Career in flames

  1. I don't know why I'm writing this. I'm not really seeking advice. I guess I just need to vent, get it all out of me. The past couple weeks have been difficult. I have a good job, low stress, good pay but it is in a specialty that I have become disenchanted with. On top of this in my current position I don't really feel as though I'm helping anyone. Helping others is important to me, it's always gotten me out of my own head and gotten me through all the challenges and frustrations that nursing can cause. I decided I would start sending applications in for positions that interested me. I've had a couple interviews so far and neither of them went well and I know why.

    I've become a job hopper. In the past year and a half I've held six different positions. I know, it's embarassing, and I'm quite ashamed of it. I also have Bipolar disorder and about a year and a half ago a close family member of mine unexpectedly passed away. In addition to my grief, losing her triggered a depressive episode that was intense and felt unrelenting. I couldn't handle stress, I couldn't handle conflict, I couldn't handle even basic day to day activities. With my judgement clouded, I began making poor choices. I quit jobs without notice stay in bed for a month and get another job, work for 6 weeks or less, quit rinse and repeat.

    Eventually I became so sick that I became paranoid and began hearing voices, I was not able to work during this time obviously. With time and multiple medications (which I resent) the paranoia eased, the voices went silent and the depression became less suffocating. Which leads me to my current position which I've held for a whopping 4 months. I was advised by a friend to leave off my resume some of the positions that I held that I left less than a month in and as a result I have large gaps in my resume that are hard to explain. Obviously I can't tell them the truth, the stigma of mental illness is still rampant. So, instead I state the gaps are due to personal and medical reasons.

    These vague explanations have not been very acceptable in my interviews. I don't blame them! I look like a total train wreck on paper. I miss truly making a difference as a nurse and I am faced with the real possibility of being stuck. I used to be an excellent nurse and had years of loyalty to other employers prior to this past episode. And the worst part of all of this is that I've only myself to blame. These consequences are a result of my own reckless behavior.

    It's very isolating being a mentally ill person, let alone a nurse. I know plenty of nurses grapple with mental illness, but some days I feel very alone. I put on good performance most of the time, as far as covering up my symptoms but it grows tiresome. I minimize my symptoms to everyone, even my husband, not because he's unsupportive but because I don't want him to worry more than he already does. I am grateful for what I have, at least I have a nursing job, a roof over my head, a husband that loves me, and a dog that I adore. But my career has always been important to me, especially since I had to become independent at a young age and became a nurse at a young age. It's just disheartening. Thanks for reading those that made it through.
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  2. Visit TheMoonisMyLantern profile page

    About TheMoonisMyLantern, ADN, RN

    Joined: Apr '11; Posts: 169; Likes: 1,254
    RN; from US
    Specialty: Mental health, Med/surg, telemetry, PCU

    12 Comments

  3. by   BFly85
    I'm sorry you are going through this. I don't have a lot of advice except for maybe your niche will be being an awesome travel nurse. You can take 6 week contracts here and there and if you have a relapse, just don't pick up the next contract and you can take all the time you need knowing there is a contract right around the corner. You also will always be changing things up to keep you on your toes. That is one thing I love about nursing is that there always seems to be something for everyone and we can always fold ANY weakness into our ranks.
  4. by   NurseCard
    I can't imagine what you are going through...

    Can you answer me one question though? What exactly are you doing now?
    What type of nursing? Why do you feel like you don't help anyone in your
    current position?

    Lol that was three or four questions.
    Last edit by NurseCard on Jan 31
  5. by   Sour Lemon
    I'm wishing you health.
  6. by   caliotter3
    The only advice I can offer is to stick with this job long enough to take away some of the sting of previous short stints. You will be improving your resume appearance as well as solidifying your views toward this specialty. There is nothing wrong with staying at this "breathing point" job while you strengthen your coping skills. Then you will have a better chance at your next job. Help yourself and you will be better able to help others. Best wishes.
  7. by   traumaRUs
    Moved to Nurses with Disabilities forum.
  8. by   TheMoonisMyLantern
    Quote from NurseCard
    I can't imagine what you are going through...

    Can you answer me one question though? What exactly are you doing now?
    What type of nursing? Why do you feel like you don't help anyone in your
    current position?

    Lol that was three or four questions.
    I work at an alcohol and drug rehab facility. I have anywhere from 30 to 60 patients, so my one on one time with patients is quite limited.
  9. by   TheMoonisMyLantern
    Quote from caliotter3
    The only advice I can offer is to stick with this job long enough to take away some of the sting of previous short stints. You will be improving your resume appearance as well as solidifying your views toward this specialty. There is nothing wrong with staying at this "breathing point" job while you strengthen your coping skills. Then you will have a better chance at your next job. Help yourself and you will be better able to help others. Best wishes.
    This is solid advice, thank you.
  10. by   llg
    I agree that you should stay in your current job if you can. To salvage your career, you need to show some stability. Even though your current job is not ideal, and you probably don't want to stay in it forever ... it doesn't seem to be hurting you in any way. It is within your range of capabilities.

    So ... take a deep breath and "stay put" for a while. Use the time to focus on your health while you earn some money and build up your employment record.
  11. by   nervousnurse
    ((( hugs ))) I'm sorry for all you've been through! Hopefully, you can stay in this job
    longer and get a more stable work history. You can do it !!!!
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    Just out of curiosity, are you actually taking meds? You mentioned "resenting" them, and feeling that way can lead to non-adherence to the regimen. Even if you're properly medicated, seeing a therapist and getting good quality sleep, it's possible to have bipolar episodes, and it sounds like you're having lots of problems with them. I'm so sorry. I know what that's like, because I have bipolar disorder too and it ruined my career. During the last part of it, I had three jobs in the course of nine months, and if that wasn't enough, I had 13 jobs in 17 years of nursing. I never held a job longer than two and a half years. That looks absolutely horrible on a resume! Finally it torpedoed my career, and I ended up going on Social Security Disability.

    Since I've been on SSDI, I've calmed down a lot and am pretty content with my lot in life, as diminished as it may be. Every now and then I think about going back to work, until I remember that I'm mellow because my life is relatively low-stress. I'm also almost 60 and there's not much of a market for folks in my age group. I don't know why I'm telling you all this, except you *may* want to consider looking into disability, at least for a while. It gives you some money to live on while you rest and decide what you want to do in the future. But if you want to continue in nursing, do try to stick with this job for at least 1-2 years. It will look much better on the resume, and you'll have the satisfaction of staying with one job and growing from it. In the meantime, please see your psychiatrist and/or therapist on a regular basis, and stay on your meds...and if they're not doing the job, keep working with your doctor until you find the combination that does.

    Wishing you the very best. You have my sympathies.
  13. by   TheMoonisMyLantern
    Quote from VivaLasViejas
    Just out of curiosity, are you actually taking meds? You mentioned "resenting" them, and feeling that way can lead to non-adherence to the regimen. Even if you're properly medicated, seeing a therapist and getting good quality sleep, it's possible to have bipolar episodes, and it sounds like you're having lots of problems with them. I'm so sorry. I know what that's like, because I have bipolar disorder too and it ruined my career. During the last part of it, I had three jobs in the course of nine months, and if that wasn't enough, I had 13 jobs in 17 years of nursing. I never held a job longer than two and a half years. That looks absolutely horrible on a resume! Finally it torpedoed my career, and I ended up going on Social Security Disability.

    Since I've been on SSDI, I've calmed down a lot and am pretty content with my lot in life, as diminished as it may be. Every now and then I think about going back to work, until I remember that I'm mellow because my life is relatively low-stress. I'm also almost 60 and there's not much of a market for folks in my age group. I don't know why I'm telling you all this, except you *may* want to consider looking into disability, at least for a while. It gives you some money to live on while you rest and decide what you want to do in the future. But if you want to continue in nursing, do try to stick with this job for at least 1-2 years. It will look much better on the resume, and you'll have the satisfaction of staying with one job and growing from it. In the meantime, please see your psychiatrist and/or therapist on a regular basis, and stay on your meds...and if they're not doing the job, keep working with your doctor until you find the combination that does.

    Wishing you the very best. You have my sympathies.


    Thanks for your reply, Viva. I do take my medications as ordered, I have learned the hard way that I have to take them. I really don't want to consider disability at this point in my life because I have so many working years left, though I will keep it in mind if I don't remain stable.

    I'm glad you have found peace in your life, I hope I can do the same.
  14. by   Joe33
    When you say "for personal and medical reasons" it doesn't sound forthcoming enough. It sounds vague. It sound so better if you say something like "I took some time off to relax."

    I took over 3 years off to travel the world, and it was extremely easy to come back and work in nursing with the gap in my resume.

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