Any nurses with mental illness?

  1. So I'm not going to totally divulge my diagnoses but unfortunately due to a traumatic childhood I have bad anxiety amongst other issues :/ I was just wondering if any of you battle with some form of mental illness but still make a wonderful nurse? I'm like 99% sure acute care isn't for me neither... I think I want to work in the least stressful environment as a nurse. What would you say that is? I'm thinking like working for a primary care physician in a clinic setting. Thanks!
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  2. 35 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from CaliSarah
    So I'm not going to totally divulge my diagnoses but unfortunately due to a traumatic childhood I have bad anxiety amongst other issues :/ I was just wondering if any of you battle with some form of mental illness but still make a wonderful nurse? I'm like 99% sure acute care isn't for me neither... I think I want to work in the least stressful environment as a nurse. What would you say that is? I'm thinking like working for a primary care physician in a clinic setting. Thanks!
    Before deciding on a path, be aware that most clinic "nurses" are actually medical assistants. And when clinics do hire actual nurses, the pay is often much lower than it would be in a hospital setting.

    I can't say I suffer from mental illness, but there are people on this board who do. Hopefully, they'll chime in with some good advice for you.
  4. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    I have atypical depression, anxiety/panic disorder, ADD and touches of OCD in there for good measure.

    Trust me, I've had my issues finding the right fit for me. The weird thing is that once I got over the initial hurdles/growing pains, I thrived in acute care - I think anxious people tend to do best when we are busy - and we tend to be more detail-oriented as well. My anxiety tended to occur before work, but once I actually started my shift I was fine even if it was hectic. Stress is workable, you just have to find the best match for your stress threshold.
  5. by   localgirl85
    No need to be ashamed! I suffer from depression and anxiety - more so anxiety as of late! And for me it never got in the way of me being a nurse until lately. I made a big geographical move and had a lot of stress going on when I started a new job. It was an OR setting and found that that setting gave me panic attacks...I then tried a regular ER, which I loved but seeing some of the stuff I saw gave me panic attacks/anxiety as well. I also have some health issues so I've decided to become an NP so I can do primary care - better for my body and better for my anxiety (I hope). I won't be seeing life/death stuff everyday. I know a lot of great nurses who do suffer from both anxiety and depression and they are still able to do the job. I used to, just some stuff happened which made it harder on me, but it's definitely done - you just might have to navigate which areas would be better for you...and a primary care or clinic setting usually doesn't hire an RN; more so medical assistants - but that's why I'm becoming an FNP cuz that's the type of setting I want!! So if you know you want primary care you could do a bridge nursing program that gets you an RN and MSN with a NP specialty....I think they offer some of these? I'm going to be taking a BSN-MSN/FNP online program Also - therapy and meds can help! Don't be shy or ashamed to get some help!! If you had a heart problem or diabetes you'd take meds! right? It's the same thing, just with a lame stigma attached to it. Good luck - you could be a great nurse because you would be able to relate to patients with similar issues
  6. by   Silverdragon102
    Moved to the Nursing with Disabilities forum
  7. by   VivaLasViejas
    Hello there, and welcome to Allnurses!

    I have bipolar I and anxiety disorders, and to be honest I suffered greatly working in a hospital environment. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone with mental illness, as it's so fast-paced and the workload is outrageous. There are, in fact, few nursing jobs that aren't. Even in a doctor's office, you're dealing with patients all day who have to be roomed quickly, exams and/or procedures done and their paperwork completed in a timely manner. I'm sure there are office nurses who can chime in here and discuss what their days are like.

    You might want to consider home health. I know there's a lot of driving involved and deadlines to meet as you need to see a certain number of patients each day, but you do have that one-to-one contact with them and you only have to see one at a time.

    I wish I had some better advice for you. Just know that you're not the only one out there who live with mental illness and yet are good nurses. Wishing you the very best in your future endeavors.
  8. by   hppygr8ful
    Hi,

    I have suffered from Major Depressive Disorder and PTSD for most of my adult life. For a time it led down a very dark path of mal-adaptive coping mechanisms. These disease has been in remission for several years now - but it's very hard work on my part to recognize and address the symptoms where they rear their ugly heads. I work in the challenging and stress filled world of Acute Psych Nursing and love it. The trick is to first address your mental health issues and get as stable as possible for embarking on a RN career.

    Good luck to you.

    Hppy
  9. by   OrganizedChaos
    I have bipolar disorder & as I write this I am sitting in my PCP's office to adjust my meds. I wouldn't be surprised if I also have borderline personality disorder either.
  10. by   cocoa_puff
    I have generalized anxiety disorder and depression, which I didn't even know I had until I started working as a nurse...when I broke down and had several panic attacks (at home and at work). I found a great psychiatrist and I'm stable on medications right now, but I'm not working as a nurse anymore. I decided that a different career path would be better for me and my mental/physical health. There isn't any field of nursing that isn't stressful in some way, and the less stressful ones generally require years of experience in acute care nursing.
  11. by   amzyRN
    I was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety. For some reason, I don't really think of those as "mental illnesses" because they have a biological basis. But I suppose technically it is mental illness. I work in a crazy busy hectic ER and it actually helps me because I am forced to be calm. I am rarely flustered or anxious at work, maybe because I have to deal with my own issues, I'm better at dealing with outside stress. I don't know. I don't think there should be shame in having "mental illness" but I think there is still a lof of misunderstanding. I don't think this should stop you from pursuing your goals and being a good nurse.
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from amzyRN
    I was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety. For some reason, I don't really think of those as "mental illnesses" because they have a biological basis. But I suppose technically it is mental illness.
    See, this is where misconceptions and stigma arise. Bipolar, schizophrenia etc. are all biologically based. Mental illnesses are nothing more and nothing less than brain disorders, meaning simply that the dysfunction occurs in the brain, rather than in another body part such as the heart or lungs. They are physical illnesses in every sense of the word. And one shouldn't be ashamed to live with one (or more) of these. Just saying.
  13. by   Penelope_Pitstop
    Quote from amzyRN
    I was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety. For some reason, I don't really think of those as "mental illnesses" because they have a biological basis.
    So what is your definition of a mental illness?

    And what do you mean by "biological basis"?
  14. by   cocoa_puff
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    See, this is where misconceptions and stigma arise. Bipolar, schizophrenia etc. are all biologically based. Mental illnesses are nothing more and nothing less than brain disorders, meaning simply that the dysfunction occurs in the brain, rather than in another body part such as the heart or lungs. They are physical illnesses in every sense of the word. And one shouldn't be ashamed to live with one (or more) of these. Just saying.
    YES!!!

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