I Hate Being Bipolar. It's AWESOME! - page 3
We've been talking a lot about mental illness during this early part of May, which has been designated as Mental Health Awareness Month. Nurses and students with all sorts of psychiatric conditions have been coming "out of the... Read More
- 2May 6, '13 by pinkiepieRNQuote from joeljuersI wouldn't go around parading it or saying, "yeah I tried to kill myself," if you come back from time off and in the hospital or otherwise keeping yourself alive. I hate to say this, but most co-workers (even other psych nurses) tend to shy away or treat you with "kid gloves" if you're open about a MH dx. People are quick to think that everything is a symptom, like if you're having a bad day, they'll say, "oh you must be getting depressed. The sky is falling!" even if you're just having a bad day and responding to stress that would cause anyone else to be upset, sad or irritable too. Behavior is sometimes just behavior and not necessarily symptomatic of illness. Does that make sense?Do you think it's safe to be openly bi-polar as a nurse as one is openly anything else that used to be taboo. I'm kinda scared to let loose of my MH diagnoses in this field. Should I be? My wife says, "Yes!" What say ye?
If it comes out, it comes out. Don't be ashamed, but don't act like its a badge of courage or something. It's a medical disease just like diabetes and should be treated as such in the workplace, by coworkers and management but we just aren't there yet, not in the U.S. at least.
- 2May 6, '13 by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN GuideQuote from joeljuersI really wish I hadn't had to disclose my illness to my employer. It cost me my job. But when a person gets to a certain level of mania, there's no hiding it, and I had to come clean because NOBODY understood what was making me behave the way I was.Do you think it's safe to be openly bi-polar as a nurse as one is openly anything else that used to be taboo. I'm kinda scared to let loose of my MH diagnoses in this field. Should I be? My wife says, "Yes!" What say ye?
What I'm hoping for is to get my illness under good control and then find a job that's not management, not 34/7/365; this way, I think I'll be able to avoid the more severe mood swings that gave me away in this last job. I certainly will not disclose the fact that I have bipolar disorder on any job application or at any interview in the future, nor will I note it on any employee physical I may have to undergo. It's a sad thing that even in this modern day and age, a professional has to conceal so much in order to be accepted in the workplace, but right now, mental illness is still very much a taboo.
My thanks to all of you who are participating in this thread! There is so much honesty in your posts, and so much empowerment in the sharing of this very personal affliction. Maybe if we can continue the dialogue, it'll encourage other nurses with psychiatric disorders to throw off the shackles of stigma and take better care of their health, both physical and mental, at home AND at work.
- 2May 7, '13 by poppycat, BSN, RNI was diagnosed with bipolar in 2005. Since the age of 7 years I've had bouts of major depression but didn't start having manic episodes until well into my 40s. My manic episodes consist of shopping until all the stores are empty, going home, looking at all the stuff I just bought, & going into a rage at myself for buying so much that I don't need & can't really afford. I've been tried on every mood stabilizer known to man but all they do is induce mania. I'm currently on a low dose of Cymbalta which not only helps the bipolar but also helps control some of the pain I have from rheumatoid arthritis.
The genetic aspect of bipolar intrigues me. Not only do I have bipolar 2 but so do my daughter, my sister, & my niece. My sister & I also have addiction problems as did our mom. This can not be coincidental!
I have to agree with Viva about not disclosing a mental health diagnosis to employers. If I'm asked in pre-employment physicals about why I take Cymbalta, I just tell them it's for chronic pain. That's a diagnosis the public can understand.
- 3May 7, '13 by TerpGal02, ADN, RNIt's sad but I plan on NEVER disclosing again if I can help it. Once the cat is out of the bag things are never the same again. You are under the figurative microscope, employers just expect you to fail I think, and you become the scapegoat. Even working as a psych nurse which I do, people are not understanding at all. I'm sure I would be treated very differently if my chronic illness were something like diabetes. Very very sad. Just makes me wonder how many nurses I work with have psych diagnoses they are afraid of opening up about. I feel like a lot of mental health professionals got into the field for a reason.
- 3May 7, '13 by jenna75It's very sad that you cannot disclose this information without being "branded" or feel like an outcast to coworkers. I disclosed my mental illness to my coworkers and my thoughts of suicide earlier this year and I felt so much better. Though I am a nursing student, I work full time in animal medicine and work with a small group of people. I had a complete nervous breakdown this year and hit rock bottom--full blown with severe panic attacks and everything and keeping it all bottled up inside was killing me. Thankfully, I am close with the people I work with and felt comfortable with telling them how I was feeling, and to my surprise some of them told me deep dark secrets about their own mental issues. It was enlightening.
As I stated in my post from yesterday, I have suffered from a see-saw of manic episodes and deep depression since I was a teen. Currently I am in my late 30's and was not dxed with bipolar until 7 years ago. I was just thankful to know what it was and put a name to my disorder. I know everyone has their own special mix of goodies that come with this disorder, as do I. I have anxiety issues and obsessive-compulsive disorder thrown in with manic/depressive bouts. I may, at times, have a little ADD too. It is like a big mental disorder party inside my brain! But it is like a car wreck, even though I know it is happening I just can't stop. Meds keep me in check more than I would be without them. I am glad people are able to open up on this forum, it is good to hear your stories. You are not alone!!
- 1May 7, '13 by Ginger's MomViva
I think a perfect job for you is one in home health, where you do you visits and go home. Better yet per diem so I you feel on the edge you can take time off without giving a reason. Home Health can be flexible and dealing with patients seem to be your strength. There was no other way to save your career without disclosing your situation to your employer, it sucks, I have to disclose my medical history but it is the only way some times.
- 2May 7, '13 by pinkiepieRNQuote from TerpGal02I can relate to and endorse this SO much. I even know other psych nurses with a MI dx, and even though they might be okay saying, "Yeah, I'm on an antidepressant," but god forbid you try to relate to them and say, "Me too." No. *shakes head* It doesn't work that way.Even working as a psych nurse which I do, people are not understanding at all. I'm sure I would be treated very differently if my chronic illness were something like diabetes. Very very sad. Just makes me wonder how many nurses I work with have psych diagnoses they are afraid of opening up about.
Quote from TerpGal02While it's not always true, I like to operate under the assumption that, "It takes one to know one." Not always, but more often than not.I feel like a lot of mental health professionals got into the field for a reason.
BTW, @TerpGal02 - UMD grad or Maryland resident?
- 2May 7, '13 by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN GuideFunny you should mention that. My own psychiatrist suggested mental health as something to look into as far as my next job is concerned, and at first I was kind of "really?" The idea of taking care of psych patients when I'm one myself seemed just too weird, but then again, the fact that I can identify with---and not be judgmental toward---mentally ill individuals might make me a decent psych nurse. I don't know. I'm afraid I might OVERidentify with some and not be as therapeutic as I should be under the circumstances; still, I'm pretty decent at setting limits with patients and might do very well......at any rate, I'm not ruling it out.