Nurses struggling with mental illness - page 61

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   CABRN55
    It's been said that "discretion, is the better part of valor", but I much prefer our Arkansas saying "let sleeping dogs lie shut up". I've always taken this saying to heart when dealing with a no win situation. It is always better to take an upper road than it is to try to have the last word in an all ready closed one. If you have decided you don't want to work for these people, I would just go ahead and write a nice letter of resignation, date it, sign it and either mail it by registered or certified mail or hand deliver it to the mail room or the receptionist of your boss, but not 'in person'. You don't want any confrontation of any kind with this person if possible. This is not a winnable situation for you if they want to terminate you. Most states have laws that protect employers rights, not employees, to terminate employees for most any reason they wish except where YOU CAN PROVE Federal Law has been clearly violated concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act. I have a feeling that Sen McCain's state is probably just like mine where it is just about damn near impossible to prove that, and most employers will use other excuses for the reason your termination, even manufacturing nonexisting complaints or other factors. This is unfortunately true in most of the US. That's why there has been such a push in some states with large groups of nurses in large metropolitan areas to unionize, even to form a national nurses' union. The largest such movement is happening in California, with the California Nurses Association, forming it's first statewide union and then pushing to try to go national with it in recent years.

    But back to your question, whatever you decide, I would advise that you avoid confrontation at this point. It sounds as if you are right, YOU ARE working for a bunch of idiot, incompetent people who have no idea that mental illness is a disease just as diabetes or glaucoma. They would make some accommodation for someone with an amputation or diminished eyesight, but it's different for nurses. Somehow the rules for us are different than for others & that just isn't right. Now, don't lecture me about how we are different or we have to be more perfect than others. That doesn't pass the smell test and you all know that. If anything impairs us then all things that impair us should disallow us from participating in this profession. We don't get to pick and choose what disease we are born to inherit. Should I be denied my right to practice my profession because I happened to inherit the wrong genes from my parents? These genes that might make me also a Type I diabetic and if I choose not to be compliant with my treatment regimen would very likely put me at high risk of being in an impaired state while working? Is having Bipolar disorder so different? You get a doctor with a proper diagnosis, and with continued monitoring develop a treatment regimen and lifestyle and you are compliant with that. Of course with all diseases you will have times when your disease will have exacerbations, but as with all things human that is part and parcel of life. Laura, you should spend your time now, getting better and just forgetting those jerks, because that is just what they are: JERKS! YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER!!!! HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF THE SAND! WE AREN'T JUST TALKING ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS! NURSING DEMANDS MORE OF YOU THAN ANY OTHER PROFESSION IN THE US AND AFFORDS THE LEAST AMOUNT OF SUPPORT FOR ANY OF ITS MEMBERS WITH ANY DISABILITY THAN ANY OTHER PROFESSION! WHY DO WE LET THIS HAPPEN? WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?
  2. by   Laura0821RN
    So sending a letter of resignation would be the best bet? They can't come back and fire me if I resign.
  3. by   CABRN55
    That I couldn't say for sure. But it would give you some leeway. If you haven't been given formal termination notice, such in a formal review or interview say for an written warning with it clearly indicating that you are clearly being given notice that your performance is considered sub-par and therefore the employer is considering termination unless this corrected in a timely fashion by you and you have been notified and have indicated so by signing a written warning statement indicating you have been given this warning, then it would be hard for them to prove that you hadn't just resigned and then they had just made up the part about firing you. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS PROTECTED UNDER STATE STATUTES AND FEDERAL LAW. MOST EMPLOYERS NOW HAVE PRETTY TIGHT CODES ABOUT BEING PRETTY NEUTRAL ABOUT GIVING INFORMATION ABOUT THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE TERMS OF THE DISSOLUTION OF EMPLOYMENT BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND FORMER EMPLOYEES. However, this is where tact and discretion, work to your favor, because there is a sort of code that can and is used between human resource personnel that is targeted to weed out those, who are seen for whatever reason to be a source of problem. It can be for something as minor as just being a thorn in the side of someone who just doesn't like you because you are just you and you just rub them the wrong way (sometimes there are just people we don't like for reasons we can't articulate and we know it isn't reasonable but we don't), I know it's silly but sometimes people who have these feelings (and nurses' be honest we've all met someone in our life we just don't care for but there is no real good reason for and we know it, but that's how we feel) and who actually believe it is legitimate to act on them because they feel it therefore it is rational , yes , incredible, I know, but it's true, I've seen it myself and actually heard a supervisor say it to my face before when I asked if there was something I had done to make her so hostile toward me after I began working for her in a short term stay in a unit during my long career as a critical care nurse at a 19 year stay in a wonderful hospital I worked I didn't know what I had done then, and I still don't except to say, I pretty much felt the same about her after I began working in the unit, except it didn't bother me as much as it bothered her so I found another unit to work and moved to it and found my niche and my favorite best friend for life So it worked out for the best. That again was a spot where I just backed off when it became apparent that the mix wasn't right. I don't think it had anything to do with my bipolar disease just an inadequate social skill on my supervisor's part to deal with some kind of inner struggle to be able to get along with someone who for whatever reason, felt inappropriate revulsion toward another person and their reaction was not to seek out why, but to blame that person and punish him/her for that feeling evoked rather than face what evoked that feeling itself and what it was that triggered it in me that brought to mind for them? How could I help them work this through with them to help them? I would have been more than willing to have tried to help and gladly offered because after a while with growing animosity of an instructor student, I was ready to learn how to like this woman myself. If now wasn't a good time, then when when a good time? She declined, so I took my things and left like a lady. No hard feelings toward anyone, good wishes and good thought for everyone and even to her, for I thought, how sad, no lessons learned, no lessons taught. Nothing shed but a good learning moment lost......but what the heck. So Laura, again a long answer to your short one. We are snowed in here and I've been trapped in my home alone for nearly 72 hours with nothing to do and I have enjoyed our talks. You sound so good. You have warmed my heart.


    Congratulations, You Are My New Hero,

    Cindy
  4. by   Laura0821RN
    Okay Cindy now I am really confused and with the laws etc... So let me tell you that I sent a letter of resignation and it will be sent certified and has to be signed to the Company. I wrote a really nice letter just saying that I had personal needs to attend to and unfortunately I have to go out of State and I will not be able to give them 2 week notice. It was pleasant but short and sweet and I dated it for Thursday before I got word about this error I made.

    Okay so now you are saying that I will be protected if they are going to fire me now. I had a written warning before this and unfortunately signed it, but it was about not getting my admissions finished. This week was just hell. I just feel better not to go back there and be terrorized. Can they still fire me or report me to the board of nursing if I resigned.

    I hope you don't mind me telling you this that since I feel like I know you already, I will give you my home number, I am stuck here all day too. Just got back from the post office sending the letter. I would love to talk to you on the phone. If you don't feel comfortable I am fine with it. I just enjoy talking to you and can't understand some of the things you are telling me, and you are really smart when it comes to this stuff. I can use all the help I can get. If you dont feel comfortable with this then please no heart feelings. Okay Anyway write me back. All I want to know is if I resign can they still fire me. That is why I dated it for Thursday before I knew about all this. Let me know. Stay warm and no you are my hero.
    What a blessing to have met you. Write or call soon okay?
    Last edit by Silverdragon102 on Jan 31, '10 : Reason: please do not post your contact details on the forums
  5. by   mustlovepoodles
    Quote from CABRN55
    As an RN with 40 years in health care, 34+ as an RN and being a diagnosed bipolar type II with generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD (Bipolar disease--Major Depressive Type originally diagnosed in 1974), I will caution you, be careful how outspoken you are about your mental health condition. ...

    My case has been reviewed and published as late as 2004 in JAMA, as evidence that a properly motivated and educated patient with Bipolar disorder, Type II even with mental health comorbidities can be not only functional, but can be so in highly stressed job situations and perform just as effectively if not more so because of the patient's insight into his/her behaviors and others, and compliance with medication, lifestyle and counseling.

    ...

    Instead of asking more questions or wondering about getting more facts, health care professionals just as lay persons prove just as quick to judge using bias and fear. So tread carefully when telling anyone about any impairment you might have, not just mental, but physical. Especially in this economic world we live in. Or you too, might go from a fairly well paid professional to a disabled person whose income barely meets the federal poverty income level for a single person.
    Excellent advice. Although I have had multiple bouts of severe depression, I was only correctly diagnosed and treated for bipolar 2 and an anxiety disorder in the last 18 months. Unfortunately, I had a breakdown at my place of employment and then was hosptalized for 8 weeks. Kinda obvious what happened. I've been on long term disability for 12 months during which I have improved tremendously. I'm off LTD now, but I decided to voluntarily separate from my old job. I just need a fresh start at a place where nobody knows my situation.

    I don't usually share my mental health history with others. I have mentioned my depression to a few people, but that seems to be acceptable--lots of people have had some depression in their lives. I NEVER share that I have bipolar, though. THere is still so much stigma attached to that diagnosis and people really do think that you're a danger to society, a crazed lunatic that's going to start shooting up the place and running around naked. Even in my psych support group I don't call myself bipolar--it's always "depression and anxiety." EVen amongst psych patients there seems to be a hierarchy. Addiction, Alcoholism, depression/anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia. I have shared online because I have a sense of safety in anonymity. I'm not really ashamed of my diagnosis, just cautious. Most people don't need to know, including people I work with. Maybe especially people I work with. I think they would look at me differently, maybe even fearfully. No need to bring that kind of negative attention on myself if I don't have to.
  6. by   Laura0821RN
    Don't worry no one will ever know about my disease. I am highly functional just a lot of stress not only with work but loosing my home, my dad and to many other things. I guess this was the straw and I am not going to hurt my self. But stress is a killer for me. I am feeling better and getting rest, resigned from my job and moving back East in two months to be near my family. Thanks for your advice, I really appreciate it. But in health care no one gets to know about my manic depression. I am on good medicaiton and I see my doctor regularly. Thanks
  7. by   RNROSER2011
    I just want to say, I'm so impressed by all the posts. I get so frustrated when I'm confronted with an attitude(by people who should know better) that antidepressants are some kind of crutch. I struggled with post-partum depression and once I started treatment for it, I realized I had been depressed for most of my adult life. I finally asked someone if they wouldn't tell a diabetic that insulin was a crutch, why would they tell a depressed person to just try a little harder to keep a positive attitude. My experiences in life have humbled me and given me a capacity for empathy.
  8. by   Laura0821RN
    Honey let me tell you some of my old friends dropped me because I was hospitalized and had to take medication with some intense therapy. Guess what , that is why I am a nurse and was able to start living my life because I finally got help. For 20 years I have been really good, but the drama in the nursing field has kicked my you know what. So many mean nurses and many need to be on medication.

    If anyone gives you crap just remember it is from someone who is scared of us because they are probably identifying and are scared to death. Be good to yourself and keep sharing. I need people like you to be honest and it helps me.

    Just delete there entries and tell them to leave you alone, don't bring yourself to their level. They are ignorant and should not be in nursing. :} Laura
  9. by   Mikessa
    Quote from mustlovepoodles
    Excellent advice. Although I have had multiple bouts of severe depression, I was only correctly diagnosed and treated for bipolar 2 and an anxiety disorder in the last 18 months. Unfortunately, I had a breakdown at my place of employment and then was hosptalized for 8 weeks. Kinda obvious what happened. I've been on long term disability for 12 months during which I have improved tremendously. I'm off LTD now, but I decided to voluntarily separate from my old job. I just need a fresh start at a place where nobody knows my situation.

    I don't usually share my mental health history with others. I have mentioned my depression to a few people, but that seems to be acceptable--lots of people have had some depression in their lives. I NEVER share that I have bipolar, though. THere is still so much stigma attached to that diagnosis and people really do think that you're a danger to society, a crazed lunatic that's going to start shooting up the place and running around naked. Even in my psych support group I don't call myself bipolar--it's always "depression and anxiety." EVen amongst psych patients there seems to be a hierarchy. Addiction, Alcoholism, depression/anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia. I have shared online because I have a sense of safety in anonymity. I'm not really ashamed of my diagnosis, just cautious. Most people don't need to know, including people I work with. Maybe especially people I work with. I think they would look at me differently, maybe even fearfully. No need to bring that kind of negative attention on myself if I don't have to.

    I dont tell people my problem either. I usually go on a job pretending that I dont have a problem and never mention it. Until one day, something snaps and I would find myself crying in public with no way to find myself a hiding place to do it in. I have been know to lose jobs because I cry, which I do find it somewhat dumb because it makes it sound like your not allowed to express your feelings. Then it becomes evident that I have to tell someone about my problem, but not my employer. They are not trained to deal with people with disabilities even though the law says that they have to hire them.

    I must admit that at first when ever I start a new job or go to a new school, I begin to cry out of nowhere. I dont know why? I dont like it and it always happens at a time that I cant get away. I probably think too much. I do have a very low self esteem and I am always quiet and not talk a lot. But usually, in time I get use to the people I work with, learn about my job a little more, preferably make a few buddies along the way. After a while, you cant shut me up:heartbeat It may take longer for me than others, but I will get there.
  10. by   Liddle Noodnik
    I haven't much to say today, too tired! Weekends are usually pretty busy. But I am so glad that people are posting and reading and sharing. It is nice to have the support

    I am still not working since Dec. 9. I hate it because people are always asking if I am working or how the job is going, every week they will ask (ie at church or people I run into). I don't feel like letting everyone know what is going on but some are starting to look at me funny (I just tell them I am working on a career change). Back before I stopped working I had a coworker ask me how I could afford to work so few hours (I was doing 20-24). I just told her I had a good Daddy. Well I left it at that, serves her right to ask that question (we weren't close by ANY means). I think too she knew that my dad had passed away. The truth is, though my dad did leave me some $ for a down payment on a car, that was not why I could afford to work so few hours. My support and survival have come from God and no other Even with little income God has found ways to provide for me. He is so good I try to do the best I can and He is always there to fill the gap. Thank you God!

    Ok maybe I DO have a little to say.

    Oh and just to make sure people understand, I WAS off meds but am back on them now - lamictal and depakote. I've got to look up some side effects cuz I think they have made my familial tremors worse Which is very embarrassing (very Katharine Hepburn-ish).
  11. by   Laura0821RN
    You might want to apply for private duty. I just put an ad on Craigs list for RN to take care of Elderly. I answered one who will pay $22 an hour and I am hoping she answers me. I need to stay away from facilities or anything out there that will stress me out.

    Might help
  12. by   Laura0821RN
    Hey Cindy, sorry I haven't written in a couple of days, but I am selling a lot of my furniture. I got notice today that the Board will meet with me on March 23 or 24th. I am numb and so scared, but getting all my references together. I know I will probably be okay, but I am terrified and really angry that this woman made up all these lies about me.
  13. by   Liddle Noodnik
    Hoping you guys are doing all right! Nice hearing from you, keep coming back!

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