Is it possible for a Bipolar person to become a psych nurse? - page 4

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   nurse2002
    Originally posted by magaroon
    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 the right direction for me) I was, for awhile, considered what is referred to as a "frequent flier". I've been on just about every psych med out there, but I am med-resistant. I am currently taking Lamictal, but I just started it. I was on Lamictal in the past, but I don't know if it worked, because I had been grossly over-medicated, with anywhere between 6 to 8 different psych meds at one time, so I have no idea if it was working, because of all the meds I was on. So we are trying Lamictal again, alone, to try to keep my moods in check. I have come so far since I was initially dx'd. It has been a very hard road for me, but I feel I have come such a long way. I think what has helped me the most was out-patient therapy for 3 straight years. The meds weren't of much help, although I feel I do need to be on a mood stablizer, if I can get one to work for me.

    Toward the end of my therapy, I decided to enroll in our local community college, which has also helped me to focus on what I want to do with my life. I have always wanted to be a nurse, ever since I was 9 years old. I am finishing up my pre-reqs, and trying to get into the LPN program. (this has also been a HUGE step for me).

    What I would like to know is, are there any Bipolar psych nurses out there? I have my life in the most control now, than I ever had. I feel I might have a lot to offer psych patients, since I've been there, and done that.

    I would like any input, either for or against a bipolar person becoming a psych nurse. What do you guys think? I am much more stable now, with just the occasional brief depressive episode. I also think that becoming a nurse, would really give me a "purpose" in life, which in turn, would help my depression greatly. Over the past year, I have made so many improvements in myself, thanks mostly to my wonderful therapist (whom I am no longer seeing, because he was dx'd with ALS, and had to retire). But I also feel I was ready to end my therapy at the time of his retirement.

    Is it a bad idea to try to get into psych nursing, while having a mental disorder, which is basically under control?

    My psychiatrist says that there should be nothing to stop me from trying to become a psych nurse, but advised me not to work in the hospitals I have been a patient in. He also said that I don't have to tell anyone (potential employers) of my illness, if I don't want to.

    Please, any thoughts on this matter, whether you agree with it or disagree. I need to hear all kinds of different feedback, so I can decide if I should persue this.

    Thank you for reading my long post, and I greatly appreciate ANY input.


    I think it would be wonderful for you to be a nurse. Im trying to think of what Iwant to say.........

    There are so many in the medical community that still do not understand mental illness and do not know how to deal with it. Me for one. I think I takes someone special to be in the psych field. I believe if you went into psych, I dont think you stated as such though, it would be wonderful. You sound like you would make a good nurse in any field. And have thought this though.

    Let me add that on your nursing app with the board of nursing it is illegal for them to ask if you have been treated for mental illness.(they ask anyway) Please do not tell them "yes". They will run you through the mill. I have had friends say that they have bee treated for depression and are on, lets say, prozac and it took tham up to a year longer to get their license.

    And I dont want anyone to take this the wrong way. But lots of us need help and you knew enough to get it. And are dealing with it, sounds like, wonderfully.

    Much praise to you from me!
  2. by   SmallTexan
    Sure as long as you stay on your meds. Sounds like you have a tremendous amount of self awareness ... which is a good thing. Don't let anything come between you and your dreams. You can overcome it ! Just be AWARE !
  3. by   spyrogeist
    Thanks! I am actually doing really well at school w/ a 4.0 and have just written a teaching article on rational choice of antidepressants with a friend of mine who's a psychopharm prof at UCI. He's asked why I don't develop it a textbook chapter or handbook, which he wouldn't mind editing. We're doing two other studies right now as well, and I've definitely found a niche in research. I've read so many scary things about my disorder and comorbidities at this point I've become immune, and I've met several psychiatrists who have bipolar patients that are doctors and are doing really well. And I love my meds. So I'm over the fear thing at this point. Everyone I know is asking me why I don't go for the MD, though, including my psychiatrist at UCLA, and I personally see drawbacks to that. If I want to avoid gargantuan debt. And huge malpractice policies. I can just see myself working for an HMO, Kaiser or community mental health (where the malpractice thing is covered). I don't know how those situations are for nurses (I'm sure some on this board work for them), but for doctors it basically means 15 min. meds eval all day; never getting to know your pt well and worrying about differential dx , drug formularies and fail first procedures. It's tough to use a guideline let alone evidence based practice in those situations. There isn't the same need for doctors as for nurses in the job marker, and the competition for teaching posts and research dollars is tougher. If I did lose my job to disability for a period of time, getting started again as a nurse is just so much easier. The only place where I think I could have the flexibility I'd like as a doctor would be in private practice or at a research hospital (what are the chances?), and it takes a while to build that (I'm 35), and may be more responsibility in the business arena than I want to take on. Eeeeek! I wouldn't care to make a decision at this point, but the prereqs for nursing and for medicine are v different. Anyone out there have two cents to put in on this one, I'm listening... Thanks -- CTH
  4. by   powmol
    I have worked with several Bipolar nurses over the years, in and out of a psych setting, I say Go For it!!!!!!!!!!!!! You seem to have a better grasp on what you need and where you want to go!! Good luck!!!!!
  5. by   renerian
    Yes I used to work with a bipolar nurse. He took a little more work to help keep him balanced and to know when he was not and what to do to help him. The other supervisors refused to work with him but we got along fine.

  6. by   RedWhiteBlue
    I think this is a great topic! I think a bipolar nurse can certainly be more comforting and understanding with her patients. On the psych unit where I work, almost all the staff have some sort of mental illness. I work with bipolar, OCD, and BPD staff as well as recovering addicts, those with major depression, and those with anger control problems. I myself have depression and have found that working in psych/CD has helped me immensely. All of you out there wanting to work in mental health - go for it!
  7. by   Louie18
    I am, I am. Also ADDHA with a touch of lysdexia.
    Ain't no problem. An antidepressant and Ritalin and let me see what is meant by, "ALL BEHAVIOR IS MEANINGFUL."
    Some days you pedal uphill though.
  8. by   iliel
    Originally posted by Louie18
    I am, I am. Also ADDHA with a touch of lysdexia.
    Ain't no problem. An antidepressant and Ritalin and let me see what is meant by, "ALL BEHAVIOR IS MEANINGFUL."
    Some days you pedal uphill though.
    Please tell me you are not making fun of the people in this thread!
  9. by   Louie18
  10. by   iliel
    Louie, that's why I asked. It just seems like you're making light of the situation, that's all. Don't take offense.
  11. by   Louie18
    Well as far as making light of the situation I WAS INDEED!
    15% of the population are Bipolar, (a new phrase with many more cubby holes i thought for insurance purposes) The bipolarism is either hyper or hypo, During the hypo I could never work unless it was a high stress position, ER, Industrial.
    The ADDHA is the clincher. (possibly why I worked 45 different areas.) Fortunately with age one just flat out gets tired of worrying about Seretonin/Dopamine levels. As long as I am not depressed i am one happy camper. When I am hyper I can feel it and there were times I requested to leave without rejection.
    I do know when I was on the floor as an RN I was ON TOP of any situation.
    The problem with our psych. rotation is self analysis, forget about it. "I'm OK, You're OK"
    I'll post a few of the things I have written about incidents over time.
  12. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Sometimes humor is one person's way of accepting and/or embracing their condition.

    Friend of mine that is dyslexic drives around with the bumper sticker that says "Dyslexics of the world: UNTIE!!!!!" (yes that's how that's spelled).
  13. by   Louie18
    I have learned that ANY condition away from perfect balance has innate compensitory mechanisms.
    However, as my wife says, "I see the tinfoil and you're outta here DuLac."
    Too many years working the 'bin' makes for a thick broth and a diminished shock system.
    Whatever the case in psych I feel promoting psychological comfort the primary goal before care can begin.