added bonus. What are your goals?

January TBR

I am going to be following a theme this month, I will be reading from the Manga and Graphic Novel area almost exclusively. A good friend of mine has been kind enough to loan me part of their book stash for reading.

  1. Spy Family by Tatsuya Endo
  2. That can be Arranged by Huria Fahmy
  3. The Ancient Magus’ Bride by Kore Yamazaki
  4. Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino Volumes 4 through to be determined
  5. Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe
  6. Extraordinary by VE Schwab
  7. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Come back at the end of the month to see how I did!