Debilitating Anxiety - page 3

by SleeepyRN 7,461 Views | 29 Comments

Hi everyone, I am in desperate need of help. Please bear with me. This is a little lengthy. Without going into specifics and telling the whole story (simply because it would be an even longer post,) I'll give the essentials. ... Read More


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    I experienced terrible performance anxiety as a new RN, crippling, but I suffered in silence. I never had this problem in any other job. I had several other jobs from secretarial to waitress and this is the only job this happened to me. The right therapist should help, and ideally meds are only meant to be short-term till the therapy kicks in. I made a self hypnosis tape to help me deal with a particularly stressful aspect of my job pulling sheaths on cath patients and the hypnosis tape really worked. I found a hypnosis script book and then wrote up something tailor made for my situation and used a recorder over relaxing music and then listened to it. I was surprised at how quick it worked. While I don't enjoy pulling sheaths, time consuming and aware of potential problems, bleeding, vasovagal; I no longer get anxious about it.

    It sounds like you are psyching yourself out and focusing on the responsibilities of a nurse to the point of fear to do anything. I see this is a common thread people are afraid for their license or getting sued or making a mistake. I was always afraid if I would make a mistake especially in the early years and this dilemma came up when having to make judgement calls should I call the dr or not. I erred on the side of safety and was overzealous with calling dr's on things, but thankfully they were patient and appreciative. I transferred more patients to ICU than other RN's but I've never had a patient code with something I could have controlled. The only codes I've had were cardiac arrythmias that came out of the blue. I have caught some things early because of this tendency, such as a pt misdiagnosed with pneumonia who really had a PE and a patient who had a bleed while on heparin and it was caught early and corrected. So being overzealous is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can certainly add to the stress of the job.

    My other ways of coping were to learn as much as I could, researching assessment, pathophys, seminars etc on my off time, and relying on trusted, experienced coworkers for their opinion. Thankfully we had a very helpful ICU staff that was happy to help with questions, concerns, chest-tubes, whatever. This was before emergency response teams existed. While the patients are sicker and the ratios may be higher today, depending on where you work; there are so many more resources available to the new RN from new grad residency programs, to the emergency response teams to other coworkers and lastly google and the internet for medical questions.

    Lastly prayer and the grace of God took away the anxiety. I still have times of stress overload, but it is not the fearful anxiety I used to have. A beautiful prayer a loved one told me about is "Dear Sacred Heart of Jesus may I harm no one as I pass by". The prayer was said before driving and the person never had an accident, but to me that prayer embodies one's whole life. Asking Jesus that we do no harm, which embodies the doctors oath of first do no harm!
    Last edit by brandy1017 on Aug 11, '13
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    I'll return to let everyone know what my doctor says and how my next job goes! I received a lot of great info that I have already begun to look into. I was a productive member of society once, even with anxieties, and I can be that person again :-) Thanks so much to all!
    Last edit by SleeepyRN on Aug 11, '13
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
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    SleeepyRN, I feel like I could've written this post. I too struggle with severe anxiety related to jobs; however, it had become significantly worse since becoming a nurse about a year ago. I have had several nursing jobs within the past year, all great opportunities, only to quit due to fears of being "inadequate" or a "failure". I told myself all the time "It's better to quit now out of fear of making a mistake than to be fired later because I actually messed up"...I now realize just how flawed and negative my thought processes were at that time.

    Something that has worked wonders for me is a self-help program called "Attacking Anxiety and Depression" that was created by the Midwest Center. It is a series of recorded lessons and written work that really helped me get to the root of the problems I had with this. It addresses so many factors that play into anxiety such as negative thinking, high expectations, low self-esteem, guilt/worry, etc. Each lesson focuses on a different topic and the work book allows you to really delve into what, specifically, you are struggling with as an individual. Each recorded lesson contains a recorded "group session" with other people who have experienced this problem. It is truly amazing how many individuals are nurses or work in another health related profession! I still struggle with anxiety at times, but the difference is now I know exactly what it is that I am feeing and have the tools to handle it.

    I am very sorry that you are struggling with this problem and I hope that you find a solution that works for you, whatever that may be. Best wishes!
    brandy1017 likes this.
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    Very supportive thread. Thanks for all the suggestions forthis poster.

    We do ask that you not give medical advice. It's ok to say "this helped me." However it crosses to medical advice when we suggest meds or dosages.

    Thanks
    pinkiepieRN and Meriwhen like this.
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    I have paralyzing anxiety which has caused me to quit a few nursing jobs (I've only been a nurse 3 years), so I totally relate. I am now trying out L&D and feel completely overwhelmed because I never gave any of my hospital jobs a chance... they were just too much. I didn't realize how stressful L&D could be and how much is there to learn. It is overwhelming. This is also causing me depression and I just feel like my nerves are shot and I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I have been having symptoms of dizziness and almost feeling like I am going to faint. I have a prescription for klonopin but I feel that this doesn't leave me as "sharp" as I need to be. Same thing with Neurontin. I just started taking this a few days ago but it makes me feel very dumb! I think I'm going to try an old prescription of Paxil. I'm desperate. Sometimes I question whether I should even be a nurse
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    Oh, and I've never had this anxiety with other non-nursing jobs in the past. In fact, I excelled and was very confident. There was probably a learning curve with those jobs, but never have I had the paralyzing fear and anxiety like I have with nursing jobs. I've been considering trying a beta blocker because I am so sensitive to side effects from antidepressants.
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    Quote from ijuanabhappy
    I have paralyzing anxiety which has caused me to quit a few nursing jobs (I've only been a nurse 3 years), so I totally relate. I am now trying out L&D and feel completely overwhelmed because I never gave any of my hospital jobs a chance... they were just too much. I didn't realize how stressful L&D could be and how much is there to learn. It is overwhelming. This is also causing me depression and I just feel like my nerves are shot and I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I have been having symptoms of dizziness and almost feeling like I am going to faint. I have a prescription for klonopin but I feel that this doesn't leave me as "sharp" as I need to be. Same thing with Neurontin. I just started taking this a few days ago but it makes me feel very dumb! I think I'm going to try an old prescription of Paxil. I'm desperate. Sometimes I question whether I should even be a nurse
    Please don't start or stop any medications without talking to your prescriber first. Best of luck to you!
    pinkiepieRN and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    OMG you guys. I was feeling so alone before I read this thread. Long story short, I am at a crisis with my generalized anxiety disorder and felt that I would have to quit nursing and find a minimum wage job. Thanks for all of the honesty and support. Maybe I (and my family who I support alone) will make it after all. Kim
    Marshall1 and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    I too feel as if I could have written your post, I quit a job last week due to the same anxiety and panic issues, I just didn't go in. I know this is wrong and basically self sabotage, but I literally had a panic attack and could not get myself to leave the house. I am not proud of this as I in the past have been a stable employee of a hospital for 20+ years. I am 48 and have been an RN for 15+ years, I have been on different meds but also stopped going to therapy because of the cost. I know I need to go back and get myself back on track. Thanks for posting, it is so hard to think you are going through something like this alone. I felt that way for along time.
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    Have you thought about mindfulness based stress reduction class?it maybe helpful as it is very useful in other areas as well. We actually offer it where I work for all émigrés and is mandatory for residents. Good luck! Anxiety sucks but once it's under control life is so much better!


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