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Worried Anxiety Disorder/Depression will get in the way, should I pick another field?

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by desic737 desic737 (New Member) New Member

366 Visitors; 3 Posts

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Hi all. I'm currently a pre-nursing student going to a university in the Spring. I am absolutely in love with nursing as a profession. For the past 2 years I've volunteered at children's hospitals and been in many Health Professionals organizations, and I honestly feel like this is what I was meant to do.

What I'm worried about is my anxiety. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when I was 10 just before my dad passed away, but my anxiety has always been a bit worse than my depression. Lately, I've been having constant panic attacks or emotional breakdowns over things I consider small. My family went out to dinner to celebrate my acceptance into Honors College, and I had a panic attack after our restaurant reservations didn't go through and we had to go somewhere else. I work at a coffee shop, and if I leave at 6:22 instead of 6:20 I have a panic attack the whole drive thinking I'm going to be late. Yesterday a customer shouted at me and I had to go to the back to console myself because I was crying so hard.

Thinking about how mundane these things are and how they cause me huge amounts of worry gives me anxiety over whether I'll be able to work under such intense pressure. If I do something wrong, it isn't just a cup of coffee, it's a possible life on the line. The fact terrifies me and I'm not sure I can handle it.

I know things get better with time, and all new nurses would have the "I could kill someone if I mess up." feeling. But I think about how many little things have sent me into panic attacks, and wonder if I should just stick with my backup plan of being a teacher. At least no lives are on the line.

Has anyone else ever been in a similar situation?

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meanmaryjean has 40 years experience and works as a Nursing Faculty.

3 Followers; 63,982 Visitors; 7,499 Posts

Are you getting treatment for this?

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366 Visitors; 3 Posts

Yes. I've been on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications since I was diagnosed. My anti-anxiety medication is only as-needed, though. I may feel more comfortable taking it daily. I also see a therapist every other week.

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and works as a Retired/Disabled Nurse and Blogger.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 247,675 Visitors; 9,597 Posts

I suggest you talk to your healthcare providers and let them know how bad you are truly feeling. There are good treatments for your conditions, and there are many ways to get better. It doesn't sound like your anxiety and depression are being treated adequately, and you may need to explore other options as far as meds and therapy are concerned. Do you have a psychiatrist in addition to your therapist? Most primary care providers don't have the training needed to properly diagnose and treat mental health issues, so if you don't have a psych you may want to get a referral to one.

Wishing you the best in your endeavors. You've got this!

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143 Visitors; 2 Posts

I have a feeling you'll do fine. You have areas of nursing that you completely love!

Your 'worries' seem to deal with other areas of your life, as well. There is lots of

help for this type of anxiety-- I'd try non-medicine approaches first. Medical professionals,

unfortunately, have a high percentage of self treatment in this department.

Age helped with my anxieties-- and I started out with my first serious nursing job

as a nurse in the Vietnam war. Most assignments were a piece of cake after that one,

but my anxieties remained sky high for many years.

Talking about my anxieties in a supportive women's group helped a great deal.

And meditation. (As well as medication, at one point)

Best of luck to you, dear pre-nursing student. I know you'll do well.

In closing, I'd like to share a personal favorite poem about worry.

I hope you see the wisdom in it, too.

[h=1]Some of your hurts you have cured, and the sharpest you've even survived.

But what torments of grief you've endured

from evils which never arrived - Ralph Waldo Emerson”[/h]

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7,898 Visitors; 454 Posts

I have pretty severe anxiety but have found it is actually not much of a factor at work. In some ways, I think it is even therapeutic for me to be in a field where there are truly high-stress situations and I'm handling them well. I've worked in trauma ERs for several years now and I'm less anxious at work than when I was med-surg, or when I worked totally not life-and-death jobs like retail.

This might not be the case for everyone, of course, but my anxiety primarily takes two forms- obsessive thoughts about terrible things that are totally out of my control (loved ones dying, etc) and catastrophizing thoughts about small things ("I will never get to sleep on time and I will oversleep and I will miss the meeting and I will get fired and I will lose my house and my family will reject me and I'll die in the gutter" etc). At work I am *in control* of many of the stressful situations so rather than suffer crippling anxiety about them I just *do my job* and that feels great.

When I am on vacation and theoretically experiencing nothing stressful I stress out constantly over nothings, and it can be perversely more draining than going to work.

Think about how you've handled truly important/major decisions and how you handle yourself at your previous jobs/studies/volunteer positions and you'll probably have a better picture of what working will be like for you. If major decisions or weighty responsibilities cause you to shut down, maybe reconsider this field. But if you handle serious situations well and only panic over restaurant reservations, you may do just fine.

And I second/third/fourth the suggestions to pursue more aggressive treatment. I know it doesn't always work- I personally found the side effects of all the medications I tried worse than the anxiety itself)- but it's worth exhausting all your options.

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