Having SI in relation to new, stressful jobs: quitting nursing forever

Posted
by pinkdoves pinkdoves, BSN Member Nurse

Specializes in Pediatrics, NICU. Has 3 years experience.

I have been working as an RN since August of 2019, and there has been a common theme: every time I switch to a new job, I have intense SI, anxiety, and depression. 

My first job with adults I couldn't even get out of bed. All I did was cry. I was being bullied at this job and was miserable. I quit after 2 months.

My second position I had SI, depressive thoughts, and anxiety (but more bearable than the first job's). I remember sitting in the parking lot just thinking SI things. But I got through it...I became higher up. started precepting people, felt like I fit in...I knew what I was doing. But even as a I was "higher up" sometimes I still began to be depressed before showing up to work. I was stressed out (not eating properly). I feel like I cannot take care of myself as a nurse.

My most recent position (within the same hospital as my second position) has me feeling INTENSE SI depressive thoughts, anxiety. Here I am on my day off right now writing this and having SI about nursing. My last shift I had so much anxiety I was just sitting there trying not to panic in public. I'm incredibly anxious and feel like everyone thinks I'm so dumb. my coworkers are somewhat willing to help me, but they're also kind of standoff-ish. I made a mistake my last shift and I can't stop thinking about it. I'm trying to make it at least 4 more months in this position (to make a total of 6 months at least) but I feel such an intense dread and anxiety. my chest kind of hurts while just writing about this I have that much anxiety.

I don't know what to do. I've never had a position outside of the hospital, but at this point I am so done with healthcare, rude families, getting yelled at...sometimes it's just too much. like once I was having SI and then I came to work and a patient's family started yelling at me. my mental health can't take this. I need to get out. I want to be happy.

I just feel stuck. I live in a city where I renewed my lease until November, but I really feel like I cannot last that long. I want to just escape to a different country where no one knows where I am. 

I am seriously almost 85% sure I am quitting the nursing field to pursue computer science. I think what I've learned from my experience is that I hate working in healthcare and I need a job where I can pee and people don't die. I don't want to watch babies die. I just want to be happy, but I have been severely depressed since I started working as a nurse. and as 2022 starts, I feel even more depressed that I still am a miserable nurse. I hate nursing. I need this to stop ruining my life, but I feel bad leaving my position earlier than 6 months. and also IDK what I want to do because to apply to computer science I need GRE scores, etc., that I do not have.I need to do something in the mean time... 

also, something I noticed a huge difference was my personality vs all my coworkers personalities. everyone else is very outgoing, organized, "type a" whereas I'm the opposite: I'm quiet, disorganized, "type b"...I genuinelly do not care about work anymore. I feel lazy to do the job sometimes bc I just don't want to do it. this personality difference makes me feel like nursing is not the career for me. I know I need a therapist (I'm working on that). I guess I'm writing this to see if anyone relates to me...or maybe I'm just too insane. whatever. I hate nursing.

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience. 11 Articles; 17,335 Posts

Read your post with interest and see your emotional pain.

Contact these resources ASAP for support and advice:

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741

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A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from our secure online platform. The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.

Many facilities offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) --a confidential employer-based service to help workers cope with work/life issues. The programs provide services and support to improve employees' mental, physical, and financial health.   They can help you make a decision to take immediate leave for mental health support / how to notify employer along with career counseling later ---  help is usually provided free of charge.

{{{  HUG }}} to you.  Many nurses have been in your position and found mental health support along with medication made dramatic improvement in their life.   Keep in touch... Let us know how you are.

chevyv, BSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Mental Health. Has 14 years experience. 1,679 Posts

Take care of you now!  Experiencing suicidal ideation is a huge red flag. The high anxiety you state you're having can directly affect the SI as well.  Your whole post screams high anxiety. These are such difficult days in nursing. I really want you to make an appointment with mental health and if those feelings of SI become more intense and a plan forms, call 911 and get help.  We don't want to lose you!

Journey_On, BSN, RN

Specializes in Occupational Health and Mother Baby. Has 13 years experience. 293 Posts

You are not insane. I can relate. A lot of what you said rung true for me at my first couple of hospital jobs. I nearly had a panic attack in my car before a shift and felt like I was going to die or something. I would wish that I could be sick so I didn't have to go into work.

And it wasn't even that the work was that bad. I just had horrible anxiety, maybe remnants from my first nursing job. Also the fact that I felt stuck and I wasn't in the unit I truly wanted to be in, despite multiple attempts to transfer (didn't get past the interview for the first try and didn't have positions available for me the second try). I also had/have mental illness and maybe I could have lasted longer had I been on my SSRI medication at the time.

I didn't know how much longer I could hold out before a position in my desired unit was available, so I gave my two weeks notice in December 2012 and felt so free. I took a break from the hospital for a little while and worked in a non-nursing job that I was super interested in. I was really happy and free. I later got a non-hospital nursing position that I am still in now. And even though I said I never would, I found my way back to the hospital, FINALLY in the unit I wanted to be in ever since I was a nursing student. It took several years, but I made it. I am also per diem at this hospital job, which I believe is good for me as well (rather than the 3 12s a week).

I am glad I got out when I did. If you are able, maybe you can take a leave of absence to think about it for a bit, for starters? The suggestions presented above are also very important.

No job is worth making you feel the way you do. I truly hope you can find a job that you enjoy. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

Izzy21

Izzy21

Has 6 years experience. 7 Posts

I am in a very similar situation. I've had problems with anxiety/depression since I was a teenager, but never really acknowledged it by getting help because it is such a shameful thing. I remember telling my mom about it once when I was a teenager, telling her that somedays I just wish I were dead, and she just basically responded with, "well that's ridiculous." So from there I just continued to hide it. Through all those years, I cried in my room alone, I broke things and banged my head on walls and tried to find other ways to get out my frustrations because I was alone. I hid everything very well though for years. Got through nursing school and got my BSN, my license; worked in a LTC/subacute nursing facility for 4.5 years before giving my 4 weeks notice. I took a few months off (about 2 or 3 months) to try to relax and figure out if nursing was even something I ever really wanted to do. But during this time I just kept hearing from other nursing friends and family that I needed to hurry up and step on it and get into a good hospital job while I could because the more time out of the field the less likely I am to be able to get back into it. So I did what I was supposed to, I took a nursing job in a very good hospital part of a very large system in my area on an ortho/neuro (stroke/seizure) unit. Every day of orientation was hell for me. I kept wishing someone someday would come to me and tell me I unfortunately didn't make the cut so the nightmare could finally be over. Every day had me questioning if I really wanted to even wake up at all the next day and when I did I'd start to cry. I passed orientation while putting up a front that I am okay, nobody knew. Then 5 months into the job I finally cracked. I was physically unable to do anything good for myself anymore, I would call out of work due to extreme panic attacks. I kept thinking somedays that I would walk into their ER for treatment because the SI became that strong and I was so afraid. I took LOA for about 7 weeks, heavenly for me to just have time to relax and focus on me again. I told my family finally the truth, let them know how broken I really am and how much I hate the job and nursing in general, they seem more understanding this time around. But now LOA is about over (I am expected back Tuesday night which is tomorrow) but I don't think I can even make it through for a 2 week notice, let alone 4 weeks. My boss said he would call in the morning today to discuss putting me back on the schedule, but I am on the edge. I am most likely just going to quit without proper notice because the thought of going back has had me physically ill this past week. I've been having extreme panic attacks again, crying, screaming again and lashing out at my BF who only wants to try to help me, I've been throwing up and having extreme burning pain in my abdomen, heavy chest pain/tightness, body aches and pains in my shoulders, back, hip, terrible headaches. I hate to admit being a failure but essentially that's what I feel like. And yes the SI has been very strong this past week especially, and me wishing I could just fall asleep and natural causes would just take me. Why is nursing this way? Why are hospitals and facilities so okay with overworking and overusing their staff to the point of mental breakdowns. As long as they continue making their millions I guess, who cares about the little worker ants. But writer, just know you are not alone and even knowing I am not fully alone in feeling how I feel kind of helps in a way. I am so sorry you are going through very similar struggles though.

pinkdoves, BSN

Specializes in Pediatrics, NICU. Has 3 years experience. 163 Posts

7 hours ago, Izzy21 said:

I am in a very similar situation. I've had problems with anxiety/depression since I was a teenager, but never really acknowledged it by getting help because it is such a shameful thing. I remember telling my mom about it once when I was a teenager, telling her that somedays I just wish I were dead, and she just basically responded with, "well that's ridiculous." So from there I just continued to hide it. Through all those years, I cried in my room alone, I broke things and banged my head on walls and tried to find other ways to get out my frustrations because I was alone. I hid everything very well though for years. Got through nursing school and got my BSN, my license; worked in a LTC/subacute nursing facility for 4.5 years before giving my 4 weeks notice. I took a few months off (about 2 or 3 months) to try to relax and figure out if nursing was even something I ever really wanted to do. But during this time I just kept hearing from other nursing friends and family that I needed to hurry up and step on it and get into a good hospital job while I could because the more time out of the field the less likely I am to be able to get back into it. So I did what I was supposed to, I took a nursing job in a very good hospital part of a very large system in my area on an ortho/neuro (stroke/seizure) unit. Every day of orientation was hell for me. I kept wishing someone someday would come to me and tell me I unfortunately didn't make the cut so the nightmare could finally be over. Every day had me questioning if I really wanted to even wake up at all the next day and when I did I'd start to cry. I passed orientation while putting up a front that I am okay, nobody knew. Then 5 months into the job I finally cracked. I was physically unable to do anything good for myself anymore, I would call out of work due to extreme panic attacks. I kept thinking somedays that I would walk into their ER for treatment because the SI became that strong and I was so afraid. I took LOA for about 7 weeks, heavenly for me to just have time to relax and focus on me again. I told my family finally the truth, let them know how broken I really am and how much I hate the job and nursing in general, they seem more understanding this time around. But now LOA is about over (I am expected back Tuesday night which is tomorrow) but I don't think I can even make it through for a 2 week notice, let alone 4 weeks. My boss said he would call in the morning today to discuss putting me back on the schedule, but I am on the edge. I am most likely just going to quit without proper notice because the thought of going back has had me physically ill this past week. I've been having extreme panic attacks again, crying, screaming again and lashing out at my BF who only wants to try to help me, I've been throwing up and having extreme burning pain in my abdomen, heavy chest pain/tightness, body aches and pains in my shoulders, back, hip, terrible headaches. I hate to admit being a failure but essentially that's what I feel like. And yes the SI has been very strong this past week especially, and me wishing I could just fall asleep and natural causes would just take me. Why is nursing this way? Why are hospitals and facilities so okay with overworking and overusing their staff to the point of mental breakdowns. As long as they continue making their millions I guess, who cares about the little worker ants. But writer, just know you are not alone and even knowing I am not fully alone in feeling how I feel kind of helps in a way. I am so sorry you are going through very similar struggles though.

WOW, thank you for taking the time to write your story. That sounds really stressful and scary. I would say at this point, just be honest with your work manager, because he/she already knows something is wrong. Quit, but then also tell them why. Maybe they will be more understanding if you explain (vaguely-not in huge detail) your mental health struggles. I wish you the best! Please update me on what happens!

Izzy21

Izzy21

Has 6 years experience. 7 Posts

16 hours ago, pinkdoves said:

WOW, thank you for taking the time to write your story. That sounds really stressful and scary. I would say at this point, just be honest with your work manager, because he/she already knows something is wrong. Quit, but then also tell them why. Maybe they will be more understanding if you explain (vaguely-not in huge detail) your mental health struggles. I wish you the best! Please update me on what happens!

I spoke with my nurse manager, did not give too much information as to why I was resigning but just that I am going through a difficult time right now that requires I resign from my position effective immediately. He seemed very understanding. Sent off my resignation letter. Spoke with HR as well to see what other things I may need to send off if required. I guess the good thing about the system I worked for is they do not have a "do not rehire" penalty which is good in case anything ever changes for me in the future. At this point I can't even imagine ever going back, but who knows. Maybe not a hospital setting, but something different, less stressful. But at this point it is all stressful and nursing has just been too tarnished for me to even consider going back to any of it at this point. It is scary leaving like this without a clear path, but the only thing I know for sure at this point is I want to get better and I need to finally stop pushing for what other people want from me and focus on my health first so that's what I am going to do. Again, it is very scary, but I know I need to do this finally because it's pretty much just a breaking point and is now or never. And I also thank you for previously taking the time to post about your experience and struggles. It was so hard for me going through this for so long, and then going into nursing with this burden thinking or feeling like I was just so alone in any of this because there was no way any other nurse could ever feel like this or let it get to this point. I know the whole thing about new nurses having a hard time at first because of the shock of going from theory to practice, but once you've gone through it for some time and just hated it each time and get to this point, you begin to question everything and it seeps into other aspects of life that destroys all confidence. But again, just reading a few different people's experiences here has truly given me some strength to do what I needed to do finally. Thank you.

pinkdoves, BSN

Specializes in Pediatrics, NICU. Has 3 years experience. 163 Posts

16 hours ago, Izzy21 said:

I spoke with my nurse manager, did not give too much information as to why I was resigning but just that I am going through a difficult time right now that requires I resign from my position effective immediately. He seemed very understanding. Sent off my resignation letter. Spoke with HR as well to see what other things I may need to send off if required. I guess the good thing about the system I worked for is they do not have a "do not rehire" penalty which is good in case anything ever changes for me in the future. At this point I can't even imagine ever going back, but who knows. Maybe not a hospital setting, but something different, less stressful. But at this point it is all stressful and nursing has just been too tarnished for me to even consider going back to any of it at this point. It is scary leaving like this without a clear path, but the only thing I know for sure at this point is I want to get better and I need to finally stop pushing for what other people want from me and focus on my health first so that's what I am going to do. Again, it is very scary, but I know I need to do this finally because it's pretty much just a breaking point and is now or never. And I also thank you for previously taking the time to post about your experience and struggles. It was so hard for me going through this for so long, and then going into nursing with this burden thinking or feeling like I was just so alone in any of this because there was no way any other nurse could ever feel like this or let it get to this point. I know the whole thing about new nurses having a hard time at first because of the shock of going from theory to practice, but once you've gone through it for some time and just hated it each time and get to this point, you begin to question everything and it seeps into other aspects of life that destroys all confidence. But again, just reading a few different people's experiences here has truly given me some strength to do what I needed to do finally. Thank you.

izzy, that made my day! im so happy you're doing what's best for you. I wish you happiness and peace. Good luck with whatever you end up doing. You too made me feel less alone!

speedynurse

speedynurse, ADN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU. 544 Posts

Pink doves - there is nothing wrong with looking into a non-nursing job/career. I do agree that often the way nurses are treated has become much worse throughout the years. One thing I recommend on your days off is to truly try not to think about work. Don’t answer calls/texts from work unless absolutely necessary. Don’t pick up extra shifts. Find something you enjoy! I know changing specialities helped ease a lot of the stress for me. My nursing career is a very small part of my life - it’s a way to pay bills and while I do take pride in my job, I rarely bring it home anymore. I go out with friends, walk my dog, hike, spend time outdoors, read a good book, do errands, take classes, discover new areas in my hometown to explore or do day trips. 
 

Again - there is nothing wrong with finding a different career that you enjoy. Another option is to find a non-bedside nursing job while you try to go through school for another career option. Nursing is difficult and has become more so in my opinion. I have had to strategically separate myself from my job on my days off. One thing left I thought I would mention is to maybe think about is it the career itself that you hate? Or the specialty, shifts, management, team, etc? I know sometimes dissatisfaction can stem from a toxic team, poor management, night or rotating shifts, a specific patient population, etc.

I wish you the best in your career and happiness…. 

NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 45 years experience. 11 Articles; 17,335 Posts

 

NEW National # for concerns re suicide:  988

988 has been designated as the new three-digit dialing code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. While some areas may be currently able to connect to the Lifeline by dialing 988, this dialing code will be available to everyone across the United States starting on July 16, 2022.

Learn more

 

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience. 3,164 Posts

I stepped out of nursing for two years and worked with injured and orphaned wildlife. Delightful 2 years, but not such good pay. Went back into nursing with an agency and did private duty with elderly, and rather enjoyed that.

Good luck. Take care!

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 20 years experience. 4 Articles; 4,534 Posts

On 1/17/2022 at 8:17 AM, pinkdoves said:

WOW, thank you for taking the time to write your story. That sounds really stressful and scary. I would say at this point, just be honest with your work manager, because he/she already knows something is wrong. Quit, but then also tell them why. Maybe they will be more understanding if you explain (vaguely-not in huge detail) your mental health struggles. I wish you the best! Please update me on what happens!

I concur that telling your story is very brave - but bravery aside you do need to take steps to address your mental health and I don't mean self care like massages and walks on the beach etc... You need to seek help from a licensed mental health practitioner. They can provide you with the necessary documentation to get disability and treatment without risk to your employment. This would at least give you the breathing space to get started on treatment. In 2012 I atempted to kill myself and survived. It took me a good five years of pretty intensive therapy and medication management to become a functional person again. Today I am reasonably happy, off all psych meds and living a balanced life with my family. While I don't anticipate future episodes I won't hesitate to seek help if I find myself slipping into that dark place. 

OP you may be right that nursing is not right for you but you won't knowfor sure until treatment allows you clarity of mind. Please seek help immediately for your SI.

Hppy