I was diagnosed earlier this year with Bipolar disorder type 2. I have had symptoms for many years since when I was 12-13 years old. Up to when I was in college I never knew what my symptoms were from and once I became a nurse I think I considered if I was Bipolar but was in denial. I am 27 now, have been a nurse for 4 years. My symptoms have gotten much much worse which led to My diagnosis. Aside from Bipolar DO, I was also diagnosed with generalized anxiety DO, which is also pretty bad.
in the past, my symptoms were subtle and manageable. Now they have become much worse but have been manageable with meds and therapy. My trouble area is that I believe I have noticed that working in beside may be a trigger for me. I worked in cardiac progressive care for most my of my career and now I transferred to CICU and I am in orientation for 2 more weeks.
when I am at work, I can completely keep my symptoms in check, but I believe I have noticed that because it takes so much mental energy to keep my symptoms in check, on my off days I am truly struggling.
On my off days I have severe panic attacks that can be ongoing. I can also be thrown into severe episodes of either depression or hypomania. The 2-3 days off that I get is only enough for my to try to hardwire myself back to normal and the cycle continues. Also being in bedside and being exposed to so many difficult and sad situations puts a huge load on me. I used to not get emotional at all but with my symptoms being much worse it truly does take a toil on me.
I don’t want to have to give up my new job, but I am worried I may have to due to my mental health. I am also afraid to disclose my dx to my managers in hopes that I can have their support by maybe requesting better scheduling or what not but I am scared it will backfire on me. Generally speaking, from what I have observed during orientation and spoken to my coworkers about, management schedules our shifts horribly. It’s not uncommon for nurses on that unit to work 3 in a row and sometimes only get 1-2 days off. I definitely CAN NOT do that. I am already imagining that that will also be hard on me.
The discrepancy in the days I am scheduled is also a trigger for me. I think that if I had a job with a fixed schedule it could Iess of a stressor. I have noticed that the best way to manage my symptoms is by having consistent routines and being scheduled all over the place is just a huge trigger. I need structure in my life for me to manage my symptoms and thrive.
can I get some advice from other nurses with disabilities who have maybe been in this position?
have you been able to manage your symptoms appropriately and working bedside without your mental health or home/personal life being badly affected?
i am starting to consider the idea of leaving bedside although I don’t want to, and taking up a job that is less stressful with a fixed schedule.