Nurses struggling with mental illness - page 36

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   woody62
    Quote from 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.
    ]I'm sorry if I don't seem sympathetic but just why do you think you suffered or for that matter, any new nurse suffers from PTSD. If you had been in NYC, on 9/11, you might suffer from PTSD. If you worked in an ER and suffered a mass cas incident, you could perhaps suffered from PTSD. If your next door neighbor's young child came into your hospital the victim of some terrible illness or injury, and you took care of him, perhaps you could suffer from PTSD. But sorry, nursing is composed of a lot of difficult situations and a lot of terrible things. And they are nothing like what our military is being exposed to, so prescribing PTSD to everyone is lame, just very lame.

    Woody
  2. by   spydercadet
    Hey Woody,

    I am in no way diminishing the effects of PTSD on people and as a parent of a child who returned after 15 months in Iraq, I am fully aware of the cost our military is paying.

    My suggestion about nursing and PTSD, is the effect that the stimuli never really goes away. After 25 plus years as a nurse I have cared for the sick, the dying and their families more times than I can even remember. It is therefore my point to discuss the when for the many nurses who do the day by day bedside nursing. How many times can we carry one more baby or child to the morgue, what do we do then? For many of us, if not the vast majority, we go home and pretend the child we held in our arms as he/she died, didn't really happen, so we just slip right into our spousal or parental role. But is their a lifetime limit on how many times someone can do that? Or are there certain people it just doesn't bother and some that are devastated by it?

    Some of us are lucky enough to have great family or friends as support systems to help us when we just can't seem to figure it out. Others use their faith and their communities. However, I do fear that there are many nurses whose personal lives mimic their work lives and all I am looking for is a discussion on how we can help one another through these times. I'm just wondering if there should be more than, "see ya' tomorrow" after one of those horrible days when nothing you do seems to matter.

    I have to admit that I am a shocked that you took the whole PTSD suggestion as "not very sympathetic" and as a matter of fact I had a very good friend die on 9/11 add that with my child in the military and I hope I somehow qualify as someone who understand the effects of PTSD from both a one time incident and from repeated exposures. But really I am not looking for any support for myself, I have learned how to cope with my very own form PTSD. I have grown inside a loving family and a loving God and church community. But what of those who aren't so fortunate.

    My goal here is to start a discussion about how we can help nurses as they come into the field and as they journey through their lives and their careers. I don't believe it's a single event that causes the PTSD within nursing to be the problem. I believe it's a life time of facing life and death situations, mixed with a variety of dysfunctional families looking to those same nurses to help them through those loses.

    And, I hate to say it Woody, but you are the example of us not caring for one another and actually going as far as discrediting each other. While you may have done well throughout your career, and by the way, so have I, but if there is a nurse who may need support, do you really believe you are making it easier for him/her to look to you for the proverbial shoulder to cry on?
  3. by   GadgetRN71
    Also, some people suffer from PTSD from events that may have happened in their personal lives(ie childhood abuse, spousal abuse, accidents etc) and IMHO, we cannot make judgements about anyone else's diagnosis unless we are the doctor who made the diagnosis in the first place or the person who experienced the event.
  4. by   leslie :-D
    i was dx'd with traumatic ptsd in 2004, by 3 different psychiatrists (yep, i was in denial and got a 2nd and 3rd opinion).
    because of the meds i was put on, i couldn't work for months.
    i eventually took myself off of all of them (except inderal and cymbalta) and started functioning again.
    3 yrs later, i still go to therapy.
    i've been back at work for over 2 yrs.
    because of this "dx", i've gained much insight into myself and to life in gen'l.
    it's ultimately made me much more than i thought i could possibly be.
    some days, i feel really, really old.

    i also work in a specialty that deals with suffering/dying on a daily basis.
    and for those who work in an inpt hospice facility, you'll know what i mean:
    about not being able to vent to others.
    no one wants to hear the gruesome details, esp when it comes to dying.
    so yes, spydercadet, i do understand the frustration in not being able to share the stressors on the job.

    my dtr is a major concern to me.
    she was hospitalized sev'l times in 2005.
    her admitting dx was bipolar.
    every subsequent hospitalization, just took that dx and ran w/it.
    lithium did not help her.
    and i never believed she was bipolar.
    i did so much research, and i eventually took her off the bipolar meds.
    but still, there's something off with her.
    she finally has agreed to pursue further evaluation, but does not want to be hospitalized again.
    i hope i didn't mess up.
    now i'm wondering if she is bipolar.
    i associated mania w/unrelenting energy, sleepless nocs, not eating.
    i didn't see that with dd, but she is assaultive.
    a np told me recently, that can be a manifestation of mania.
    so now, i think i messed up big time.
    i just don't know.
    i have calls into 3 different psychopharmacologists...

    thanks for listening, you guys.
    it's been one of those days.

    leslie
  5. by   sharona97
    Thank you for sharing such intimate details and I hope your week gets better. I wish you continued success in your field and I hope your daughter is soon properly diagnosed, that in itself will probably take a burden from you as well.



    Sharona97l.
    Last edit by sharona97 on Oct 9, '07 : Reason: spelling
  6. by   time4meRN
    Glad to hear you're doing well. Hope things continue to go well so that you have peace in your life.
  7. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from spydercadet
    My suggestion about nursing and PTSD, is the effect that the stimuli never really goes away.... But is their a lifetime limit ... ? Or are there certain people it just doesn't bother and some that are devastated by it?

    I think that there is an element of subjectivity - similar to pain tolerance, one will holler w/ a hangnail, another can take 16 hrs of full out labor pains. So - mental anguish, some don't seem to take it in/on, others do.

    I don't think someone can say, "Well, you don't hurt as much as I do" or "You are not as affected as I am ..." because they aren't in that person's shoes.

    There are also pre-existing factors. I grew up w/ a reasonable amount of trauma and dysfunction, and then to go into the "pummeling" that often results from years of nursing (physical, mental, spiritual ...) - that can add up to a LOT of post-traumatic stress ...

    One can't judge another person like that; they don't know their history or their tolerance of pain/trauma. And maybe, like you said, they have never learned how to deal w/ it appropriately. Hence, I think your suggestion is very good!

    Quote from WitchyRN
    IMHO, we cannot make judgements about anyone else's diagnosis unless we are the doctor who made the diagnosis in the first place or the person who experienced the event.
    That's right!

    Quote from earle58
    i was dx'd with traumatic ptsd in 2004, by 3 different psychiatrists (yep, i was in denial and got a 2nd and 3rd opinion).
    because of the meds i was put on, i couldn't work for months.
    i eventually took myself off of all of them (except inderal and cymbalta) and started functioning again.
    3 yrs later, i still go to therapy.
    i've been back at work for over 2 yrs.
    because of this "dx", i've gained much insight into myself and to life in gen'l.
    it's ultimately made me much more than i thought i could possibly be.
    some days, i feel really, really old.

    i also work in a specialty that deals with suffering/dying on a daily basis.
    and for those who work in an inpt hospice facility, you'll know what i mean:
    about not being able to vent to others.
    no one wants to hear the gruesome details, esp when it comes to dying.
    so yes, spydercadet, i do understand the frustration in not being able to share the stressors on the job.

    my dtr is a major concern to me.
    she was hospitalized sev'l times in 2005.
    her admitting dx was bipolar.
    every subsequent hospitalization, just took that dx and ran w/it.
    lithium did not help her.
    and i never believed she was bipolar.
    i did so much research, and i eventually took her off the bipolar meds.
    but still, there's something off with her.
    she finally has agreed to pursue further evaluation, but does not want to be hospitalized again.
    i hope i didn't mess up.
    now i'm wondering if she is bipolar.
    i associated mania w/unrelenting energy, sleepless nocs, not eating.
    i didn't see that with dd, but she is assaultive.
    a np told me recently, that can be a manifestation of mania.
    so now, i think i messed up big time.
    i just don't know.
    i have calls into 3 different psychopharmacologists...

    thanks for listening, you guys.
    it's been one of those days.

    leslie
    {{{{{{{{Leslie}}}}}}}}} God bless you hon, it's a lot. I'm glad things are better for you, phew! As to your daughter - you are doing a good job, mama, loving her and watching out for her. You can't read her mind nor control her actions, but you are there for her. And she knows you love her - that is so important.
  8. by   EricJRN
    Just a quick moderator note:

    We definitely encourage our members to network and seek support from those who suffer from similar problems. It's sometimes a fine line, but we have to be careful not to dispense medical advice, such as recommending specific drugs.
  9. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from EricEnfermero
    Just a quick moderator note:

    We definitely encourage our members to network and seek support from those who suffer from similar problems. It's sometimes a fine line, but we have to be careful not to dispense medical advice, such as recommending specific drugs.
    Good point. Just to clarify though, is it ok to say "this is what I'm on and it works for me", without saying "you should try thus and such ..."?

    Like your quote, it sounds like something Stephen Wright would say lol
  10. by   EricJRN
    It's always a little bit of an individual call, but generally "My experience is..." is better than "You should..." Make sense?
  11. by   amzyRN
    Sure didn't mean to give anyone the idea that I was in any way dispensing medical advice, but some of the psychiatric drugs that docs often prescribe cause really bad side effects which is adequately documented in scientific literature. Some of the drugs have caused diabetes and the makers of zyprexia (Lily) was sued and had to pay something like 500million b/c the drug caused diabetes.

    Sometimes people unwittingly go along with whatever docs say and don't ask about side effects or if their are better drugs with less side effects. And sometimes docs haven't read the literature for years and prescribe old drugs b/c it's easier that way.

    Again, I am no MD and am not giving medical advice but giving info based on what people with mood disorders have told me and also passing along things I have read in scientific literature. This info can be found by doing a google search and google scholar search and on Pub Med.

    So in short, I am not an MD and am not dispensing medical advice but from what I have heard and read, psychiatric drugs can have potentially life threating side effects, like diabetes and massive wt. gain among others. And in my opinion it would be wise to make sure to ask people about these drugs, who actually take them, and research them on ones own including side effects.

    Thanks much,
    J
  12. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Quote from EricEnfermero
    It's always a little bit of an individual call, but generally "My experience is..." is better than "You should..." Make sense?
    Thank you Eric!
  13. by   EricJRN
    Quote from jzzy88

    So in short, I am not an MD and am not dispensing medical advice but from what I have heard and read, psychiatric drugs can have potentially life threating side effects, like diabetes and massive wt. gain among others. And in my opinion it would be wise to make sure to ask people about these drugs, who actually take them, and research them on ones own including side effects.

    Thanks much,
    J
    Agreed, jzzy88. In part because of the anonymous nature of the site, we're just not the appropriate forum for that.

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