Jump to content

Nurses struggling with mental illness

Disabilities   (221,465 Views 868 Comments)
by Severina Severina (New Member) New Member

1,793 Profile Views; 31 Posts

advertisement

You are reading page 6 of Nurses struggling with mental illness. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

4,516 Posts; 12,904 Profile Views

Dang!

what state do you live in??!! Remind me to never move there.

I live in Michigan and no one has ever inquired as to my mental health background. I think that is discriminatory. Do they inquire as to physical limitations as well? I think I would be writing to them and/or my state congress about that. Thats horrendous! :angryfire

Severina

Texas every 2 yrs renewal asks about 'any physical or psychological history that may interfere with your duty to patients..blah blah". (paraphrased)

Also just moved to Washington state and they ask too. Of course I am likely taking this too literally...and probably worrying too much. To me, even nurses are entitled to protected health information and even their asking smacks of HIPAA. I imagine they feel they have a pressing 'need to know' to protect the public and this is how they would defend themselves if challenged...

Do not all states ask this?? I guess I worry if I say 'NO" and someone finds out I'm on an antidepressant it will open up a can of worms with the BON...but part of my problem at present is I worry about EVERYTHING...LOL!

I've lived in an employment at will state for over 20 yrs. Hospitals ask all kinds of questions RT physical and mental health as well, (usually in the guise of employee health) and of course they don't have to disclose WHY they are leting you go, you can be discharged for any reason ior no reason. So it becomes a Catch 22 there too. :o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4,516 Posts; 12,904 Profile Views

i suffer from depression...had a horrendous marriage...and being out of that...it is now my own profession exacerbates it...feel free to p.m. me any time...it's been a long battle....

Boy I hear ya...and feel the same way. Wondering if I have PTSD from some of the craziness in this profession. :o

But I stick with it, its my livelihood and I stubbornly refuse to 'let it beat me'. :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Liddle Noodnik has 30 years experience and specializes in Alzheimer's, Geriatrics, Chem. Dep..

4 Articles; 3,789 Posts; 42,497 Profile Views

Texas every 2 yrs renewal asks about 'any physical or psychological history that may interfere with your duty to patients..blah blah". (paraphrased)

Also just moved to Washington state and they ask too. Of course I am likely taking this too literally...and probably worrying too much. :o

I called the (I think) ADA when I started my last job (Maine). They said that I did have to disclose to employee health what meds I am on and dx. But that the hospital isn't allowed to discriminate based on mental illness.

But how could you prove that they did not, if they don't disclose the reason you (anyone) were let go.

Another thing - you can apply for unemployment insurance, don't they have to disclose why you were fired in that instance?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 Posts; 821 Profile Views

i am currently trying to get a decletary order so that i can even get into nursing school. i kinda understant that they would like to know if you are gonna frak out an dmaybe be a danger to your self and your patients but i also feel that it sucks because i am lumped in woth the convicts and criminals in having to get this order.

i have just found out that i have pcos - polycystic ovary syndrom and i feel that it is causing my mental health to deteriorate more so than if i were just bipolar b/c both ahve the same symtomology. i also have a pain in my side that i've had for 6 months and the doctors keep giving me all the diagnostic tests over and over again to rule out galstones ect. but everything turns out normal except i have high triglycerides and ldl as well as a fatty liver and a 18mm cyst on my left ovary. the only reason i mention this is that i have always been a mother by nature, i want to be a midwife, have kids ect and it is really trying on me that i might have problems with my reproductive system. also my fathers mother died from ovarian cancer and had her right ovary removed at my age, she went on to have 2 children but still it's a worry and i feel like i am at the end of my rope. they keep giving me pain killers to help with the pain but i can't work while i'm on them b/c i can't drive to work, and if i don;t take them i am in so much pain i cannot concentrait, 7,8,9, and 10 on a scale of 1 - 10 with out oain pills, varying by if i'm active. i have been running a fever for almost the whole time but the doc's don't seem to think it's a factor b/c i normally run about 96 and have been running only about 99 to 100 still in the normal range but really high for me. any ideas on what to do to deal. i feel like i'm gonna have a nervous break down if i don't find out what is going on with me. i want to excercise b/c i know that it would help both my biploar and pcos if i were lighter but the pain makes it impossible and i don't want to have to rely on pain killers for ever. if anyone has anyideas please pm me or just post

celticbombshell :angryfire

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 Posts; 672 Profile Views

All I can say is good luck to you honey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Liddle Noodnik has 30 years experience and specializes in Alzheimer's, Geriatrics, Chem. Dep..

4 Articles; 3,789 Posts; 42,497 Profile Views

i am currently trying to get a decletary order so that i can even get into nursing school. i kinda understant that they would like to know if you are gonna frak out an dmaybe be a danger to your self and your patients but i also feel that it sucks because i am lumped in woth the convicts and criminals in having to get this order.

if anyone has anyideas please pm me or just post

***

why do you need that decletary order? what is it?

if it was me, i would pray, and get some other people praying for me. but that's me, i don't know if you can use that sort of advice.

then i would look at priorities, number one of course is your health, #2 your job and or school (unless you have a family, in which case perhaps that is number 2). so you have to get your health in order first. do you have short term disability at work or anything? sick time?

so have you had a laparoscopy or ultrasound or anything like that? (be quicker to say "what have they done") have they checked your blood work for like white cells and such? are you having abnormal periods? could going on the pill help maybe? (after they rule everything out of course).

sounds like an extremely tough situation, there's a nasty spiritual law that says "there's a reason for everything," yuck, i hate it too, lol! but sometimes things we want don't work out simply because god wants us somewhere else!

there's another that's equally grievous, "[god/spirit] won't give you more than you can handle." i would add to that expression: he won't give you more than you can handle, but he doesn't expect you to handle it all alone!" you can call on family, friends, social agencies, support groups (just pick one), whatever you call god. even simple stress management like deep breathing can help you get through tough moments.

anyway - hope you keep posting and keep us up to date on your situation -

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

snowconemouth has 28 years experience and specializes in LTC, Geriatrics, Psych, MMQ, PPS, MDS.

3 Posts; 946 Profile Views

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...

I was diagnosed in 1991 with PTSD/Major Depressive D/O. Wellbutrin and therapy have gotten me to where I am today. I live with my depression but it doesn't over take me anymore. If I need to I am able to give in to it and have sad days on my days off but I am able to pull it together when I work. I am lucky enough to work 32 hrs/week by doing 2 days of 16 hr shifts and am able to stay home 5 days/week.

Depression is like back pain - it's invisible and peers often think we are making more of it than there is. I try to educate them. I find that I have so much more empathy for my residents who are depressed.

Kathe

"There are some things in my life I'll never understand, But they become the force. That makes me who I am..." MLE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

14 Posts; 1,025 Profile Views

For a long time antidepressants were for acute depression. The mental health and medical field have finally opened their eyes to the fact that chronic depression is a very viable condition. I have been on Effexor for 12 years, before that it was Prozac and Wellbutrin. I have come to accept the fact that I will always take meds and I don't really think about it anymore. The only drawback that makes me hesitate is the fact that I gained 65 lbs. on Effexor and can't get it off. You know what? I would rather be fat and happy than skinny and suicidal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6 Posts; 686 Profile Views

Hi, Trulie.julie!

Please don't stop taking your meds! At most schools you need to let them know what meds you are on for safety reasons (your own, mostly, ie; if something should happen to you they need to know your med history so they know how to help you/what not to give you in the case of an emergency).

As far as drug tests, I'd like to tell you that these things won't turn up in your urine, but it really depends on what your school tests for. I have NEVER heard of drug screening so comprehensive as to look for antidepressants.I can't imagine how expensive that would be for the school and students. Drug tests are usually 5 panel; they look for marijuana, cocaine/amphetamines, opiods, PCP, and barbiturates. If you aren't doing any of these, I wouldn't worry about the drug test. Some of the tests DO test for benzos...frankly, I'm not sure Ativan would show up, but if it does, you have a script for it, so no problem.

I took my drug screen test for nursing school 2 days after taking Xanax and Vicoden. Apparently they didn't show up, but they also weren't high doses, and I did have prescriptions for both.

We are supposed to inform our school of meds we are taking, but I have not had the balls to tell them I take Xanax. It is probably not a big deal to tell them, but unfortunately Xanax is so demonized nowadays. I just don't want to call attention to myself...I'm sure I wouldn't be the only person in our class to be taking Xanax, but I just can't bring myself to let the school know. I figure if I take it and I'm fine, then why tell them? I know that contradicts a lot of what I wrote earlier. Apparently, I am better at giving advice than taking it. :o It is sad that only some health conditions are "acceptable" and that others remain hidden for fear of persecution. Everyone working in health care should know better, but for some reason mental illness is still judged so harshly even in the health care industry.

You can call your state nursing board (anonymously) and ask what drugs are tested for and what conditions might prevent you from sitting for boards in your state. You wouldn't want to go through nursing school, only to find that your illness would prevent you from sitting for the exam. I called the Texas state board, after days of agonizing when I read on their web site that mental illness can prevent you from getting your license. The nurse that I spoke with when I called was super nice, never asked for my name, and assured me that OCD would not be a problem at all - as far as taking the exam goes! Anyway, this was a great relief for me. Hope it works for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

6 Posts; 686 Profile Views

i am currently trying to get a decletary order so that i can even get into nursing school. i kinda understant that they would like to know if you are gonna frak out an dmaybe be a danger to your self and your patients but i also feel that it sucks because i am lumped in woth the convicts and criminals in having to get this order.

i have just found out that i have pcos - polycystic ovary syndrom and i feel that it is causing my mental health to deteriorate more so than if i were just bipolar b/c both ahve the same symtomology. i also have a pain in my side that i've had for 6 months and the doctors keep giving me all the diagnostic tests over and over again to rule out galstones ect. but everything turns out normal except i have high triglycerides and ldl as well as a fatty liver and a 18mm cyst on my left ovary. the only reason i mention this is that i have always been a mother by nature, i want to be a midwife, have kids ect and it is really trying on me that i might have problems with my reproductive system. also my fathers mother died from ovarian cancer and had her right ovary removed at my age, she went on to have 2 children but still it's a worry and i feel like i am at the end of my rope. they keep giving me pain killers to help with the pain but i can't work while i'm on them b/c i can't drive to work, and if i don;t take them i am in so much pain i cannot concentrait, 7,8,9, and 10 on a scale of 1 - 10 with out oain pills, varying by if i'm active. i have been running a fever for almost the whole time but the doc's don't seem to think it's a factor b/c i normally run about 96 and have been running only about 99 to 100 still in the normal range but really high for me. any ideas on what to do to deal. i feel like i'm gonna have a nervous break down if i don't find out what is going on with me. i want to excercise b/c i know that it would help both my biploar and pcos if i were lighter but the pain makes it impossible and i don't want to have to rely on pain killers for ever. if anyone has anyideas please pm me or just post

celticbombshell :angryfire

celtic bombshell- don't worry about being able to have kids - that is a stress you don't need right now! i was dx with pcos in 1998. i have three living children and had two miscarriages (one after a tubal ligation so i'm serious about that don't stress over the kids part! luckily i had come to deeply regret the tubal, so it was all good for me) pcos does affect your fertility, but if you're on the right meds, exercising and eating properly for pcos you can definitely have kids. i personally know several women with pcos and all of those that are married have kids. my best advice - get thee to an endocrinologist with pcos experience (they are starting to call it "syndrome x" so that is good terminology to know also.). proper diet and exercise are key, due to the tie in with insulin resistance. i was on glucophage for 6 mos-1 yr to get my body jumpstarted as to using the insulin better and then was able to control w/diet and exercise. this helped me to lose weight and gain energy, which helped me exercise - a whole positive cycle. re: the pain - i don't know. it wasn't much of an issue for me (though one of my ovaries was routinely twice the normal size). a lot of gyn's will tell you pcos doesn't need to be treated if you're not trying to achieve pregnancy - not true! insulin resistance is hard on your body/organs and needs to be corrected. look for the book "living with pcos". sorry don't know the author, i gave my copy away a few months ago to someone i met w/pcos! it was really easy to read and helped me understand symptoms/treatment. feel free to message me if you have any ?'s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

10 Posts; 1,570 Profile Views

:rolleyes:

Do you really have to be tough as nails?....Any information from anyone interested in helping me on the quest would be appreciated in the utmost. I think becoming a nurse will do wonders for my being..I want to find my niche' , too!!

Hi Macy - I used to describe myself as "tough as nails" (to myself) - and what I meant was that I was willing to accept any situation, to always help and do as much as possible, no matter what the circumstances of the patient - even if this meant taking as much extra time as necessary to do what was needed, or to understand. I just came to accept this about myself - that this is the way. To never turn away. I did not feel stress because I had made this decision. I felt satisfaction in my work. And I know that many of the patients appreciated this. I wouldn't change it - unless that I could do even more.

And Severina - thank goodness for your compassion, and your willingness to take the extra time.

And Dixie - I like your approach to "fight it" - I agree - cultivate your will and strength to overcome.

Tough as nails, nawww.. I would say you have to be able to go with the flow. And dont take too much of what your co-workers, the patients or the patients family or even the physicians say as a personal attack. Patients only know what we tell them. We are the source of their information, wether it is correct or not, the same goes for family members. Our co-workers, well, let those amongst us who have not had an occasional bad day and just want to scream be the first to cast stones.....mmmm I have not seen anyone who fits that criteria. And the physicians, please, they are so stressed out most of the time, have sooooo many patients they dont remember who you are talking about and always have to be given a brief synopsis of why the patient is there.

The most important thing is have faith in yourself. Remember everyone had to start somewhere and don't quit!!!!

Oh btw, in the Critical care unit I work in 95 percent of the nurses are on some kind of psychotropic drug, either for depression or anxiety. You have to recognize your short comings and deal with them. Just because we are nurses, does not mean we are not capable of being afflicted by the same problems that the rest of the world is.

Good Luck!!

Heart

Good Luck!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

78 Posts; 2,432 Profile Views

Wow, thanks for all the replies. I guess there are a lot of nurses out there with these problems. It just seems that in nursing there is a lot of pressure to be "tough" and perfect.

To ARPN: I admire you for pursuing this career, and funtionality and wholeness. In order to do though, you have to work hard at internal communication and cooperation. I lost a really good job in an onc/hem/BMT unit because I had recently found out about the DID and didn't know how to deal with the emerging alters. Many of them (young ones) were terrified of being in the environment and of "doing things to people". I also wasn't on the right meds, although I was in therapy. One day I was dissociated and was walking around like a zombie, being slow and my preceptor picked up on the difference with me. I tried to be vague about it, but she and other higher ups pushed me further for what was wrong. I ended up breaking down and divulging my abuse history and diagnosis to them. They gave me one week to have a psychiatrist write an official letter stating that I was safe to work there. This was impossible. I did get in to see a psychiatrist who put me on the right meds to manage my condition at the time, but it wasn't soon enough and I lost the job. After that, I hit bottom. My parts were rising up in anarchy and saying that they didn't want me to work. I thought that my career was over and all of the hard work that I had done to get my BSN and my BA were for nothing. I wound up in the psych hospital for a few days.

After a while, I got a job in homecare, mostly doing private duty, and some visits. I had a lot of panic attacks and anxiety before going to a home much of the time, but I pushed through it. Slowly, through the next year, I did things one at a time. I showed myself that I could do things that I thought I couldn't. I also had a genuine disability, so I went to the Center for Independant Living where they helped me gain more confidence. Gave me job hunting and keeping skills, supported me and we tried to find options for me. There just wasn't much out there for RNs besides clinical hospital, or homecare work. I started reading books on death and dying and watching video series' etc. and felt more and more that I would be suited for that kind of work. So, in Nov. 2003, one year after my hospitalization, I took the step and applied for the job that I have now. They loved me and wanted me in right away. The HR person, said she had never seen so much enthusiasm from the nurse managers about an applicant. I was floored.

So, I started and luckily was well supported in the learning of the job and got a gradual increase in patient load as I was ready. Pretty soon I was up to carrying a full load (10 pts) and handling it. I couldn't believe it. For a long time, no one knew anything about my mental illness. I wanted them to get to know me without seeing me through a filter, just seeing me as a person and my clinical skills.

Of course, a couple months into it, I did encounter a highly triggery situation with a patient and had to go to someone. I took a risk and told my supervisor about my history, and she was very supportive. She has become one of my greatest advocates.

Of course, during this time I was on meds for depression (wellbutrin & zoloft), anxiety (klonapin), and for switching/dissociation (zyprexa). As I became more confident of my skills and handling of the job, I realized that the zyprexa suppressing my alters was getting in the way of me making any progress in therapy and I made the decision to stop it and work on my relationship with my alter systems and to resolve the trauma. I told a couple of people at work about my PTSD/DID, which was stupid and I guess it got around the rumor mill, because now most people know. Mostly, I don't mind them knowing because as long as people like me hide in the shadows, our illness continues to be "rare" to the gen. public and the misconceptions and stereotypes get perpetuated. I want to be an example of somone with DID/MPD who can succeed and isn't a basket case.

The bad thing is that there have been two really bad incidences where I have gotten triggered badly. The first involved getting yelled at and lied about by an aide, which sent me into a panic and made me switch into a little person. The DON of all people found me on the floor huddled behind the lockers. I thought that now it was all over. But, she was supportive. She encouraged me to take time to do what I needed to do to get myself together, but she also encouraged me to pick myself up and keep going. I took a while, but after a couple hours, I was better and went back and resumed my duties.

I felt really supported until recently when I had another "freak out". I saw something that really triggered and terrified me on a patients TV. I left the room and totally fell apart. That time, I couldn't continue and had to go home, however, I never abandoned my patients and duties. I made sure that what was undone, got done and finished paperwork later.

However, one nurse who is a drama queen and a trouble maker, went to the DON the next day and told a skewed story of what happened, making it sound much worse than it was, like I basically freaked out and walked off the job, which wasn't the case.

The DON talked to me and said that if I have another episode where I cannot finish the shift, she would have to let me go. I told her what really happened, and she talked to my supervisor who corroborated my story, and she said that it made a difference. But all I heard was the threat of termination. I felt like I was under a microscope. The DON was watching everything about me, my clothes, makeup. She told my supervisor that she noticed the changes in amounts of makeup and colors etc. and wondered if that was my switching personalties.

The thing is, that other than this, I have done a stellar performance in this job. I have never had a complaint from a patient or a family, in fact the opposite. Never been written up for any reason. No serious med errors. Good attendance etc. I talked to HR and told them I felt like I was discriminated against because of my disability. She talked to the DON who then talked to me and didn't know that I had been living in such fear. She said that after she heard the whole story, the matter was settled in her mind, and we both agreed that the safety and care was foremost and I promised her that whatever state I found myself in, I would make sure my patients needs were attended to.

Lately, I've been going through some real rough stuff and a whole new load of trauma material is trying to surface and so I rally all of the energy I have to do the job and am pretty much a mess the rest of the time. I have missed some days because of it.

So, thats basically my story surrounding my career issues. I want to encourage people not to hide in the shadows like they have some nasty secret, but to let people get to know them for who they are and see that we can be capable, sane, contributing members of society. Only then will the stigma of mental illness start to be lifted. Yes, there are risks and predjudices, but I think its worth it. We can overcome.

Severina

To Severina- I think it is very brave of you to "come out of the closet" about your mental problems. Mental illness (with the exception of depression) is still not acceptable in our society. I am a recently diagnosed bipolar, previous dx unipolar depression, rx'd with Paxil, Celexa, Buspar,Ativan, etc. The time on the SSRIs was awful; it threw me into hypomania (in addition to intolerable side effects), but I stuck with it because I felt likesomething instead of laying on the couch and wanting to die. Finally demanded to see a psyhcologist, now on Depakote and low-dose Seroquel, a little prn Ativan. and I feel damn near normal. But there have been crises, meds I had bad reactions to, and I needed time off work, which was not looked upon as very necessary. I also had a damn near identical problem with a troublemaker co-worker; totally blew it out of proportion, lied, made it sound as if I were totally unfit to do my job. Ididn't know what to do until I read your post. now I feel like I have a course of action to take. Thanks so much. If you wan't to talk, you can have my email.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing 0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×