ADHD, crippling anxiety attacks, and horrible self-esteem

  1. 2
    I am nurse in my first year as an RN, and I have ADHD "Severe Type" (according to the Duke ADHD Program). I have been suffering from crippling anxiety on the job. I go into the bathroom to cry and often have panic attacks where I find it difficult to stop hyperventilating and my chest and throat get sore from it. My face gets awfully red and it takes me so long to calm down and just stop crying uncontrollably. I have horrible self esteem problems and feel like I suck at my job because I am horrible with time management. The other day, I didnt even have a chance to sit down and chart anything until after 5pm. I hate where I am working, because I feel that the patient load is too intense for me, and EVERY patient on my unit has pain management issues. I dont know how much more of this I can take. I spend my days off worrying about how the next day at work is going to go, and I cry and cry and call myself stupid when I know that I deserve to feel better about myself and not abuse myself like this. I don't know where else to turn. I want to find a different job, but my management wants to work with me to help me improve my organization. I just want to get the hell out of the place and get an office position. I feel a lot better already after typing this, but I still feel hopeless about the future. I thought that I was going to be a great nurse, but I can't get the time management down, and then my anxiety gets the best of me. I have been safe and competent, but I am 'slow' at getting my tasks completed and charting done, and I dont see what I can do to go faster.
    Any advice and prayers of support is appreciated.
    dazedndreamin and nurse88882000 like this.
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  4. 0
    Have you discussed these concerns with whomever is treating your ADHD/anxiety?? That's something that person(s) would want to know.
  5. 0
    I have, and I take Lexapro for anxiety and use Adderall XR as of now. I don't want to take a benzo on the job, so I don't take the Librium prn that was prescribed for me . I suppose that I should try another SSRI, but I am afraid of trying something that could make things worse. I have tried Prozac, and it made me not care about anything and prevented me from feeling a sense of urgency in clinical while I was in nursing school. Wellbutrin made me want to die. The few days when I did not take the Adderall were horrible because I felt like a jumbled mess the entire day, so I don't see stopping that one as an option.
  6. 1
    hey broccoli,

    i feel like you read my mind. i'm also a new nurse suffering from crippling anxiety. i have very low self-esteem and probably other issues that the new nursing job is exacerbating and bringing to the surface. i've just begun to see a therapist, but that's not doing me any good for my present troubles. my fear and anxiety are blocking my mind from learning what i need to know on the job. my mind is running away from unpleasant information. no matter how hard i try, at the end of my shift i still have no idea what is going on with my patients. my reports are terrible. i work on a medical telemetry floor and i also feel like my patient load is too much. the cardiac monitors are constantly beeping and i have no idea what to look for, what's important to report, what can be ignored. if anything unexpected happens during a shift, i am guaranteed to be scrambling and leaving late. i've been hired for nights and a terrible pattern is developing when i have to work consecutive nights. i get home exhausted in the morning, sleep for about 3 or 4 hours, then wake up with enough energy to have panic attacks for the few hours i have left before my shift. by the time i get to work, i am wiped out. which makes it even more difficult to learn. the way things are going i am so scared that i am going to hurt someone with my incompetence or hurt myself with the crushing, unrelenting anxiety i am feeling.

    all i want to do is get away. i call myself stupid and every other name in the book.

    i'm sorry i don't have any advice for you, as i am almost in your shoes, but i will be thinking good thoughts for you. you're not alone and i thank you for helping me to feel not as alone.
    tiredstudentmom likes this.
  7. 0
    I feel your pain. I have suffered from panic disorder for years. It has gotten worse over the past few months for me. I've tried different SSRIs and they all caused more anxiety. I guess I just have to keep trying other meds.

    I find it extremely difficult to work as a nurse when I am feeling this way. I am scared that my patients or colleagues will notice. I'm also scared that anything stressful at work will set off a panic attack.

    My advice would be to talk to your GP or therapist about a treatment plan. I am going to do that myself.

    Hugs
  8. 2
    Quote from ChoppinBroccoli
    I am nurse in my first year as an RN, and I have ADHD "Severe Type" (according to the Duke ADHD Program). I have been suffering from crippling anxiety on the job. I go into the bathroom to cry and often have panic attacks where I find it difficult to stop hyperventilating and my chest and throat get sore from it. My face gets awfully red and it takes me so long to calm down and just stop crying uncontrollably. I have horrible self esteem problems and feel like I suck at my job because I am horrible with time management. The other day, I didnt even have a chance to sit down and chart anything until after 5pm. I hate where I am working, because I feel that the patient load is too intense for me, and EVERY patient on my unit has pain management issues. I dont know how much more of this I can take. I spend my days off worrying about how the next day at work is going to go, and I cry and cry and call myself stupid when I know that I deserve to feel better about myself and not abuse myself like this. I don't know where else to turn. I want to find a different job, but my management wants to work with me to help me improve my organization. I just want to get the hell out of the place and get an office position. I feel a lot better already after typing this, but I still feel hopeless about the future. I thought that I was going to be a great nurse, but I can't get the time management down, and then my anxiety gets the best of me. I have been safe and competent, but I am 'slow' at getting my tasks completed and charting done, and I dont see what I can do to go faster.
    Any advice and prayers of support is appreciated.

    I am so sorry I am just now reading this! please go to http://allnurses.com/nurses-disabili...tal-94244.html where there are those with ADHD, anxiety, low self esteem, and other mental health issues, there are those who have been posting there on a more regular basis. It's not that no one cares, it's just hard to notice new threads when they come up. Please forgive us for being remiss! I am also going to take the liberty of posting your question on that thread so that people can respond to you sooner. Hang in there!!!

    xo

    PS: Oh good, I didn't notice that you had other replies here too, my bad. Well, click the link above if you want to broaden your support base (anyone who's posted here is welcome also) - take care!
    McGwillis and tiredstudentmom like this.
  9. 2
    I have been in the same boat for the last 2.5 years(not counting school). Its like a recurring nightmare, I have had 3 jobs since graduation, and it is always the same. I think I am doing great at first, then one thing leads to another and I feel like I am sinking slowly towards failure. Most reciently, I thought I had gotten most of my major issues with time management and organization under control, but then I got written up yesterday because a patient complained about something from weeks before (one of those behavioral patients who seem to want to steal nurses licenses) and just before that information, I snapped at a patients daughter who decided to get in my face because her fathers dressing hadnt been changed yet. I went home bawling my eyes out terrified of not being able to do my job despite people telling me I am a good nurse. I sometimes dont want to do it anymore, but I lack the skills of anything else.

    at least your management wants to try to help out. with me I finnaly voiced what was wrong on my unit that was dragging me down, expecting some type of advice, and they had no answer for me. just looked at me with a sad look.

    I say go with your gut, while your management is working with you, look for other jobs, find something that seems to suit you better.
  10. 1
    I know where you are coming from. After many years in a specialist surgical area (plastics) I was shoved by the unit's closure to another hospital and of all things ITU.

    ITU was something I never wanted to do and I asked to be moved off it after a few hellish months. I then worked on a succession of surgical wards, medical wards and came within an inch of quitting nursing altogether because nothing suited me.

    Then I found a new job in Oncology. It suits me fine.

    Go for what interests you. A quieter area maybe.
    RNROSER2011 likes this.
  11. 0
    I am SO glad that I found this post...I'm not a nurse yet but am an MA in a dr's office studying to be an RN. I have been wondering if there was anyone out there that had these same problems, but was in or going to be in nursing. I feel that I would be a good nurse, love the patients at our office, but have depression, anxiety, and self confidence issues. I take Cymbalta, Lexapro, and sometimes Buspar or if it's really bad and I'm not at work, alprazolam. I have been feeling like these things will hinder me, but I have high aspirations and don't want to let the mental issues stand in my way. I feel like I could empathize more with the patients, especially if they're really nervous and such. I can relate to them that way. What are some good tips for a future RN to handle these problems and still be a good nurse?
  12. 0
    I haven't been in this site in a while and I am glad that some people replied to my message! Thanks to all of you.

    I am doing better than I was -- as in, I am coping a lot better than I was. I have a gracious manager and supervisors on my floor, and I brought my issues to them. They have been doing everything they can to help me.

    I also stopped taking the Adderall and started with Concerta instead, and it suits me better.

    I am still very unhappy in my position, but my supervisor has been working with me as what I would call a 'distant preceptor.' She has helped me to identify what has kept me from getting on track, and she we do feedback sessions after every shift on the way to our cars.

    I am still unhappy in this position, because I do not feel that it is a good fit for me. I have sent out my resume, and I think that I put it perfectly when I have said in my cover letters, "I feel that my talents may be better utilized in an environment other than that of acute care hospital floor. "

    Feel free to write more about how you are doing, friends. I would like to know how the rest of you are doing. Are you coping better? Have you sought help? Please feel free to share your story.


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