For the Rest of Your Life

It was 1 AM and I was working late, typing up an incident report in the office two hours after I should have gone home. The unit had been in chaos that evening: clients in and out of holds, running out doors, refusing to go to bed.

A thought occurred to me, and I turned to my teammate and said, “It’s a shame this job doesn’t pay better because I could do this…”

I trailed off looking for the right words. He found them first: “For the rest of your life? I know what you mean, man.”

We didn’t stay, of course. We couldn’t. We eventually left for greener pastures.  The emotional fortitude to do this line of work exists in many people. But it must be nurtured, rewarded, and treated as an asset in order for it to grow. And when it does, so too will the quality of care in treatment facilities.


From the Floor is an irregular feature of short poignant interactions, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. These are the conversations, this is what we witness when working in mental health. If you would like to contribute email: andre.alyeska@gmail.com.

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It’s different now

I was taking vitals on the military ward at my new job and had just gotten a reading on a young female patient.

Me: Oh my, are you feeling ok?

Her: Yeah…why?

Me: You’re lying down but your heart rate is 105.

Her: Well, I kind of just had a flash back.

::I look at the rec room TV to see what’s playing.::

Me: Do you think maybe you shouldn’t be watching “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?”

Her: But I’ve seen it before, and it didn’t bother me.

Me: Yeah… but it’s different now.

This was one of those moments in mental health that’s a little funny and a lot of sad.


From the Floor is an irregular feature of short poignant interactions, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. These are the conversations, this is what we witness when working in mental health. If you would like to contribute email: andre.alyeska@gmail.com.