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Nurses struggling with mental illness

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by Severina Severina (New Member) New Member

1,792 Visitors; 31 Posts

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1,792 Visitors; 31 Posts

throughout my teen years i was very depressed but unlike most people with depression instead of being mopey and sad, i became angry and violent. when i finally was ready to face up to the fact that i had a problem i was put on prozac and i thought that was that. but what i didn't know was that i wasn't just depressed i was bipolar, it turns out many, many people are misdiagnosed because most only go get help for the depressive side and don't explain the whole picture to their doctor. also being only on a drug like prozac can make you cycle more rapidly. :angryfire

in aug of this year i was finally properly diagnosed by a psyciatrist and was put on lithium and prozac. they help alot and i am almost normal, the only thing is i still have anxiety problems and a very hard time sleeping. i stay up for days sometimes and then i sleep for days as well. i am hopfully going to acheive my dream of becoming a midwife, before i'm 30. i have basically flunked out of school twice due to the fact that i start my classes and do well but then i get depressed and loose momentum. do any of you have any ideas on how i can make the third time a charm?

i have just moved home to stay with my mom so that i can get my life together and hopefully learn to control my mi if not overcome it completly. also as i am still young and hope to have kids someday in the near future. do any of you know of a bipolar medication that is safe for during pregnancy. my step mother stayed on her meds while she was pregnant with my half brother and now he is having alot of developmental problems that could be atributed to the lithium and all her other meds. :uhoh21:

one more question and then i'll give it a rest. have anyof you heard of meetup.com it is a site where people who share the same interests and.or problems can get together and chat and even meet in person. i was wondering if any of you would be interested in starting an group for people in the medical profession with mental illnesses? anywho let me know and i can set it up as i belong to a few other groups in my home town. :p

celtic bombshell

hey, i love your name. i am really into my celtic heritage and all things celtic, but thats ot.

i wish i had some magic pill that would put everything together for you. unfortunately this is a process and psych meds are not perfect. all i can say is stay on your meds and get them tweaked or changed if they are not helping you to function well. also, usually meds alone don't get you very far. i can't say enough about a good psychotherapist. i have no idea about the meds in pregnancy thing. i have 3 children, but i had them before any of this stuff really took knocked me down (i was by no means healthy then, though).

the best advice i can give you is that you are your own best advocate. read books, and work on things yourself. there are a lot of tools. i have a workbook that i never finished (go figure, thats a big habit for me) called the depression workbook, i think. in the hospital i did some stuff out of it and it was pretty helpful.

just know that you can't push yourself too hard. get to know your body and mind and what triggers episodes for you and what gets you escalating. meds don't really work alone. it takes a lot of personal work on your part to function well with mi. i suppose its like that for any chronic illness.

i love your idea of meetup. i may try to pursue that. the only thing is that it is hard for me to be part of any group, since i work the evening (3-11:30) shift. most groups meet on weeknights.

severina

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1,262 Visitors; 43 Posts

icusleep says: "drug tests are usually 5 panel; they look for marijuana, cocaine/amphetamines, opiods, pcp, and barbiturates."

don't make the dumb mistake i did! do not eat anything, for instance a muffin, that my have poppy seeds in it!i think it would appear you took an opioid.

they never told me why i was not hired after the drug screening. but they really wanted me with them before the urinalysis, and then suddenly, i couldn't be hired.

i have heard a lot about poppy seeds causing positives, so yeah, avoid 'em!:chuckle

there are many substances that can cause false positives, actually. at our school, if we tested postivie for a substance they were testing for we were given the opportunity to explain why that substance might be in our system....and of course you needed a script or a damn good reason.

btw, did anyone from the lab ever call you to inform you that they found a substance in your urine? i thought the lab had to call the person and inform them before they informed the employer. maybe just in florida...don't know.

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1,943 Visitors; 41 Posts

I applied for a job in september. When I took the drug screen test they told me not to eat anything with poppy seeds prior to the test. When I took the test I asked the nurse supervising the test if the meds that I was taking would show up on the test, as I wanted privacy about my Klonipin, effexor and wellbutrin. She said as long as I stated that I was on the meds in my health history and I had scripts for them there would be no problem. I was concerned about other people finding out that I was on these drugs and the effect it would have on my employment. She assured me that I was covered by HIPPA laws and what was discussed with her and put on my form was a matter of privacy. I trusted this, disclosed on my health history my meds, took the test, no problems. I was hired! I just made it through a tough orientation. I got alot of support from the staff development nurses who would come by to check up on the orientees.

Bottom line...Take your meds. List them in your health history. Seek out the people who will support you. Use all resources available to you. It is possible to have a good life while managing an illness.

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53,633 Visitors; 11,191 Posts

Doc is now talking about ECT which scares the living .... out of me...

hi zoey,

ect does sound horrifying, doesn't it? but i want to share a story with you.

i had a patient who was so depressed that she wouldn't eat, talk or ambulate.

it was suggeste she receive ect- her son consented.

i don't remember how soon it was, but it was early in treatment that this pt. was smiling, eating, and ambulating with her walker. she had a song in her voice. 100% turnaround. so in this case, the ect was wonderfully successful.

just thought i'd give you something to think about. and when they say you lose your memory, that is only temporary.

you really have nothing to lose- it certainly wouldn't make you more depressed.

take care and don't lose hope....

leslie xo

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jnette has 10 years experience as a ASN, EMT-I and specializes in Hemodialysis, Home Health.

25,857 Visitors; 4,388 Posts

Severena, ARNPsomeday, et al...

Major hats off to you !!! Severena in particular... I admire your strength and applaud your courage and determination.

DID has been a special interest of mine for many years, and very close to my heart. I had a good friend who is an RN in New Orleans who had DID r/t years of horrendous abuse suffered at the hands of her family steeped in generational satanism. It was an amazing process as she underwent many, many years of therapy integrating her alters... and she, too, would have to take "time outs" from work, etc. to persue wholeness. She continues to be my personal hero. I recall the first time I met her.. huddled up in a tight ball.. one of her small child alters..much as you described yourself when triggered.

Since that time I have studied and researched much on DID and continue to encourage those with this diagnosis to hold their head high and WALK ON. For it is they who have the strength, courage, and determination we can only dream about. I have been forever humbled by the privelege and honor of knowing this woman.. and all those who walk in her shoes.

I no longer see it (DID) as mental "illness".. rather as mental protection/survival.. for it is that which has kept you alive and sane.

Again... I applaud you.

I hear you, and I admire you... and I wish you continued success in all that you persue.

Thank you for sharing.

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2,330 Visitors; 124 Posts

jnette,

severina and all others with did who are doing something in life are hard fighters who deserve respect.

shame on those who portray did-ers in a ridiculous, demeaning or untrue light!

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1,061 Visitors; 15 Posts

I have been diagnosed with bipolar 2....finally....For years I exhibited behavour of mania, although not recognized by me....I just thought I was superwoman...yeah super woman doing laundry, washing and ironing curtains at 2 am..3 to 4 doubles a week...I thought I was super efficient as my brain went a mile a minute...what a mistake waiting to happen..Of course Im human and made some mistakes, but I could have and maybe did make some while in my manic phase of my illness...

Then the crash, and I crashed hard...couldnt get out of bed...was bummed when I woke in the morning....thoughts of suicide.

I finally got help, and yes its true people generally see someone when the crash happens. Because for me I didnt recognize the mania as a problem...during mild depressions I was put on SSRIs...what a mistake...I became irrational, anxious, irritable and once felt so out of the norm I was going to cut my waist length hair with kitchen shears.....

I finally found a practitioner who diagnosed me with bipolar...I forgo lithium for Lamictal which was increased week by week so as to not cause s/e then Pamelor was added also increased slowly..I am also on Klonopin PRN..which has caused me no problems with work and drug tests because it is prescribed to me. Oh and my practitioner is a CNS...finally i feel balanced but it did take 3 mos of increasing my meds. Im not saying Im cured but my ups and downs are far less extreme..and I finally feel "normaL" again. Not to knock anyone whos meds are working but I think lithium isnt used as much..d/t side effects and frequent blood work, same as Depakote

As far as working you do not have to tell your employer your illness because sadly some people look at Mental Illness with a suspicious eye....If I had a nickel for everyone who said its mind over matter I would be a rich woman LOL

And my favorite, "think positive and snap out of it"....sarcastically I reply "Wow You have found the cure, why didnt I and anyone one else suffering think of this" ha ha

I do incorporate some exercise and most of all prayer as a supplement to my meds..If only exercise and God could change the chemical balance in my brain I would choose that over the meds any day.

I will say a prayer for all that suffer from MI in my daily/nightly talks to God

God Bless all of you

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1,792 Visitors; 31 Posts

Severena, ARNPsomeday, et al...

Major hats off to you !!! Severena in particular... I admire your strength and applaud your courage and determination.

DID has been a special interest of mine for many years, and very close to my heart. I had a good friend who is an RN in New Orleans who had DID r/t years of horrendous abuse suffered at the hands of her family steeped in generational satanism. It was an amazing process as she underwent many, many years of therapy integrating her alters... and she, too, would have to take "time outs" from work, etc. to persue wholeness. She continues to be my personal hero. I recall the first time I met her.. huddled up in a tight ball.. one of her small child alters..much as you described yourself when triggered.

Since that time I have studied and researched much on DID and continue to encourage those with this diagnosis to hold their head high and WALK ON. For it is they who have the strength, courage, and determination we can only dream about. I have been forever humbled by the privelege and honor of knowing this woman.. and all those who walk in her shoes.

I no longer see it (DID) as mental "illness".. rather as mental protection/survival.. for it is that which has kept you alive and sane.

Again... I applaud you.

I hear you, and I admire you... and I wish you continued success in all that you persue.

Thank you for sharing.

Wow. I am so touched. I don't know what else to say. I know that I disclose too much about myself to people, sometimes too soon and it has caused me lots of problems. My kid alters were forced to keep secrets for so long that when we don't tell people about us, we feel like we're hiding and sneaking. My therapist has been working with all of us on the concept of the difference between secrets and privacy. We can and should have boundaries. I have to continually tell myself/selves that we have the right to privacy and ownership of our own mind, but still I persist.

However, on the other side of the coin, the healthy part of this is that I want people to know about me. I want DID to become known and as a result also the horrendous abuse that children undergo everyday cannot be denied. As long as no one knows a person who is DID, the world will continue to believe that it is rare or even non-existant. I want people to see that I am not a freak, and can live a functional, happy life. Also, by disclosing, you also meet important friends that you can support or who can support you, so that we don't have to live in isolation, feeling like freakshows. Already through this thread, I have found two.

So, I will continue to work on the healthy balance between privacy and disclosure, but I will never be ashamed of who I am and will continue to educate people about trauma/dissociation, and living with any MI.

I thank you for your great appreciation and encouragement.

Severina

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1,861 Visitors; 153 Posts

I was just wondering if there are any other nurses who struggle with mental illness. It seems to be one disability that is met with little tolerance and support in the medical field. I do have major co-morbid mental illness, Major depression/PTSD/DID, and have had many problems in my career. I have been in therapy and on meds for a long time and have worked very hard to be functional, and I have suprised myself by what I have been able to achieve. Currently, I am a hospice nurse in a residential setting and it seems that I have found my niche. It doesn't aggravate my illness too much. I am very busy at times and most of my job revolves in much cognitive thinking and decision making about the best ways to respond to a patient's emerging or existing symptoms, and in assessing patients to see where they are in the dying process, plus lots of educating to patients and families. My extensive personal trauma background has made me able to have a different perspective on death and don't see it as the scary thing that is SO SAD, that a lot of people do. Plus, because of the things that I have been through, I am more able to be compassionate and understanding of patients and their fears. I especially do well with patients with existing mental illness or lots of anxiety. I notice that a lot of nurses have little tolerance for a patients anxiety and are not willing to take the extra time to walk them through things and provide the extra reassurance that they need.

Yes, there are some nursing jobs that I don't think I would be able to do because of the fast on the spot life and death action necessary. ER and Trauma/Burn are pretty much out for me. But thats OK. A lot of nurses couldn't handle doing what I do either for their own reasons. We are all suited to certain things.

Having mental illness doesn't automatically make you unsuited for the nursing profession. Even though I have heard many times, "what are you doing here?" "Shouldn't you be doing something else, less stressful?"

I am here and am doing the thing I am suited for. Yes sometimes I have to take time off due to my illness, but its no different than somone who has flare ups of a chronic physical illness like lupus, chronic fatigue, or fibromyalgia.

I would like to know how other nurses have coped with their own illness and their nursing careers.

Severina

Congrats! I have worked with and know many nurses and other professionals with mental illness. I feel, when they are doing well they make great empathic healers. Keep up the good work. I'd love somehow to see support groups for nurses with emotional issues.

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12,903 Visitors; 4,516 Posts

How do ya'll handle license renewal? The states I've lived/practiced nursing in have verry specific questions RT mental health. Do you fully disclose and provide statements from your docs about your competence or???

To be honest, fear of living under this kind of 'microscope' with a hostile BON has prevented me from dealving into my depression/anxiety issues. :o

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1,352 Visitors; 30 Posts

in aug of this year i was finally properly diagnosed by a psyciatrist and was put on lithium and prozac. they help alot and i am almost normal, the only thing is i still have anxiety problems and a very hard time sleeping. i stay up for days sometimes and then i sleep for days as well. i am hopfully going to acheive my dream of becoming a midwife, before i'm 30. i have basically flunked out of school twice due to the fact that i start my classes and do well but then i get depressed and loose momentum.

celtic bombshell

wow, i really hear you, celtic!

i'm 46 and have been diagnosed (at different times) as having depression, dysthymia, bipolar disease, and personality disorder. i think that bipolar probably "fits" best. i've been on prozac, zoloft, effexor, and now lexapro along with some others like trileptal, and trazadone for sleep. seems like nothing works for long...

right now i am in the midst of a terrible depression in which i have completely lost momentum to do anything. i really don't know how i am going to work. seems like i hate the thought of going there but once i am there, things are pretty good. but at home, i am on the 'puter, watching tv, or sleeping. i just can't get motivated to do a thing. plus i also have the sleep problems affecting me.

i will be seeing my arnp soon; she's great! she wants me to get out & have a social life, blahblahblah. but i'm middle-aged, overweight, and have never been good at being social. people at work can't believe i'm not a social butterfly - my work personality shines because i am comfortable there & know exactly what i'm doing! not like i'm going to suddenly change into the nike kid and "just do it." lol... i had some great friends up in nc where i lived for 13 years. i moved to fl to be near my aging parents, and to sort of protect them from a sibling who had moved in with them after getting out of prison in 2001... i got put in the middle big-time over that!

anyway, i wanted to say thanks for putting into words exactly how i feel a lot of the time.

working on it, :uhoh3:

kc in fl

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