Working with colleagues diagnosed with mental illness - page 2

Hi, I was wondering if anyone had experiences to share of working with colleagues (supervisors, other nurses or supportive staff) with mental illness, diagnosed or suspected, and how it affected the working relationship... Read More

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    Quote from NCmcMan
    I'm just wondering if it's possible that MOST of the population has some type of mental illness? I've often wondered about this.
    If you count substance-abuse disorders, Alzheimer's and other dementing diseases, and the anxiety and depression that come from living in this fast-paced, stressful age, then yes---I would say a good portion of the population deals with some form of mental illness.

    However, there's a difference between these common problems and what are called the 'serious' mental illnesses, e.g. major depressive disorder, bipolar, schizophrenia and so on. The percentage of sufferers drops sharply when you define "mental illness" as a condition that requires more than the occasional Xanax or a low dose of an antidepressant to help someone get through a bad patch.

    For example, we hear a lot about bipolar disorder nowadays because of the proliferation of celebrities who allegedly suffer from it and are "out" with their illness. However, when you add up the numbers for all types of the disorder, the math works out to only about 2% of the population that is actually diagnosed as bipolar. (I'm sure it's far more than that, because the milder forms of the illness are so easy to mistake for MDD, and many patients who have it are never diagnosed with it.)

    The thing to remember is, not everything that LOOKS like mental illness really is. Everybody gets a case of the blues sometimes, and there are few people who don't sweat bullets when preparing for a presentation, or about to go on stage. Sometimes, even mentally ill people themselves have emotional reactions that have nothing whatsoever to do with their condition......these are simply normal reactions to special situations. (And if you yourself have such a condition, you get to try convincing people of this truth.....)
    NurseKatie08 likes this.

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  2. 2
    Probably, never asked. Not my business.
    Last edit by JDZ344 on Oct 25, '14
    aknottedyarn and VivaLasViejas like this.
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    I work in an ER setting, so not psych, but yes I work with some people who are diagnosed with MH disorders. They are really up front about it, sometimes tell me if they are having an off day and we are all team players and work around it. If others have something I don't know about, its fine and I wouldn't know, none of my buisness unless they make it my buisness.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
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    The stigma is still there in psych nursing, unfortunately. You would think we know better. Learned that the hard way when I had to be admitted when I worked at my last job. Disclosing a mental illness in my experience has led to only bad things. I finally got correctly dx bipolar in Jan by a very astute pdoc and finally got my meds under control. I will never again disclose if I don't have to. I have told no one at work and I don't think they know either.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
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    I've not had a problem. The people that I work with are competent and very good in their positions. We need to stop stigmatizing and just do our jobs to the best of our abilities.

    VivaLasViejas and BeOne77 like this.
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    I work inpatient psych, many of us have a dx or undx mental illness. I often say you have to be a bit on the crazy side to work on a psych unit. Us having many of the same illnesses as our patients does help with the empathy portion. And we use each others attributes to help us survive a shift.

    Like me for example- I have ADHD, the inattentive type. So I typically get the manic patients or the ones with ADHD because the jumping of topics and going back to the first one at the end is something that I can easily do. My coworkers have learned that the more days in a row I work, the more I am affected by my ADHD ( like today I will have a good day, but by the 4th shift in a row on Friday, I'm going to be scatterbrained, which means my work space looks like a tornado hit it and I am jumping from one thing to another) They also give me the patients with Anger Management Issues, because I fully admit that I am easily angered, and the patient watches me through a shift sees how I react, use coping skills, and calm down without going off the deep end.
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    Prior to going into nursing, I worked a mental health worker in a group home for patients with severe and persistent mental illness. One of my coworkers was bipolar, and throughout her youth had been hospitalized several times prior to getting on the right medications. during my time working with her, she was always fairly stable. She took her time telling her coworkers about her illness. She let us know when she was having a bad day, but then again, at our job we worked so close together that we ALL knew when one of us was having a bad day, for whatever reason. She didn't talk about her illness all the time, but I think she brought a unique perspective to our discussions at times, because she could relate to some of the dilemmas and issues our patients faced, having faced them herself. She didn't talk about her illness with our patients, but I think there were definitely some patients who related to her better somehow.

    I'm not sure what the OPs intention was for this post, but part of taking the stigma out of mental health IS discussing it, openly, honestly, and hopefully without judgement. I'm sorry some posters were offended by this topic.
  8. 0
    Working with someone with a mental illness that is poorly or not treated can be difficult...just like it is difficult to live with them or be friends with them sometimes.

    In the work setting, as opposed to home with a friend or family member, you must be very discreet and respectful if you find that you need to redirect them. Most of the time I do not take that upon myself unless their illness is causing them to put THEMSELVES before the patient(s). In my home, I will correct the OCD who gets fixated on my housecleaning, or laundry, or dishes, or whatever and redirect them to their REST which is why they came to visit.
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    I'm a picture thinker.
    I imagine normal mental health as a square room with a very few people in the center. Most of us hug the walls. A few are standing in the doorway looking in.
    A very few don't even get close to the door.
    I'm a wall hugger, undiagnosed. I like the quirky people. Maybe cause they make me feel at home.
    I generally get scheduled to work with the difficult nurses, because I roll with the dynamics. I consider it a compliment.
    Last edit by imintrouble on Jun 25, '13
    tewdles and Hygiene Queen like this.
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    I don't look at people with mental illness badly at all. When I worked on the sheriffs office some years ago, we would transport them to the regional mental health facility to get some help. I had coworkers that wanted to put them in handcuffs and leg irons, and I generally refused when they would hand them off to me. I don't want to treat someone who is in need of help like a criminal. Now, if that person were to start getting violent, that would be different. I have always found that if you treat people the way that you want to be treated, you will 9x out of 10, get it the same way. See, just because someone has mental health problems, doesn't mean they are "bad", it just means they need some help. The good thing, most of these problems can be treated with the rite care.
    VivaLasViejas, tewdles, and BeOne77 like this.

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