Good afternoon everyone,
Sorry in advance for the long post. I am looking for support on what to do in this situation. For background information, I have been a nurse for exactly one year now. I am currently working as a nurse at two locations (a busy medical floor at the hospital and in the community). I have diagnosed generalized social anxiety, social anxiety disorder and a history of depression. I have had five suicidal people who I was close to in my life, one of which who did hang themselves while I was in university (this all becomes relevant to the post).
2020 was a very challenging time as I feel it was for a lot of people. I started nursing by myself in February and felt extremely blue for a while and felt the patient loads at the hospital were very intense. In April, I had a panic attack while at work (hospital) and was sent home. My manager then called me and told me that I should go on short-term disability and seek some professional help. I did get a psychologist and saw them every week for 2 months, I currently see them once a month as therapy is expensive and not covered.
However, recently another patient came forward and told me a similar "If I die it is all your fault" sort of statement and again I did get triggered and went into this almost panic state loop for a full 24 hours and called in sick. I have talked to my therapist about it and she states that it is a fear-based reaction surrounded in guilt for not being able to save or help the suicidal people in my life toppled with my already high level of anxiety. We are looking into trying to help me with this problem but she states I will likely always be an anxious person.
The issue is that even after a year at the job, I feel frustrated as I still have extremely bad anxiety when going into the hospital and a bit at the hospice. I have to practically drug myself (9mg of melatonin and 50mg of gravol) to fall asleep before day shifts as if I don't I will wake 5-6 times over the night or have a nightmare and wake up in a panicked state unable to get back to sleep. When I do go to work, I feel sick for the first few hours before and during my shift. It's not unusual for me to feel nauseous, lightheaded, dry heave, get a pounding headache, etc. I feel a sense of dread every time before I go to work and have gained 25 pounds since starting nursing. While on my shift, I can't relax and often spend my time charting during my breaks. I had hoped that my symptoms would get better as time went on as new grad nerves can be a thing.
My psychologist states that I do have a pattern of avoidance and worries that if I leave the hospital job that it won't really help me overall since wherever I go my anxiety still follows. I'm just not really sure what to do at this point. I spent five years getting my degree in nursing and worry that even if I switch professions that the anxiety will still be there. On the flip side maybe there is an environment that isn't so fast-paced, with no knowledge of what you are walking into day by day.
I'm curious as to what other people who struggled with anxiety or mental health do to keep going on. I'm starting to wish that I got sick or injured so that I wouldn't have to go in anymore. Any suggestions, insights or personal experienced would be much appreciated.