That Odd Thought and the Shocking Truth

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    I was sitting here and an odd thought came to my mind. The thought was if the Board of Nursing contacted me tomorrow and said "we are overturning the decision and you don't have to do the Health Practitioners' Monitoring Program (HPMP) and you have your license fully re-instated", what would you do?

    The obvious answer for most people would be to accept the offer. Not for me. I actually did think about what I would do. I would stay in HPMP and would probably keep my license the way it is. I want my board order to accurately reflect any diagnoses I have, but my license and situation, I do not know if I would change it.

    I wouldn't change it for several reasons. First, I believe God put me in this situation for a reason. I am not quite sure yet what that reason is--whether it be to grow as a person or to better society or for some reason yet to be seen. Second, my board order is honest. Let me explain. At first glance, it tells of my mental health issues. But, upon further inspection, you would notice that I was an applicant, at the time. That means I was honest in my disclosure on the application. I value honesty a great deal--how I handled this situation gave me great respect for myself. I think it reflects my humanity (as in how I am human) as well. I am not perfect. I suffer from mental demons like many other people. Lastly, to be brutally honest, I do not know what I would do. I am used to getting up in the morning and checking in and if I get selected for drug testing, I go. I go to AA meetings and Caduceus. I have therapy appts once a month and I submit my forms at the end of the month. I don't know anything different. I was in HPMP from the "get-go". I have resigned myself to only looking in Virginia. It's almost as if Tennessee doesn't exist anymore. It's an odd feeling.

    Most of all, I don't know if I would change having a mental illness.

    Any thoughts? I know we are hammering this mental illness thing hard. I think it is important though.
    leslie :-D, pmabraham, and poppycat like this.
  2. 13 Comments so far...

  3. 12
    You are to be admired for your integrity. I know it's cost you dearly, but you can at least comfort yourself with the knowledge that you did the right thing.

    FWIW, I think it was high time for health professionals to discuss mental illness, and I'm gratified to see the various threads on this multifaceted topic here at AN. Somehow, our society---indeed, health professionals themselves---need to understand that people with brain diseases are HUMAN and deserve consideration, not condemnation; opportunity, not opprobrium.

    You raise a tantalizing question: what if we could push a button that would take away our illness? Would we?

    I don't know if you're familiar with Kay Redfield Jamison. She's a world-renowned psychologist, author, and bipolar 1 sufferer who has written several books on the topic, and when she was asked this question, she considered both the disadvantages AND the advantages of her condition. She came to the conclusion that if given the choice, she wouldn't change it; because while it had caused her untold suffering, it also made her funny and smart and creative, and it had given her a unique view of the world around her.

    I can't say I disagree. I can't even imagine never knowing the exuberant, rapturous enjoyment of nature that makes the soul soar, far above mortal experience. I should think that an existence without being able to taste and see the sumptuous flavors and colors of life would be intolerably dull. Nor would I ever wish to live a life devoid of the thrill of seeing the world, and everything in it, as a symphony---the mountains, the valleys, the joys, the agonies, the sheer intensity of it all. It leaves me exhausted......and yet fulfilled.

    If that makes me "crazy", so be it. My life with what I call Big Ugly isn't easy, but I long ago gave up the idea that it was ever intended to be; what it's been is one helluva wild ride. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
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    Thanks, Viva. I am glad I am not the only one who feels this way.

    You are correct. That is what I am getting at--would I change having a mental illness? No...
    BCgradnurse, VivaLasViejas, GrnTea, and 3 others like this.
  5. 1
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    I don't know if you're familiar with Kay Redfield Jamison. She's a world-renowned psychologist, author, and bipolar 1 sufferer who has written several books on the topic, and when she was asked this question, she considered both the disadvantages AND the advantages of her condition. She came to the conclusion that if given the choice, she wouldn't change it; because while it had caused her untold suffering, it also made her funny and smart and creative, and it had given her a unique view of the world around her.
    Kay Redfield Jamison's writing has gotten me through some hard times & given me some much-needed insight. I've read 3 of her books, but An Unquiet Mind is my pick of them all.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
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    wish_me_luck, like Viva said, your integrity and honesty is admirable. I just hope things get easier for you. I feel like you deserve a break now.
    wish_me_luck and NurseDirtyBird like this.
  7. 0
    thanks, marie.
  8. 1
    Quote from wish_me_luck
    I was sitting here and an odd thought came to my mind. The thought was if the Board of Nursing contacted me tomorrow and said "we are overturning the decision and you don't have to do the Health Practitioners' Monitoring Program (HPMP) and you have your license fully re-instated", what would you do?

    The obvious answer for most people would be to accept the offer. Not for me. I actually did think about what I would do. I would stay in HPMP and would probably keep my license the way it is. I want my board order to accurately reflect any diagnoses I have, but my license and situation, I do not know if I would change it.

    I wouldn't change it for several reasons. First, I believe God put me in this situation for a reason. I am not quite sure yet what that reason is--whether it be to grow as a person or to better society or for some reason yet to be seen. Second, my board order is honest. Let me explain. At first glance, it tells of my mental health issues. But, upon further inspection, you would notice that I was an applicant, at the time. That means I was honest in my disclosure on the application. I value honesty a great deal--how I handled this situation gave me great respect for myself. I think it reflects my humanity (as in how I am human) as well. I am not perfect. I suffer from mental demons like many other people. Lastly, to be brutally honest, I do not know what I would do. I am used to getting up in the morning and checking in and if I get selected for drug testing, I go. I go to AA meetings and Caduceus. I have therapy appts once a month and I submit my forms at the end of the month. I don't know anything different. I was in HPMP from the "get-go". I have resigned myself to only looking in Virginia. It's almost as if Tennessee doesn't exist anymore. It's an odd feeling.

    Most of all, I don't know if I would change having a mental illness.

    Any thoughts? I know we are hammering this mental illness thing hard. I think it is important though.
    I do not have a mental illness per say, I have an illness that affects my mental clarity, emotions sometimes, and my vision. Of course, it being MS it also affects my body and balance as well. I was "medically terminated" after 2 months out in the hospital and having tests, trying medications and generally getting myself together. I was devastated to say the least. I was a good nurse, loved my job, and was moving forward in my career. I did not deserve to be sidelined because I could no longer work 12 hour shifts. But in the long run, looking back over these past 6 years, I see why God allowed me to be here, in this place, for such a time as this. I see that through His infinite wisdom He saw the 3 years of torturous treatments and near death experiences, He saw the personal and spiritual growth of myself and my family too. He promised in His Word He would never leave us or forsake us. You too, dear friend, will make it through this. Your story is a blessing to others, a hope for those who may be facing the same challenges. Stay Strong! I do agree, there needs to be plans set in place for not just mental illness in nursing, but many other illnesses too.
    mariebailey likes this.
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    Hi, i read your post and i really do understand you. I'm still in review because of my pass with the board of nursing. Everyday i pray that i check the mail and my eligibility will be there that way i can go to nursing school. I admire you as well for been outspoken about your personal business. Mental health is here in american and sometimes ppl forget. I use to take meds for my mental illness but when i started praying and spending more time with god i stop the meds and been doing good for 2yrs now. Enough about me and back to you i would love to have that button. Lol..
  10. 0
    _wish_me_luck_ it is an all to interesting concept that is proposed when we evaluate that dynamics of the situation. I for instance, like scruffygurlrn, have a medical diagnosis that qualifies for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act. I have never been "medically terminated" but I have seen the "writing on the wall" when I have stepped out of the shadows and brought to the attention of upper management my complex issues and finding a place that would be better suited for me. Leaving the Emergency Room and the Trauma Bay for me was extremely difficult to go back to the ICU/CVICU in Trauma Centers is just not the same. It does not matter that I hold 4 BS degrees or 2 MS degrees and that physicians would request my schedule to reflect their own...what mattered was perception. Had I kept my mouth shut and made none the wiser, well, I am sure it would not have been an issue. I reflect on what you asked even further and apply it to my sexual orientation. It is something I know personally I did not "chose". I do believe I am created in God's image and that a person's sexuality or who they love is SO IMMATERIAL to the fact that we simply LOVE...but society has not always seen it that way. So if I could push a button would I? For my disability...yes, I would. For the essence of being "heterosexual" and having the "gay gene" eliminated? No, I would NOT. There was a time I would have said YES! It was before I found out what love really is. I can say having met my partner and soon to be husband for the first time in my life I am not chasing after a degree to validate my existence or hoping beyond measure that just maybe one more thing will make me acceptable. Because pushing that button now, well, I would lose the greatest gift God has ever given anyone...the gift of knowing and experiencing true. It is these issues whether it be mental health issues (a medical diagnosis per medical standards and YET Healthcare companies and CMMS reimburse next to nothing or NOTHING for treatment of such issues), physical issues and or diseases that become our own personal crosses if you will that we alone must bare. We learned that it is not nature versus nurture versus vice versa in psych/sociological models long ago...but a combination of the two where environment lends itself to nature for adaptability or if a genetic waiver causes greater nurture of a person that these two in the formation of personality and of the creation of an individual are both equally important and that one does not outweigh the other in comparison. It defines the strength that determines our character and our ability to persevere in this world! Let's be honest, for those of us who have been nurses for a while...we can all name someone who was a nurse who could not handle everything being an RN means and now have new professions outside the clinical arena. If it were an "easy" button then we would not have a nursing shortage!? Hold fast to your principles and to whatever and however it is you believe and know you made it through nursing school so you know you can make it through this...(wink)! Best of luck and keep on smiling but most of all keep on loving yourself and others!!
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    Thanks for the kind words. You know, I am taking classes at the crisis center I volunteer at. One of the classes was dealing with intersectionality. It's a sociology concept that deals with where various aspects within groups collide--finding a common ground. There are many ways to describe ourselves--age, race, sex, gender (sex and gender are different. Sex is biological; gender is how we see ourselves.), sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, etc. Each of these things is like a thread--just a part of the rope, so to speak. All these various aspects make up who we are. Not one thing defines us, but put together, that's what makes us different.

    Mental illness does not define who I am, but it is a part of me. I wouldn't change it. Scruffy and UF, the same for you two. Do not be ashamed of who you are.
    Last edit by wish_me_luck on Feb 2, '13
    VivaLasViejas likes this.


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