A Shout Out to All The Nurses.....
- 7Mar 30, '13 by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN Guide.....who have been brave enough to come forward with their mental health issues over the past few months! I'm just amazed at how many of you are speaking out now, and I thank you all for your efforts to de-stigmatize psychiatric illness among healthcare professionals.
It takes a lot of 'intestinal fortitude' to come out of the closet with a mental health diagnosis, even in this supposedly enlightened era. In truth, we healthcare professionals are some of the most judgmental folks around---especially when it comes to our peers!---so it's no small feat of courage when a nurse or student admits to, and discusses their MH issues publicly.
One of our most beloved posters, RN/Writer, said something a while back that I've never forgotten; and that is "nurses with MI do the same work everyone else does, only with a 90-pound sack strapped to their backs". May all of your loads become lighter with each passing day.
- 3Mar 31, '13 by LadyFree28
Big whoop to us all...I can proudly say I do NOT have a burden on my back!!! Nice to have a supportive environment, as well as surrounded by fellow nurses that do have their "traits" and are honest about them...VERY welcoming!
- 2Apr 20, '13 by Baubo516I have recently become a big fan of yours, Viva! I have struggled with MI in the past - mainly, a time of clinical depression that lasted about a year (maybe two - not sure exactly when it started...) I know that is not as long as some folks have struggled, but ever since then I fear that abyss. It's as if I know it is there, waiting to swallow me up again... so I have to take care! Before I experienced it, I did not even really believe it existed.
I am one of four sisters in my family, and we have all struggled with MI of various types. My mother told me once that she thought I might be "manic depressive." I am certainly very emotional, and at times ruled by my moods, but thus far I have been able to function without meds. My husband is a big help as he can tell me when it seems that my reactions are beyond what they should be for a certain situation.
Anyway - I digress! I am happy that some of the stigma is being lifted from mental health issues and that we are free to share with and support one another! Thanks for being such a bold, strong voice in this forum!
- 2Apr 20, '13 by Baubo516Just to clarify - I DID take Zoloft and go to counseling when I have the severe depression... I also read a book called "Feeling Good" that helped me immensely. I also was on Paxil for a while for anxiety after my mother died. She was a victim of violent crime, so it was a traumatic event that required much support and counseling for me to process! So... I do support the use of meds when they are needed! I am just happy right now to be doing well without them!
- 2Apr 21, '13 by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN GuideThank you, Baubo, you made my day!
I'm so sorry about your mom. I cannot even imagine what it must be like to have lost a loved one in a violent manner, and I pray for continued healing and comfort for you and your family.
I am glad to hear that you were able to manage your depression with a short course of medication. Situational depression happens to the most 'normal' of individuals, and treatment can help smooth the way while they do the emotional work of recovery. (The term 'normal' is what we in the mental health community often call "just a setting on a clothes dryer" .) Many, if not most people with situational depression go on to live life after they've improved, and for them, that bit of help getting over the worst of things will be all they will ever need.
I can't say whether your emotionality, or overreactions as your husband seems to think, are due to an underlying mood disorder. Obviously I'm not an MD, let alone a psychiatrist, so there's not much I can offer in the way of guidance along these lines. FWIW, so many things that folks think of as "bipolar" really are not pathological at all; everyone has mood swings. They have bad days. They also have reactions and emotions and feelings, they use bad judgment, they lose their tempers, they scream and curse. All 'normal' behaviors.
Manic-depressive illness is far more complex than "just" mood swings, as distressing as they can be. It affects every single area of life, and is supremely frustrating to deal with because it's a shape-shifter that likes to play tricks on us and gets worse with time. I'm still finding new manifestations of my own illness; for one, I have discovered that its favorite game is "Let's Mess With Viva's Executive Function". I used to be very neat and organized, and knew how to behave properly in any social situation.......now I can barely organize a trip to the toilet, let alone a typical day's work, and I'm apt to pop off with a completely inappropriate remark in the middle of a conversation that I will spend the next six months regretting. Medication helps with that quite a bit, but it doesn't 'fix' the problem!
Anyway, I'm happy you are doing well and hope you continue to do so. Thank you again for the kind words. Viva
- 3Apr 22, '13 by salvadordollyThank you Viva. I have enjoyed your posts and I too share your struggle. I am BP2 and a recovering alcoholic. I have "come out" to very few people in the profession because I've noticed the stigma/judgementalness around MI. I have been very lucky to have not had any major episodes since 1995, which I worked for a pool agency and could just call off for a week while I switched meds. The biggest feature of my mania is racing thoughts. I struggle with this daily, even on meds. At best, I can be incredibly productive, but sometimes it's distracting as hell! I spent most of my hospital years as med-surg/HIV/Oncology. One thing I learned about myself over the years is that my illness doesn't define me. I am so much more than my dx. I remind my patients of this frequently. I was diagnosed BP at 18 years old and was a recovering alcoholic/addict by age 21. I've been a nurse for 22 years. You are incredibly brave for coming out at your job. I don't think I could ever do that. I did privately with two nurses I became friends with over the years. I thank all the nurses for their willingness to share their struggles on this forum.
- 0Apr 22, '13 by VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN GuideThank you! And bless you for sharing your struggles with us......I know it couldn't have been easy for someone who's normally very circumspect.
As you might be aware, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Speaking out about our battles, and showing the world that we are proud of our efforts to live productive, normal lives, are a great start toward erasing the stigma nurses with mental illness are all too familiar with. I'd like to see you and other members living with MI write articles and start threads discussing their experiences with depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, borderline personality, anxiety and so on.