Hey, Iím a nursing student in my 2nd semester of clinicals. Iíve been looking for evidence that nurses with MI exist and was glad to find that thereís a lot of you out there, so maybe I have a chance at making it. It seems too distant and hard to think about life after graduation right now; Iím just trying to get through school, but Iím constantly worried about being Ďweeded outí, because my issues are painfully obvious. Iíve always been able to hide my problems and isolate myself enough that no one was around to care enough to notice if I didnít hide them well. But now Iím under this microscope all the time with instructors constantly trying to find flaws.
Iíve never been diagnosed with anything, but Iíve had extreme anxiety for as long as I can remember. When I was 12 or 13 I was going through a lot with family issues and thatís when depression really kicked in and I started having panic attacks on and off. My social anxiety got so bad, I quit going anywhere or even leaving my bedroom. Over the years I guess it got a little better to a certain point, but not good enough to be normal. When I started college, my family thought I would grow out of my Ďshynessí, but I just got better at acting like I was ok; the problem was never fixed or improved. After I took psychology, I tried to self-diagnosis (you know you all did it) and I came up with several different things that sort-of fit, such as plain old depression, bi-polar disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, etc., until I came up with avoidant personality disorder. It seemed to fit so perfectly and it made me feel better to have a name for it and have something I could research and make rational, at least for a little while.
Last semester was absolutely horrible. Although Iíve been through "real" (as in not mental in origin) problems in my life, those few months were the absolute worst of my life and nothing even happened other than school. I just nose dove. My grades were great most of the time, except for a few times when my depression and lack of motivation outweighed my fear of failure and I didnít study enough. Sometimes when everything is going too good, I fall harder. Midterm came around, my grades were good, a lot of things were going well in my life, and I had a whole week break from school to relax, sleep
, and catch up on school work. I should have been happy, but I crashed instead. I was suicidal, depressed, couldnít sleep, and I drank about 5-7 high caffeine energy drinks a day through the rest of the semester just to keep my eyes open. The caffeine made me sick and made me feel more nervous and tense. I couldnít breath half the time, my BP and pulse were through the roof- embarrassing when students are practicing assessments on you: "I think Iím messing up, hold on Iíll get the instructor"*crowd gathers*. No, sadly youíre correct, I am dying.
So I was pretty much at the end of the rope and finally got a hand from someone (maybe unintentional, but much appreciated) and started moving towards more positive thoughts and becoming healthier.
I think I never had the tools to cope with things well, because I was always taught stoicism and that emotions are ridiculous, all in your head, and should be shoved into some corner in your mind, so they can fester for a while and bite you in the @$$ later. Someone helped me find those tools. Over a few months of focusing my life entirely on my issues and trying to get healthy, Iíve come a long way and only have a few bad days now and then, as far as depression goes, but my social anxiety is something I still struggle a lot with. Besides that, I always have that fear in the back of my mind, that Iím going to crash again, especially in the middle of the semester, when it can affect the whole trajectory of my future. It brought a lot of attention from instructors to me last semester and I feel like Iíve got to prove to them that Iím normal. But Iím not, and Iím finally ok with that and accepting that I can still rise above these problems and overcome, rather than be overcome. So part of me feels like I should Ďfess up and tell them whatís going on when they inquire about my weirdness. Iím still incredibly shy, which hinders me, especially in clinical, but I understand I have this problem and Iím working on it. Iím doing my best. From my perspective, Iím doing great and have come so far, from self-harming and constant thoughts of suicide. But from theirís it wonít matter and I need to be perfect. So Iím sure itís a bad idea to tell them about my deal, but then again they are still going to notice I have a problem and if I donít throw them something they may just decide Iím incompetent and still kick me out. Iíve never told ANYone about my mental problems, so itís kind of uncomfortable. I canít get professional help or therapy for the issue, because I still live with my parents (completely against "mind-made" illnesses) and am covered by their insurance and as a student, I canít afford a stick of gum.
Like I said, Iíve been depressed since I was 13 and finally Iím not, so I feel so alive and brand new, I canít explain it. But when I realized my instructors didnít forget that Iím crazy, I have to admit I was a little deflated. My fear is that if it follows me like this, without a diagnosis, medications, or proof of its existence, then if I ever "came out", the stigma would destroy my life and I would not be able to get through school, but if my instructors already have there minds set, that Iím too nuts to handle patients then Iím already as good as failed. Iím confused
Sorry for the really long rambling post, just needed to unload a little bit.