Crying when stressed/overwhelmed

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    Since I was a child, I have been a cryer. I cry when I am stressed, or overwhelemd with thoughts. It has brought me alot negative remarks over the years, but eventually I realized that this is a way that I releive my stress.

    I am a new nurse. I have been off orientation since January. Occaisionally I will be so overwhelmed at work that I just need to cry for a while. The hard part is I look like I did cry for the rest of the shift.

    The other day, my patient needed a RR. It was a big ordeal for me, especially since I felt guilty that I could have intervened earlier. She is doing ok, but not sure what her prognosis is. I cried though, and in front of many many people. I tried to hold it back, but so many people were asking me questions and the doctor was yelling at me (my great manager talked to her later in the hall about it). And I had to transfer the patient to ICU with teary eyes. It was humiliating. I came back to the unit and cried some more. Luckily (I am really thankful), the rest of my patients were ok, another nurse peaked in on them for me, and we had students who were taking care of the meds for some of the patients as well. Everyone saw me with red tearry eyes, and I was puffy for the rest of the shift (10 more hours). After having some time for myself and some deep breaths, I was slowly able to get back out on the floor.

    I know what happened last shift was a learning experience. I will know better (hopefully) next time and it will process in my brain much better. I am a perfectionist in a sense, and I am hard on myself, which adds to the emotions, and adds to how much I will cry.

    I do eat healthy, at least try to... I excercise (almost daily) and I do yoga (2-3 times a month).

    Is anyone else the type of person who cries in stressfull situations? Does anyone have panic issues with new stressful situations? I wish at times I could be a stronger person. A good cry is good for me at times, but other people look down at you-thinking you are weak. At work, it is hard to cry without anyone noticing.

    Thanks for reading.
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  3. 35 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Hi there,

    I can TOTALLY relate to what you are saying. I'm a new grad BSN and I'm almost off orientation on my stepdown floor. My hospital is large, county-run, teaching facility and we see practically everything. So our floors are quite busy.

    My orientation has been quite overwhelming. I NEVER knew nursing could be THAT hard and maybe it's' because my unit is harder and more acute.

    Anyhow, I have never cried so much in my life than during orientation. I would often cry BEFORE work and even after because I was so stressed out. I've always been emotional but I never really started crying till the end of nursing school and now the real world of RN work. I suppose the stress has been too much for me lately and it's been hard not to break down at work even. Sometimes my anxiety would make me feel like I could vomit even (although I haven't thank God).. I quickly learned that I'm a bit of a perfectionist too and I get anxiety quite frequently.

    To me, I found that I either have to decrease my anxiety and take care of my health more or change my nursing unit to something less crazy. I have to stop beating myself up for thinking that it would look like a "weak" move or a
    "weak" response to stress. Each person is entirely unique and different and we have to do what's best for US. If we do that we can best serve and care for our patients. I've come to really learn this recently.

    A good cry is fine but I think if you feel like you are too overwhelmed then you should seriously consider your circumstances and what you need to do to stabilize yourself.

    Sometimes I have to just quickly walk into the bathroom or somewhere isolated at work to calm and recenter myself. Sometimes that helps. Other times I leave the unit entirely during my break and get some fresh air outside.

    All I know is that it's absolutely crucial to take care of yourself so you can be more stabile at work and in general.

    Gosh I so empathasize with you. I'm currently debating where I'm going with my nursing career. I JUST started so that makes it even more stressful. Anyhow, I will see how things go.... good luck and take care...
    Hopeful3 likes this.
  5. 0
    SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST MORE SENSITIVE TO THINGS, BUT OF COURSE NO ONE WANTS TO BE SEEN AS A CRY BABY, UNDERSTOOD. U WANT TO DO THINGS RIGHT AND IT UPSETS YOU WHEN THEY DON'T GO RIGHT & U CRY.
    MAYBE U SHOULD NOT LET THINGS GET UNDER YOUR SKIN, REALIZE THAT IN NRSG MANY THINGS WILL MAKE US SAD, MAD, AND HAPPY SO WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS THAT MAKES YOU WANNA CRY JUST REALIZE THAT ITS PART OF THE CRAZY SCHEME OF THINGS AND KEEP LOOKING FOWARD, JUST FOCUS ON YOUR WORK.
    - GOD HAS AMAZING POWER TO HEAL OUR HEARTS, AND FIX US WHERE WE THINK WE GO WRONG, HE HAS HELPED ME TO BE LESS SENSITIVE TO THE THINGS THAT WERE TOUCHY FOR ME, SO HE CAN HELP YOU TOO- JUST PRAY AND ASK- GOOD LUCK FROM ONE NURSE TO ANOTHER
  6. 0
    i have tourettes syn and i have inappropriate facial expressions...sometime i laugh at a sad or heart rending time...
    don't cry much even at the death of a family member when i was ripped apart inside...got some funny looks from other family members, couldn't help it
    we are all diferent...try and find a quiet place such as bathroom or med room this can be upsetting to patients who may not understand
  7. 0
    Had a friend once who had this problem where she would cry at inappropriate times.

    She wore a rubber band around her wrist and would pop it everytime she felt the need to cry. It appeared to work for her, at least that's what she said.

    I've even heard of class projects in highschools regarding this type of positive reinforcement.
  8. 0
    Quote from siri
    I've even heard of class projects in highschools regarding this type of positive reinforcement.
    I don't mean to nitpick but I think you mean positive punishment.

    Positive Reinforcement = adding a reward for behaviour (candy for being good)
    Negative Reinforcement = removing an adverse stimulus for behaviour. (not having to do dishes if you finish your plate)
    Both of these result in an increase in the desired behaviour

    Positive Punishment = adding an adverse stimulus for behaviour (Snapping a rubber band every time you feel like crying)
    Negative Punsihment = removing a reward for behaviour (Taking away candy for bad behaviour)
    Both of these result in a decrease in the behaviour.
  9. 0
    Nitpick away - you are correct.
  10. 0
    I cry easily, too... first, post-crying... I find splashing cool water on my face helps. I get pink splotches around my eyes from crying... keep some light cosmetic face powder to tone that down... and the puffy eyes... I wear glasses that help cover that... you could consider having a set of clear lens glasses to help hide the puffy eyes (just say you wear glasses when your eyes are tired)...

    But the worst is the loss of coherent thinking that is probably what triggers the tears to begin with (for me, anyway), for me, clearing my head is my real goal; then who cares if it looks like I cried or not as long as I can deal with the situation.

    It general, it helps if I don't berate myself for my feelings, as then I'm even more likely to cry or take longer to recover. So I need to remember to tell myself things like "Of course I'm stressed! This is important stuff!" or "There I go again, crying over some dumb little thing. Oh well. I still love me!"

    Also important to me is being able to say 'I made a mistake' without hanging my head in shame. No one is perfect. The consequences are the consequences and you deal with them responsibly. No need to beat yourself up about it. I know I tend to cry partly because a part of me believes that if I don't cry, that means I don't really care. In other words, when I care, I cry. I still need to remind myself that if someone attributes my problems to "not really caring" or "not trying hard enough" that crying surely won't convince them otherwise!

    I think I can also continue to lessen my crying threshold. For example, sappy movies can bring tears to my eyes. But that's something that I can control by not allowing my emotions to be drawn in. By stepping back and seeing the emotion-provoking scene as simply something on the screen. Can you step back from a personal emotion-provoking scene and look as if from a far?

    I'm sure you can imagine a new nurse breaking down crying.... now can you imagine that unsure new nurse gathering up her strength and confidence despite the situation and saying "Let's take care of this and later I want to review what happened so I can learn the most I can from this unfortunate incident."

    You can probably see that I'm preaching to myself here. I hope you find what works for you!
  11. 0
    Silly Lilly... can I ask what an "RR" is?
  12. 0
    I 'm just like you! When i was little i cried about every little thing that i did wrong. It is still a problem for me now, but now i don't cry that much. If i cry everyone can tell. MY face turns very red and my nose turn bright red. Now I'm worry cause i might cry too when i start working. I will be going to nursing school next year. I hope i have the strength to hold my tears in, but my face might red. I recently watched a movie and a lady told this girl to not cry in front of people and one must cry in a place where no one can see one. It will make you stronger and when you cry in front of people will sympathize you. The rubber band seems like a good idea and i should wear one just in case.


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