Talking to "Regular" People


I work in an emergency department. It's very large, it's a level 1 Trauma Center, burn center, stroke center, etc. I work night shift, and usually keep my shifts together so that I can live a normal life on my off days. However, after 3 night shifts this last week that were particularly stressful im having trouble getting back to real life. With just extra critically ill patients, drug overdoses, traumas, mixed with everything else and I was in charge my last shift.... I can't switch out of ED nurse mode...

For instance, I'm a normally very talkative person, I can gab with anybody, especially other moms I know, moms I've spent bleacher time with. But last night at an end of season banquet for my high schooler's sport I just couldn't.... couldn't make the small talk, couldn't even really just chat. I had come home from a brutal shift, slept 6 hrs and gotten up to go to the banquet... I don't know if the lack of extra downtime made it worse, but It was a super odd feeling, and I've never had a time I couldn't just talk to people. Is this something other people have gone through before? This hangup , for lack of a better description, between nurse life and "regular" life?


603 Posts

Has 20 years experience.

Sometimes I just hole up and need to not talk to ANYONE for a while, or be touched, because I'm all touch and talked out. I'm an extrovert, too, and can pretty much talk to a brick wall. After really stressful shifts, though, when we're so busy that I don't have coworkers to help share the load of scary/needy/critical patients, I shut down for a bit. Self preservation.

A word of caution, though: once, I did cease contact with pretty much anyone but my husband. As in, ignored texts, emails, phone calls...everything. Retreated into myself. THAT was severe depression and needed medication. So if you've reached that point, get some help.

allnurses Guide

NurseCard, ADN

2 Articles; 2,847 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health. Has 13 years experience.

I wish I was like that. I'm SO introverted. Small talk feels so

forced and awkward. Can't stand it. I get lonely sometimes.

But it doesn't bother me like it once did.

Anyway though, after so much stress, so much intense

caring for others, it makes sense that you just need some

time to yourself.

Think of it this way. I enjoy being alone, but if I were alone

for a week or two, I'd go crazy and be the chattiest Cathy

(my actual name, LOL) that you've ever known.