Stress and Depression

  1. As new grads we're all extremely stressed out, and that's normal, right? But what about depression? Are you guys depressed too? Does stress and depression go hand in hand?

    I know something isn't right with me, I don't know if it's just all the stress or if it's depression too. I just don't feel like myself at all. On my days off I don't want to do anything, I'm so cranky, no fun to be around, I cry a lot, I just don't have the interest in things that I used to. I know this isn't good, but I don't know what to do about it. I don't know if this is normal for being a new grad and it'll pass once I get some experience or if it's something else. I don't know what to do

    Anyone else feel like this?
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  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   MrsMinor
    Hi RainDreamer!!
    I suppose I feel like this as well....I feel as though I always have PMS now since starting as a new grad :chuckle (I usually seem to be more emotional during this time...).
    Anyway, since starting at my hospital, I've been very emotional (Just posted to time mangement....I broke down at work today....in a meeting with my nsg educator....I was so embarrassed!!).
    I am so stressed out, but I also feel so down about things. I hope things get better; for both of us!! I've wanted to be a nurse for sooo long, but now, I wonder somedays if I've chosen the right career. But I'm not sure what else I would do since this is what I've always wanted! With all my heart I'm hoping things will all come together for me & just hope & pray that things will improve in the coming weeks!!
    I wish you the very best. You are certainly not alone with these new grad feelings
  4. by   jezabel1961
    if these behaviours persist for more than a few weeks, pretty please go see your doctor. there is nothing wrong with needing a little help during a difficult transition. take care and good luck in your careers.
  5. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    RainDreamer-

    Your avatar makes me so homesick- native Arizonan here.
    I've been a nurse for 12 years, but I am depressed because I am no longer in AZ- there were lots of jobs there, and I was wanted as a nurse. Now I live in north TX, too many nurses here, no jobs, and nurses are not valued or wanted at all.

    I have been crying frequently and easily- trouble sleeping and have lost interest in everything. I know you're going through a hard time as a new grad, but at least you can get a job.

    I have lots of experience and great references but can't get a job. I'm leaving for AZ tomorrow- will only be there for a week, but I am tempted to tell dh that he can just go back to TX without me.
  6. by   perfectbluebuildings
    Quote from RainDreamer
    As new grads we're all extremely stressed out, and that's normal, right? But what about depression? Are you guys depressed too? Does stress and depression go hand in hand?

    I know something isn't right with me, I don't know if it's just all the stress or if it's depression too. I just don't feel like myself at all. On my days off I don't want to do anything, I'm so cranky, no fun to be around, I cry a lot, I just don't have the interest in things that I used to. I know this isn't good, but I don't know what to do about it. I don't know if this is normal for being a new grad and it'll pass once I get some experience or if it's something else. I don't know what to do

    Anyone else feel like this?
    A lot of what you say sounds like me. I thought I was just the only one. I don't cry quite as much as when I started , but the rest does sound kinda like me. There are days though that I feel ok... usually when I haven't been at work for a while! I hope you do feel better soon.
  7. by   grinnurse
    Dear Rain-

    How long has this been going on? I think it is normal at this time to feel both a little stressed and a little depressed as look at the transition that you are making in your life right now? You are going from being a student to being a "real" nurse, at a new hospital, with new people, new doctors etc...........Heck yeah this is normal. You have recently left a life that you had for no telling how many years (student). There is no need in you suffering like this when possibly some medication could help pull you out before you get really low. I experienced these same feelings shortly after graduation and into my first few months of nursing.

    Hope that you will get the help that you need and of course you know that you have everyone here on the boards to help you through!
  8. by   rn in 3 years
    I think it sounds just like me anytime I try to go off my anti-depressant. Thankfully I am on a low dosage now but I expect to have to up that once I am a nurse. At my last physical I asked if I am going to have to be on this for the rest of my life and he said I probably would. I read somewhenre on this board that a lot of nurses are on anti-depressants because of the stress of the job.

    I say go to the doctor and explain what you are feeling. Maybe you will only need to be on anti-depressants (if that's what your doctor determines) for a short time until you get used to the stress.
  9. by   NurseyBaby'05
    I don't know about you, but I think the shift work has made a complete mess out of my natural circadian rhythms. I know if my sleep schedule is off, I'm an emotional wreck. Heve you started working a different time schedule than your body is used to? I know from some of your other posts you're frequently up until the wee hours. If you're on daylight orientation, you probably fighting against your nautural body clock. Just my .02.
  10. by   RainDreamer
    Thank you all so much, just reading all this helps me to know I'm not alone in how I'm feeling.

    MrsMinor - I've been extremely emotional too and just last week I started crying in front of my preceptor. I was embarrassed but I just couldn't help it, it just all came out ..... she offered me a hug and some comforting words. I just hope I don't break down like that again, I need to be stronger, but it's just hard sometimes.

    This hasn't been going on too long, just since I started a few weeks ago but it's gotten worse this last week. I think it got worse though because the last time I worked I had a pretty rough day. So now I'm just dreading going back to work tomorrow and Mon. As time goes on I am taking more patients, doing more stuff independently, etc .... and that really raises my stress level and it makes me depressed on my days off.

    I really really hate worrying and stressing over work on my days off. I have today off, but I go back to work tomorrow and Mon. Why can't I just enjoy my day off today? Why do I sit at home, cry, and just dread going in? I know we all do. It just sucks, you know?

    And yeah my schedule has changed. I'm a nightowl, I'm definitely NOT a morning person at all. But I'm doing my orientation on the day shift, then I'll switch over to nights. I've been getting enough sleep, I've been going to bed a lot earlier, waking up a lot earlier. I get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I do hate the day shift though, I hate that it's so crowded ..... there are residents EVERYWHERE and I can't ever assess my babies when I want to because they have them. It's just insane and chaotic. So maybe once I switch to nights it'll be better for me.

    If it keeps up like this then I will talk to my doctor. I just didn't know if this is normal to feel like this when you're all stressed out with a new job, or if I should look into getting help for it. Thank you all for sharing and showing me that I'm not alone in this, that helps so much to know I'm not the only one.
    Last edit by RainDreamer on Oct 29, '05
  11. by   Adam D. RN2005
    Hey RainDreamer,
    Depression is quite normal at the beginning new change or situation in life. It the way the brain copes with changes and adjusting to the new normal. And it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month before you feel like your old self again. What is not normal is an intense depression (I do suffer from cycles of intense major depressions. And in nursing school I learned the hard way what happens when one ignores signs of a new cycle, and wound up going throught the most intense depression cycle of my life. But I managed to pull everything back together when it counted the most)
    When I was layed of from IBM, as well as starting nursing school, graduating, and starting as a nurse, I did experience a period of a mild depressed period and was not classified as a depression. This is completely normal.
    It doesn't hurt to see someone to talk about the problems. The good news is at least you are aware that there maybe a problem. Also, keep a journal. It does help, because you can look back and see how you have changed and adapted as well to ever changing situations.

    Because nursing is such a high stress intense environment, especially that first year, we are more suseptable to a cycle because of this. Mental Health in nursing is important for all of us. Because we are in a profession that demands emotional stability, as well as being strong for our pts even when we are not. If your hospital offers mental health services, take full advantage of them. Again, it doesn't hurt to talk to someone.

    Good Luck,
    Adam, RN
    Last edit by Adam D. RN2005 on Oct 29, '05
  12. by   jnette
    awww, Rain............... ((((((((((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))

    I hate to hear you're so down like this !

    I agree that much of it is transition... I would compare it to post partum depression. For so many years you have been striving toward a goal, climbing, climbing, anticipating.... and now you're THERE. At a plateau.

    Suddenly "this is it". Perhaps even "is this all there IS?" Your mind and emotions are still wanting to strive, to reach, to achieve. They might still be stuck in that mode, and have not yet accepted the fact that this part of your life is over.

    So yes, I believe this is quite common. You are not alone at all in this.

    I also believe you will become more yourself once you start on nights. The way you describe yourself, you will fare well. On days, you're feeling like a fish out of water.

    If I worked in a hospital, I could not do days with all the commotion, chaos, docs, etc. No way. Ever.

    Hang in there, Rain, This WILL pass in time. I'ts not been long, afterall, since you started this phase of your "new life".

    But if it worries you, or gets worse instead of better, by all means have yourself checked out. Nip it in the bud. You may just need a "temporary fix". And that's FINE. :kiss
  13. by   jezabel1961
    [quote=Hellllllo Nurse]RainDreamer-

    Your avatar makes me so homesick- native Arizonan here.
    I've been a nurse for 12 years, but I am depressed because I am no longer in AZ- there were lots of jobs there, and I was wanted as a nurse. Now I live in north TX, too many nurses here, no jobs, and nurses are not valued or wanted at all.

    jezabel writes: yikes! i sold my house recently and had been planning on moving to the austin area. do you have any heads up on the job market there?
  14. by   VivaLasViejas
    Aw, Rain........I'm sorry you're feeling so down. What you are probably experiencing is a bad case of 'reality shock': what you expected nursing to be like while you were still in school is VERY different from what it's like out there in the big cruel world, and you're having to reconcile the fantasy with the everyday reality. That's what a lot of nurses go through in their first year or so on the job, and it's actually pretty normal; but it can definitely contribute to a situational depression that may or may not need medical treatment. Only you and your doctor can decide if antidepressants are necessary.

    Just knowing that you are going through a very common (and uncomfortable) transition should help somewhat; it's something I wish someone had told me when I was a new RN. Despite the fact that I was in the neighborhood of 40 when I graduated, I was completely unprepared for how very different 'real' nursing was from the 'practice' version; I spent most of my first year, and beyond, wondering if I'd made a terrible mistake going into this profession, and how I'd ever get used to it if I stayed. Depression? I was convinced I was the worst nurse on earth! I had NO confidence, was always running late on med passes, spent 2 hours or more after every shift on charting and got in trouble for doing so much overtime.

    Part of it was working nights when I was more of a 3-11 person; part of it was working in LTC when I'd wanted to work in the hospital where I'd been a CNA during school. (They didn't hire new grads back then.) But part of it was simply making this enormous adjustment from the fantasy world of nursing school, where you never had more than four patients at a time and your instructor and preceptors were always there to save you, to the real world where it was YOUR judgment and skills that could mean the difference between life and death, and four patients was a light load.

    Again, it's up to you as to whether you want to try medication to help you get through this rough patch (although once you're on antidepressants, it's devilishly difficult to get OFF them). However, I would hope that once you fully understand that your feelings are very normal, you'll be able to ride it out, because better days ARE coming, I promise! It won't happen right away, of course, but one of these days you'll catch a subtle change in a patient's condition that saves his/her life, or perform a procedure expertly that once intimidated you, and that's when you'll know that RN behind your name means "REAL NURSE".

    Hope this helps you.


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