Thanks for all the replies; I appreciate the time everyone took to read my really long post.
It feels so good to finally vent about all of this to people who get what I'm talking about. My family wants to be supportive, I know they do, but they can't stand hearing about my job. They are afraid that I'll either tell them something disgusting or that I'll depress them with the details. So I keep a lot bottled up inside.
I've actually been on lexapro.
Well, I started taking lexapro in Jan. when I had some martial problems. I was on it for about 6 weeks, and it worked okay for depression, but it had some side effects I didn't care for. So I quit taking it. After my medication error, though, I went home and the first thing I did was take one again.
I've noticed that I don't feel as trapped or stuck when I'm taking the lexapro (obviously that's the depression part being helped) but it hasn't done much about my anxiety level. I still feel really anxious about my job. I had a hard time falling asleep last night, knowing I had to come to work today. That's why I'm wondering about Buspar. I know my physician (whom I adore) wouldn't be opposed to giving me something like Xanax in the short term, but that's not a long term solution, even if she'd be willing to prescribe long term.
I am looking into counseling, both career and personal. We do have an EAP program. I think I used all my benefits during my marital problems earlier this year, but I do have good health insurance, so I should be able to cover counseling on my own.
My husband has been wonderful, which is surprising to me. I kind of expected him to take a hard line and say something like, "Well you have to work." But he didn't. He was totally supportive and said if I really want to quit, then I should and find something else I want to do. Or he said I could work part time or whatever I want to do. His attitude has also helped me feel less trapped, especially since he said he will pay for insurance if I want to quit.
I don't feel like quitting is the answer; I feel like that would be running away rather than dealing with the problem. And I also think that if I change jobs, I'll be okay for awhile but eventually these issues would come back. I don't know if it's nursing, really, or if it's me. Maybe I'm the problem. Or maybe the way nursing in general is the problem.
Most people I know and talk to have the same problems with their jobs that I have with mine ... long hours, no breaks, called in on their days off. It seems that if you work in a hospital, then that's what happens, at least in my area. I do NOT ever answer my phone on my days off, but they still call, and then I feel guilty for not going in. <sigh> But I don't feel as bad as I would if I did go in.
I like working with kids, and there are a lot of things I like about my unit. I talked to a couple of my co-workers today about my burnout with the chronic, long-term patients, and most of them said that they have periods where they feel the same way, where they are just sick of caring for a particular patient. So maybe I need an assignment change.
I just need to do something so that I feel competent and not so anxious all the time. People keep telling me that one mistake isn't worth ripping myself up over, but I can't help it. The anxiety is just overwheming, and I think that's my biggest problem. Now I just have to figure out how to deal with it.
I do feel so much better than I did when I wrote my first post, so that's a step in the right direction. Thanks so much for all the advice and thoughts; it's greatly appreciated.