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Depression and nursing

Stress 101   (6,017 Views 24 Comments)
by canoehead canoehead, BSN, RN (Member) Member Platinum Nurse

canoehead has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

2 Followers; 49,190 Profile Views; 6,651 Posts

I need some help. Depression waxes and wanes, but when I feel worst I'm a *****. Unfortunately, in that state I don't care what other people think, I just want to go in and do my job, and be left alone. I come off as uncaring and cranky. Sometimes I feel horrible when I get up, but working shakes off the sadness, and helps me break the cycle of feeling useless, and then getting more depressed. I don't know which way it's going to go before I get there, and I also don't want to be calling out all the time. Almost everyone feels crappy when they first get up, right? If there was a depression thermometer, so I could take my temp before work, that would be ideal. I know I can't be the only person with this issue. Any ideas?

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westieluv has 26 years experience and specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, Dialysis, Hospice.

948 Posts; 19,726 Profile Views

I think it is normal for a lot of people to get up in the morning and feel cranky and not want to go to work, yes. I do not think that it is normal to wake up with a pervading sense of sadness and feelings of uselessness.

You didn't mention if you have been treated for depression by a physician, but if not, you at least need to be evaluated. If you do indeed have clinical depression, it is nothing to be ashamed of, since it is a physiological issue of chemical imbalance over which you have no control, and your physician can treat it. Life is too short to feel this way.

Best of everything to you!

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canoehead has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

2 Followers; 6,651 Posts; 49,190 Profile Views

I've been treated for over twenty years. It doesn't go into remission, just gets better or worse. I need a way to cope better with the symptoms so I can work without being a cranky coworker. At the worst times, I feel like " I don't care (if I've offended you) just fire me" Obviously this isn't how I really feel, and I would have been better off calling in sick, but you can't just walk off the job once you go in. Does anyone have a method to pick out the crappy days vrs the regular morning feeling like a piece of pooh? Twelve hours is a long time to maintain a facade.

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38 Posts; 1,195 Profile Views

I don't have any advice for you, but I wanted to tell you that you are not alone. I have the same problem. On my days off I can barely get out of bed because I'm so tired. Not "I didn't sleep well last night" tired, but tired down to my very heart and soul. It wasn't this bad before I became a nurse. Funny thing is, I became a nurse because I thought it would give me freedom, but I've never felt more chained.

I need to work on my resume & at least start applying to nursing positions that have better management and pay. At my current facility I am an ER nurse that gets verbally abused every day and sometimes physically abused. I've never taken a lunch break in almost 3 years. The management is deplorable. And I make $22.99 an hour being an RN. After my paycheck is raped for taxes and paying for my facility's crappy HMO that doesn't cover a thing, I have just enough to live paycheck to paycheck. I know I can at least start with changing jobs, but I feel that nursing was a bad move to make as someone who has been battling depression her whole life. I'm sorry to not be more encouraging, but maybe a change of scenery will be better for you as well.

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canoehead has 30 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

2 Followers; 6,651 Posts; 49,190 Profile Views

I love my coworkers, and my job, and I hate the days when I don't live up to their high standards. There are definitely jobs that are less stressful, but not as engaging for me. And the coworkers you get are always a crapshoot. I've found a good spot, and I'd be crazy to move. It's a good suggestion, but not for me right now.

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3,726 Posts; 23,719 Profile Views

Do you have a routine in the morning? Could you add something that would be both self care and enjoyable? When I've gotten in that place lasting more than a few days, I've added a ritual i.e. 10 minutes on a sunny patio with a cup of whatever is my go to at the time focusing on breathing and the sun on my skin. Or a walk out to the mailbox every morning before my tea (long driveway). Or anything that has both a peaceful and pleasurable component to it that helps me transition into the day. And then maybe you can use your response as a gauge?

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

1 Follower; 228 Articles; 27,607 Posts; 317,954 Profile Views

I have no advice. I just wanted to say that I 'dig' what you're saying. I've had low level depression all my adult life due to labile emotions resulting from thyroid disease. I recently resumed seeing a counselor after having not seen one since 2004.

Also, my parents' recent health exacerbations have been bringing my depressed moods to the surface. Since I live halfway across the country from them, there's not much I can do other than listen helplessly about their declines.

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nynursey_ has 3 years experience and specializes in Med/Surg/ICU/Stepdown.

642 Posts; 10,286 Profile Views

You are most definitely not alone in feeling the way that you feel. I have been diagnosed with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) and underlying dysthymia (long persisting "low mood") since age 19. When I'm off my medication, I am unbearable, and my mood is effectively in the toilet. When I'm on my medication I do much better. This, of course, applies to controlled situations (mainly outside of work). Nursing is unfortunately not a controlled environment and the only thing you do have control over is yourself. Since depression is difficult to get a handle on, it makes the battle twice as hard, especially when you have to be "on" during the day.

The best thing I have found is to keep to myself during the day. I keep my interactions professional and lighthearted. I want to be left alone to focus on my job but I also know that nursing involves a lot of "acting." This can be hard on days where I'm feeling particularly bogged down with my own personal thoughts, but I remind myself it's a short-lived day, and I try to bear with it.

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LadyFree28 has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma.

8,427 Posts; 75,645 Profile Views

I love my coworkers, and my job, and I hate the days when I don't live up to their high standards.

This is may be a contributing factor in your feelings; the stress of "live up to 'their' high standards"...did they explicitly state these particular "high standards", or is that an allusion that you have internalized?

My take is this; I ceased living up to someone else's "standards", that doesn't mean I don't have high standards; however, as long as I endure to my OWN standards professionally and deliver care with results that are high and competent, that is what matters.

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Emergent has 25 years experience.

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I'm sorry you have to suffer this. (((Hugs)))

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

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I'm wondering if you've ever tried ECT. It's a last resort for treatment-resistant depression, but I've seen it work in a couple of friends who had tried every anti-depressant on the market and weren't able to get their depression under control. Nobody is meant to suffer like you do. I'm so sorry, I know what it feels like and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. ((((HUGS))))

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Boomer MS, RN has 17 years experience and specializes in Med Surg/ICU/Psych/Emergency/CEN/retired.

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I've been treated for over twenty years. It doesn't go into remission, just gets better or worse. I need a way to cope better with the symptoms so I can work without being a cranky coworker. At the worst times, I feel like " I don't care (if I've offended you) just fire me" Obviously this isn't how I really feel, and I would have been better off calling in sick, but you can't just walk off the job once you go in. Does anyone have a method to pick out the crappy days vrs the regular morning feeling like a piece of pooh? Twelve hours is a long time to maintain a facade.

Geez, 12 hours is a long time to maintain a facade. It's easy for me to sit here and speculate what is going on. But everyone deserves some happiness, and you sound very burned out. I am so sorry. I am not sure if you have seen an MD, but an SSRI might help, at least in the short course. I hope you will see your PCP if you haven't already for an evaluation. Another suggestion is exercise. It is difficult to make make that leap, but it does seem to help. There is that theory of release of natural endorphins. Even some walking can help. It's just hard to get started when you're already feeling so blue.

I hope you'll consider some ideas here from others. Best wishes. :-)) You are not useless.

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