RN's with Bipolar and Anxiety/panic

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    Looking at me you'd never guess I have those diagnoses, but I do. I have BP2. My mood disorder (BP) is very well controlled with meds. Do I still have off days, sure, probably just like anyone else. I'm a very high functioning bipolar. I work ft, have a family, etc. Same as anyone else. Bipolar does have a stigma. I think when ppl think bipolar they think of ppl completely manic flying from the chandeliers or something, that is not me. BP2is mainly depression and hypomania, not full mania. I have no psychotic features or anything like that.My BP is not so much of a problem as my Anxiety/panic dis. I take Klonopin 3xs a day which covers my baseline anxiety pretty well. I do have some breakthrough anxiety, which sucks and can be somewhat disabling if not treated. I'm going to ask my pdoc (psychiatrist) for something fact acting for panic at work. I'm planning to transfer to the ED department at my hospital after many years of being a psych nurse, before that I worked in the ICU. At that time I had no diagnoses and have no idea how I got through those years lol. It was bad, the anxiety can be crippling. So, right now with starting a new job in the ED my anxiety is going to shoot through the roof for awhile. It makes me think I can't do it. But surely, I can't be the only nurse out there with these issues! I'm very smart, always excellent evaluations and can think fast on my feet. While hypomanic (google if you don't understand) it can actually be an advantage because I can think fast and move at the speed of light lol. Probably run circles around anyone lol.But it's my anxiety that worries me the most!!! What if I can't handle a very new and stressful job??? Besides benzos, what other meds do you take for anxiety? Remember, you can't give antidepressants to most ppl with BP it makes you cycle fast, at least for me.I'm talking to my pdoc next month about this. Just wanted to know if anyone else shared similar experiences and how you handle things? Yes, I'm in therapy but it only helps to a degree. My anxiety stems from early childhood abuse and those neuro pathways are permanently altered. So it's a tough beast to beat unfortunately.
    Ednach and VivaLasViejas like this.
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  4. 4 Comments so far...

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    Hello, and welcome to Allnurses! I'm a fellow BP'er and can relate to so much of what you've posted. As you get to know people here, you'll find that there are many, many nurses with mood disorders and other mental health diagnoses who are working every day, making a life and building successful careers. You can do whatever you want, stigma or no stigma!

    However......we are a nursing message board and cannot offer any sort of medical advice per the Terms of Service of our site. I'm glad you plan to speak with your pdoc about your anxiety issues; he is really the best person to advise you, as he knows you and your condition better than strangers on the Internet. You also may want to think long and hard about taking the ER position, as the adrenalin runs high and frankly, unless you spend most of your time being hypomanic (and most of us BP 2's tend to do exactly the opposite) the job may cause more anxiety than you can medicate. BTDT, almost got myself hospitalized for it.....and mine was only a med/surg job.

    Anxiety is such a common co-morbidity that I'm almost surprised that it's not one of the criteria for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder! It can be absolutely crippling, and yet it's rarely taken seriously. People often say things like "Breathe...." or "snap out of it, willya?!" and they just don't know that it doesn't work that way. I wish you the best in your career decisions and encourage you to share your experiences with the membership here; even in the nursing world, mental health is often poorly understood, and it takes nurses like you to educate and inform others that one can live with psychiatric issues and still be a great nurse.
    SoldierNurse22 likes this.
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    have you tried alternative coping strats ??
    maybe sign up for a gym or something and try that ?
    Last edit by Esme12 on Jan 11, '13 : Reason: TOS/medical advice
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    Just want to say thank you for sharing your story with us!I salute you for being able to handle all the stresses in nursing despite your condition.
    SoldierNurse22 likes this.
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    Viva has give you great advice and is a voice of experience. As Viva has said....we cannot offer medical advice as per the Term of Service.
    Medical Advice:
    ALLNURSES.COM, INC or it's members do not offer medical advice. Any requests for such will be taken down. If you have a medical problem, please seek attention from your health care provider. You are not allowed to ask for medical advice related to a health situation that affects you, a family member, or someone you know
    I wish you the very best! ((HUGS)) thread closed.


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