Nurses With Mental Illness 

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“Good morning, my name is Amy and I’ll be your nurse for the day”

I hold a unique prospective: I am an axillary nurse and a mental health patient. Nurses with mental health illness is a grey area. After all nurses, doctors and care givers have super hero status. You place your life in their hands, and trust that they have your best interests at heart.

Mental health illness amongst nurses is actually very wide spread. It just isn’t talk about as often as it should be. I have seen nurses in tears with anxiety, spoken to doctors with depression, and met carers who struggle to get out of bed in the morning. The one thing that keeps them going, is their job.

I have been nursing for 7 years. For the first time in my life I am taking a break to focus on my own mental health recovery. I feel as though my identity has been stripped away from me. After all I’ve spent so long looking after others, its difficult to put that aside and look after myself. I believe that my own struggle with mental health illness has helped me to connect and empathise with my patients better. They feel as though they can confine in me, and trust that when I am saying I understand, I understand.

When I was depressed, going to my job was the only thing that kept me going. I have a huge hole in my heart, which only being a nurse can fill. I love looking after other people, and making them feel safe and well. I enjoy watching them grow with good health and confidence. When I am nursing I become someone different; confident, chatty, bubbly and able to cope with anything thrown my way. How is it that I can remain calm when someone is having a heart attack yet worry about walking into my local shop?

Mental health illness does not discriminate against age, gender, religion or occupation. The more we talk about mental illness the more we can understand it and help prevent the miserable suffering of millions of people.

I feel a little selfish for saying it, but I need to fix myself before I can fix someone else. Then I can be an even better nurse. 

DON’T GIVE UP!

(Nurse) Amy Belle x

31 thoughts on “Nurses With Mental Illness 

      1. Yes I do completely understand! It is very hard to switch off caring for others! It never stops but as you said is OK to take a break 🙂 hope you are well and thank you for comment and support. x

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I am beginning a diploma in Nursing very soon, and then am planning to carry onto University. Thanks for writing this, as someone who has also had difficulties and still does to this day with mental health. This was a great insight 😊 Good luck with everything

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  2. I’ve been a support worker for adults with mental health illnesses and learning disabilities as well as a carer for elderly mainly with dementia or end of life care…I was diagnosed with my own mental health issues at the age of 13/14 (I’m 24 now) and I totally agree with what you have said in this post! Couldn’t of said it better myself xx

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      1. I’ve always wanted to help people. I’ve been told I’m a natural healer as I’m gentle and just know how to look after anyone in my care 🙂 I’m always picking up the ‘broken’ and helping to put them back together x

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  3. Hello 🙂 how are you doing now? Apologies if you’ve updated elsewhere, I’ve just come across this first…. I’m one of ‘us’ too. Am an RMN with bipolar and ADHD. Just returned to work after a 7 month severe depression. Urgh.
    It’s good to find others like us! At the same time I’m sorry you’re unwell. It’s very hard 😦 much love

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    1. Hello there! I am good thank you, how are you? Sorry it took me a while to get back to you. I am so sorry to hear that you are also experiencing mental health illness. Please know that you are not alone, and their are many of “us”. Well done so much on returning to work- that is amazing! What department do you nurse in? I hope you found my post comforting. It is very hard to look after others when you are struggling to look after yourself. You are very special to be a nurse! All my love, Amy

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      1. Ah no worries about getting back to me sooner, I am truly appalling at child mmunicarion speediness consistency so would be an absolute hypocrite to even worry about it 😂😂😂 thank you for your empathy and I’m sorry you are too. Nursing is emotionally demanding anyway, not to mention mad busy all the time so it’s an extra challenge isn’t it?

        I’m a registered mental health nurse working on a general acute inpatient ward. I have to work extra hard not to overidentify and make sure I’m aware of professionalism. It could be oh so easy to say “oh yeah, I have bipolar too, I’ve overdosed and been in a psych hospital myself” haha…. but I think we do add something special knowing first hand what it’s like. All of the various Psychiatrists and my own mental health nurses over time have told me this and encouraged me to go on. And I do think our patients sort of pick up on it. Now I’m not saying we’re any better than any other nurses as such as I work with so many that are just fabulous empathic individuals who are brilliant leaders and great communicators but I do feel rather on a level with our patients… maybe I’m contradicting myself 😂😂😂

        Anyway what area are you in – I think you said mental health but I’m stupidly forgetful and don’t want to move away from this page in case I lose it 😂 I’m fairly new to wordpress haha.

        I’m glad you’re taking time for yourself. You come across as a very lovely, caring person.

        Nice to ‘meet’ you 🙂

        Much love, incognito me xx

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  4. I am a nurse with mental illness and at work i am completely different at work just like you said. This is very accurate to me. I love my job I love going into work and see that im making a difference to my patients. I am always having patients that feel that they can confide in me when they can’t in others and it gives me a unique skill to help others because I have been there before.

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    1. Thank you for your comment sister it is nice to know I am not alone too! It’s like we are a different person at work isn’t it? You sound like a very special person xxx

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  5. This hit me hard. I’m a nurse of 7 years as well. I was diagnosed with depression in my twenties (I lost my mother at 16 and just never fully recovered). As a nurse I could fix everyone but myself. Luckily I ended up in therapy (against my will but Lord knows I needed it) and learned how to start taking care of myself emotionally and mentally. I wish you the best on your journey of self care and just know you’ll be an even greater nurse afterward!

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment Fred. I have felt so alone in being a nurse with mental illness and yet comments such as yours keeps me going. I am so sorry to hear about your beloved mother but glad you are doing well. Us nurses aren’t superheroes and society seems to expect us to be. You are right, it is easier to fix others but not our selves. I have had to take a break from nursing and feel like my identity has been stripped away from me. Somehow I can still be a nurse through looking after others on my blog. God bless you and keep up the amazing work xz

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  6. In the same boat… I think after almost 20 yrs from CNA to Paramedic and now Nurse and my own health and mental wellness I need some time to regroup or I will be useless… This was so well stated… And so true, good luck and well wishes of health ❤

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    1. Thank you for your comment. Yes, I think you need a nice long holiday! It is exhausting being on burn out. All the best to you, and good luck to you also, Amy Belle x

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