Any advice for a Pre-Nursing Bipolar II Student?

  1. I'm usually excellentat controlling my symptoms up until this time of the year. It's very strange b/c I was diagnosed with BP2 almost 1 yr ago so I don't have the hang of it yet. My financial resources are VERY limited so after I went off meds in June, I haven't been back on them. I usually do fine, seems as though when the clocks are set back, I go on crazy mood swings. Last Thanksgiving, b4 I was diagnosed is eerily like this one with me sleeping through EVERYTHING b/c I'm sooo tired and/or depressed and then the next day, I'm like .

    I people and I love working with people. I understand that there are stressors in Nursing however I have always wanted to go into either Psychiatric or Public Health Nursing b/c I want to help ppl with little to no income or those who are stigmatized due to their mental health status. My aunt is a nurse and I have always admired witnessing her dedication to her patients over the years. I'm doing very well in my classes, except for this little BP2 thing. I'm afraid, however, that I'm not fit to do so. I love my classes but I'm afraid to disclose to my profs ab my condition in that they may not believe me. I don't come off as bipolar...just reallllly quiet. They've all said that I'm extremely quiet, which I am, but it's b/c I suffer greatly on the inside.

    Without any money and difficulty finding work, probs at home (if I were under 18, I'd be removed for child abuse)... and stress level is HIGH. I know I can do it if I can just get a little help but...should I reconsider this profession? I've read the threads on nurses with BP who are either doing fine or have taken time off. Is it unrealistic to think that with regular counseling and meds, I too can handle the stresses of this demanding yet amazing profession?????????
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    About Latomian

    Joined: Sep '09; Posts: 12


  3. by   frnzy
    I'm a bipolar II pre-nursing student. I don't believe that your diagnosis has to get in the way of your chosen profession. But I'm not a nurse, and I'm not your doctor. My therapist and pdoc and school counselors and nurse faculty have been very encouraging about my career change.

    I do however feel that it is very important for you to (1) understand yourself and track your moods, as well as become intimately aware of what triggers shifts in you. And then be preparred for it. Stress is a big trigger for me. I have TONS of stress, but as different stressors start to pile up, that's when ~I~ personally know that I need to be double-plus vigilant. That's when I tell my friends and co-workers "look, I'm kind of 'off' today, so don't take offense if I act flighty or short tempered." And then if I do think I snapped at them, I appologize right away.

    (2) You have to learn how to continue to function while under stress. For me, the best way for me to function under stress is to accept that I will be stressed, and plan, plan, plan for the inevitable. I WILL get stressed. But I've been dealing with my bipolar so long that I have notebooks full of "plans" for when something goes "wrong" with my mood. Lists. Escape mechanisms. Plan Bs. Plan Cs. Backup plans. Phone numbers of friends who agree that I can call them at any time, 24-hours a day, if I need to be talked down from an episode or find myself somewhere where I don't know where I am and need a ride home.

    Good luck. And like I said, I'm not your doctor. I'd talk to him/her about it and ask what he/she thinks is a good plan. If your home situation isn't good, I HIGHLY recommend creating yourself a new pseudo family of good people that you can trust and rely on to be an emotional support mechanism.
  4. by   annmarie899
    Dear Lotomian,

    This is a late reply, so hope it reaches you. I am a nurse practitioner, and nurse for over 25 years, and recently diagnosed with BPD, 'soft', after struggling for years with anxiety, insomnia, depression, mood swings, and trouble concentrating. And yet I excelled in school, and now am working on my doctorate. In my case, my relationships suffered the fallout - I have been divorced 3 times, and now am married to someone who understands my BPD, and makes sure I take my medications. I can say with the utmost certaintly that mood stabilizing medications are critical, and seeing a psychiatrist is as well. I understand that finances are an issue: my son is bipolar, and he has no insurance, so I manage all his paperwork of applying for patient assistance programs for all of his medications. Almost all pharmaceutical companies have patient assistance programs that you can apply for medications for free if you meet the income requirement; you only need to complete the paperwork and submit the income proof. Apply for medicaid or medical assistance if you need to. Counseling or support groups are important, too.
    I do not agree that patients or teachers need to know your diagnosis. The only reason an employer would need to know your diagnosis is if you could possibly become a danger to patients and they would need to monitor you to keep patients safe. I recommend Kay Redfield Jamison's book "An Unquiet Mind" and her other articles about being a psychiatrist with bipolar disorder.
    The best of luck,