This is a question I constantly wrestle with. When I ask myself which topics are off limits, the ones I struggle with the most have to do with work. It’s not hard to see why.
I’m an ER nurse, so I have to constantly be aware of patient privacy issues – which isn’t difficult, I understand where the boundaries are. But what about the work environment itself?
It seems like I’ve intuitively decided to talk about my personal experience – the way the ER affects my life. I try to have a separate creative life outside of work, but let’s face it. Your day gig is going to affect you if for no other reason than you spend a big chunk of your life there. The ER just intensifies everything.
But there’s also this: unless you are in the profession, no one really understands what you do. ER medicine and nursing is an entirely different beast from all other areas of these professions. So much so that doctors and nurses who don’t work there are often shocked at what it is we actually do. Forget the general public – sometimes it’s better not knowing.
I’ve been very open about my struggles with work in my writing – I do this because it helps me process what’s happening. Very intense experiences with the sick and dying can become negative emotional baggage if you don’t go through the process of self-examination.
So how do you explain the unexplainable? The short answer is you don’t. Some things are better left at work or with your therapist.
It’s lonely but at least you won’t scare the shit out of everyone else.