Nurses struggling with mental illness - page 35

I was just wondering if there are any other nurses who struggle with mental illness. It seems to be one disability that is met with little tolerance and support in the medical field. I do have major... Read More

  1. by   curly73
    I have realised over my 15yrs of nursing that everyone feels out of touch with reality on the night shift, check out with other nurses you may know or have a chance to work with. I have many times had giggling hysterics with my collegues at 4am over something not really that funny! I ensure I double and triple check my planned list of pt activities cause its easy to miss something.

    You have to practice good self care when you're on nights like eating healthy meals at regular intervals even if eating breakfast at 2am feels wierd, and then i try resting as much as you can when you're off and still doing some exercise the week I do night shift if at a reduced intensity and duration.

    When I finish night shift I try to have some facial direct sun time on my days off to help with the reset of the internal clock. Kind of like jet lag treatment really.

    Messing with the normal rhythm of being awake when you should normally be asleep is what makes the night shift difficult as your thinking processes are somewhat challenged and I figure is why so many mistakes that would not normally be made can happen at 2am. And daytime sleeping after night shift is never as restful as nightime sleep so give yourself a chance to catch up once you finish night shift.
  2. by   woody62
    Quote from lostdruid
    In February of this year I had to withdraw from nursing school because I was incapacitated by bipolar I disorder. I had never been diagnosed with until Feb. while I was in the throes of a severe manic episode. I am lucky that my program director and instructors have been very supportive of me. I will be rejoining the program in January, even though I will have different classmates. The combination of a devoted and supportive husband, therapy, and a really good medication combination has taken me from being hospitalized to being stable.

    The med combo I take is: Lamictal, Valium, Seroquel PRN, and recently a newer anti-depressant--EMSAM. EMSAM is a transdermal patch for drug resistant depression. After four days my life was literally transformed. I went from being on the brink of being hospitalized (again) to being absolutely stable. I haven't had a manic episode since march.

    I am scared to return to nursing school, but I only have two semesters left. I don't worry about my potential to be a great nurse, as long as I get enough sleep, take my meds, continue therapy, etc. I live in Mississippi and I have no idea if the BON asks questions about mental history, but I am afraid of that too.

    Thank you Severina for being so brave to start this thread! The stigma is alive and well and it took a great deal of courage to bring up the topic. Seeing 45 pages of posts is also reassuring. LOL. :spin:

    Adri
    I am happy that you got the help that you needed. And that you have gotten the support from your husband and your program.

    Best wishes and good health.

    Woody
  3. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Glad to see this thread continuing
  4. by   sharona97
    Hats off to all of you who work those night shifts. I usually worked 3 - 11,took up an extra shift for nights and thought I was really losing it. And any time I've been hospitalized for various surgeries, ya'll have been sweet hearts. (ok except one maybe.......)lol
  5. by   daydreaming
    i am very comforted to see this thread. i have been diagnosed with bipolar 2, panic disorder, generalized anxiety, ptsd, with disassociation.

    i consider myself to be a very safe and conscious nurse. i put my patients first, double and triple-check everything i do. i will admit, some times can get triggering, but i try to remove myself from it personally and be a good patient advocate. the crash doesn't usually happen until after my shift and i am at home.

    i am currently in therapy, and am playing the med merry-go-round, as i haven't found the perfect med-match for me. but i will agree, there definately is a mental illness stigma in the field. it breaks my heart just hearing other health professionals (nurses included) making wise remarks about patients and their mental health. i envy those here who have had the strength to discuss their disorders with their co-workers, but i don't feel i'm at that point yet.
  6. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from daydreaming
    i envy those here who have had the strength to discuss their disorders with their co-workers, but i don't feel i'm at that point yet.
    and i would be extremely careful, should you decide to do this.
    even being at the same job for 11 yrs, there are certain things i would not discuss with my coworkers.
    call me paranoid.
    but for me, certain issues do not belong in the workplace.
    and as an aside, i have had coworkers/friends, turn their backs in time of need.

    leslie
  7. by   woody62
    Quote from daydreaming
    i am very comforted to see this thread. i have been diagnosed with bipolar 2, panic disorder, generalized anxiety, ptsd, with disassociation.

    i consider myself to be a very safe and conscious nurse. i put my patients first, double and triple-check everything i do. i will admit, some times can get triggering, but i try to remove myself from it personally and be a good patient advocate. the crash doesn't usually happen until after my shift and i am at home.

    i am currently in therapy, and am playing the med merry-go-round, as i haven't found the perfect med-match for me. but i will agree, there definately is a mental illness stigma in the field. it breaks my heart just hearing other health professionals (nurses included) making wise remarks about patients and their mental health. i envy those here who have had the strength to discuss their disorders with their co-workers, but i don't feel i'm at that point yet.
    While I am generally open about sharing mental health problems, I went thru a very trying period back in the 90's. Over four years, I was hospitalized repeatedly for severe clinical depression. What the nurses said to me, while I was a patient, absolutely fried me. "You are a nurse, you know what you have to do to get better". "What is your problem"? are two of the nicer things said to me. Thank heavens a clinical psychologist and a psychiatric nurse practitioner were much more understanding and much more helpful, as were most of my fellow patients.

    My advice, if you hear negative comments from your co-workers, don't share.

    Woody
  8. by   spydercadet
    Hey All,

    I have thought about this for a very long time and these are just my own thoughts but...Most of us get out of nursing school somewhere between 20-22y/o and then we're thrust into life and death situations. Some of us choose ER, ICU, LTC actually any position as a nurse puts us in the role of caregivers to some of the sickest people in our society. Many times their families don't or just can't listen to them talk about being sick or even dying. We care for the critically ill and at the end of the day we punch out and just say, "see ya' all tomorrow."

    If you watch TV now, with the war going on, everyone is talking about PTSD because of the youth of our military, but no one says anything about us, not even us.

    We don't support one another, we don't even teach new nurses what to be on the look out for in themselves as far as PTSD. Does anyone else think this way? I graduated nursing school when I was 20y/o and went to work in the NICU. I can't even remember how many babies died or what they died from. There are a couple I will never forget but what I will never forget is that I became an Atheist while I worked there. 25 plus years later, I have come to understand myself and God in new ways. But I have also come to believe that if nursing is to be everything that it can be, PTSD must be addressed. And we must find a way to care for one another, not attack one another.
  9. by   grace90
    Well said, Spydercat! Thank you!
  10. by   GadgetRN71
    I find it so sad that in this day and age, the stigma attached to mental illness still exists. If it were me, I wouldn't say anything about my diagnosis(as long as I was not a danger to myself or others)-too many people willing to stick a label on you. I had some problems with depression some years back and I'd sooner have a root canal than tell anyone I work with. Fellow nurses will hang you out to dry if you have physical problems, never mind a psychiatric disorder. Look out for yourself, other people won't do it for you...
    Last edit by GadgetRN71 on Oct 7, '07
  11. by   sharona97
    Quote from WitchyRN
    I find it so sad that in this day and age, the stigma attached to mental illness still exists. If it were me, I wouldn't say anything about my diagnosis(as long as I was not a danger to myself or others)-too many people willing to stick a label on you. I had some problems with depression some years back and I'd sooner have a root canal than tell anyone I work with. Fellow nurses will hang you out to dry if you have physical problems, never mind a psychiatric disorder. Look out for yourself, other people won't do it for you...
    Amen to that!
  12. by   amzyRN
    Quote from WitchyRN
    I find it so sad that in this day and age, the stigma attached to mental illness still exists. If it were me, I wouldn't say anything about my diagnosis(as long as I was not a danger to myself or others)-too many people willing to stick a label on you. I had some problems with depression some years back and I'd sooner have a root canal than tell anyone I work with. Fellow nurses will hang you out to dry if you have physical problems, never mind a psychiatric disorder. Look out for yourself, other people won't do it for you...
    I couldn't agree more that it is sad and frankly ignorant that there is such a stigma still. And unless one is in a very enlightened environment, I would keep any diagnosis to myself. If one makes a close trustworthy friend, then it may be safe. It's nice to be able to be honest with people, but sometimes it's a mistake to reveal too much.

    One question, do you (or anyone else) think there has been less of a stigma associated with clinical depression? Don't want to get off topic, but just curious. It seems that way to me.
    J
  13. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from spydercadet
    ...We don't support one another, we don't even teach new nurses what to be on the look out for in themselves as far as PTSD.
    Back then it was unheard of - you either "had the constitution" or you didn't. In fact, the healthy coping skills I've learned now were actually discouraged when I was in nursing school. If you had the "nerve" to question, or to ask for help, or even to just "de-brief", your ability to practice came into question. I know a couple women who got kicked out just because they stood up for themselves. Had to be a special kind of doormat, it seemed.

    I think it is essential especially in this day and age (and we have finally identified it!) that students are made aware, and people are taught healthy ways to deal with it! I think that for established nurses, along w/ inservices on new trachs, IV tubings, etc., they should be teaching about PTSD and self care. I think the big thing that needs to be taught is that it can happen to anyone.


    Quote from daydreaming
    (re the medicine merry go round)

    Don't you just love it ... (rolling my eyes...) it sure does take a long time.

    My last crisis was when I had the flu and could not eat or take meds for 3 WEEKS! I knew it was gonna happen, even warned the doc that since what I took got thrown up, I was dehydrated from the N + V, and then I couldn't swallow anything at all ... what were we supposed to do? I think that was worse than my very first episode, which was pretty bad! It was 2 yrs ago and I pray it never happens again
    Last edit by Liddle Noodnik on Oct 7, '07

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