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- Apr 17 by sunflrz321So glad to hear that you are staying on good terms with your employer. That is crucial. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure you take the time off you need to really get your symptoms under control, and be extremely diligent about really facing your symptoms head-on and repeatedly following up with your doctors to make sure your symptoms are really taken care of. Don't beat around the bush or try to deny this is a problem any longer- it will only make things worse.
Also, know that anxiety is a clinical problem with clinical treatments, even though life experiences can also aggravate it.
If I had a patient with mildly high blood pressure at baseline at home (say, averaging 140's/90's), and then the patient complained of headaches from work every day and she was found to be averaging blood pressure of 160-170's/100s at work every day, and then one really stressful day at work, she got dizzy and her head was pounding and she went to the ER with blood pressure of 180/110, what would you say needs to be done here? Probably you would say we need to get this patient on some anti-hypertensives! Or if she's already on antihypertensives, she needs some more! (and of course lifestyle choices and stress management are important, and the patient should engage in these healthy behaviors, but this patient's symptoms are affecting her job and her health- she needs more than just stress management techniques).
Stress is not anxiety. Stress is not hypertension. Stress IS a trigger- it will aggravate existing anxiety, it will aggravate existing hypertension.
So now if I say there is this patient with mild anxiety symptoms at baseline, but her anxiety symptoms are worse at work and the other day she had a super-stressful day at work and things really came to a head- what would you say we need to do? Treat the underlying anxiety.
If you don't treat the anxiety, you can end up with unhealthy coping skills and maladaptive behaviors -things you turn to just to help you get through it all, that may not be very healthy for you. Also, while you notice how your anxiety is affecting your job, chances are it is affecting other aspects of your life and your loved ones too. So take care of yourself- mentally, physically, and emotionally- so you can stick around to really enjoy life with the people you love.
- Apr 17 by VivaLasViejasSee, it's so much easier when I'm advising someone ELSE on how to take care of her/himself. I'm not a very good patient, but I am taking everyone's words to heart.
Yes, I'm seriously considering staying out another week. Today I followed my doctor's orders to the letter and went to the seashore with my husband; we had an absolutely WONDERFUL day walking on the beach, exploring tidepools, poking through the funky little shops, and people-watching. All of my anxiety and stress literally were 75 miles away, and it may as well have been 75 million miles....the ocean is where I never fail to find solace and draw my strength. Unfortunately, I don't go anywhere near often enough, but that is going to change---we did the whole day on less than $100, and that included a full meal and gas for the trip.
But I also realized that I am not yet ready to go back to work. This is the first day I've been able to detach myself completely, and there are only five days left until my original return date; I performed an honest self-assessment this evening and can't come up with a single reason (except money) to risk relapsing by going back too soon. How ironic that my underlying bipolar illness is relatively stable, while the anxiety superimposed on it still isn't under control. I hope it will be soon!
- Apr 18 by uRNmywayViva, I'm going to hop on the 'go to the darkside' train. I just hope you treat me nice if you ever end up where I work!!
Or how about teaching? Mentoring? You do such a fantastic job of it on here, why not try to do it professionally?
Or you could start working on that book we have been wanting from you! I am sure the AN community would gladly help market for you!
Get some rest. Don't make any final decisions until you have taken your ordered vacation. I mean, patients, family members, the big-kahoonas (sp?), they are enough to push any nurse into anxiety attacks. But for someone with underlying issues, that are still relatively newly under control? You are a very strong woman, and it does not make you any less of a person or a nurse to need a break to recoup.
- Apr 19 by txredheadnurseYou know sometimes being very strong is actually our greatest weakness. We become so determined, so focused on doing, being, fixing, controlling that we don't listen to the subtle hints our bodies and minds send our way. As a result those hints have to become loud or even shout at us so that we heed them and stop, review, refresh and accept that our strength is no longer an assest but harming us. We have to let the universe reach inside us and show us all the possibilites that we haven't acknowledged before and accept the new realities that we must embrace in order to move forward in a truly functional, intergrated fashion.
I have some physical health issues that have forced me to realize that the coping and lifestyle patterns of my past no longer and will never again work for me. It was a bitter pill to swallow but once I did I found my center of calm again. Please understand I verbalized my understanding and acceptance of the changes my health issues required but deep inside my strong woman core I secretly said I can still do it the way I have always done it if I want to. It wasn't until I really acknowledged that the changes are real, are permanent and there is no going back that different pathways opened for me and, most importantly, I found that inner core of calm, that gooey center of divine love again.
So here is wishing you a re-connect with your inner gooey center of divine love and calm again. Remember we at AN are always here to walk with you a bit whenever you need a buddy on this new journey, to help you when you stumble and to listen whenever your heart needs to cry or fret or just needs some reassurance that you are not alone.
- Apr 19 by VivaLasViejasOh, mercy........you are singing my song! Especially the part about "accepting" the changes in my life while secretly thinking I can still do things the way I used to (and get away with it).
Thank you for your wonderful words. They mean much more than you know.
- May 12 by kbrn2002Viva, you have given so many of us encouragement and support. I am sure I speak for a lot of people when I say we are more than happy to send some of that encouragement and support back to you. Please take care of yourself and know you always have friends here when you need us.