Published Mar 1, 2001
I have had 1 month off since my mother died. Financially I need to think of returning. I tried a couple of shifts back and I felt incapable as it was, then an older man died. My mind went blank and I just couldn't think of what to do. When I'm at home my focus is on my mom and wishing that I could just go for a holiday or do something fun. I really couldn't care less about work right now but know I need to. I know grieving will take a while. I feel empty. I am somewhat frightened that my brain will not pull through for me if I really need it to. I'm tired of people saying you need to just go back to work, you'll feel better. These people aren't RN's and fail to understand the need for a focused mind on the job. Is there anybody out there who can relate and share some insight on how I should proceed. Thanks alot.
I am so sorry stp, I know it is hard to lose a parent. You said you had a month off and something about going on a holiday which makes me think you might be from England? All I know is that I am from America and I lost my father on a Tuesday and got a 3 day funeral/grievance leave and was back to work on Monday. It personally helped me to get back into the "rat race".
Okay, I have no experience in psych or anything so please don't think I'm diagnosing or anything like that. When you say you feel empty it reminded me someone else who was in the grieving process. She, too, experienced feelings of inadequacy in addition of emptiness and lethargy. She sought counseling with a psychiatrist and was prescribed antidepressants. I don't remember how long she was on the medication but I do know that she was in therapy for approximately nine months until both she and the psychiatrist agreed that she no longer needed the therapy sessions. The results? This happened 4 years ago and mom is doing fine. She's a nurse, too. At the time she changed to a slower-paced, lower stress job and found a new niche. She's been there ever since and loves her job. As nurses, we know that life goes on but sometimes we need a little help to live that life well. Best of luck to you.
My condolences on the loss of your mom. Moms are irreplacable no matter how old we are.
I am struck by the polarity of previous posters. I'm probably going to offer a third pole.
Basically, everything that you describe is pretty classic for the normal and natural situation of grief. People feel out of it. They are absorbed and feel unfocused. They may be emotionally labile. No one grieves on a schedule and being one month out, you are still acutely grieving. All of those things are normal and many people find that they are helped by normalizing their lives a little by a return to work. But what I am hearing from you is that you tried that and one month later you are still vacillating about a return to work. I have questions to ask you that you _should not_ feel compelled to answer here. Was their something atypical in your relationship with your mom that brings guilt to your grieiving? Not being there when she died? Strife in your relationship with her? Guilt that she died and you (the nurse) didn't save her? Please do not feel compelled to answer these questions to me but if they strike a chord with you, do get some support in dealing with this normal but difficult grief process. This can be through your funeral home (they often offer grief support and know when and how to refer), Employee Assistance program, local mental health center, pastor, or hospice program if she was receiving those services prior to death.
I don't like to see grief pathologized--it is a normal but painful process but when grief starts to step in the way of normal life function ie a return to work, you may need some support. So go see someone and though we at this board care, it's not really the organized and personal care that you need and deserve. Any one of those folks on my list can point you to some support.
Thanks for the replies. It is difficult to explain why I feel the way I do. I feel I am too young to be without a mom. I did not get to see her very often but when I did we had a good visit. She was alot of fun. She had a wonderful British sense of humor and she was very cute. So looking at all that I figure this really sucks to put it mildly. It feels unfair for me and her. I have thought of the counselling route. I did not think of the employee assistance program which is a great idea. As for work itself, the residents where I work are wonderful, the environment is full of turmoil due to a very poor administration. I wonder then if I'm doing my mind any favors by taking on all this added stress from work.
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