Nurses with depression - page 4

by grandmawrinkle

16,991 Visits | 77 Comments

Are you one of them? What is your story? Me: dysthymic disorder, likely depressive sx from the age of 10-12. Major depressive episodes: 2. Other psychiatric comorbidities: anorexia nervosa (currently, in longstanding... Read More


  1. 2
    I'm not a nurse yet but here's my story. I've had depression for the last 20 years. I was started on antidepressants at age 16. I've taken Prozac, Zoloft. amitriptyline over the years, and finally a combo that has been working for me for the last few years, Celexa and Lamictal. At age 18 I was diagnosed with panic disorder. At 1st they put me on beta blockers, not working, then Depakote, felt like I was gonna pass out all the time):, then the usual benzos.
    So do I feel bad about taking meds for the rest of my life? Sometimes, but I know what happens every time I go off of them, living hell. I think it it is more the stigma that exists with mental illness that might make one feel bad about taking meds for the rest of your life. Don't feel like a failure, your not!! At least you are taking responsibility for your own health and seeking treatment. I can't tell you the number of people I have observed who clearly have a mental illness of some sort but will not seek treatment, so they make all the people around them miserable because of their untreated mental illness.
    No one who doesn't have a depressive disorder seems to get, that this is not something you can think yourself out of. And they don't seem to take it seriously either, oh you're depressed, oh well, get over it. suck it up. They just don't get it.
    MsbossyRN and pagandeva2000 like this.
  2. 11
    Quote from nhelkhound
    Have you tried Cymbalta? Ask your prescriber. Many have a very quick response time upon starting it.
    yes!

    that is THE antidepressant that was my lifesaver.

    i've been depressed/anxious my entire life, but didn't start taking antidepressants until my 30's.
    i've been on every ssri out there, and they all eventually stopped working.
    in 2004 i was dx'd w/traumatic ptsd, and since then, my depression has worsened.
    been through many different txs.

    the funny thing is (really, not so funny), at one time i found myself completely off antidepressants.
    and when i was off them, i could not stop crying.
    and that scared me, wondering if that was my baseline???
    (talk about feeling like a failure.)

    my therapist called a psychopharmacologist she knew and this np is the one who started me on cymbalta.
    i'm telling you, within a few days i knew that i had scored.
    and i've been on it ever since.

    these days when i feel "depressed", i have to keep in mind that the cymbalta is still working...
    because if it wasn't, i'd be crying all the time, and i'm not... at all.
    so keep that in mind when wondering if an antidepressant has stopped working.

    my baseline, i have come to realize, is highly dysfunctional when not on antidepressants.
    i am basing it on that one time when i was without...and i cried non-stop.

    do i feel like a failure?
    hell no.
    rather, i have come to totally respect and love who i am...
    a highly sensitive and traumatized woman, who more than likely, was also born with a chemical imbalance.
    i know my limitations, and accept them.
    i know my potential, and try to enhance them.

    with or without depression, we all still remain vulnerable and fallible.
    it is not either good or bad.
    it is what it is.
    and you are, who you are.

    do NOT blame yourself, you have no control over it.
    whether depression is r/t endogenous or exogenous factors, you can only try to learn and nurture your way into a positive growth pattern.

    truly, it's the only way to succeed.

    leslie
    DeepFriedRN, FLmomof5, Plagueis, and 8 others like this.
  3. 0
    Quote from MsbossyRN
    Oh no I wasn't trying to imply you walk around all doped up. I have a hx of depression and panic disorders. I take anti-depressants daily and benzo's prn. I was just wondering how employers feel about that. I never skipped nursing school because I had to take one. But then again I don't really feel doped up when I take them anyway. Just more relaxed, focused, and able to function. As opposed to feeling like I'm able to die So that was why I asked in reference to how does one work with anxiety type disorders in the hospital. I hope you were not offended or anything. Thanks for the reply.
    Sorry, I was expecting to be flamed.

    When I got that horrible job, in the pre-employment drug test I took my perscription # name of perscriber, ect. and wrote all that info on the form. I thought there might be trouble, but they still hired me.

    I don't know what the BON would say about taking benzos but I think it's just good practice not taking it at/before work. I'm think my employer would be okay with my taking it if I needed too, as I don't feel/act/seem impaired, but best practice makes me not take them.

    However, my last day at that horrible job ended with a fellow RN walking me to the ER in full panic state. I learned from that sometimes it's better just to call in sick.

    It's good to hear from other nurses that have panic disorders, I hope your panic stays low, and you feel happy. I wouldn't outright tell the hospital you are applying to, just write your benzos on the drug screen with script #s and perscriber's names. That should cover you, also, try to learn non-pharmacutical things to help lower your panic attacks. I just wouldn't suggest taking benzos at work, so many things could happen even if you don't feel impaired, like you could make a mistake that you would have made with/without benzos, but they maybe could blame you because of the benzos, IDK.

    I really wish you well, again I hope the panic stays low.
  4. 2
    The first time I was put on an antidepressant (thanks to a friend who made the appt.,dragged me there and handed me the pills every day for about 2 weeks), I went into an absolute tailspin!
    You see, I was working as an inpatient psych nurse and suddenly I was taking the same meds I was handing out each day! Once I was able to face this though it really helped me get away from the "me"/"them" attitude and become much more theraputic in my dealings with patients.
    However, there is still such a stigma about this class of medications that while I may speak to colleagues about being on metformin and levothyroxin I seldom share the info about the Prozac unless I recognize a person struggling with such issues who might need a kindred soul.
    We need more conversations like this one to bring it out of the shadows.
    SaintsFan1 and pagandeva2000 like this.
  5. 2
    i just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has shared their story in this post. i am a new nursing student and have been extremely nervous about how my depression and anxiety would be perceived in the nursing world. i am so glad to see that i am not alone and that i will still be able to be a competent nurse despite my 'chemical imbalances'
  6. 5
    Quote from grandmawrinkle

    I hesitate to post this because I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that aren't sympathetic and don't believe that depression is a real, legitimate problem. I just feel like such a failure right now because I went to the doctor today and got back on Wellbutrin .

    I don't have depression and never have.

    However, I truly do believe it is a serious, legitimate problem and I really feel for those people who just can't seem to get the help they need that works for them.

    Don't ever consider yourself a failure. Having a certain condition does not make you a failure in any way, shape, or form. It does not reflect on who you are as person or as a nurse.

    Look at what you have accomplished despite having depression.

    I wish you the best.
  7. 3
    One of the things that makes this hard to discuss with our nurse co-workers is that unfortunately, the nurture has been taken out of nursing, especially to each other. I think that most nurses are challenged with issues of anxiety at the very least, and I suspect that due to more nurses being the sole provider in single parented families, more responsibility has been added without the same amount of support. And, what happens, I suspect is that other nurses don't want these feelings to 'rub off on them', so, it is avoided.

    I have no real issues speaking about having anxiety, and that my SSRI is my best friend. I don't think people believe me, but it saved my sanity.
  8. 4
    Quote from chloecatrn
    Right. Except for those times that I can't get out of bed. And those times that I can't stop crying. No, there's no faking it here, especially now, without a job. There's only, real, serious depression that isn't helped by "faking it". Thanks so much for minimalizing how I feel. :icon_roll
    Sorry, I didn't mean to minimalize how you feel. I"ve had one hospital admission for depression 40 years ago and never took meds until after Sept. 11 which freaked me out so much that I finally broke down and started on medication. So, I think I know about depression. You can spend your life defining yourself as a "depressed person" but what is the gain in it? Think very, very hard about that answer. It's true, you can't "undepress" yourself but an alcoholic can't cure herself of himself either but part of the therapy is "faking" normalcy by smiling, showing gratitude, etc. You CAN get out of bed. It is very hard and maybe you can't function well , but you are physically capable of getting out of bed. I had a job where calling in sick was forbidden unless you were in the hospital so in almost 40 years of nursing, I can count on one hand times that I called in. I do have a friend who's child is severely depressed and they haven't been able to find a medication for him. To an outsider who doesn't recognize depression, he would appear to be quiet and a little withdrawn. It's sad that treatment hasn't had much to offer. But he is the exception. You may be in bed crying now but that doesn't mean that you will be one month from now. Many therapy sessions and thousands of pills later I'm better. To an outsider I may be antisocial and sleep deprived but I go to work and smile. I smiled when I was crazy because what patient wants to be cared for by someone who never smiles? Any kind of recovery is work , the hardest work you will ever do.
  9. 1
    For all of you that were sympathetic and/or supportive, thanks.

    It's a hard road for me. I have a hard time disclosing my problems to friends and co-workers because of the stigma still attached to mental illness .... even though mine is relatively minor (as compared to delusions, hallucinations, suicidal and/or irrational behavior, etc.) I don't want anybody to think I am "crazy." My former boss/mentor knows, and I feel that she is sympathetic because she has a daughter with similar problems. If that wasn't the case, I don't know if she would understand.

    I feel a little bit better, even though I just restarted my meds. I know they are doing something, because I have been getting the weird, vivid dreams back in full force.... LOL. This usually goes away after I am a little more used to them.

    For those of you who asked, I have been off meds intermittently because I have felt OK for periods of time in-between med regimens, and really, I don't want to be dependent on meds my entire life. If that is what I have to live with, I suppose, eventually, I will understand it, and accept it. It doesn't have anything to do with side effects I am experiencing or anything else like that.

    FYI I had a lot of success with a very good, reputable PhD'ed therapist that is also a very well respected neuropsychologist and neurofeedback provider. I am still "technically" his patient -- meaning I haven't fired him -- but I have had a hell of a time getting in for weekly neurofeedback sessions (which take an hour), although I feel they are effective, WITHOUT medication. If my life ever slows down I will commit to long-term neurofeedback, which my therapist says, with enough treatments, is eventually permanent (for me, obviously, it has not been, yet.) Then, I am hoping I can wean myself off the meds.

    I freaking hate Wellbutrin. It works well for me, which is why I go back on it...it gives me energy, a happier mood, and motivation -- all things I need -- but I pay the price of HORRIBLE withdrawal when I go off of it. It's really ugly. Crying every day, etc. Leslie --- I wonder if part of what you were experiencing with the daily crying had anything to do with medication withdrawal. It is, indeed, awful, and not something that your physician really warns you about.

    I don't think that many people really understand...only the ones that experience depression, really do.
    Last edit by grandmawrinkle on Aug 27, '10
    leslie :-D likes this.
  10. 0
    Grandmawrinkle: There are some websites out there devoted to the problem of getting off of anti-depressants (and I thought I was one of the few!). After the first time I swore I'd never go back on them because getting off of them was worst than menopause. But, that only lasted a few months and the paresthesias evolved into a fist in my stomach so I gratefully went back on but am taking half of what I took before. I don't sleep great but the dose is enough to keep the night terrors at bay and no paresthesias. It is what it is. I've just surrendered to the fact that I'll need them probably forever and grateful that the drugs are available because otherwise, I'd be so scattered I wouldn't be able to work.


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