Has anyone gone through nursing school with depression?

Posted
by trapstudent trapstudent (New) New

Hello everyone, i am in the midst of a sever depressive episode and am in my first year second semester of nursing. I realized I have been depressed my whole life only around 6 days ago from age 11 to now 19 (funny not to realize, but a long story). I am plagued by other problems too related to things like anxiety, self-esteem, etc. The program I am in is very demanding (I'm sure almost everyone can relate to that haha). I feel absolutely terrible as you might imagine.

I went through the second most worst breakdown of my life only in December 2015 during my first semester exams. Of course at that point my lowest mark was a B and I ended up passing all my exams (the last one by only 2%) and three A's in the classes I finished. Didn't stop me from spending almost the whole month before in a perpetual state of fear that I would fail (one of my core nursing exams) and end up having to repeat the whole year if I didn't pick it up by next semester in the end. I'm talking multiple thoughts per day and obsessively(!!!) asking everyone who could provide me an answer the consequences of failing an exam first semester. Even now, the fears persist (towards many things like passing my exam to start clinical; fail twice and you do the whole year over) and extend to me not passing the NCLEX or second year, which is infinitely more demanding than first year (and look at how I'm doing!)

I feel terribly hopeless and sad. Exhausted and lonely. Especially as this voice in my head constantly tells me so many bad things about myself. I go to school and can't stop crying. I am getting help, I have two counsellors but haven't seen them in a long while (because of winter break, availability). My doctor knows and is the one who signed me up for my second counsellor. The help seems as if it can't come quick enough. Ultimately, I am very messed up after being this way for half my life. Anyways, I don't know what I'm getting at here. I have already taken an extra year off after high school before starting this program and can't really consider taking time off.

I guess I would just like to ask, has there been anyone in my situation before? Does anyone have any advice? This perpetual stress makes me want to jump out of every window I see. I won't do it, but the thoughts wear down on a person. The only people who really understand how I feel are those who are depressed like myself, or have been. Anyways, thanks for reading.

Edited by trapstudent

nutella

nutella, MSN, RN

1 Article; 1,509 Posts

I am sorry you are not feeling well. Nursing school is stressful as well as nursing itself, especially when you are a new nurse. From what you are writing it sounds like you are having a really hard time with your issues. In my opinion, it is imperative that you find a good psychiatrist who will work with you and a therapist. Perhaps you should also look into career counseling and find out if nursing really the right choice for you or if there is something else you may be interested in.

Depression is no joke - it makes everything harder, I hope you will feel better soon!

dishes

dishes, BSN, RN

3,950 Posts

There are nurses living with depression, as well as doctors, lawyers, teachers, in every profession there are people living with depression. Seek help from professionals soon, they can help you with your distressing thoughts. Let your family know how you are feeling, they can comfort and support you.

Purple_roses

Purple_roses

1,763 Posts

I am so sorry you're feeling this way. There have been others who have felt the way you do, but we unfortunately cannot give you the counseling you need. Please seek help while you're waiting for an appointment with your counsellors.

Tell your doctor. Tell a relative who you feel close to. Please let us know when you have done so. I hope you feel better soon.

Tumbler

Tumbler

87 Posts

First piece of advice: if you're using medications, get thee to a shrink! Honestly, a psychiatrist will assess you more thoroughly than a GP, understands far more about psychiatric meds and their side effects, and will often treat more aggressively.

To answer your question, yes, many people of all kinds, including nursing students, deal with depressive episodes. Everybody's different. For some the answer is to just keep plugging away. For others, the stress of the program and the job itself make it a poor career choice. The second bit of advice I have would be to work with your therapist (since you have two, make sure they're not working at cross purposes; personally, I'd have trouble with two) to determine if you're going to be happy as a nurse. If you are prone to depression, you may really want to seek out a less stressful career. I find the job very, very emotionally demanding. Nursing school totally didn't prepare me for that part.

Purple_roses

Purple_roses

1,763 Posts

I agree that the first thing you should do is see a psychiatrist if you can get an appointment quickly. But all these other questions? Should you be a nurse, should you see a career counselor? NO! No, those are NOT the questions for right now, because that's a lot to think about--it's too much for you to think about right now. The first and ONLY thing for you to address right now is the fact that you want to jump out of a window. Nobody on this forum knows of suicidal ideation is directly related to nursing school, or if you have a biological, chemical imbalance going on in your body.

So the first and ONLY thing to address right now, again, is the fact that you want to jump out of a window. Every window you see. You may not think you'll do it, but the fact that the thought is there (every time you see a window especially) sweeps all these other details aside for now. Talk to a professional about your suicidal ideation FIRST. Then that professional can guide you through other questions that need to be addressed. But nobody on this site can tell you to reassess your life and career. We do NOT have the authority to guide you through this process.

Again, please please let us know when you set up these appointments and please feel free to come back and talk here. I really do wish you the best.

CountryMomma, ASN, RN

1 Article; 589 Posts

I've had depression for half my life. I had been off meds since the birth of my eldest son, but with the stress of school I restarted my CBT, and after 6 mos at my first job, I started on meds again.

Be sure to follow self-health. Diet, rest, exercise. I strongly recommend following up with a mental health professional for more assistance.

Lots of people are nurses w depression, anxiety, etc. I'm still on anti-depressants for the stress and anxiety, and I still use the CBT. It hasn't hindered my ability to do my job.

poppycat, ADN, BSN

Specializes in pediatrics; PICU; NICU. Has 44 years experience. 856 Posts

I have struggled with depression & anxiety since I was 7 years old. I've been on antidepressants most of my adult life. I made it through nursing school & have survived almost 38 years of practice. It has not been easy but without medication & therapy I would probably not be alive right now.

As others have said, you need to see a psychiatrist ASAP. With suicidal ideation, school should be lower on your list of priorities.

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

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

I've battled depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder for years, and the most important thing I've learned from it is that I can't take care of anyone else unless I take care of myself first. You MUST get your mental health in order before you take on the responsibilities of a nurse. Please see a mental health professional ASAP and be honest about your issues---this is no time for false bravado or minimizing your distress. I wish you the very best in regaining control over your life and moving forward with your career.

trapstudent

trapstudent

6 Posts

Thank you so so much for saying that. I saw the comments about whether I should reconsider and it made me really scared. I can't think of doing anything else. I will make sure to do that and bring it up. I honestly thought it was "normal" I guess to think multiple times throughout the day that I wanted to kill myself and to vividly imagine it in my head completing it in various ways. Now I know it is not. I have three appointments this week, hopefully I will know what to do and see what type of help I can get. I really appreciate your comment, thank you once again.

trapstudent

trapstudent

6 Posts

You are right. I always imagined that since my depression dealt with things not related to nursing at all or school even that I would be okay. But it is true that you cannot take care of someone well when you yourself are sick. I will try hard, I do find I don't tell the whole truth because of fear of judgement. Thank you for this comment.

trapstudent

trapstudent

6 Posts

I did think about the stressful aspects of nursing before becoming one. I even planned to work somewhere not as stressful in the future like that of a health clinic or working in public health if I felt that is something that would affect me. I will reconsider having two counsellors, although they do sort of different things with me. If you don't mind me asking, in what ways do you personally find it emotionally demanding? And thanks for the suggestion, but if I wasn't becoming a nurse the only thing I see is physician. So I don't even know where I would start to look for a different career. I will talk to my mentor and see what my solutions are.