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HMA19 HMA19 (New Member) New Member

8 years and diagnosed with PTSD

Stress 101   (2,056 Views 5 Comments)
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I need some advice! I'm going crazy and as most of us know, no one can understand a nurse better than another nurse.

I have been working in stepdown, ICU, and over the past year in ER for a total of 8 years. I've always had the type of personality that makes you more prone to worry. In nursing school I remember having anxiety that I wouldn't make it, pass boards, etc. Then as a New graduate that I wouldn't be adequate enough. Here I am 8 years down the road a very good/confident nurse but the stress of he job has overtaken my life. My anxiety got worse with each child ( I now have 2). I have seen so many negative things over the past 8 years, a lot of death, a lot of horrible things as you all know. I have become a total hypochondriac, every time I have a bump or ache or either one of my kids do I jump to the worst conclusion. I have an obsession with cancer and am terrified that I am going to die or one of my kids is. To make a long story short I was diagnosed with PTSD and have anxiety and depression. My counselor suggests that I take a break for nursing but I can't quit for another 6 months because of financial reasons. I am not interested in taking meds and prefer to take a natural approach.

Its unfortunate because I know I'm a good nurse and to quit feels like I'm giving up and not contributing to a profession I love but I feel like it's ruining my life. I'm incredibly negative and pessimistic, never having hope for any patients I take care of anymore. Please help! I need advice from other nurses who can understand me.

Edited by HMA19

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Why not try another area of nursing? There are so many areas that don;t deal with death and disease all day- perhaps this change might help?

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First off - I totally have the same fears! Its hard to extinguish that fire when you get so caught up in your thoughts/feelings. However, ANXIETY DOESN'T MEAN YOU CANT STILL BE A GREAT AND PRODUCTIVE NURSE. And I totally mean that! I worked my butt off in home health for a couple of years and it made me so anxious caring for patients that could potentially fall, die, etc. and I was constantly questioning my judgement. A friend of mine was working in a substance abuse facility and suggested I work there as an RN. It was the BEST thing I ever did. Of course I still have some acute cases and patients have died, but it is FAR better than what I was doing before. I have constant support from my fellow co workers. Fortunately, nursing has so many unique paths that aren't necessarily hospital-based. I would encourage you to give another specialty a try!

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I understand. I have anxiety depression panic attacks and been diagnosed with ptsd. This year literally almost killed me. My health got so bad I couldn't function. Things went down at work and turned my world. I even had suicidal thoughts. I am still struggling but fortunately I haven't wanted to commit suicide in months and my health is a little better. I take medication and go to a therapist. Hang in there you are not alone. The struggle is awful.

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Come to public health or school nursing (or a clinic, or an outpatient procedure setting, or many other places outside of the hospital)!  Come see some regular people who aren't circling the drain.  Today I did health education about iron deficiency anemia, I went over a gluten-free diet for a kid with celiac disease, I helped a coworker with her carb counting for insulin coverage, I went over contraceptive options with a student, and I worked on referring a kid to a program to help her get new glasses.

Emergencies can happen anywhere, but the world outside the hospital is different.  You've done your time in the trenches.  I's OK to take a job that doesn't push you to your maximum capacity 100% of the time.  Really!  

And normal-people hours....just sleep and a regular schedule, alone....can change your whole perspective.  100% worth the pay cut, if you ask me.  

Edited by laflaca

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