New Grad, School RN, New Dx Mood Disorder, California

  1. 2
    I will try to keep this short and sweet...

    Hx: anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance (both hypersomnia and insomnia)

    RN since: 2012

    Elementary school RN, under district RN supervision

    Recently I had my first appointments with a therapist and psychiatrist. I was terrified to be completely honest about my intense mood swings, racing thoughts... the list of symptoms is long so I will stop short.

    My mother was a psych nurse, and I have been fascinated with mental health (and illness) my entire life. If a class requirement could be filled with a psych course then there I was. Mental health was my favorite clinical rotation. Fascinating. And all too relatable.

    So I have finally reached a point where I realize that I need professional help, more than a bottle of ativan and my spiritual life coach can offer me. My Pdoc mentioned that if my symptoms were more prevalent the dx would be bipolar II... if only I could have been totally open with him. My symptoms are ruling my life! I wanted to tell him I have long suspected that I am bipolar. Instead I nodded in agreement that the dx should remain anxiety and left, celexa prescription in hand.

    I feel somewhat validated by his casual mention of bipolar II. Like suddenly my whole life makes since in hindsight.

    I will return to the Tdoc today, accompanied by my boyfriend in the hopes that he can help me be more open and honest about my symptoms and how they affect my life. But I am still very very scared of the possible implications that a mood disorder dx could have on my life. Of course, I am also afraid of the consequences of not receiving proper treatment.

    Can anyone help to shed light on what I could expect if diagnosed with bipolar disorder? Anyone with experience with the California BRN?
    poppycat and VivaLasViejas like this.
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  3. 4 Comments so far...

  4. 9
    (((((squidbilly)))))

    Please be honest with your pdoc and tell him EVERYTHING. Psychiatrists are like everyone else: they can't help you if they're getting only part of the picture. I know all too well how hard it is to be truthful, but believe me, it will benefit you in the long run. Your doctor isn't there to judge you---he's there to help you figure things out, and then work with you to find the right treatment.

    A word of caution about the Celexa: if you are bipolar, the drug could tip you into hypomania or even full-blown mania if you take it without a mood stabilizer. This is how a lot of us wind up with a BP diagnosis---we see a doctor when we're depressed, are given a script for an antidepressant, and sooner or later we switch into some variety of manic state. So be careful, and be sure to call your pdoc if you notice yourself ramping up moodwise.

    I'm not going to tell you that being officially diagnosed with a mental illness of any kind is good news. It's a total game-changer, even if you're like me and suspected it for years. Yes, it does explain a lot of things that happen in our lives, a lot of the things we do to hurt ourselves and/or loved ones, but when a doctor pronounces the words it changes life forever.

    BUT---you do not have to let a label define (or defeat) you. Even if you do have to share this information with the BON in your state, you cannot be denied licensure or renewal only on the basis of having a mental health diagnosis unless you are impaired to such a point that you cannot practice safely. Such a diagnosis alone doesn't render you unable to be a safe nurse; as long as you can show you are compliant with treatment, you shouldn't have any difficulty obtaining or keeping a nursing license.

    You MIGHT have to enter a monitoring program for health professionals; it depends on the state, and I'm pretty sure the severity of your illness would be a determining factor here. Bipolar II is generally less severe than Bipolar I and tends to have milder manic phases (although some of us have some real humdingers!), thus it would probably raise fewer alarms with the BON.

    Anyway you slice it, bipolar disorder really does complicate life, but it doesn't have to ruin it. There are a lot of nurses with this illness, and for the most part we manage just fine as long as we are properly treated. Don't be afraid to tell your doctor the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth......the sooner you know for sure, the sooner you can get started on reclaiming your life!
    BeesMama, pink345, catman88, and 6 others like this.
  5. 2
    Bipolar is a medical condition and they cannot hold a medical condition against you. Send me a PM and I can tell you more about my situation and how it was dealt with at work.
    pink345 and VivaLasViejas like this.
  6. 0
    The OP is not correct. If you have a mental health diagnosis, or are or ever have taken any psychoactive medication, that can be traced- you are entering a grey zone, from hell, in regards to obtaining and or keeping a nursing license. Your state may label you as 'unstable'. They may require psych evals, drug testing, former work evaluations, and on, and on. My advice is to not post any personally identifiable information online, thoroughly research and evaluate the contents of the CA nurse practice act, and then to contact MANY lawyers that deal with nurse practice, for FREE conultations. Then, you will have much more information than you do, now. You are in a precarious situation, so be careful of what you post in here, or if you can be revealed. Things are far worse for nurses, to keep their licenses, than most of the postings in here would indicate.
  7. 0
    Quote from DavidKarl
    The OP is not correct. If you have a mental health diagnosis, or are or ever have taken any psychoactive medication, that can be traced- you are entering a grey zone, from hell, in regards to obtaining and or keeping a nursing license. Your state may label you as 'unstable'. They may require psych evals, drug testing, former work evaluations, and on, and on. My advice is to not post any personally identifiable information online, thoroughly research and evaluate the contents of the CA nurse practice act, and then to contact MANY lawyers that deal with nurse practice, for FREE conultations. Then, you will have much more information than you do, now. You are in a precarious situation, so be careful of what you post in here, or if you can be revealed. Things are far worse for nurses, to keep their licenses, than most of the postings in here would indicate.
    Could you please elaborate on this a little more? I understand about keeping things as private as possible (I am assuming that your user name isn't your real identity), but your message is apt to scare the pants off folks who don't realize that they CAN be successful as nurses, even with bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses. Perhaps you can counter-balance my own post, which focuses on the possibilities, with a little more information on the limitations?


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