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Mental heath issues and my career

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by Throwawayseekingadvice Throwawayseekingadvice (New Member) New Member Student

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I have cyclothymia and an eating disorder. I am in therapy and see a psychiatrist. While I am working on recovery for my eating disorder, my mood disorder is chronic and something I will always be working on.

I want advice on how to manage my career.
I have had instances where my mental health interfered with school but was met with nothing but support. In my career though I don’t anticipate the same environment. I want to hear stories or experiences of nurses who have or had mental health challenges successfully navigate their careers and lives. I don’t want to give up on my self and nursing, but I need encouragement.

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 9,653 Posts; 248,325 Profile Views

As a nurse whose career was ended by severe bipolar disorder, I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but I don't. I just wanted to stop by and encourage you to pursue your dreams. You seem very self-aware and that will take you far in your nursing journey. One thing I would advise you is to keep your mental health history under wraps. You are absolutely right not to assume that you will receive support in this career if you have a MH issue. I have lost jobs due to having clued my bosses in to my illness, and I know that wouldn't have happened had I never disclosed my diagnosis. Supposedly employers can't discriminate against workers on account of psychiatric disabilities, but they do it every day...they just find some other reason to get rid of them, or to not hire them in the first place.

That being said, I think you can do this. Cyclothymia is treatable and it doesn't have to mean giving up on yourself. The eating disorder is a little trickier, but if you're managing it well, kudos to you!

Good luck, and God bless. Viva

 

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I would like to echo Viva's sentiment.  I have experienced discrimination in the workplace for having a mental illness. I hate keeping it under wraps, but I have learned that my life at work is easier when people don't know.  It is very sad that in this profession we are taught to accept people's differences, but we don't accept eachother.  You may think letting people know will be freeing.  It won't be.  Don't make the same mistakes I have. Despite these challenges, I have survived 22 years in the field and I'm still working.  If I can do it, so can you!

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I don't have any advice to give but I wish you well.

I will ask, what coping mechanisms did you use while in school? Do you think they will help you at work with a little adjustment to the new environment? Maybe ask your therapist for help on doing that or something similar to help you get through the day. Also, maybe 8 hr shifts would be better than 12 hour shifts if it affects you within certain time frames. If it's certain days, maybe 12 hour shifts on certain days, clustered or spread out, may help. I don't know your specific circumstances and it's not my business but hopefully you get the gist of what I'm saying.

As others have said, don't disclose your MH status to employers/coworkers because they will use it against you. I've seen enough hateful folks in my life to cosign what they've said is true.

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