Getting into nursing school with a mental illness? Is it going to be possible? - page 2

by lntm2925

Hi There!. I registered for this board a while ago but haven't really posted quite yet. I am now at the point where I have a very important question and nursing school is a very big reality now. Here's my question :) Ever... Read More


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    Thank you so much everybody for your replies!. I checked in all day today and your words really helped me feel more at ease and you all showed me a lot of support!. I really appreciate it and thank you so much again!

    Unfortunately I've dealt with intrusive thoughts for years. Since I was a kid. At first they were about my dad and now their about my two boys. They are most def not fun and I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy!.

    Racer15 - I too actually don't take my medication every day. I know that's not good at all to do but for some reason I just can't remember them every day. It's horrible to say that cause there are so many methods I can do to help myself be reminded but I have such trouble doing it. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind when I need to start taking them again though. Sometimes I just remember and I take them, and sometimes it gets to the point where i feel like i'm close to relapsing and I need to take them. My pdoc knows about it too. I have told her that I have trouble remembering to take them and she advises that I take them every day but she says that every time I have needed help, I would call in. She said I am in no way a danger to myself or anybody else because of this and that makes me feel a lot better!.

    Pronurse45 - Thank you so much for your kind words!. It really helps to know that not even my mental illnesses will prevent me from my dream!!

    Kabfighter - Thank you so much for sharing your girlfriend's story!. It sounds like we have very similar situations!. These thoughts do upset me very much.....they actually upset me so much that I have tried to admit myself to a hospital twice. The first time I went to a very big hospital out where I live. I told them what I was dealing with and told them I wanted to be admitted....because even though you know you won't act on your thoughts, your mind plays tricks on you. Your mind makes you think that you want to act on your thoughts or that you will act on your thoughts. I used to be so afraid to be around my children because I didn't want the chance of ever hurting them. My intrusive thoughts got really really bad after the birth of my first son. That is around the time that I tried to have myself admitted for the first time. It was about 2-3 months after his birth. And just like your girlfriend, it took a while to get me on the right medication, but that's when they finally tried the anti-psychotic on me and I have since called it my "miracle medication". It completely takes away my thoughts 100% and very quickly!. There was a time that my pdoc weaned me off this medication when me and my ex-husband started trying for our second baby, because this certain medication can be harmful to a developing fetus. Unforunately, it didn't end up working though. My thoughts came back and back on it I went......and within days, I felt so much better and my thoughts were once again gone. Thankfully my second son was born perfectly healthy and I decided to stay on it permanently since then and have been on it since. My sons are now 6 and 4

    BeOne77 - It has always helped me so much to know that I am not alone in dealing with this!. I'm really glad that my story could help you

    Btw, just so everybody knows, the medications I am taking are Abilify (the anti-psychotic) and Prozac
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
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    Quote from lntm2925
    My pdoc knows about it too. I have told her that I have trouble remembering to take them and she advises that I take them every day but she says that every time I have needed help, I would call in. She said I am in no way a danger to myself or anybody else because of this and that makes me feel a lot better!
    (This statement really jumped out at me. This is not at all a criticism, but I would just like to point out that there is a significant difference between not being "a danger to myself of anybody else" in the everyday sense of that phrase and practicing safely as an RN. I doubt your psychiatrist would say the same thing to a practicing physician or nurse in a conversation about not remembering to take meds.)
    wish_me_luck likes this.
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    Oh no, I completely understand your statement and where your coming from. My pdoc HIGHLY advises that I take my medication every day but sometimes I just have trouble remembering. Sometimes my days are really busy or I sleep all day (I work overnights) and I just don't remember to take them. It's not because I don't want to or feel like I need to (not saying you were meaning that), I just literally forget to take them and then the minute I remember, I take it. My pdoc, my primary care physician and my therapist all know about this and have given me the biggest hope that I will be able to become a nurse. It's very hard to put into the right words at the moment. They all know I don't take my medication regularly, they recommend and highly advise that I do, but they feel (and have told me) that my symptoms are VERY under control. Like I mentioned, they even tried to wean me off my meds all together when I was trying for my second child but my symptoms ended up coming back and I had to go back on it. I don't forget to take my medication that long where I let my symptoms return. There has been once or twice in as long as I've been on my medication that I went so long that I started to get my symptoms again, but I knew right away to call my doctors and start my medication back up.....but that has been very rare. I have been on my meds for 6 years and like I said, it's only happened once or twice. I have not had any intrusive thoughts, other OCD symptoms, anxiety symptoms or panic attacks in years now. I know I need to be on these medications.....probably for the rest of my life, and I know I should take them every day. It's not that I'm not taking my meds on purpose (once again not saying you were saying that ), I just literally forget....
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    Yeah, they tend be on the cautious side because remember, it's their license if something happens to you or anyone else gets hurt.
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    Oh yea, I agree completely and understand.....but I'm not at a risk of hurting myself or anybody else. I know exactly when to get help and have always done it when I felt I needed to. Like I said, I was very close to having myself admitted to a hospital twice....not because I was told to go to the hospital, it was because I chose to go. I was never once admitted though. Even the first time when it got REALLY bad (after the birth of my first son). After talking with doctors there, I was told told that it was just my OCD and anxiety and I did the right thing by going in. They reassured me that if I was in a dangerous state, I wouldn't have known to go get help. That is why my docs are "tolerant" (which is the right word for this situation) of me not taking my meds every day. They aren't jumping for joy and praising me that I'm not taking them, they just understand that sometimes you will forget.
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    Yep you can certainly be a nurse with a mental illness, but I'm going.to strongly caution you that if you wish to be successful and safely practice, you are going to HAVE to figure out a method to remember to take your meds everyday. Intrusive thoughts can def hinder your ability to think critically and be safe in your practice. Intrusive thoughts are very distracting and once they really get going and spark anxiety, it can almost be damn impossible to focus on anything else. Trust me, been there, done that. Providers have been disagreeing about my dx for oh 6 years and as a result I never got the right combo of meds. Finally during my last hospitalization, my new pdoc definitively diagnosed me bipolar 2 which def comes with intrusive thoughts. I am finally on a stable cocktail of Lamictal (and can I just say I LOVE Lamictal), Zoloft, Elavil and PRN klonopin that I NEVER take on the job (I also have panic disorder). I am feeling great now but my illness caused a lot of issues with my work performance when I was not properly medicated and the meds I was on were actually making me worse. So yeah, take your meds!
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
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    Nothing needs to be disclosed to the nursing school.

    You can make it through nursing school and enjoy nursing while living with a mental illness.

    Psychosis is a broad term to describe symptoms managed well with proper dosages of anti-psychotics, just like obsessive/compulsive behaviors; it does not warrant being singled out among symptoms associated with mental illness, IMO.

    Good luck with everything.
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    Quote from mariebailey
    Psychosis is a broad term to describe symptoms managed well with proper dosages of anti-psychotics, just like obsessive/compulsive behaviors; it does not warrant being singled out among symptoms associated with mental illness, IMO.
    Yeah, but it sure looks bad when it's on your medical record. Even if it's there only because of a reaction to a drug (in my case, Wellbutrin).
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    I don't really see why people feel the need to disclose SO MUCH personal medical info to nursing schools/employers UNLESS they honestly feel that they are not stable enough to attend school/work as a nurse. And if such is the case, then perhaps that's something to think about before beginning.

    If you feel you are unsafe, have been unsafe, or could be unsafe with patients, then this is cause for concern. If you just get depressed sometimes and you have a little OCD then - why mark your record like that? Do the tx that works for you and get on with it. Hell, half of America is on an AD. So what?

    But I guarantee you, if YOU make it a big deal, then schools and employers will as well. Under the radaaaaaar...
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    I didn't see the part about not taking your meds every day. THAT part concerns me. If you have an ongoing medical condition then the best way to stay stable is to find a consistent way to manage it and then DO THAT.

    Nursing school and nursing are both tremendously stressful - in their own different ways. You want to be stable going in and to maintain stability throughout.

    It concerns me when someone says (of a mental health issue) that their physician desires them to stay on meds, but they don't think they need them. It's your right to do that, but a lot of times when I see that behavior, someone is really not taking the fact that they have an issue seriously.


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