Nurses struggling with mental illness - page 46

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   smartshoppinmama
    I have not had a chance to read everything posted on this forum, but from what I have read it seems that a lot of people who do suffer from anxiety/depression havent full overcome the illness. I was just wondering if anyone has a success story to share???
  2. by   debnky
    As long as you know it always passes then let it be. Somethings just are not anyone elses business. Obviously it does not indicate that you are a bad nurse. I have worked with many nurses with "issues"!
    Debbie
  3. by   TopazLover
    I also struggle with Bipolar illness. I was diagnosed after a particularly difficult episode. Until then I did not know why I reacted the way I did. That was more upsetting than getting the diagnosis. My MD says I always took jobs that challenged me and made the most of the disorder processes. I deal with the depression with the help of a full spectrum light (brand name, Go lite). There is a great book called Body Blues that also helped me. I also find that the fast pace of critical care is more than I desire. I have worked in many different kinds of nursing and now have disability retirement. I still work prn at my choice of times. This ability to control when and how much I work has been a godsend. I was fortunate to be able to work until I was 58.

    I also had difficulty finding the right combo of meds and can credit my psychiatrist for not going the easy route and using antipsychotics. I now can fully participate in life and not get too high or too low. There are still problems with sleep. I hate sleeping pills but occasionally resort to using a mild one. I figure if I miss 1/2 night sleep each 1-2 weeks it is so much better than the past, I can live with it.

    Mental illness still carries such a stigma that I find it hard to share with even nurses I know well. It seems their trust level towards me can decrease as a result of the knowledge that I have these issues.

    I can only suggest that you participate fully with your physician. I congratulate you on your ability to continue work. It is tough to remain stable for others when your body and mind bounce up and down.
  4. by   at sea
    Quote from babs0512
    at sea: it's possible that you, via body language, or tone of voice, may be giving off vibes that your manager or coworker's are picking up on. this could be what your manager was trying to convey.

    i had a similar situation. my stress, anxiety and depression went a bit off kilter when they were changing meds around last year, and i was apparently "short" with some co-workers, and showed "anxiety" in my body language while dealing with critical patients. i didn't see these things, but i conceded that it could be a possibility and i would work on improving it. which, i have consciously tried to do. but i also requested, that as these instances arise, to have them pointed out at that time so i would know what people were referring to. over the past year, only one nurse pointed out something to me, and she was right. in my evaluation this year, my manager stated that i "greatly improved" in these areas.

    i'm not saying this is you, but it could be. just food for thought. if your manager mentions it again, i would ask for specific examples, taking constructive critisim can be tough, but that is what makes us professionals.

    you also mention you "have the worse time when it comes to jobs, understanding of other people"... so it sound like this may be a problem area for you, does't make you a bad person or bad nurse, just an area of which you may need to pay attention to. remember, most people are not tolerant of psyc diagnosis in coworkers, try not to discuss this area with your coworkers. it's wrong, i know, but there is still bias out there - that's the reality of it.
    thanks for your reply! i agree this could be the case. however, i am currently awaiting on my academy award for hiding this, and hiding it well! i swear, i have gotten so good over the years "faking it" as if i was normal, whatever that it! (and it really shouldn't be like this, should it?) i think what it is, is just some things can just set me off sometimes, in an instant. i can see then where my attitude may suddenly change or my body language may show "it". but for the most part, i'm a completely different person on the outside then who i am on the inside. what got me this time was a co-worker, nurse, who told on me to the boss for asking a question, instead of just answering it, i got sent to the office. i lost it at that point, missed 2 days of work and a trip to the doc's office to get me back to "level". i wanted to kick her ass after that but i've let it go since it was the most stupid occurrence in the world.

    i have never been diagnosed with bipolar, but severe, treatment resistant depression, gad and social anxiety disorder. how is it possible in this day and age that there is such a stigma with this? current statistics run over 60 million affected in the us alone! it's beyond me! and in the profession of nursing, with high burn out rates r/t stress, jerk off doctors and some jerky patients, how can this be?

    curious? you, or anyone else on this forum, ever think about taking action against the stigma and discrimination?
  5. by   at sea
    Quote from aknottedyarn
    I also struggle with Bipolar illness. I was diagnosed after a particularly difficult episode. Until then I did not know why I reacted the way I did. That was more upsetting than getting the diagnosis. My MD says I always took jobs that challenged me and made the most of the disorder processes. I deal with the depression with the help of a full spectrum light (brand name, Go lite). There is a great book called Body Blues that also helped me. I also find that the fast pace of critical care is more than I desire. I have worked in many different kinds of nursing and now have disability retirement. I still work prn at my choice of times. This ability to control when and how much I work has been a godsend. I was fortunate to be able to work until I was 58.

    I also had difficulty finding the right combo of meds and can credit my psychiatrist for not going the easy route and using antipsychotics. I now can fully participate in life and not get too high or too low. There are still problems with sleep. I hate sleeping pills but occasionally resort to using a mild one. I figure if I miss 1/2 night sleep each 1-2 weeks it is so much better than the past, I can live with it.

    Mental illness still carries such a stigma that I find it hard to share with even nurses I know well. It seems their trust level towards me can decrease as a result of the knowledge that I have these issues.

    I can only suggest that you participate fully with your physician. I congratulate you on your ability to continue work. It is tough to remain stable for others when your body and mind bounce up and down.
    I feel you!! And thanks to my physician, we're working things out!

    The trust level you mentioned, decreasing with co-workers knowledge of it, how ****** is that?!?!
  6. by   at sea
    Quote from DEBNKY
    You do not have to disclose that information and I would strongly disadvice doing so. As much as the medical field is suppose to be non biased in this field I have found from working Psych that it just is not the case. When I was in management my supervisor would not hire anyone recovering from Drugs/alchcoholic. She of course wouldn't say that was the reason but there are ways they can go about it without getting involved in offending the disablility act. I hope this helps.
    Debbie
    Thanks Debbie! I know there are ways for people to weave around the real issue. I'm not sure why my boss was pressing me so hard about it. I didn't disclose it, but she had me against the wall! Now she knows, and although it was stated that it would be confidential, with the close knit of the unit, I find it hard to believe that at least half of them know about it now. It would seem a bit harder to blame something else AFTER I've been working there without any other problems??
  7. by   Babs0512
    at sea: As far as taking action against discrimination, I'm not sure what we could do about it. Most of the general public certainly would not want a nurse who occasionally fantasizes about suicide or worse, taking care of them. True? Nor would they want a nurse who has anger issues strong enough due to a psyc dx that would make him/her want to "kick a coworkers ***(behind)"

    If medical professionals cannot even accept coworkers with psychiatric dx, then how could the general public. It's sad, I agree.

    We would all be accepted and even have sympathy if we were diagnosed with "new onset diabetes" or "MI", or "Cancer". But a psych diagnosis, I guess we are then viewed as too unstable to be trusted.

    I'm not sure this is an issue we can fight. We can hope that it will change in the future, but for now, I keep my diagnosis private.

    Hugs to all :heartbeat
  8. by   HM2VikingRN
    Quote from dreamct
    I am a nursing student and also suffer from anxiety..and I struggled with the fact that my dream has always been to be a nurse. Could I really do it!? Well 10 months to go in nursing school and I am feeling good about my decision to presue nursing. I cannot and will not let this disease rule my life! My question is when applying for a job is there anywhere that asks about a mental disorder and will anxiety keep me from getting hired for a job. Do I have to disclose this?
    Don't disclose it....(unless you happen to be taking a med that would show on a urine test. Even then I would disclose the prescription but not the reason you take it.)
  9. by   tanya4me
    Quote from at sea
    I feel you!! And thanks to my physician, we're working things out!

    The trust level you mentioned, decreasing with co-workers knowledge of it, how ****** is that?!?!
    As mentioned in one of my earlier posts I don't personally suffer with this problem outside of the occasional warranted bouts of depression with my severe case of plantar fasciitis. I can contribute to this site though. My mother was diagnosed as bipolar a very long time ago when I started my career in nursing. Nurse co-workers can be brutal. I base that on 30 years of nursing experience in hospitals. I remember one of my co-workers in ICU making a comment about a patient who had overdosed. She stated they should be given a kick in the ass. I couldn't believe her remark as at that time my mother was on the psychiatric ward being treated for depression. I wondered how this nurse made it through nursing school. However I am a firm believer of "what goes around comes around". I suffer from a severe recalcitrant form of plantar fasciitis thanks to thirty years of nursing and being run off of my feet, missing breaks, pt. overloads, heavy lifting. Rhis has incapacitated me for awhile now. There were nurse co-workers who I know looked at me like oh it's just plantar fasciitis its so common. Little did they understand that 5 % os us get it so bad and it brings with it severe debilitation. So this stigma just doesn't go with mental illness. It pertains to other illnesses as well. I commend those that suffer with depression anxiety etc. that have pursued a career in nursing. Good for you. Keep up the good work. Of all nurses I believe you would make great psych nurses as you could certainly empathesize with the patients suffering, that is of course, if psychiatry is something you are interested in. Maybe you can help to alleviate the ridiculous stigma that is still atached to mental disorders.
  10. by   NurseExec
    Quote from smartshoppinmama
    I have not had a chance to read everything posted on this forum, but from what I have read it seems that a lot of people who do suffer from anxiety/depression havent full overcome the illness. I was just wondering if anyone has a success story to share???
    I am a nursing executive with bipolar disorder, in recovery (8 years sober from alcohol), and I consider myself a "success" story. The management team with whom I work are all aware of my diagnosis and recovery. I work approximately 50 hours a week, love my job, and am paid very well. I don't disclose my issues to my line staff, as they really have no "need to know". I have a long-standing relationship with a psychiatric ARNP who knows me very well, and I self-monitor my moods pretty much all the time. I also have an understanding boss. So far, in the last 5 years, I've only had to take one break from work for an episode, and that was after my gastric bypass--I was malabsorbing my meds. Got it sqared away, and life is good

    An aside to the person who was avoiding antipsychotics:

    I take three different medications to control my mood. The major one is Seroquel, an atypical anti-psychotic (AAP). Without this drug, I would more than likely be manic 24/7. I also take Lamictal and Effexor. Yes, AAPs have side effects, but you really have to weight risk vs benefit.
  11. by   TopazLover
    Thanks for sharing your story. I have been scared away from AAP after seeing my child, who was diagnosed before me, gain weight and have bland to no affect. I had Stevens-Johnson Syndrome with Lamictal, but it worked well. I had bad reactions to other meds and now am stable on Gabapentin, Depakote and Wellbutrin. It took a long time to get the right mix. I think the inherited disorder is interesting as my child does really well on only Gabapentin. Makes me wonder more about brain activity that even low dose Gabapentin makes such a difference.

    Thanks again. I know many people have done well on AAP, I just :wink2:hope I don't have to go to it personally.
  12. by   mondkmondk
    Hi, new here. I have not taken the time to read all of these posts, but I'm bipolar type 1 and one doctor at a psych hospital diagnosed me as also being schizoaffective. The reason for that I feel, is because I was hallucinating and not manic at the time.

    I'm finally enjoying a 4 year remission/stability period now. I receive SSDI but also work PRN at a local nursing home. I recently enrolled in an online school to get my BSN and MSN. I plan to either teach or be an NP, if I'm smart enough to get through all that that is. I have a bit of ADD too, so the school stuff should be interesting! (LOL)

    These are the meds I currently take: Synthroid, Wellbutrin, Navane, Cogentin, Corgard, and Sonata. I have Seroquel prn for insomnia and psychosis, but I rarely take it because I have 2 boys who require an alert mother.

    Well, I look forward to talking to others here in like position. I will honestly try to read through these posts when I get the time, usually late at night.

    Blessings, Michelle
  13. by   wyoty
    Hi just wanted to get my two cents in. I am a person with borderline personality disorder with anxiety and depression. I am seriously considering nursing school. I feel that if I don't try nursing then I will regret it. I am hearing about all the stresses and I wonder if these people are in a bsn program? I am going for the rn at a community college but maybe they are the same as far a stress goes. I just feel compelled to go for it!

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