a nurse with panic disorder

  1. hi all, I am new to the boards and would like some advice.
    First of all I just want to say this is very hard for me but I am going to say it. I suffer from Panic Disorder and I plan on going to college in the Fall to become an LPN. I have had people tell be that I will never make it in nursing school because of panic disorder. I say phooey and anything is possible. Can anyone give me any words of encouragement? Does anyone know of anyone else having panic disorder in the medical field? Any suggestions or comments on being a nurse would be appreciated. This has been a life long dream for me since I was a little girl. I have come so far in this disorder and I know it will even get better.
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   mustangsheba
    What are their reasons for discouraging you? Anybody can develop a panic disorder. There are areas in nursing that are low risk where you can hone your skills and develop the confidence you need to diminish the chances of having an attack. Are you taking medication? How frequent are the attacks? Are you able to drive a car? If you don't at least try, you'll always regret it. I suspect when you're doing what you love, you will have fewer incidents. Good luck.
  4. by   moonshadeau
    I started having panic attacks when I was 17 and still in high school. Mostly I found that when I had them it was related to the fact that I wasn't dealing with an issue that really bothered me. I tried to ignore my panic attacks but then I hit nursing school. In my third semester, I had an instructor who sent me over the edge, because I felt that I needed to be absolutly perfect. I thought I was doomed to fail. When I had my panic attacks, i would get chest pain and get dizzy. Then I knew that I needed to get something to stop the crazy cycle of constant worry. I would stay up late and think myself in circles. Finally, I went to the doctor and got on a low dose of Paxil. I felt better within about a week and a half. I stopped caring about being perfect for this instructor. I learned that I can only be as good as I can and that there are some things that are uncontrollable. I was suprised when i told my coworkers about my panic attacks. Most of the people I talked to had a similar problem and were on an anti-anxiety med. My panic attacks decreased and I even got better grades thereafter. By the time I graduated and recieved my license, I didn't even need to be on it anymore. Basically to make a point of this long story, what I am saying is that only you can make your panic attacks something that you can deal with or it will be a disability. I personally think that nursing is a career with constant rewards. I love my job.
  5. by   MollyJ
    previous poster says it all since (s)he's been there done that. My main thoughts are what you have heard from other posters. Have some tools in your tool box; some ways to deal with anxiety and panic because we all have those moments in nursing when we have to bring our selves down from our anxiety. So meds, self-calming, relaxing...whatever. Make sure you have those techniques in hand. And be open and willing to "grow" new skills like the previous poster--like willing to examine any perfectionism or other thoughts that just aren't helping you out. In the end, we have something to offer clients and we wish you the best of luck.
  6. by   micknmel
    Thanks soooooo much for your replys...I guess panic disorder is something that is more frequent than I thought...I am on 2o mgs of paxil and it has made a world of difference. The reason for the discoragement from other I guess is because they are not educated about panic disorder...Your replys just made me more confident..and next year I will bill telling you I passed the boards...again thanks
  7. by   hollykate
    I think the best thing going for you is that you are already aware of this as a potential problem. You seem to have taken some steps to avoid it becoming a problem for you. So many people would try to ignore the issue until it became a great big mountain! Congratulations- I can't wait to hear about you passing boards!!!!
  8. by   blindog45
    I say go for it.Why? Because I have a panic disorder too. I started LPN school with it, and in second quarter was diagnosed with it. And guess what, I have met alot of nurses with this disorder too. So your not alone, its a closet thing, some just dont admit it, and some do. I dont worry about it too much, I dont broadcast it or anything, but I handle it. I got thru LPN school and have been working for 2 years. You can do it, there are worse things than having a panic disorder, hang in there.
  9. by   crnasomeday
    You can do it! I have the same problem and am in the 6th semester of my BSN program and at the top of my class. Don't be discouraged by others. You know what you are capable of doing. Maintain a therapeutic regimen, whether that includes meds, relaxation techniques, or whatever other interventions that work for you. Panic disorder is not an uncommon malady, and many, many sufferers excel in spite of it. May the Lord God bless your endeavors!
  10. by   Lynn Casey RN
    I just want to thank all of the above postings for their brutal honesty!Wow!I wish we could see this kind of support everywhere in nursing!I have a dear friend who nurses alongside me with panic disorder in ICU.She is a fantastic nurse!She can't attend social functions(showers,parties etc),but I can and I won't!LOL!!She has educated all of us on her condition and has taught us a thing or two about nursing.She manages to attend work because she enjoys the patients!It shows too!The best nurses I have ever met are those that can empathize!All the best!Keep us posted!
  11. by   GERINRS
    Wow! I have the same problem. Is there some kind of correlation between being a nurse and panic disorder? I am on Prozac and Neurontin, which help but maybe should try Paxil.
  12. by   Metron
    Hi, everyone! I too, am amazed by all the responses. I have struggled with depression all my life and finally (much later than I should have) started taking Prozac. That's all I did for about a year. D/T outside stuff, I left LPN school for a semester. During the summer I was out (this past summer), I started seeing a psychiatrist. Now he's got me on Wellbutrin, Trazodone(for sleep), and Lithium. He thinks I have Bipolar type II. My therapist, who I started seeing a month ago, doesn't agree because the psych. didn't do ANY testing so he's basically guessing. So hopefully, that will get changed cuz the Lithium makes me sick sometimes I have struggled in school, but my instructors have been supportive. I have acted unprofessional in clinicals and can't do it again as a condition for graduation. But that's me - and my attitude. ]
    Anyway that's my story. Graduation is Dec. 11th!!!!!!!!! I will make it and SO WILL YOU! I say go for it. Since the day I became a nurse asst. I have had people including me trying to tell me I can't handle it and don't have what it takes. All of us are being proved wrong. AND my job after school is at the nursing home I first worked at! What a victory.!!Go for it. You won't regret it even if it's hard because it will mean more to you to make it than it will to many others cuz you had to fight harder for it.
    Michelle
  13. by   tillie1
    I think panic disorder/attacks are much more prevelant than any one realizes. ( as evidenced by the above). I have been on trazadone for a couple of years now and do well on it. I never knew what was going to precipitate an attack...had on at a baseball game in a crowded stadium once! The biggest problem I am having is getting long term disability insurance. I was denied last year "because of your diagnosis of panic attacks for which you are on medication". I am going to apply again this year and see what happens with it. Do not let anyone discourage you from you life long dream of being a nurse, for any reason!! Best of luck to you and remember...breathe,breathe,.....

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