Is it possible for a Bipolar person to become a psych nurse? - page 2

Hi Everyone, I was diagnosed as bipolar, on the depressive side, about 3 years ago. I've been hospitalized several times in the past, the last time being about 1 year ago. (which is a HUGE step in... Read More

  1. by   Orca
    Having had personal experience with an illness can give you insight into a person's disease process that no amount of education could ever give you. As long as your illness is under control with medication, there is no reason you could not practice psychiatry.

    Having suffered from acute depression precipitated by a divorce I did not initiate, I gained a profound insight into the plight of depressed patients that textbooks could never have given me. I found that I could describe to patients exactly what they were feeling, and the physical symptoms they were having. I was able to show them that they were not alone, and that someone they considered "normal" had endured the same thing they went through and recovered to help others.

    Best of luck on your endeavors.
  2. by   psych_00_RN
    There is absolutely no reason for you not to go into the field of your choice. I have suffered from major depression for probably 20 years. I tried to self medicate with alcohol for years. One morning I woke up and realized I had a plan for suicide; that is when I saught help. I'm now stabilized on medication and doing what I love, Psych nursing.
  3. by   JailRN
    Good luck Magaroon, you go girl!! I know at least 3 bi-polar nurses, who are productive members of society and nursing. But they have to stay on their meds and counseling, one is very slim, and every time ahe gains weight, she stops her meds, and ends up in a psych unit. You will have the ability to truly empathise with your patients, when they tell you what they're feeling and looking at you clueless, when you say (and truly mean) "I know what you feel" Keep it up!!
  4. by   KarafromPhilly
    Hey, you might want to check out a book by Kay Redfield Jamison called The Unquiet Mind: A memoir of moods and madness. Jamison is a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins who suffers from bipolar disorder--very interesting story. Best of luck!!!
  5. by   NRSKarenRN
    If persons with Bipolar disorder can become physicians, why not nurses???

    YES, YES, YES!!!

    There are many positions in psych nursing that are not as stressful as an inpatient unit. Learned TONS from are Psych Nurse clinician re managing Geriatric psych clients in homecare. Psych homecare nurses gave my depressed grandmom the will to go back outside in the world.

    Take your our own pace. Have regular contacts with your docs/counselor. Develop a support relationship with someone so if you are not yourself they will make sure you get treatment.

    Good Luck.!
  6. by   researchrabbit
    Up-side: You won't have to study at all on the psych meds portion of nursing school (see, always a silver lining if you look for it!).

    Seriously, we'd love to have you in psych nursing. You sound committed and caring. You will be able to inspire the patients you work with, too. And your doc is right -- you don't have to say anything to your employer or your coworkers if you don't wish to do so

    People with bipolar illness tend to be creative and smart; better to use your talents than let them go to waste!

    Some suggestions:

    You may find it helpful to journal about your symptoms (you might catch an impending episode sooner).

    Check out NAMI (National Association for the Mentally Ill -- a proactive and supportive group of families, friends, and people who suffer from emotional and mental illness) if you haven't already. You will be an inspiration to some and you'll be inspired by others you'll meet there. Most larger cities have a chapter; it'll be in the phone book. Ours is OAMI (OK association for the mentally ill) so yours might be under your state name, too. There are also a lot of grassroots support groups for folks with bipolar disorder.

    Keep your positive endorphins going to lower your stress (let's see, the top 4 endorphin producers are exercise, laughter, music, and sex...)

    There are also some new medications being tested for bipolar disorder which look promising if lamictal doesn't do it for you. Some of the atypical antipsychotics are also being tested as mood stabilizers.
  7. by   THEKat
    Slinkeekat had it right-I am a diagnosed Bipolar II and my episodes get triggered by who knows what it will be but after seveeral years of meds and therapy I am now not on meds(which I do not advocate for everyone-personal decision)but I do use cognitive behavior therapy which I worked on with my psychitrist for severalyears.I am now a successful senior nursing student,work full-time with MR and MI patients in a mental health setting ( been there done that does inspire empathy) plus I am a full-time single parent and new grandmother.I tend to be a manic rather than depressive oriented patient so I touch bases with people who know me well and if I feel too grandiose they let me know and we remedy the situation(set schedule, healthy sleep patterns, NO alcohol and lots of physical exercise!!!) These are my methods and each of us has something that will work but the point is it CAN work and you can be very effective!!!! You sound as though you are on the way to understanding and appreciating yourself-bipolars are usually highly intelligent individuals so give yourself a star on the refrigerator!!! Go out and give to others what you have learned-we can all use the help!!! You've got my vote of confidence!!!
  8. by   THEKat
    A double post but Karafromphilly-yes to the Jamison book!!! Truly helped my undertanding of my Dx and my self-esteem!!! Great read-well worth the time!!!
  9. by   Wolfpax
    Very simply put by one of my psych professors... we tend to go into psych because we have things to work out... if we do, then we need to be careful to remember to HAVE A LIFE, particularly outside the hospital... many bipolar individuals I have some across can be seriously creative and brilliant... as long as they get it together... know yourself and above all cause no harm...
    you can reach your goal, forget about time... I had another prof tell me that most college students aren't fully conscious until they hit 32, so don't rush it... enjoy it you'll be overworked and underpaid soon enough !
  10. by   renerian
    I had a male friend who was bipolar and he was an excellent RN! He worked acute care then a home care psyc program. Now he was hard to manage sometimes but I just rode with it. The other supervisor could not deal with him but I had little trouble.

  11. by   psycorn
    i have worked with several bipolar nurses and medication is a key and remebering to take medication, and not being over worked but they make excellant nurses, there is no reason as long as you are stable that you can['t work, just like if a person is a diabetic , as long as they are stable they can do a excellant job, the key is not to fool yourself, when you feel unstable it is time to step back , get the help you need first be fore you can help others
  12. by   nursy_ann
    I would like that every nurses hava the same thought that you about the subject. My teacher made me fail my psy training because she say I can't help people if I have a psy problem
    I agree with her that in the beginning of this term I was on a down but I assure you it didn't affect my performance during my trainning. personnaly I think it is not always good to be frank and tell ppl we're bipolar or depressive. Just be yourself and get help outside the hospital were you work!!!
  13. by   renerian
    Au contrare' I think you have more empathy and could thus be more of a helper than someone with no actual experience with the problem.