Bipolar Nurse Hoping to Open Awareness of Mental Illness - page 3

Hello everyone, I am new to the site and have chosen to join simply because of a previous post about mental illness and incredibly insulting comments that followed. I am posting a thread about this... Read More

  1. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    2
    Quote from BeOne77
    Also I am curious as to what percentage of nurses have this disability and what percentage of nurses suffer from depression or any other mental health condition.


    Heather
    Hi, Heather, I'm a longtime member here. I have bipolar 2. (Changed later to bipolar 1.)

    As wish_me_luck posted, we can't offer any legal or medical advise per the Terms of Service of this site. However, you raise an interesting question that I've been studying for awhile myself; personally, I find it fascinating that there are so many nurses with bipolar disorder. When I was diagnosed a year ago, I felt utterly alone; but as I've 'met' more and more BPers here, it's become clear that it's not an uncommon condition. Stress brings out the worst in us, and nursing is nothing if not LOADED with stress!

    I'd also be surprised if a poll of nurses didn't show that a large minority of us have one or more diagnosable mental illnesses, with depression and anxiety leading the pack. Which makes for an interesting "the-chicken-or-the-egg" discussion: are people with mood and other mental disorders more likely to go into nursing, or does the job itself cause or contribute to the development (or exacerbation) of mental illness?
    Last edit by VivaLasViejas on Sep 17, '13
    Janey496 and Esme12 like this.
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  3. Visit  BeOne77 profile page
    2
    Viva las viejas,

    You make an interesting observation of whether or not the profession relays into a possible mental health problem. It is possible that the profession itself does result in some other abnormalies. It is quite clear that the nursing profession itself discriminates among its own members when it comes to mental illness. Their is no reason why a nurse with mental illness cannot carry on duties just like any other nurse who says has diabetes or high cholesterol. We don't tell someone with these problems that they must be monitored by a governing body. Mental illness is no different. It is a medical illness and it should be treated as so. PMHP is a program designed for people who have experienced theft, battery and have diverted narcotics. It should not be used for people with medical illnesses. This only promotes discrimination invades privacy and responds with humiliation within the field.

    Heather
    Esme12 and VivaLasViejas like this.
  4. Visit  LadyFree28 profile page
    1
    Viva, I've come to learn that ALL of us have the many traits of mental illness through our personalities...When a series of crises or a significant stressful event occurs, the aspects of those traits come up, sometimes to our benefit, sometimes to our detriment...but they are there, and can be managed, that's for sure.

    It is a chronic health condition no different than hypertension, DM, CAD...there is a growing consensus about using debriefing and EAP programs are available and free as well. Sometimes the stigma is within ourselves, our images and expectations for ourselves and how we "should be as nurses."

    I can see the evolution about mental health. I disclosed my condition and was very upfront about it, and my continuing management for it. It is in my physical records in employee health, every thing. People have been SUPER supportive, from my school, my previous job, as well as my current job. I hope we keep our voices strong...we have support here, and we can evolve this attitude.
    Last edit by LadyFree28 on Feb 9, '13
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  5. Visit  wish_me_luck profile page
    0
    Heather,

    I do understand what you are saying. But, as I told my mom, I don't think it helps to try and divide yourself from your monitoring program peers. I think a better way to approach this is to educate other nurses (and healthcare professionals) that the monitoring programs are not only for people who divert, but for everyone who has a physical or mental illness and/or chemical dependency/drug diversion. Then, start educating other providers and lay people/citizens about mental illness.
  6. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    0
    Quote from LadyFree28
    I can see the evolution about mental health. I disclosed my condition and was very upfront about it, and my continuing management for it. It is in my physical records in employee health, every thing. People have been SUPER supportive, from my school, my previous job, as well as my current job. I hope we keep our voices strong...we have support here, and we can evolve this attitude.
    I agree! Good for you for being so honest about your illness.

    I "came out" with my diagnosis fairly early on, and for the most part it's been a good thing. With all the med tweaks and experimentation I've been through, it's not as if I can totally hide it, although I do present well and usually come across as being a little quirky or odd, rather than mentally ill.

    The first place I disclosed was right here on AN, a couple of weeks after the initial appointment with my psychiatrist. I was terrified, but felt I needed to float a trial balloon to get an idea of how (or whether) I'd be accepted now that I had this label. Happily, everyone who responded was supportive and kind, and several of my closer friends here noted that it explained the erratic behavior they'd seen in my postings at times.

    My workplace was a little different. I hold a very responsible position, and as close as I was to my immediate supervisor and fellow managers, I was hesitant to be "out" at work. But when I had a severe manic episode last June, I had no choice but to 'fess up. Again, people were supportive, gracious, and even curious about my condition; now, unfortunately, I think it's being used to question my ability to continue in this job, because my performance has been somewhat inconsistent of late.

    I've been through a lot in the past year or so, what with multiple family crises and other triggering events, but that's not necessarily my illness......it's just life. Of course, I have yet to master the art of discernment---I can't always tell what's a mood episode and what's merely situational---but I'm getting there. And I am NOT one to wimp out and use bipolar as an excuse for a less than stellar performance at work.

    Maybe I'm just blowing sunshine up my own nose and refusing to admit I have limitations. But I'm going to try to fix this, in spite (or because) of having a psychiatric disorder......after all, living well is the best revenge.
  7. Visit  LadyFree28 profile page
    1
    Viva, I can totally understand...recognizing the triggers is an art I still struggle with...I have started catching myself when I say "I'm fine," yet my heart is jumping out of my chest like I'm about to go for a roller coaster ride because my life has produced a few triggers or just stress.

    I had my last episode before I started my new job, GI upset, excessive cleaning, just downright cantankerous, swinging right into sleeping at odd hours...I didn't mind it as much, because I will do rotating shifts, so I looked at that aspect positively, and I went back on track. By the end of the week, I felt tested and recharged. I have seen a definite change in being able not just to function, but live. Still nervous about my job, but a good kind...survived the first week! One step at a time...

    I hope that your job is not questioning your performance. I hope that it is genuine concern to rest perhaps, and recharge. Sending positive vibes in that note for your job to continue to learn understand and continue to value you. Your position of leadership can instill hope in many who may have felt alone...you may inspire and motivate many, and most management (good, bad, and indifferent) can recognize that.

    We have learned to take it in stride and tweak along the way, one foot in front of the other!
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  8. Visit  mariebailey profile page
    1
    Thank you so much for posting this. We have identical diagnoses - Bipolar Disorder I & Adult ADD.

    I'm high functioning as well, & I'm not open about it, except for a few people. I enjoy the anonymity online, perhaps a little too much. It's exhausting trying to hide a monster. Mumford & Sons sums it up nicely with a one liner in their song Lover's Eyes: "Do not ask the price I pay, for I must live with the quiet rage."
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  9. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    0
    Quote from mariebailey
    Thank you so much for posting this. We have identical diagnoses - Bipolar Disorder I & Adult ADD.

    I'm high functioning as well, & I'm not open about it, except for a few people. I enjoy the anonymity online, perhaps a little too much. It's exhausting trying to hide a monster. Mumford & Sons sums it up nicely with a one liner in their song Lover's Eyes: "Do not ask the price I pay, for I must live with the quiet rage."
    I like that quote. Sometimes my rage isn't particularly quiet, but I bite back a whole lot more of it than I ever display.

    Know what you mean about trying to hide a monster. Mine is called Big Ugly, and it has a way of sneaking out when I can least afford for it to do so. But it's happening less and less often now as therapy and meds smooth out the rough roads and the divots (even the steaming divots ).
  10. Visit  Ahnnn profile page
    1
    OK- Who is going to be the one to get involved with the Uniform Requirements for Licensure efforts by National Council State Boards of Nursing et all? Do we want a recommendation that all applicants being treated for any chronic condition bring a letter from their doctor? If everyone needed a letter about bad backs, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, migraines and other, the letters about depression, bipolar I & II, other psych disorders would just another part of the pile. Nursing Boards should be subject to the Americans with Disability Act. Some mental disorders cause disability. The vast majority do not. Nurses who are not disabled should be encouraged to work to their ability. Nobody should be afraid of being "outed". What should the requirements for a nursing license be?
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  11. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    1
    Quote from Ahnnn
    Nurses who are not disabled should be encouraged to work to their ability. Nobody should be afraid of being "outed".
    THANK YOU!!! That's one of the many things we covered at my pdoc appointment yesterday. The company I work for sees me as a potential ADA case and has made special accommodations for me as far as scheduling, but take disability when my work is unaffected by my illness at least 75% of the time? Not a chance! He and I both take a dim view of going on disability for bipolar disorder when a) it's controlled with medication and therapy (as mine is) and b) most people with BP II get worse, not better, if they don't have something purposeful to do outside the home.

    It's something else when one simply can NOT function in a workplace, and that does happen, especially in a field as stressful as nursing. I've said it before, if I ever get so bad that I'm fearful for my patients, I'll hang up my steth for good and go work at Costco or something.....but not work at all? Don't think so.
    Janey496 likes this.
  12. Visit  stardust80916 profile page
    1
    Thank you so much for bringing light to this issue. I am considering nursing as well for my career field. In fact I've found that hospice is my calling and that I want to open a campus dedicated to the well being of patients and their families. I too suffer from bipolar II as well as borderline personality disorder, depression, and anxiety. I have heard of people being successful, despite these illnesses, yet it's never heard about in the medical field. It gives me hope that there are other nurses out there that suffer from this illness and are successful. Your post also sheds light on how compassionate and patient us bipolars are. I thought it was just my personality, however now I'm considering that it is part of the disorder. Once again thank you for touching on this subject. You are an inspiration to us all!
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  13. Visit  stardust80916 profile page
    1
    [QUOTE=mariebailey;7164251]Thank you so much for posting this. We have identical diagnoses - Bipolar Disorder I & Adult ADD.

    It's exhausting trying to hide a monster.

    Yes...yes it is I completely understand. I too refer to my illness as my monster.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  14. Visit  A1973 profile page
    1
    I am so thrilled to read your post! I have schizophrenia and I just completed my LPN program. I passed NCLEX, too. I have been on disability for my illness for a few years but decided to go to nursing school. I want to be a PRODUCTIVE CITIZEN OF SOCIETY---that is why I went back to school! I am deciding whether or not I should take a part time job in home care nursing and get off disability or to just work 2 days a week to supplement my disability payments. I AM NOT A HORRIBLE PERSON because I am sick. I chose to volunteer my time in a nursing home while I was on disability----I saw the nurses and I liked what I saw, it looked like something I would enjoy doing----and I went back to school. I want something out of life! I am not dangerous. I am not bad. I am not a monster. I have a question: Do you think I should leave disability ( I would be making more money if I worked part time as a nurse) or do you think I should stay on disability and work to supplement it with 2-day-a-week work? You are a very brave nurse. Keep your head up!
    VivaLasViejas likes this.


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