Bipolar Nurse Hoping to Open Awareness of Mental Illness - page 4

by HannaRNBSN

10,373 Views | 64 Comments

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 in an attempt to create more... Read More


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    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.
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    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.
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    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."
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
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    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 ).
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    [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.
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    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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    It all depends on what you can handle. You may want to start out part-time and then work into full-time if you're tolerating things well. Nursing is indeed a stressful occupation and can trigger episodes of illness, so you want to be sure you remain stable and practice the best self-care routine you can manage. Wishing you the very best!


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