Is it possible for a Bipolar person to become a psych nurse?

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I was diagnosed as bipolar, on the depressive side, about 3 years ago. I've been hospitalized several times in the past, the last time being about 1 year ago. (which is a HUGE step in the right direction for me) I was, for awhile, considered what is referred to as a "frequent flier". I've been on just about every psych med out there, but I am med-resistant. I am currently taking Lamictal, but I just started it. I was on Lamictal in the past, but I don't know if it worked, because I had been grossly over-medicated, with anywhere between 6 to 8 different psych meds at one time, so I have no idea if it was working, because of all the meds I was on. So we are trying Lamictal again, alone, to try to keep my moods in check. I have come so far since I was initially dx'd. It has been a very hard road for me, but I feel I have come such a long way. I think what has helped me the most was out-patient therapy for 3 straight years. The meds weren't of much help, although I feel I do need to be on a mood stablizer, if I can get one to work for me.

    Toward the end of my therapy, I decided to enroll in our local community college, which has also helped me to focus on what I want to do with my life. I have always wanted to be a nurse, ever since I was 9 years old. I am finishing up my pre-reqs, and trying to get into the LPN program. (this has also been a HUGE step for me).

    What I would like to know is, are there any Bipolar psych nurses out there? I have my life in the most control now, than I ever had. I feel I might have a lot to offer psych patients, since I've been there, and done that.

    I would like any input, either for or against a bipolar person becoming a psych nurse. What do you guys think? I am much more stable now, with just the occasional brief depressive episode. I also think that becoming a nurse, would really give me a "purpose" in life, which in turn, would help my depression greatly. Over the past year, I have made so many improvements in myself, thanks mostly to my wonderful therapist (whom I am no longer seeing, because he was dx'd with ALS, and had to retire). But I also feel I was ready to end my therapy at the time of his retirement.

    Is it a bad idea to try to get into psych nursing, while having a mental disorder, which is basically under control?

    My psychiatrist says that there should be nothing to stop me from trying to become a psych nurse, but advised me not to work in the hospitals I have been a patient in. He also said that I don't have to tell anyone (potential employers) of my illness, if I don't want to.

    Please, any thoughts on this matter, whether you agree with it or disagree. I need to hear all kinds of different feedback, so I can decide if I should persue this.

    Thank you for reading my long post, and I greatly appreciate ANY input.

    magaroon
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  2. 58 Comments

  3. by   micro
    yes, simply.........

    and do what brings you joy.....

    and do not a diagnosis of this or that hold you back from anything that brings you pleasure, a paycheck$$, and helps so many other people.........

    stigmas need to be broken, folks..........

    are you listening.........

    magaroon.......
    love your name
  4. by   micro
    and magaroon, i know this is a double post.....

    but just to publicly say, I for one.....and know I am a stranger at this point.......

    but am so proud of you.........

    listen to those you trust and listen to your heart.....because you are wise...........

    micro
  5. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    Originally posted by magaroon
    Is it a bad idea to try to get into psych nursing, while having a mental disorder, which is basically under control?
    I think the most important thing is to get it completely under control (I know, I know, there is no such thing as COMPLETE control of a psychiatric disorder. But you kind of sound like you're still trying to find meds that work better for you).

    Once you've done that, there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't be able to do whatever you want to do

    Good luck to you!

    Heather
  6. by   micro
    Heather.......ditto......

    magaroon,
    Let us know about your great new job and how great you are doing as the best nurse wherever you choose to work.....
    And I repeat.....YOU CHOOSE TO WORK.....

    You sound like a very very intelligent person, who would never care for and work as a nurse, if unable to....
    As you listed you have dealt with your diagnosis and have it managed and "under control".
    Please don't feel a stigma.....stigma is what society places on us, but it is only to us if we take it on.....
    But it can be real.....

    I personally feel and every single person could be diagnosed from the DSM-V. But most people are not aware of this.

    and speaking of diagnosis and diagnosis being treated and controlled........
    uncontrolled diabetes....
    uncontrolled HTN
    uncontrolled..........
    etc.....

    micro is starting to wierd out again......here comes the sentence fragments.........

    magaroon....
    what a better and more empathetic nurse than one who can truly say been there and done that and this is what it takes to move on and get better
    micro
  7. by   BLCaldwell
    In the Southern vernacular...you go girl!

    There are many self medicating nurses in the world, at least you are attempting to focus in on the best mood stabilizer for you.
  8. by   donmurray
    Go for it!
    Some say that all nurses are motivated to choose nursing to sublimate the desire to be cared for!
  9. by   magaroon
    Thank you all for your support, I am still plugging away at school, although at a much slower pace than I wish to. I hope I can make it through this, as it's always been my dream. It may take me longer than the average person, but so far, I'm sticking with it. I really do appreciate your input...Thanks again...

    magaroon
  10. by   morghan
    Hi Magaroon! I haven't experienced bi-polar illness, but it appears to me that your insight into your illness is excellent.
    I would suggest involving your primary therapist or prescriber to help guide you in this matter. If he or she feels you can handle the sometimes stressful Psych realm... then go for it. But there is a caveat to my comment here... you will have to be clear with boundaries with respect of talking about your illness to clients.
    Otherwise welcome aboard! Morghan from Wichita ks.
  11. by   slinkeecat
    hey... i just wanted you to know that i am a psych nurse and I work with many other nurses who are bipolar or recovering addicts , etc.... I do not think badly or have a problem working with them...
    If I could impart one little mantra to the world it would be....

    There is a fine line between MENTAL ILLNESS and MENTAL HEALTH

    It is all about coping skills..and that can be managed thru pharmaceutical intervention and life coping skills training... retraining your behavior in how you deal with stressors and etc.
    So.... I think you should go for it.... If you can empathize with your patients and relate to them... perhaps it will be a therapeutic outlet for all concerned.

    Katy
  12. by   CATHYW
    I agree with Katy's quote about the "there being a fine line between mental illness and mental health." As a person who is taking Paxil for situational depression and anxiety, I, myself, have wobbled along that line for about the last ten years. This is the third time I have needed medication.

    Magaroon (what a cool name! Reminds me of macaroons-yum!), as long as you are aware of what seems to trigger your depressive moods (or hypomanic moods), and how to best avoid those triggers; and you are controlled with medication you should do just fine as a nurse.

    Keep working toward your goal, but remember, psych nursing can be very stressful-don't set yourself up for frustration.
  13. by   lpn_teresa
    Maragoon,

    If it is truly in you heart and nursing is something that you really want to do, then let nothing or no one hold you back. I was misdiagnosted as manic depressent in 1991 after the death of my infant son. I even got to go to the loonie farm for about a month.
    ( This was 6 years before I became and LPN) I was manic for a while and then plunged into dismal dispair, tried to committe suicide several times and then went through incredible rages where I thought I could possible just kill someone. Turns out I was just going through a very long grieving cycle that I tried to numb with alcohol. Many years later when I found the right Doctor and the right medicines. I got off the booze and pulled my head out of my rear and began to see that somedays life will still really suck the big one but they cannot last forever and some days you will be on top of the mountain.
    I wish you luck in you endevor. If you truly want it......You will get it. LOL= lots of love.
  14. by   slinkeecat
    WOW!!!! I was quoted!!!! Thanks Cathy!!!.....I needed that I have been having a day where I cannot do or say anything right .....I was having a pity party for myself....... So any way I truly believe there is a fine line and I am glad you liked my little mantra...... I thank you!!!!!!! I just hope magaroon see this and follows her heart and turns her hopes into reality.......I think she would be a fine nurse!!!!

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