I'm friends with the monster that's under my bed

  1. 8
    As I sat waiting in the psychiatrist's office yesterday I was nervous. I've seen many psychiatrists before. Some good and some bad. I have not been under the care of a psychiatrist in almost a year, since I moved to San Francisco.

    The office was very nice. In a high-rise building downtown, the receptionist wasn't nice. I thought it only mattered how comfortable I felt with this doctor.

    I have an amazing Family Nurse Practitioner. She is very nice and professional. She values what I say and we work on a treatment plan together.

    Due to the fact that I've tried so many medications and I'm still struggling with the dreaded panic attacks, we both decided that a psychiatric consult was in order.

    Many years ago, when I was an early teenager, after many differential diagnosises, I was officially diagnosed with Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder... wow, that's a lot of disorders! But they all made sense.

    People don't just panic for no reason, or worry about everything and nothing. My inability to focus or concentrate was always there, as well as never being able to sit still.

    My stress gets so bad, I cry. I also have agoraphobia. It's hard leaving my home and at one point I would stay at home for days, it was my comfort place. If I went to the store or anywhere, I would always have to bring somebody with me. The safety blanket.

    Anxiety is nothing new to me. As a kid I would pull my hair out when I was nervous/anxious.

    I go through the usual assessment from the psychiatrist. She asked me if I'm going to school or anything, and I said yes for nursing. She told me that was amazing, I even cracked a joke and told her my dream is to be a Nurse Practitioner because I like the nursing model of care and not the medical model of care and told her "no offense to you doctors". She laughed and she told me that she also like the nursing model of care and nurses are amazing.

    My partner is supportive but when I get a panic attack, I choke up and can't communicate well and it generally causes some sort of argument.

    I see an anxiety management specialist who is also a Registered Nurse in a couple weeks. I'm hoping that this will provide me with more "tools" in my "toolbox". I'm also in search for a new therapist. When I lived in Hawaii, I saw a therapist once a week for about a year and a half. I loved her, she was so wonderful!

    Another day is starting and I still try to find the light at the end of the tunnel. I sometimes worry that once I become a nurse, what if the BON finds me unfit to practice, etc. I know I will make a great nurse because I truly care about taking care of people but I need to take care of myself, too. I have left the LVN program I am in to pursue a BSN, with the hopes to become a Public Health Nurse with an emphasis of HIV/AIDS care in the homeless/low-income/under-served community.

    I love nursing and I know so much about the field already. I hope to be a pioneer one day just like Florence Nightingale (one of my heroes, lol). But I realized that if I'm not as long as I make a difference in somebody else's life, that's okay. Because even though I'm not a nurse, yet, I still feel like nursing has made a difference in my life.

    And to everybody else who struggles with their mental health there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I haven't reached that light yet, but I see it in the difference and remain hopeful. Remember that there is a light, you may be far from it, or close to it, but there is a light and you will be able to be happy and live your life as you want it, not how the illness wants to live it.

    Stay hopeful and have a good day everybody!


    Michael
    hazyblue, poppycat, NurseDirtyBird, and 5 others like this.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 3
    What an inspirational post! You have certainly chosen a difficult path---nursing is hard even for people without mental health issues---but you obviously have a great deal of courage, and will serve as a great example to other students and nurses struggling with MI. Wishing you the very best!
    poppycat, DawnJ, and SoldierNurse22 like this.
  3. 0
    Good for you! What a wonderful thing to have an anxiety management nurse. I wonder how one gets into that specialty. Best wishes to you and may your tool box always be full!
  4. 3
    Thank you both! Nursing is a difficult path, but I feel like it's the path that was chosen for me. I don't think of my mental illnesses negatively anymore, yeah they can be a barrier, but how many people can have several thoughts and be thinking about them at once? I sure can! I want to set an example for people that people with mental illness are not bad people, freaks, etc. IMO we are all weird, there is no normal.

    When I see the anxiety management nurse I will definitely ask her how she became one. I know she also does regular office nurse duties as well. The only couple times I have talked to her was on the phone to schedule my appointment and about lab work from my last checkup. She does individual and group therapy, as well.

    Take care everybody... and no matter what is going on with us, we are all human!
    poppycat, SHGR, and VivaLasViejas like this.
  5. 3
    You have a marvelous attitude toward your mental health conditions. That in and of itself is nothing short of incredible given the suspicion with which mentally ill Americans are regarded, especially in these times when there are so many shootings and other tragedies that the media like to lay at our feet just because they don't understand MI. But that's a rant for another day.

    I would caution you, however, against sharing your mental health history with your future employer and/or co-workers when you become a nurse. I tend to be rather outspoken about my own MI, but after getting burned a couple of times I decided that it was best not to be that way at work, and thus my current employer knows nothing about it. And they won't need to as long as I remain stable and productive.

    Why be so circumspect? Because the Americans with Disabilities Act won't protect you from losing your job if you become symptomatic and unable to perform the duties of your position, with or without reasonable accommodations. And if your employer doesn't want to make those accommodations, they pretty much don't have to, because they have an office full of lawyers who figure out ways for the company to unload "problem" employees without incurring the wrath of the government. So your best bet is to do whatever it takes to remain stable, and keep your personal life completely separate from work. Just saying.
    poppycat, SHGR, and LVN_Soon2Be like this.
  6. 3
    I agree with you 100%. You make a very great point, even though it is very sad that some people/employers are quick to make judgement. Anywhere I have ever worked (healthcare or not) I have never disclosed my MI to them... I have learned very early not to disclose your personal life to other people, especially management. People will use it against you! The only times I ever disclose any bit f information is if it is for a UA. Which thankfully none of my employers have asked me the conditions for which my medications are prescribed for. My diagnoses are between my provider and myself. If an employer won't give me a chance to at least go through a probationary period, then IMO they aren't worth working for.

    My mental health is a big part of me (it is for all of us) and I hate having to hide it so much but I do what I have to do because some employers sadly don't care about their employees, they are (IMO) more concerned about revenue and their prerogatives. I have seen many great nurses thrown under the bus because of their employers own initiatives. It's all about CYA, now-a-days... and that's nursing 101 in school! Literally, one of my instructors told me this.

    I have read a lot of your posts VivaLasViejas and by reading them it has inspired me to post about my own mental health on this forum. From what it sounds like you have had your ups and downs but you are being positive and doing well and I just want to let you know that set an example for all of us (take our meds, therapy, etc... and yes I agree with you sleep hygiene is very important!).

    If I'm stable and can take care of patients, I would never disclose anything about my MI. Some people think we are unfit to do anything (ie, we are crazy). I am proud to say I do not judge a book by it's cover. I have many different friends with different MI, but we are all people.

    Thank you so much for all your posts and opinions VivaLasViejas, you are a great nurse and person... don't ever forget that.
    poppycat, VivaLasViejas, and SHGR like this.
  7. 1
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    You have a marvelous attitude toward your mental health conditions. That in and of itself is nothing short of incredible given the suspicion with which mentally ill Americans are regarded, especially in these times when there are so many shootings and other tragedies that the media like to lay at our feet just because they don't understand MI. But that's a rant for another day.

    I would caution you, however, against sharing your mental health history with your future employer and/or co-workers when you become a nurse. I tend to be rather outspoken about my own MI, but after getting burned a couple of times I decided that it was best not to be that way at work, and thus my current employer knows nothing about it. And they won't need to as long as I remain stable and productive.

    Why be so circumspect? Because the Americans with Disabilities Act won't protect you from losing your job if you become symptomatic and unable to perform the duties of your position, with or without reasonable accommodations. And if your employer doesn't want to make those accommodations, they pretty much don't have to, because they have an office full of lawyers who figure out ways for the company to unload "problem" employees without incurring the wrath of the government. So your best bet is to do whatever it takes to remain stable, and keep your personal life completely separate from work. Just saying.
    "Eloquent" comes to mind...
    VivaLasViejas likes this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top