I walk on the unit thinking on the pep-talk I just gave myself: I'm a great nurse, I'm a great person, everything will be okay. Focus on your patients! Who do I have today? 9B- My thought process gets interrupted but the sudden jolt of anxiety I feel. I walk into a small break room packed with 6 nurses- all eyes on me, "Good morning!" ... "Good morning everyone," I say with a soft smile and red face. I sit at the corner computer and take a deep breath. When will I get over this? The ever-present anxiety that fills my chest already has me exhausted. It's 0700.
My day continues with this baseline discomfort I would rate a 6/10, tolerated, only because I've lived with it for years. However, it's not tolerable. The years have gone on, I'm 27 now, and the social anxiety has yet to "get better". Every day I feel like it's the first day of school. Palpitations, anxiety, and 16 years of bottled-up stress. To make matters worse, my job requires I interact with tens of people each day.
What do I do? What should I do? Maybe I'm not cut out for this. Maybe the healthiest option would be to do some kind of desk nursing. Should I go on medication? I don't want to. I'm nearing a crossroads and I know I'll have to make a choice.
What I want to know is:
How does everyone else deal? Have you left floor nursing? Are you on an anxiolytic?
I can't do this forever.
How long have you been working there? How are your relationships with your coworkers?
Ask your GP... So many people think they have anxiety and that it ends there. I did. I ended up having depression ( with my only symptom as anxiety ). I got treatment for the depression and the anxiety resolved. Sometimes it's deeper than just what we 'feel,' but because what we feel is so uncomfortable it's hard to see beyond it. The best thing for me was I didn't have to do benzos.
I bet your GP will have some good ideas. I felt like you were describing my personal experience as a young nurse. It's so much better now. I hope it will be for you too.
I second the idea of seeing your GP or even a psychiatrist who might be able to help you. There's also therapy that might help, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) for anxiety you coud do. I think much of what's going on is in your head versus the job. If it were me, I'd try seeing a specialist, then see if that helps the way I feel about the job.
You kinda sound like me. Ever since I've been working, I've tried my best to push past my anxiety, and perform my job to the best of my abilities. And it worked, for a while. But I can tell it is getting harder to muster up that courage to even go into a patient's room without feeling like I'm disturbing, or being judged by the occupants in the room. It has made me even more mentally exhausted than usual, and has made my job harder to deal with. I haven't needed medications for many years, but now I am on the verge of starting Zoloft for depression. I am at the point of finishing out my year before transitioning to another job.
I say this to say...don't overexert yourself. If you feel like you want to try to stick it out, and gain confidence in your practice (and more importantly, yourself), then go for it. But if it starts draining you even more than when you began your career, I would not push it. Of course, get help first before you make any drastic decisions. It may just be new nurse jitters, which does take time to get used to. I'm still going through it as well.
Just be honest with yourself, and take care of your health. =3
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