Anxiety, depression and job hopping

Posted
by Peachpit Peachpit Member Nurse

Has 32 years experience.

I've thought about posting this for some time. I'm sure there will be some who comment the usual "suck it up buttercup" response, but this post is for anyone out there who faces shame, self loathing, self reproach and fear trying to work consistently with depression/anxiety (and any other mental illness).

I've dealt with anxiety and depression for decades. There is nothing anyone could suggest that I haven't tried (medication, herbs, praying, meditation, yoga, exercise..the list goes on) or still try now to keep these issues under control. For the most part, I was able to keep a lid on the issues, work and work consistently. But after some major losses of people and places that help stabilized my life, it's not been as easy. In fact, it's been one long struggle for years.

One of the off springs of these changes has been job hopping. I'm not proud of it but the truth is, the mental health issues I deal with on a daily basis, even with assistance of medication, etc, are at best like trying to hold a beach ball under water. It takes everything, and I mean everything, to just maintain most days. Getting up, getting dressed...I am not a stupid person not lazy. In fact, I'm highly intelligent, capable and competent. But after years of dealing with mental illness that seems to always find a way around whatever weapon I use against it, I'm tired.

I look at other nurses, on here, in my community, that have accomplished so much, know exactly what they want to do in nursing, where they want to be in 5 years and their confidence in their ability.. I envy them.  And I feel more shame about where I'm at in my life, personally and professionally, at 54. I can't help but wonder, if I didn't have the mental health issues or if I had been, like some others, able to find a combination of something, anything, over the years that worked so I could function normally on a consistent basis, where would I be? A Director? A Flight Nurse? Charge Nurse? Have retirement account?  A house that wasn't a mess? Again, the list of "what may have been" goes on.

But I'm here: still trying to make it through the day, resigned from yet another FT position to having accepted a 3 days week home health position. No, it's not my dream job, but it is one that allows me to make enough money to pay my bills and have time off so the pressure valve that rules my life is more controlled. 

I am NOT looking for sympathy, or pity. I am only hoping that by sharing another reality of life that another nurse on here doesn't feel like she/he is the only one struggling, questioning themselves, job hopping, doesn't have perfect house, a retirement account or plan past today.

For those of you who do have those things, I'm happy for you, I truly am. But for those of us who don't,  please know I pray for your peace along with mine every night even though we have never met.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

 

 

TKL

TKL

Specializes in ICU, OB/Pediatrics, Education. Has 10 years experience. 15 Posts

Thank you for sharing. It's hard not to question the what ifs and contemplate how our decisions shape our reality, both good and bad. Unfortunately, not everyone has control over how they can make these decisions. Your health is very important and should always stay at the top of your list. Do whatever you must to meet your needs. Dreams can always be recreated, reformed and found in another aspect of life. Congratulations on your new job, I hope it treats you well and you continue to find what works for you. 

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience. 142 Articles; 9,977 Posts

You are definitely NOT alone in fighting mental illness. There are a number of nurses on this website who live with brain-based disorders (I have bipolar I and anxiety) and I hope they’ll weigh in here with their stories. Most are able to maintain careers and live rewarding lives. Some may struggle with working full-time; others have had to leave the profession and do something else, and a few, like me, are completely unable to work and had to go on disability. 
 

I hope you find this next job to be satisfying and not too stressful. And I wish you the very best in your career. Take care of yourself. Viva

Mqshell

Mqshell

Specializes in Med surg long term care. 9 Posts

This sounds like my story, I’ve been a nurse for 10 years and the longest job I had was 1.3 years. The anxiety has gotten way worse to the point where I’m struggling to even renew my BLS the class causes me to feel very stressed and anxious, I’m trying to figure out if it’s ptsd from something that has happened or what. I’m debating leaving the nursing profession due to my anxiety. I quit jobs due to getting sick before work from anxiety. I get bad diarrhea at least once a week before my shifts. I’m just got hired for a long term care facility  it’s running a cart with 20 long term care patients IDK if this will be less stressful than hospital or not. But I understand what your going through. I’m also applying for a position as a teacher teaching a health class at a high school, I think that would be the best option if I can get the job.

my next step todsy is finsing a good therapist to see what the cause of this is and if there’s hope for me to stay in nursing. 

MarkMyWords

MarkMyWords

Specializes in nursing ethics. 2 Articles; 170 Posts

I am not a nurse. What helps me is reading and writing that challenges my thinking with full concentration and total focus above my knowledge limit. Nothing else works for long.  We cannot advise on meds here but if you live in a state with legal marijuana recreational you can try small doses of edibles. I use THC gummies to escape my bad moods   Not for everyone though I hope you will feel better for it. BTW avoid overdoing the THC and gummy candy. It is deceptively strong and use only at home!

Peachpit

Peachpit

Has 32 years experience. 113 Posts

On 6/18/2021 at 11:08 AM, Mqshell said:

This sounds like my story, I’ve been a nurse for 10 years and the longest job I had was 1.3 years. The anxiety has gotten way worse to the point where I’m struggling to even renew my BLS the class causes me to feel very stressed and anxious, I’m trying to figure out if it’s ptsd from something that has happened or what. I’m debating leaving the nursing profession due to my anxiety. I quit jobs due to getting sick before work from anxiety. I get bad diarrhea at least once a week before my shifts. I’m just got hired for a long term care facility  it’s running a cart with 20 long term care patients IDK if this will be less stressful than hospital or not. But I understand what your going through. I’m also applying for a position as a teacher teaching a health class at a high school, I think that would be the best option if I can get the job.

my next step todsy is finsing a good therapist to see what the cause of this is and if there’s hope for me to stay in nursing. 

From 2006 to this year I have had approximately 40 jobs. A lot of person changes/upheaval took place around 2006.  The unwelcome life altering changes coupled with my mental health issues just threw me completely off course & I have struggled, struggled, struggled, ever since. 

I do not have family to speak of other than my spouse, no children & the family I do have lives thousands of miles away. I do not have friends (& that is not said to be a "woe is me" statement, it's literally true). I spend my time alone unless my spouse & I are together or I am working. Honestly, it's easier as have little energy or interest for anything else as all my energy outside of work, goes to trying to "maintain" a day to day life - as mundane as it is.

I have accepted a weekend home health position I am hoping will allow for a balance of much needed income, stability & purpose while also allowing time  to focus on getting healthier & to look for employment options that would allow me to move out of nursing completely.  FAR too many times in the past I have accepted a position or agreed to something that I knew was not a good fit. Those days are over. I am too tired & too beat down to "just agree to agree". 


It's been a tough few weeks really facing my job hopping situation & the shame I feel about it but I also know that the shame & time lost aren't going to change the past & is not productive. I do wonder often what my life would've been/could've been had it not been for the this life long cycle of mental health issues but I guess woulda/coulda/soulda thinking serves little purpose either. 

I hope the long term facility position is working for you & you were able to find a therapist. I'm rooting for you.

Peachpit

Peachpit

Has 32 years experience. 113 Posts

On 6/9/2021 at 6:01 PM, VivaLasViejas said:

You are definitely NOT alone in fighting mental illness. There are a number of nurses on this website who live with brain-based disorders (I have bipolar I and anxiety) and I hope they’ll weigh in here with their stories. Most are able to maintain careers and live rewarding lives. Some may struggle with working full-time; others have had to leave the profession and do something else, and a few, like me, are completely unable to work and had to go on disability. 
 

I hope you find this next job to be satisfying and not too stressful. And I wish you the very best in your career. Take care of yourself. Viva

Thank you. I truly appreciate your response & kind words.

It's been isolating to say the least when people look at me & see the outside & think I'm strange or antisocial or offer advice like "take a walk", "pray", "Settle yourself down" - the list goes on. If only it were that easy.

I'm glad you were able to get on disability & out of situations that made your anxiety & bipolar worse. It had to be hell trying to work while fighting those.

vampiregirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 12 years experience. 1 Article; 792 Posts

Home Health has it challenges but also has some self-care opportunities that not all other nursing jobs have. 

The drive between patients allows an opportunity for self care - aroma therapy, calming or upbeat music, books on take or pod casts... whatever helps you calm and recharge. This can really with anxiety management. 

These days most places encourage/ mandate for most charting to be done in the patients home. Before this was required, I used to chart in parks, cemeteries or other tranquil places.

Take you lunch breaks. Ensure you have snacks and fluids with you. Figure out where safe/ clean restrooms are. All of these things can help decrease stress and anxiety.

Best of luck to you!

 

BeatsPerMinute

BeatsPerMinute, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 8 years experience. 322 Posts

Nurse with anxiety, depression, ADHD, possible PTSD (TBD) here! 

Just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. 

Peachpit

Peachpit

Has 32 years experience. 113 Posts

7 hours ago, BeatsPerMinute said:

Nurse with anxiety, depression, ADHD, possible PTSD (TBD) here! 

Just wanted to let you know that you're not alone. 

I truly appreciate this because 99.9% of time I feel like a freak of nature and its very...isolating.. so knowing someone else understands - means a lot. I hope today is a good day for you.

BeatsPerMinute

BeatsPerMinute, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 8 years experience. 322 Posts

thank you! I hope today is a good day for you too 

BeatsPerMinute

BeatsPerMinute, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 8 years experience. 322 Posts

mental illness sucks - its not fun, feels downright unfair sometimes... it has forced me to get very, very creative. done the things youve listed. yoga helped the most along with joining a womens bible study group. both ground me. podcasts that focus on self development / growth and are positive and or funny are like audio antidepressants LOL.