My Nervous Problem

  1. Hi everyone,

    I am writing to see if anyone had a problem with nerves similar to mine and what you have done about it.

    My problem is that when I see something that most would consider "gross" I get nervous, smile and kind of laugh.

    For example, if I am watching television and I see them performing an operation and they are doing something to the patient that makes me "squidgy" or "cringe" I smile and start to laugh. Like, if they are showing a liposuction and they are sticking and moving the suction all around or just take out a scalpal and start cutting away like there's no tomorrow it makes me smile and/or say things out loud like "Whoa" "Oh my gosh", etc. etc. Same thing when I watch a Rhinoplasty. Especially when they just start chizzeling away.

    This is also true in real life. Like last week there was a cat hit on the side of the road and I pulled over to help because there were a few other people trying to help it. Well, the poor little bugger had a contusion to his eyeball and it was swelling and greatly protruding out of the socket. Not pretty at all. I kept from saying anything out loud but I know that I had a smile from ear to ear.

    On the plus side, I always remain extremely calm in emergency situations however, I look like The Joker while doing it.

    I'm scared to death that when I start clinicals this fall and have to go to the OR, observe various procedures or see some really outrageous things that I'm going to make an idiot of myself. I don't know if it is a reaction to nerves, adrenalin or what but I don't want doctors, clinical instructors and especially patients to think that I'm making a joke of things.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   RNIAM
    I think you might want to try working on that smile of yours. Some may see it in the wrong way. If you feel there is no way you can control it then talk with your instructors before clinical. Maybe you can watch those program and pratice not smiling? Good Luck
  4. by   LeesieBug
    Don't feel bad. Some of us just have different coping mechanisms. I sometimes giggle when presented with something truly upsetting. I have been known to get the giggles at funerals of loved ones, as well as upon hearing very tragic news. It seems very bizarre, but I think it is a defense mechanism. I also tend to get the gigges when in an extremely stressful situation. I used to work at a bank and was robbed one day. Well , after the guy walked out the door I went to tell the head teller what happened and I was giggling when I told her. She thought I was joking until I got the shakes from head to toe!

    If it's any consolation to you, things have gotten better as I have gotten older, and nowadays I am USUALLY able to keep it in check.
    Last edit by LeesieBug on Jun 5, '03
  5. by   MandyInMS
    Hmmm...I have a co-worker who acts similar to what you describe..guess I never thought of her "inapropriate laughter" as a stress mechanism..just thought she was a little 'warped'..no offense to you.....something to work on definetly..has been a few instances in her case where she was not taken seriously because of her behavior, and/or pissed people off because of it.....as you say it's not intentional but can be precieved as unprofessional to say the least in some cases...I wish you the best of luck (((hugzzzzz)))
  6. by   RN2007
    Colleen, You might want to talk with a counselor or therapist re: this because they have ways to help you stop these things. As hard as you have worked in school, etc., I know you do not want this type thing to cause problems for you when it is something that can be dealt with. Best Wishes!!
  7. by   redwinggirlie
    Methinks it could be because you haven't been exposed to these things that makes you nervous. Try looking at things for what they are. Suction tubes are really just hoses like your garden hose.... does it make you giggle? Just a silly example. Not insinuating both objects perform the same task, mind you.... lol
    Try focusing on what is going on. I have trouble with anything that has to do with eyes. Surgery, poking, you name it. So, I just tell myself it's just a bag of water and poof! my nervousness goes away. Good luck.
  8. by   katscan
    A trick you may try for breaking bad habits. Put a rubber band on your wrist and if you are in the situations where you are nervous and feel like you are going to smile or giggle, inconspicuously snap it-enough to feel it. Then do it again. The mild pain will take that smile off your face.You will be centered to know you are laughing due to stress and it is innapropriate. If you have to continue to do it , then do it. No one would have to know. You are substituting mild pain to break an annoying habit. Finally and hopefully, your mind will associate the feel of the rubber band-uncomfortableness in the place of giggling.Over time you will be conditioned not to smile or giggle under stress. Don't give up if it doesnt work all at once. This has been going on a long time and some bad habits are hard to break.
  9. by   northwest20
    what the heck is wrong with smiling?
    Last edit by northwest20 on Oct 6, '04
  10. by   sbic56
    Boy, I sure understand this response to stress. I have pretty much stopped doing what you do over the years. It only got me in trouble once when I was assessing a violent psych patient in seclusion and he caught me "smilling". Not good. I try to think of something else momentarily when this happens and as I said, it is a nervous response that usually works itself out after repeated exposure to the stressful stimulous. In the meantime, I wouldn't get too concerned about it. We all cope in our unique fasion to stressful situations. I am also good in emergent situations. Connection between this and our coping responses, perhaps?

    I still have a hard time from busting out loud when I see someone slip and fall, especially if they all out lose it. Funny? Not at all...just a response.
  11. by   Robnic
    hi,



    i'd just like to say it's a relief to find someone else with a similar problem. i have read briefly around the subject, and my theory is it originated from when i was a child and i got into trouble. i have always had this nervous habit, but recently it has becoming a serious problem. it's started happening even when talking to friends and relatives. my main concern is that, although i can and have explained this habit to people close to me, i am studying a post-graduate course in social work. obviously, i will soon be in situations where smiling or laughing when faced with a stressful or delicate situation will be totally inappropriate.



    i have only briefly read some of the replies, but i am interested in the elastic band around the wrist idea. i hope you find a way of stopping this habit for good, and if you do, perhaps you could drop me a line and let me know how.



    best wishes.

  12. by   hypnotic_nurse
    Hypnotherapy would probably work well for your problem; it works very well for problems with an anxiety or habit component.
  13. by   VivaLasViejas
    Sheer force of will........that's how I've learned to prevent those rotten giggles from coming to the surface at inappropriate times. When I was a kid, I used to get 'em whenever I heard somebody throw up! Now, there's nothing even remotely funny about that, but this was my instantaneous reaction......quite possibly because it was either laugh, or puke myself.

    I also have a tendency to titter when I'm nervous, like during a job interview or when I find myself in a tight spot. Again, it takes awareness that I'm doing it and forcing myself to control it.......not an easy task, for sure, but far better than making people think I'm really weird!
  14. by   Gompers
    Don't have any advice to offer, but just wanted to let you know that you're not alone! I have a horrible nervous reflex - I giggle whenever someone gets hurt in front of me. Like if someone bangs their head on something, I can't help it but crack up, no matter how hard I try not to. It's not like what happened is funny, like when someone hurts themselves in a slapstick comedy. It's just normal things, but for some reason I laugh. I hate this trait, but it's been with me since I was a child. :imbar

    I'd love to try hypnosis for this and other problems...but ever since I saw that Kevin Bacon movie "Stir of Echoes" I've been terrified to go under!

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