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Forums / Anxiety / Anxious nurse with nothing left to give

Topic: Anxious nurse with nothing left to give

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. Sunshine188
    Sunshine188 avatar
    10 posts
    18 April 2021

    Hi All,

    this is my first ever post here. I’m almost 29 and have been nursing for 7 years - my area of speciality is cancer and palliative care. I was really young when I first started and being a very empathetic person (and being exposed to really sad/traumatic situations) I got really burnt out. I made some changes a few years ago - worked in a Telehealth role for about 2 years but I was still burnt out and I felt like I was losing my empathy and compassion for patients, as well as my own family and friends. I felt like I had been drained of all of my emotion and like I had nothing left to give. On top of this I began to experience crippling anxiety.
    i started a new job 2 months ago working in clinical trials. I thought I would feel less burnt out and anxious in this area but it’s worse. I wasn’t given much training or support when I first started in this role, have spoken to my boss about my concerns and not much has changed. My anxiety is awful and I am experiencing panic attacks on a regular basis. I dread work every day and I feel stressed about work on the weekends. I have been looking elsewhere for another job as I feel so unhappy. It’s really hard to explain to my family and friends how I feel. They don’t understand what constant anxiety feels like...I am exhausted from pretending like everything is ok when on the inside I feel so broken.

    Part of me is so angry that when I was younger I didn’t look after myself well enough, and I almost wish I never became a nurse. I ultimately feel like I need to step away from health care in general but I seem to have such an issue doing this. It’s hard because I identify as a nurse but I am ready to move on to something else.

    has anyone ever had a similar situation working within health care?

    thank you for taking the time to read my post

    2 people found this helpful
  2. smallwolf
    Community Champion
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    smallwolf avatar
    5742 posts
    18 April 2021 in reply to Sunshine188

    hi and welcome to the forums.

    I have not worked in health care but I also wanted you to know that I had read your story and have a vague understanding of anxiety. I would also dread work each day wondering what mess I would be involved in each day and it felt soul destroying. So while it might be hard to describe to your family the people here will understand.

    Can I ask what sort of self-care practices you have? Or what tools you have to use?

    I felt that writing down my thoughts on paper was a way of getting things out of my head. It would feel like there were 1000's of thoughts spinning around in mind, coming in different forms. And when I I write it down on paper there were only a few things that were actually in my head. Those 000's of thoughts were the same thoughts in different arrangements so they would all feel different.

    Being able to talk with someone is quite helpful, at least for me! I am not sure what resources might exist where you work? Perhaps someone might be able to the help find someone to talk to.

    welcome again.

  3. Croix
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    Croix avatar
    10343 posts
    18 April 2021 in reply to Sunshine188

    Dear Sunshine188~

    Welcome here to the Forum. It's a good move and if you look around you will find other nurses who have similar experiences. I guess it comes down to having an empathetic and caring nature (which is why you chose nursing) but at the same time do not have the boundaries to protect yourself. So you burn out.

    In most cases it is as much poor supervision as anything else.

    Changing nursing jobs can be simply more of the same, and does not always help long term.

    Firstly may I ask you if you have competent medical support? Burn-out is not a life sentence and with the correct support and therapy can bring you back to a much happier and more capable state, the same applying to anxiety.

    I was invalided out of my occupation wiht PTSD, depression and anxiety, somewhat similar matters, and am now a productive and capable person, well able to relate to others, including family.

    I don't think your self-identity as a nurse will ever leave you, not matter what walk of life you go down, temporarily or permanently. My identity never left me, though has now been combined with other things. This is I beleive a good thing -part of you.

    The idea of work in a completely different area, at least for a while, does not seem a bad one, and if you return to the medical sphere you need to be the one doing the interviewing, ensuring the supervision is proactive, competent and reassuring.

    I hope to hear from you some more

    Croix

  4. Sunshine188
    Sunshine188 avatar
    10 posts
    18 April 2021 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix and Smallwolf

    Thankyou both for your replies, I really appreciate you taking the time to read my post and for sharing a response.

    ive been seeing a psychologist for the last few months which I find helpful. Although at the moment since starting this new job I feel like I need more support. I’m not sleeping properly and I constantly have physical symptoms of anxiety.

    my self care is usually journaling, exercising, gardening and making time to see my friends and fam. Lately my anxiety has made me feel like I can’t do any of those things properly. When I wake up in the morning I feel like I’m literally stuck to my bed, paralysed with fear.

    I just feel so awful.

  5. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    10343 posts
    19 April 2021 in reply to Sunshine188

    Dear Sunshine188~

    It looks like a combination of the job in clinical trials together with your current therapy is not working out. This would seem to be several things.

    The job itself does not sound good, and if you have seen the supervisor and nothing much has changed that does not really bode well for the future. Your idea of looking further for another job sounds very sensible.

    As Smallwolf has pointed out the things you do yourself to try to keep your aniety under control are important. Spending your life as you do at the moment is no way to live, and life can be so much better -as I found.

    Beyond Blue has some suggestions here

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/treatments-for-anxiety/anxiety-management-strategies

    In addition many posters have listed what has helped them here

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/anxiety/self-help-tips-for-managing-anxiety/page/9

    The next thing of course is to see your doctor and counselor and explain that your current treatment is ineffective and needs to be reviewed -something that is quite normal, as one's life changes so does one's medical requirements.

    It would be great if there was someone in your life to be your 'anchor person'. Someone who does not try to fix everything (a most annoying or upsetting habit) but listens, understands and cares.

    One thing I've found very helpful when going though a particularly bad period of anxiety is the free smartphone app "Smiling Mind"

    https://www.smilingmind.com.au

    This takes a bit of practice but I find the exercises do break the cycle of thoughts chasing each other in a loop and can leave me feeling calmer. There are plenty of exercises to choose from, and even the 2 minute demo can be good.

    Croix

  6. Giraffe
    Giraffe avatar
    44 posts
    22 April 2021
    I’m a nurse too and yes sometimes my job gives me anxiety. I’m suffering badly from anxiety and depression and it’s tough to constantly give from an empty cup. I find the really needy patients overwhelming to be honest. My advice to you is to change jobs as it sounds like you are in a field that is definitely not you. I wish you the best.
  7. geoff
    Life Member
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    geoff avatar
    15268 posts
    22 April 2021 in reply to Sunshine188

    Hello Sunshine and Giraffe, I understand exactly how you both are feeling, as I've been in hospital with more injuries, more times than I can think of, and know the depends that a nurse has in a busy job looking after not only patients but doctors and nurses higher up in rank, the demand is non stop.

    With your qualifications and experience, the opportunity to apply for other jobs is certainly bountiful, to perhaps become a medical secretary or a receptionist, not only in the medical field but with other professions, your knowledge and advice would be a benefit in organising an office.

    Hope to hear back from you.

    Geoff.

  8. Sunshine188
    Sunshine188 avatar
    10 posts
    25 April 2021 in reply to geoff

    Hi Croix, Geoff and Giraffe

    thank you all for your responses, I really appreciate it. I’ve downloaded the smiling mind app and have been finding it helpful.

    Giraffe - I also find the needy patients to be quite challenging to deal with. I put on a brave face for work and then I come home and feel like I fall into a heap. It’s awful on the weekend as I am dreading Monday morning. I am thinking of taking a gap year and stepping away from health care in general. I feel like my brain needs a break and at the moment I’m so focussed on looking after everyone else instead of myself.

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Oddities
    Oddities  avatar
    18 posts
    25 April 2021 in reply to Sunshine188

    Hi Mate,

    What you have described sounds awful when it would appear you went into this industry to help people who need a hand up.

    You must always remember that nothing is forever and if you must step away to help yourself now, you can come back stronger for the next person who needs that help again.

    That being said, regret is something we all face but must approach it with acceptance and understanding. Next time you question if you should have gone into the industry of Health, think about all the people in their time of most need that you were able to help and be that sunshine on an otherwise dark day.

    While family and friends can't always 100% understand what your going through, it's important to try and convey your struggles with them so you know in your subconscious that while you are around them you are safe and loved.

    Always here to chat if you need.

  10. Sunshine188
    Sunshine188 avatar
    10 posts
    27 April 2021 in reply to Oddities

    Hey Oddities

    thank you so much for your reply. I’m trying to focus on looking after myself and doing the best that I can.

    I feel that I’m a very empathetic person and I care too much about work and my patients. On one side, it makes me very good at my job but on the flip side, it’s really hard to distance myself and that’s exactly how burn out happens.

    I applied for a different job last night and I’m hopeful that I’ll get an interview.

    as much as I feel pretty awful right now..I hope one day I will look back on this time in my life and know that it’s made me into a stronger person.

    1 person found this helpful

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