need help for severe depression

  1. I am an RN that lives for my career. I am now faced with the probability of losing the career I wanted for so long & worked so hard for.Severe depression has officially taken over. This past year has been really awful. it started with a severe fatal stoke in the family,then I had 3 herniated disks in my cervical spine and ended up with fusion, then an emergency quadruple bypass on my father in law (where I ended up the main caregiver), My son (19) had recurring bouts of undiagnosed pancreatitis followed by gallbladder surgery, I had a car wreck that left me with a herniatd disk in my lumbar spine and will probable not be able to return to my job. top that off with a disabled spouse for the last 6years. so my income was the only one. now that doesn't exist.I don't know what to do anymore. i can't seem to get anything done, nor do i want to.antidepressants don't seem to be helping now.anyone have any ideas???
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  2. 129 Comments

  3. by   Dixielee
    We all have crisis in our lives. You just have to learn to rise above and get on with life. You are only 38 years old according to your profile. You have many, many good years left. I have never suffered from clinical depression, so I do not have a personal understanding of how debilitating it can be. But I have suffered adversity, as most of us have. If you think you are the only one, the you just aren't paying attention. Have you seen the guy who had to cut off his own arm because it was caught under a boulder while hiking? I can't remember his name, but I saw him on a talk show and he has written a book. He was thanking God for his affliction because it made him more aware of the fragility of life, and helped him lead a fuller, more "aware" life.

    You mentioned a family member having a fatal stroke. As we get older, more and more precious members of our families are going to die. My sister was killed by a cougar last year and we found her body, that was not exactly a part of my life I would like to relive, but life goes on. That is a fact of life, as a nurse you should understand that clearly. As far as your FIL having bypass surgery, did he die? Most folks who have bypass surgery return to normal, active lives, my husband did. How is your son doing now after surgery? If he is 19, he was probably healthy enough to get thru things well. As far as your back surgery goes...there are many nursing jobs that are not quite as demanding physically as others. Search them out.

    Maybe your primary problem stems from your opening sentence, saying you are an RN who lives for her career. Nursing is a job. We are numbers on a schedule to management. If you happen to be able to find some enjoyment and fullfillment in your job, then that is a bonus. That is what keeps us going. But as far as living for it.....there are too many other things to live for. Live for your family, your grandchildren, yourself, the ability to travel and enjoy nature. Live for God, make yourself available to others who may need encouragement. Live for the sake of being able to see the sunrise every morning. Live to hear a baby coo. Live for puppy kisses. Live because that is why we are on the earth, but for Heaven's sake....don't live for nursing!
    Last edit by Dixielee on Jan 11, '05
  4. by   bargainhound
    There are many antidepressants. Maybe you just haven't found the right one or the right dose for you right now. Don't give up.

    Also, when meds don't work anymore, ECT does. It is an approved treatment for depression that will not respond to meds.


    God bless you. Depression is a real illness and there are treatments available.

    There are also jobs that you will be able to do. Don't give up on working as a RN either.
  5. by   akcarmean
    I suffer from manic depression. The right combination of meds are out there. Keep trying. Find a counslor and talk to them. Then look for a less demanding job. Live your life for you and your family not you job. LOVE your job but don't let it consume you. This is a bad time of the year and I am having major problems myself but you need to know when to recoginze them and seek treatment and seek it until you get the results that are satisafactory to you. through medication, counsling, family and friend support and things you enjoy.Harder said than done I know. I am dealing with the same advice I just gave you but from past experience it can be over come.



    Angie
  6. by   bargainhound
    akcarmean...thank you for giving her more positive advice/input.
  7. by   chadash
    Reading your post, I was overwhelmed with all you are going through. I have had similar times in my life, and I remember getting to that point where depression set in. I can only tell you that you are not alone.
    You sound as if you are a caregiver in all the roles in your life. I would recommend you first find a counselor who can direct you to find ways to restore yourself. If you are part of a church/synagog, it may be good to start with your pastor, rabbi or priest. Meds are helpful. Don't write that off. You know as a nurse that the stress in your life can deplete you on a chemical level.
    Sounds like you have more responsibilities than resourses. Can you hand some of these off to others? It may sound overly simple but you are only human! Rest in the arms of God.
  8. by   rnmi2004
    Needshelp, anyone in your situation would feel overwhelmed. Please don't feel that it's your fault that you're not keeping your chin up through some tough situations--sometimes enough is enough and you just can't cope.

    Chadish noted that you are the caregiver in your life; it sounds like you really need someone to help take care of you now. Find a psychiatrist who can help with finding the right treatment for your depression, whether that is meds, counseling, biofeedback, and/or other therapies.

    An RN who is so used to appearing "together" on the outside through various crises during her shift may carry that into his/her personal life. People you're close to may not realize how all this really is affecting you. I hope you have trusted friends & family in your life that you can confide in.

    Concentrate on getting your physical and emotional health back before you put energy back into your career. Nursing is a very diverse field. You may not be able to go back to floor nursing (if that is what you were doing before) but you may find some other area of nursing to work in.

    Remember, you have to take care of yourself too.
  9. by   Da Monk
    Do you have the following?:

    Depressed mood or sadness most everyday, most of the day, for 2 or more weeks;

    Anhedonia(inability to enjoy most activities);

    Tearfulness, oversleeping, poor sleep, noteable weight gain or loss, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, low energy, suicidal thoughts(with or without a plan), poor concentration, difficulty falling asleep and/or early AM awakening with difficulty regaining sleep, fatigue, poor appetite.(takes the first 2 plus 5 of the rest = major depressive d/o.) Some people can demonstrate irritibility and/or agitation/anxiety.

    If so, see a psychiatrist. They are the specialists in this area. While your family doc can prescribe meds, I think it best to see a specialist here. And as above, ECT can be effective. I think I need to add that some folks seem to embrace their depression. I find that this occurs at times when I hear how others just don't seem to understand what's going on. It is a disease and is very treatable in most all cases. The "get a grip and buck up" theory of treatment is falacious. And it certainly sounds as if you've had one hell of a past year or so. By your saying you're afraid of not being able to continue being a nurse, I take that as being a part of the depression. Optimism is not part of the illness.
  10. by   Bjo
    Quote from needs help
    I am an RN that lives for my career. I am now faced with the probability of losing the career I wanted for so long & worked so hard for.Severe depression has officially taken over.
    There is no reason you should lose your job. Many places have programs that help people going through similar things. Maybe you just need to take a leave and get things straight at home. Many nurses have successful careers and have depression. It's nothing to be ashamed of and if the antidepressants aren't working than you need to tell your doctor to try something else. Have you talked to a good therapist? Maybe you can find a support group. Don't give up. You are overwhelmed right now and in time, this will pass. It's hard right now, but please keep trying.:kiss
  11. by   mattsmom81
    I'm so sorry to read of your troubles...you have had more than your share lately. I am also a nurse who has had spine and neck injuries and had to readjust following surgeries. My career had been #1 self esteem for me and this gave me problems. I had to 'adjust' my attitude/thinking a bit.

    I hope you find a good counselor to help you to reframe your thinking...this is what I have had to do. My injuries have healed and I have been successful in several nursing positions since my accident, it just takes a little time to find the right position. I was able to get a charge position (desk jockey) where I was very appreciated by managers and staff...do you know a place that could use a good charge nurse?? (YOU)
    Your experience IS a valuable asset!

    Check it out..when you feel better. Sounds like you need to bolster your own support system and ask for some caring to be directed back to YOU. Now you are overwhelmed and need to feel better/have some good things happen to you. Take care please. PM me if you want to talk.
  12. by   hypnotic_nurse
    Please see someone qualified to treat your emotional ills, a psychiatrist, counselor, or NP. Your history of depression may well be compounded by post traumatic stress or inability to cope with all that's been thrown at you in the last year. And in that case, you might need counseling in addition to your antidepressant or you may need a different medication regime.

    When you are already suffering from depression and then other things happen, you have much less ability to cope with the new stressors; with each new stressor, it gets harder and harder. This doesn't mean you can't get well; I hope it helps explain why the past year may have been so difficult.

    I know that getting treatment is expensive. But leaving this untreated is like leaving diabetes untreated...there is the potential for a poor outcome if you don't.

    When you are down in a hole, you really can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You need a helping hand or two to help you see the light again.

    Another poster suggested that you count your blessings (as will many other well-meaning people), and that is all very well, but you have to be well enough to see what they are before you can do that. At this point you just sound overwhelmed.

    Once you are feeling better, there ARE nursing jobs that do not require heavy lifting or bending or stooping. Nursing is not just a strong back.
  13. by   NewEnglandRN
    I can certainly see why you are feeling overwhelmed. You have had a lot of turmoil in your life. Depression is real and you can't just "snap out of it." Talk to your Dr. You need to feel better and if taking an antidepressant helps, then do it. If the first one does work, try another. I don't mean to sound so pro-medication, but I have seen the positive effects it has had a several family members with depression.

    (((HUGGS)))

    I hope things get better for you soon.
  14. by   leslie :-D
    i'm really sorry about everything you've been going through; when it rains, it certainly pours.

    as for the antidepressant not working, try another one!!!
    i can't emphasize that enough.
    after yrs of taking one kind, it stopped working.
    i went to a psychiatrist and he started me on another.
    i felt worse than ever.
    then finally i found one that works wonderfully....
    is my depression gone? no.
    but i certainly feel more functional and motivated.
    well...i certainly feel more functional; just 15 minutes ago as my dh left for work his last words were, go and get motivated!!! so i have to work a little harder on that part.
    but this antidepressant i'm on now, i knew within one week that i hit the jackpot.
    and i understand totally about nsg being your life...the thought of me never being able to nurse again is just too overwhelming.
    but your first priority is to take care of you and to start feeling better mentally.
    then with medical help/physical therapy, time, you will be able to go back to nsg.
    but you're not going to appreciate any of this until you get yourself out of this funk....so by all means, please, go to a psychiatrist and get on another antidepressant.

    wishing you peace.

    leslie

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