It was the year 2010 when I just graduated from college and was sitting on my ass applying, reapplying and applying again to many upon many of jobs. I heard no responses, and I then decided to go the intern route cause maybe JUST maybe there was a paid internship out there.
I stumbled upon an internship that was completely within my field of studies, that paid for my room/board, and had a stipend of money. I applied. I waited a while and finally got a response. I came for the interview that was about 16 hours away from where I went to school, but I went for it anyway.
I knew what I was quasi getting into: I would be working with kids that had had mental health issues ranging in age from 7-17. AND that I would have to do some shit like restraints, but I thought, “They guaranteed jobs when you get out of this, so why not?” Also, on a side note I’ve seen a lot of “dark things” in my youth so I was up for the challenge and I was up for being involved in guiding.
If it wasn’t the shitty/long hours it was the fucking criticism that you would receive on a daily bases from upper management. You would work a 16 hour shift and then be required to work yet another 8 hour shift just so that you would make your “requirement.” Myself and others were treated like mule horses. There were also staff members that were kind of like spies so when you went to the bar to “unwind” there would be someone that would go to report you to HR. I saw my file and I scoffed with laughter. Yes, I drank a lot, but I don’t think anyone would necessarily blame me when your hours were long and you’d get out of work at like, 12am. I doubt there was a yoga class that I could go to at around that time.
I was written up, a lot. Mostly for not picking up shifts, but then the one reason that just made me break down was for being sarcastic. I was sarcastic with my coworkers, but it wasn’t that mean type-of sarcasm. It was just dry and I wouldn’t do that in front of the kids.
Speaking of the kids, i seemed like a lot of staff were more knit picky towards their negative behavior and a lot of them were not rewarded as much. Same went with staff: You were treated like some sort of robot that could not share emotions/feelings. In meetings that I was in the manager of that facility would ignore anything that came out of my mouth because she found me to be completely incompetent.
By the end, when I was done with that year-of-hell internship, I wasn’t guaranteed a job due to my write-up. Also, mental health cuts were made in the state that I resided in.. Travesty, really. The world of helping those with mental issues has become such a crying shame. The only positive experience was the other interns that felt the wrath just as much as I did, and yeah, most of them had gotten jobs there but quit shortly after 6 months. I will always remember their support and myself supporting them. I will also remember the skills of Dialect behavior therapy that basically helps me to this day when I EVER feel overwhelmed.
However, I wish to never remember countless nights of eightballin’ myself with redbull and 5 hour shots, drinking till I wouldn’t be annoyed anymore, and being criticized about how tired I seemed after an 18 hour shift.
Yeah, that’s what work PTSD looks like.