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Forums / Treatments, health professionals and therapies / Ask Nurse Jenn - Our Resident Mental Health Nurse!

Topic: Ask Nurse Jenn - Our Resident Mental Health Nurse!

  1. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    2809 posts
    5 November 2018
    Hi everyone,

    This is a thread for asking questions of our resident Mental Health Nurse, Nurse Jenn who pops into the forums regularly.

    PLEASE NOTE as per our community rules, Nurse Jenn won't be able to answer questions about medications, these are best discussed offline directly with your mental health professional.

    BEFORE YOU ASK NURSE JENN PLEASE CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING POINTS:
    • Nurse Jenn’s time is limited! We cannot provide an ongoing dialogue with Nurse Jenn in this thread - one post/question per person please
    • We'd recommend you have a look through the forums before posting here to see if your question has already been answered by Nurse Jenn, our other members, or if there's information about it already on the beyondblue website.
    • If a question pops up that has already been answered previously, or if alternate resources are available, one of our moderators will reply and direct you to the link.
    • When writing your question, imagine you are speaking to someone in person i.e. provide a clear and detailed post with enough information that outlines how Nurse Jenn can help you.

    Background

    From Nurse Jenn

    Long ago I was struggling to find my way in my career. I was training to become a registered nurse and I didn’t seem to fit into the traditional ‘medical model’ of delivering care.  Then I started my mental health rotation and I found my place in helping others. I am now 45 years old and have been in the mental health field as a nurse, manager, educator, project officer, advocate… for over 22 years across several countries and cultures (Aus USA Canada NZ).  I have experience in a number of different child and youth mental health teams, early psychosis teams as well as adult and older adult hospital settings. I have also worked as the manager of the beyondblue NewAccess program and understand what it’s like to live regionally where services can be limited. 

    Working with people around the globe has made me aware that worry and stress do not know age, culture or country. It is a phenomenon of being human. I have felt it myself in different periods of my life and seen struggle it in loved ones and people everywhere.  I have felt the traumatic loss of a close friends death by suicide (as so many have) and recently experienced the extreme joy of becoming a mother.  

    I am thankful everyday that I can walk beside people who need some support to find their own balance and strength. I am very grateful to be here on the beyondblue forum with all of you.

    I hope that my professional and personal experience can provide you with some support, direction or even just an acknowledgement that what you are going through is real, and tough, and that you can achieve more than you know.  

    7 people found this helpful
  2. Beetle
    Beetle avatar
    236 posts
    7 January 2019

    Hi Jenny

    I cant find anything about inpatient treatment in private hospitals.I suffered a Traumatic brain injury 10 month back which led to severe depression and anxiety. I am on meds. I struggle at home as my brain injury limits me so much. I cant drive,work, shop,go out, exercise or do fun stuff. Household and garden is really hard to keep up with.Brain shuts down.

    My Psychiatrist suggested an inpatient treatment in a private hospital.( its under work cover)

    I am not that keen as I know once I am back the house and garden will be a mess and it takes me weeks to organize that all. I only have been in a public MH hospital. It wasn't too bad but very noisy. What do they do in a private facility? Just give you meds? I am no good with groups and heaps of people due to my braininjury ( sensory overload) I wonder if they can do anything for me there? Do you have any experience in that department?

    Thanks so much

    Beetle

  3. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    8 January 2019 in reply to Beetle

    Hi Beetle,

    Great that to see you reaching out on the beyondblue forum for support. Your question is a tricky one as not all healthcare facilities, inpatient wards or private mental health wards are the same. I have been employed in both private and public and have had positive experiences with both and have also seen both types of facilities require some improvement.

    Private facilities do not usually accept people who are under the Mental Health Act, at least not for very long. What this generally means is that all the people who are there are 'voluntary' and the facility has less acute people. This results in the focus (from what I have seen) to be more on therapy and treatment rather than stabilisation of crisis. Also people who attend the facility have to pay so it is quite different than a public facility in that the grounds are often better kept, the food is a bit more upmarket, people have their own rooms and televisions and it is generally quieter. In my experience a private facility has felt calmer in its overall vibe - though I have only been employed in a few.

    There will been different approaches to therapy at each centre but in one facility I was employed there were different therapy tracks. This meant that there was a day program for people with anxiety, a different one for people with substance use and a yet another for people with mood issues. The programs were diverse with some activities being didactic groups (talking) but others were behavioural activities such as gardening or mindfulness. I also know that many of the people who were admitted were able to take leave fairly regularly to attend to pets, gardens, visit family, go out for dinner, etc. There are some activities that are just social that you have the option to attend. You still have a nurse assigned to you that supports you each shift that supports medication management, physical health issues, assessment of symptoms, etc.

    My suggestion would be to do a facility tour prior to accepting an admission. I am certain that this can be arranged or at the very least, discuss the facilities program with the Nurse Manager or Site Manager. You may then gain a clearer picture of the centre your Psychiatrist has recommended and can make a more informed decision. Another thing to consider is that you could try the facility for a few days and if you don't like it, you could discharge yourself.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

    1 person found this helpful
  4. jessrobb
    jessrobb avatar
    4 posts
    9 January 2019

    Hi Jenny,

    so when I was in high school I found it really easier to talk to my school counsellor but now that I'm older and have been out of high school for a couple of years I have found it very hard to ask or talk to my parents for help when I need it. At the moment I would like to go see my GP to start talking about getting some help but every time I think or go to ask my parents for help I get too anxious and can never get the words out/ approach my parents. The other issue is that I'm not working at the moment so I don't have the money to go see my Gp, so I kind of have to ask my parent.

    Thanks

  5. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    9 January 2019 in reply to jessrobb

    Hi jessrobb,

    Welcome to the beyondblue forum. It is great to see you are reaching out here for support. You have identified some issues with worry and feeling anxious about discussing with your parents that you are needing extra support. I want you to know that this is 100% normal. Bringing up to your parents this sensitive topic of needing help can make you (or anyone in the same situation) feel vulnerable.

    I have a few suggestions that might help you get the support you need so you can get to your GP.

    I wonder if you have ever contacted the Kids HelpLine where you could talk to an operator about the stress of discussing your mental health with your parents. Sometimes by just talking to someone, even once can help you find the strength you need. The number for the Kids HelpLine is 1800 55 1800 and their motto is Any time. Any reason.

    Another suggestion is to contact headspace. You can read about headspace by going to this website www.headspace.org.au

    By going to the website you can find the closest centre to you or use the e-headspace tool. Headspace is for young people 12-25 and focuses on mental health care in a way that is accessible for young people. You may have heard of it but if you are really delaying getting treatment due to cost and not wanting to discuss issues with your parents, you can go to a centre and make an appointment. There are counsellors and Doctors there however sometimes there are waitlists.

    Telling your parents may result in relief once you get over the obstacle. Obviously this is easier said than done. You could try writing a pros and cons list of what the outcome would be if you talk to them. Chances are the pros would outweigh the cons. Perhaps you have another close friend or family member that you trust that you could talk with? Could they then help you bring up the subject with your parents?

    Another option is that if you can’t talk with your parents to get support, you could find a GP that bulkbilks so you don’t have to pay the appointment fee.

    Getting help sooner rather than later can be really important so things don’t get out of control. If you do feel things spiraling in the wrong direction and you feel unsafe contact 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

    It sounds like you want to bring your parents into your support circle and finding the strength to do this can be tough but worth it, especially if you get on a positive path to healing and wellness sooner than later.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

  6. Sblogger
    Sblogger  avatar
    2 posts
    1 March 2019

    Hi Nurse Jenn,

    After 8 years on antidepressants I’m now down to 1 tablet every two days under the guidance of my doctor. Unfortunately I am suffering back side effects from withdrawals. Mentally perfect feeling great but those shakes, vomiting and dizziness I’m feeling are taking a toll. I took 2 weeks Annual Leave as that’s all the entitlements I have (no Sick Leave) so I need to go back to work next week, are there medicines doctors could prescribe me for my bad days to help me survive working? As not going to work is an option. Or would doctors prefer not to medicate

  7. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    3 March 2019 in reply to Sblogger

    Hi Sblogger,

    Welcome to the beyondblue forum. It is great to hear that you are working closely with your doctor to taper down your antidepressant medication and that you are feeling mentally well. I am sorry that you are experiencing such pronounced side effects. I know from my experience that coming off antidepressants can be really tough for some people. Hang in there. These side effects don’t usually last.

    I would definitely suggest going back to your doctor for a review if they are so pronounced that you are feeling unable to return to work. I cannot say what your doctor will decide in terms of best management or if they will prescribe you additional medication to help combat the withdrawal effects. What I can recommend is to keep a daily record for a few days of the side effects your experiencing...ie. what time of day they occur, what the side effects are, what you were doing etc. This will help your doctor understand exactly what you are going through when you have your appointment.

    I also wonder if your dietary intake, activity and fluid intake might be recorded to see if there is any correlation.

    I know many others have had experiences coming off antidepressants and I encourage you to search the forum using the search feature.

    Please post and let us know how you go with your GP.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

  8. Luna Eclipse
    Luna Eclipse avatar
    13 posts
    10 March 2019

    Hi nurse Jen,

    Ove been struggling a lot lately and I go to the drs every single day. Last night I was trying to relax listen to music to fall asleep then all of a sudden I felt this cold numbness in my head that trickled down into my face and my whole mouth and tongue went ice cold numb all they way down to my stomach. Then my heart rate went crazy! Ended up at my local urgent care. Nurses checked my blood pressure heart rate and did a ecg and dr told me it was just a panic attack that nothing is seriously wrong with me. The problem is by the time I got home it all came back again and today I’m still having the symptoms of the cold mouth and stomach. I went to my local GP who did all the same tests and everything is normal. I had full blood work done and everything was normal. Is it really just panic out of the blue?

  9. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    12 March 2019 in reply to Luna Eclipse

    Hi Luna Eclipse,

    I am sorry to hear you are not getting clarity on your symptoms. This experience sounds really distressing and must be very uncomfortable. Be kind to yourself during this period where you are figuring out what is going on for you.

    I am not able to do any type of diagnosis but it is really good to hear that your investigations by your GP have come back normal.

    If your symptoms are related to a panic attack I am curious as to what type of treatment options your GP presented you with? For example, did you get a referral to a psychologist to help learn strategies to deal with the panic or were you prescribed any medication. (Or are you on some already?)

    One activity to start completing that can be helpful is writing down what has been going on for you just before the symptoms you are describing ie. what did you eat, what time of day, what were you thinking about, was there anything to cause you stress etc.

    This record can help you and your health practitioner get to the bottom of your symptoms and start identifying triggers.

    If your symptoms continue to cause you distress I wonder if you tried to self manage through them by deep breathing or distraction, calling a friend or someone you trust. It is often through trial and error of different strategies that we find relief. You could also call a support line such as the beyondblue support line on 1300 22 4636.

    Another option would be to get a second opinion and see a different GP.

    Panic attacks can be very overwhelming and cause many people to end up in the Emergency Department. You are not alone. It is important to get assurance that your symptoms are panic related and not something else. If you are not confident this has occurred, continue to seek advise from a health care provider.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

  10. Sueetties
    Sueetties avatar
    38 posts
    19 March 2019

    Hi Nurse Jenn,

    I started taking an antidepressant in Aug last year and have since been seeing a psychologist as anxiety and depression knocked my door. I have been doing regular exercises, eating clean, practising thought challenges etc and I have recently completed the Wellbeing course from Mindspot. I found that the course is very helpful and my anxiety and depression symptoms have greatly reduced and I generally feel good.

    Two weeks back I went to see my GP and I told her about feeling and also I told her honestly that the psych I have been seeing isn’t helpful at all but she didn’t comment. I did the K10 test which I scored 12. The dr therefore agreed that I could wean the med and she suggested the below weaning plan:

    Week 1 reduce to 1/2 dosage; week 2 take only every second day; then cease altogether.

    I am in week 3 now but I am still on a 1/4 dosage. So now i do not know if I should continue seeing the current psych or just stop completely. I am worried that after I cease the med and stop the counselling altogether I may fall back to the rabbit hole as I won’t have any supports.

    I guess I just want to see from a professional view how to maintain my well being and prevent the symptoms at bay. Thank you.


  11. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    19 March 2019 in reply to Sueetties

    Hi Sueetties,

    It’s great to see you reaching out across the forum. You have an incredible amount of insight into your own health and well-being plan and commend you on being so proactive in taking care of your health. This is tough to do through the lense of anxiety/depression.

    I also appreciate the feedback on the program Mindspot as I recommend this as an option to many people but don’t always get to hear back about whether it has been effective. It is great to hear that you have found it helpful.

    As far as your question goes in terms of keeping on with your psychologist I would suggest first a conversation with them about moving to a lower level or ‘step’ of care. They can work with you on where this might be. There may be group therapy options in your area or other programs available such as a support group or counselling service.

    In the Australian mental health system, ‘stepped care’ is the new way the entire system is reforming. This means that people should be able to move down or up to the right level of care. This is fairly new as historically everyone (no matter how unwell) were referred to a psychologist. Now there are different options such as Mindspot and other types of lower intensity programs.

    Why I am explaining this to you is that this ‘stepped care’ movement has created many new low intensity options which are popping up across the country. For example, NewAccess - a developed by beyondblue program, is a low intensity treatment option for people with anxiety/depression. Specifiaclly trained and skilled professionals deliver low intensity Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). You can read about it on the link below but it is only available in some parts of Australia.

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/newaccess

    Another option you have already utilised is Mindspot. But in your local area there may be other options which your psychologist may be across and able to connect you with.

    Explaining to your psychologist that you are feeling ready to stop seeing them and move on to a different level of support would be a good first step. If this doesn’t get you far (as not all psychologists are connected to different programs or supports) then you could certainly go back to your GP and revisit other options.

    Another suggestion I have is to build a strong relationship with your GP and see them regularly regarding your mental health.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

  12. jessrobb
    jessrobb avatar
    4 posts
    13 April 2019

    Hi Jenny,
    I need advice big time

    I have been studying a degree in social work and have got my cert Iv and a diploma in youth work(had placement for both). I would love to get out and start work in the field but I am way to anxious to start, part of it is i'm so terrified I will mess up a clients life and everything will go wrong.

  13. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    15 April 2019 in reply to jessrobb

    Hi jessrobb,

    Great that you reaching out on the forum for support and also great to see that you starting a career working with young people and social issues as it is a much needed area of workforce in the country. The worry that you describe is quite normal. I remember when I was a nurse in training (long ago) I was thinking often to myself 'how am I going to be responsible for people who are so sick....what if I miss something...what if I make a medication mistake...what if... what if....'.

    In reality, you are indeed accountable for your actions at work however when you are a junior, you are generally employed in a team environment to start with where there are others that you work along side with who have more experience. You learn through the experience in your role and in a first year social work job, I would expect that you would be asking a lot of questions and consulting with more senior staff until you get the hang of things. In fact, when I manage staff members, I really value a degree of worry in new or junior staff. Its healthy to want to do things right and it is more of a worry when a staff member thinks they know everything. The most important part is that you use good communication skills with your team members and supervisor. If you feel out of your depth on a case, talking with someone about it shows strength and safe practice.

    Another element of working clinically is that you would usually find yourself a clinical supervisor or mentor. Sometimes employers have this as part of their standard operating procedure, but if it doesn't, you can ask someone you value who has lots of experience to be your supervisor. I had one of my previous nursing instructors be my clinical supervisor for the first few years where I could talk about work politics and big picture challenges that I felt my manager didn't have time to address.

    If you would like some support to self manage your level of worry, you could try doing a program like Mindspot. It is a free course for people over 18 that uses cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) done online with some telephone support. You can read about it here. www.mindspot.org.au

    Having worry about starting a new job or career is common. Setting up support structures around you is good start as well as learning some skills to self manage your worry. Helping people is not done in isolation especially when you are new to the field. You are not alone.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

  14. Hannerilana
    Hannerilana  avatar
    4 posts
    3 June 2019
    Hi Nurse Jenn hope you’re well, just posted but I think something went wrong. Recently reduced an anti depressant with doctor with their permission with script for Lower dose. It has been 2 months since the reduction. Through that time I’ve had family support living at home. My family went away over the weekend and I found myself more vulnerable than usual. It was extra hard to travel long distances and could really manage a short walk . Not so much out of tiredness more a combination of tiredness and fear. I felt less able to travel far and go to busy areas. Is this normal after reducing?
  15. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
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    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    3 June 2019 in reply to Hannerilana

    Hi Hannerilana,

    Thanks for your post and question regarding medication changes. Everyone responds differently when they reduce or cease mediation so it difficult to answer your question specifically. It is great to see that you are doing medication changes under the supervision of a GP. You are not alone in having challenges and questions when it comes to reducing medication. There are many posts on the forum with a similar topic.

    When reducing medication, sometimes symptoms may feel like they are returning slightly but may not be as intense as they were previously. Some people don't have a return of their previous symptoms but can have withdrawal effects that feel new. There is a lot to read about 'Discontinuation Syndrome' on the internet and there are some posts on the forum where people discuss their experiences of withdrawal effects from reducing or ceasing antidepressants. That said, some people come off them with little to no problem. I agreed that there should be specific and reliable health information and resources that prepares people for what they could expect when reducing or coming off antidepressants.

    In any case, my best suggestion to you is to start a journal that you you write each day on your any symptoms you are experiencing, you mood, what your energy level is and write down if there are any triggers to your feeling state ie. family away for the weekend. If you complete this journal each day for a week or two, then you can really see if there are any patterns to your symptoms. You could use a paper journal or calendar or there are some apps you could use such as Daylio https://daylio.webflow.io

    Do you have an appointment booked with your GP? If not, it might be a good idea to have one in the near future and keep in close communication with them while you are reducing your medication. You can take in the information about your symptoms that you have collected so they understand exactly how you have been travelling.

    You can use the search feature above and type in 'reducing medication' and read about others experience but it is safe to say that everyones experience is different. When changing or reducing medications, it is my advise to have a bit of extra support around you if possible and to keep in regular contact with your health professional. If you ever feel that your symptoms are significant or you feel unsafe, please reach out to a health professional immediately.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

  16. We Can Get Through It
    We Can Get Through It avatar
    7 posts
    7 June 2019

    Hello,

    I need some help regarding medication, I've taken ADHD meds for a very long time and have changed them too many times due to terrible side affects on all of them. I am starting to think that it's my fault and not the medication. I'm also not in a very happy place right now due to many reasons and want to get help but I'm scared to do so because I feel like they are just going to put me on more medications. Any suggestions on what I should do?

  17. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    12 June 2019 in reply to We Can Get Through It

    Hi there We Can Get Through It,

    Thank you for reaching out. I am sorry to hear that you are going through a hard time. I wonder if you have a regular support person you could reach out to during this tough time? You are not alone. I hope you are finding some support on the forum.

    It is difficult to offer specific medication advise as it is not something we do on the forum but I always recommend changing medication under supervision of a GP or prescribing Doctor. I hear that you are feeling that you may be to blame for taking different types of medications as you were experiencing side effects. This is likely not the case at all. Medications are tricky in that some people tolerate them really well and others do not. It is very unique to a persons biology. There may be other alternatives you might wish to explore. You could discuss these with a GP or with a specialist at an ADHD specific clinic or with a health provider that is well versed in treating the condition.

    I wonder if you were able to bring a support person with you to a GP appointment? Or if you already have a psychiatrist or psychologist, perhaps you could arrange to have someone come with you there. Sometimes having a support person alongside you can be helpful. Another suggestion is writing down your specific health goals. You can take these with you going into any appointment which can help guide your care, for example - ‘not wanting to to medication’. This way you health provider has a clear understanding of what you want and don’t want and other options can be explored and your health care provider can work with you collaboratively on a plan.

    Having a certain amount of fear is healthy and normal when you are struggling with an illness. By going into an appointment with a list of your treatment goals and having the right support around you can make some difference. And if the health care provider that is working with you isn’t in alignment with what you want to achieve, you could always source a second opinion on your care.

    If you want to talk with someone I recommend the beyond blue support line on 1300 22 4636 where you can talk with someone anytime of the day.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

  18. Blusky
    Blusky avatar
    19 posts
    12 June 2019

    Hi Nurse Jean,

    I have been recently diagnosed with complicated migraines ( this explains a lot) I am about to start trialling a preventative.

    In your experience and view, is it possible that my mental health issues ( anxiety, depression and panic attacks) are linked to this condition? Even partly?

    Thanks in advance!

  19. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    16 June 2019 in reply to Blusky

    Hi Blusky,

    I am so sorry for the late reply. I have been a bit under the weather but am back on track now. Thank you for you questions. I am sorry to hear that you are experiencing complicated migraines. This would be very distressing especially when you have anxiety with panic and depression. Be kind to yourself during this time and I hope that you are getting some support either through a health professional or trusted friend or family member.

    In response to your question, I first must say that every individual is different. I am not sure if you have had any success in reducing your symptoms in anxiety and depression and seen a reduction in your migraines? This would important to track and I encourage you to keep a treatment/symptom/migraine diary to look for any correlation.

    Migraines have been linked to mental health issues in some studies. I will let you do some research if you like and you can look up the term co-morbid (meaning 'related to') migraines and mental health. The fact that migraines can be brought on by stress and anxiety and depression can be brought on by the same reason indicates there is a possible link in the trigger of the two conditions.

    In my experience, the mind and body are very connected. Stress (no matter what context) can impact many body systems and while the focus might be on relieving the symptoms of anxiety or migraine, it is important to get to the core issue of what the trigger is. Triggers could include environmental stressors such as work, or relationship stressors or to lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise. Many times people want relief from the symptoms of anxiety/depression and this is important. But it is also really important to look for the triggers to stress.

    I am not sure I have answered your question clearly and I wish it was more straightforward for you. People get migraines for all types of reasons and sometimes the reasons are unknown. In any case, getting support for your mental health and wellbeing would be important for all conditions including finding ways to reduce your symptoms and establish what your main triggers are to your conditions. It is also important to find a trusting support team to help you on this journey.

    For some further information on migraine management you could visit the headache Australia website where there is a lot of information about migraines. https://headacheaustralia.org.au

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

    1 person found this helpful
  20. Blusky
    Blusky avatar
    19 posts
    17 June 2019 in reply to Nurse Jenn

    Thanks Nurse Jenn. You have given me a good place to start, I’ve downloaded a migraine tracking app as well as a food diary app to really identify the triggers. In a way I am just hoping that this will help to balance my mental health too.

    Sorry to hear you were under the weather, I hope you are back to your self again.

  21. Lilly18
    Lilly18 avatar
    109 posts
    24 September 2019 in reply to Sophie_M
    Hi, I'm really wanting another opinion on something, I'll ask away if that's ok.
    I am not looking to diagnose myself I would just like some insight or ideas on what it is that's happening to me.
    I have noticed about 4 times a year, for just over a week I become extremely irritable, angry and explode over the slightest thing, maybe sensory sensitive too, my words come out mumbled from not having any patience and my brain going too fast. My eyes physically look different too as if they are beamed but also looks like i havnt slept in months. After about a week of that, it will end in 1 day of horrible depression like I need to be wrapped up in bubble wrap in a hospital. Then I'm fine by the next day.
    I tried to explain this to my Gp and was told it was a panic attack and sleep if off. Which is not possible with 3 young children. Please give me any information on what this could be?
    For a few years it lined up perfectly with my period and I thought it may be pmdd, but it has been happening at other times now that sent around my period for the last two years that I have noticed.
    I do see my Gp every month or so. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thankyou
  22. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
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    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    28 September 2019 in reply to Lilly18

    Hi there Lilly18,

    Great to see you reaching out on the forum. Your symptoms sound difficult and I’m sorry you are having to go on a journey to find out what the cause is.

    On the forums, it is really tough to to offer any specific diagnosis as I would need to do a full assessment of your symptoms and perhaps with the support of a GP, complete a full physical health exam.

    I wonder if you went to a woman’s health centre or got a referral to one you might find a doctor who specialises in woman’s health who was able to go through your symptoms in more detail? I also wonder if you have done any treatment for worry or panic in the past? If so, has it been effective?

    Persistence is key in finding answers to health mysteries. Every health provider has a different way of working and sometimes it takes a few tries to find a person who is the right fit for your current needs.

    I would also suggest a daily health journal that can track any symptoms that arise and possibly look at patterns or triggers. You could even just do this during the episodes you have been experiencing. This information can be helpful to your healing team.

    Keep us posted on how you go with your progress.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

    1 person found this helpful
  23. calmseeker
    calmseeker avatar
    333 posts
    20 March 2020

    Hi Nurse Jenn,

    Wondering if you could provide any info on an issue that's been causing anxiety in my household for last few days. My adult daughter (25 years) has had fortnightly periods since January and now it has changed to being no period at all for last 5 weeks. Pregnancy test has been done and is negative. She has finally made an appointment to see GP on Tuesday but is STRESSING so badly that something awful is happening to her. She has always had a perfectly normal cycle with no issues up till now.

    I have consulted DR. Google and have come up with cysts, thyroid issues, STI's and PCOS (she doesn't seem to have PCOS symptoms). I don't want to alarm her with any of these things, but she has more than likely googled them herself and probably increased her anxiety anyway.

    I know she is going to be super stressed the entire weekend and I am dreading it as my own anxiety condition is not so great either, and I feel at a loss to be able to calm her. Any info at all would be super appreciated.

    Regards

    CS

  24. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    23 March 2020 in reply to calmseeker

    Hi calmseeker,

    Thank you for your post and sorry I haven't been on this thread for a few days. I am sorry to hear of the anxiety you are feeling around your daughters menstrual cycle irregularity. I cannot offer specific health advice to a medical condition unfortunately. A GP will be able to complete a physical health assessment and order the appropriate tests if required. I know from experience that menstrual cycles can be irregular for many different reasons such as stress, diet, changes to activity. I would encourage your daughter to keep a record of her cycle (I am sure she has done so) and any changes to routine.

    As for your and her worry about these symptoms, it is normal to feel some worry about health conditions. You are taking the exact right steps towards getting some resolve to this anxiety...Getting GP appointment, using the forum for support (have you tried looking up 'health anxiety' here....it is very common). Until Tuesday, you might find some comfort in using some techniques that have helped your anxiety in the past with your daughter such as mindfulness or using distraction. Smiling Mind is a great app design to help us relax and learn to get rid of worry. I wonder what has worked for you the past to help with anxiety and if you could revisit any of these strategies?

    Dr Google can be helpful in some cases however I tend to encourage people to use HealthDirect as a reliable source of information for Australians. It does give offer some facts and has a free number to call https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/irregular-periods

    I wish you the best of the luck on Tuesday and if you feel comfortable, please check in and let me know how it went.

    Nurse Jenn

  25. Guest_201
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Guest_201 avatar
    1294 posts
    23 March 2020

    Hi Nurse Jenn.

    I was wondering how I can ask my Psychiatrist if I can see him more, so perhaps 2-3 weeks rather than 4-6+? So how can I word it without sounding selfish, pushy and demanding? I emailed the Telehealth company and spoke on the live chat with them to tell them there's an email for him but the lady was rude and hung up on me. If I had his email or something I'd email him myself but i don't.

    Speaking of which, of course I respect privacy etc, is there a way to ask him if I can contact him outside of sessions like email? This would only be for important things so questions about meds and serious things. the triage refuse to help me and I don't know why so he's my only professional that helps.

    Thanks, please be mindful that I do respect his privacy, I just don't want to make him uncomfortable and I would only email if allowed to for serious issues/questions.

    Tayla

  26. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    23 March 2020 in reply to Guest_201

    Hi Tayla,

    This question sounded really familiar to me and I looked back and have responded to you on the same topic a little while back. For your reference I have copied and pasted the post below. I am not sure I have to much more to add from my previous post expect to be clear in what you are asking for with your psychiatrist.

    You could try writing a letter and getting your psychiatrist to read it when you are at your next appointment requesting extra time. Personally, I do not generally offer time in between structured sessions if that is the model of care I am working under. In some roles, I do and am more flexible, it just depends on what role I am working in. It will depend on how your psychiatrist operates and the only way to know is to be direct in what you are asking for. I hope this helps.

    Nurse Jenn

    Post from 30 January 2020 in reply to mb20lover

    Hi mb20lover,
    It is hard to answer your question specifically as I don't know the relationship you have with your Psychiatrist. I can recommend that sometimes writing a letter helps figure out exactly what you want to say. You could write your psychiatrist a letter and express exactly what you want to say to them on paper. You may give it to them or read it to them (or parts) or just seal it up and put it away. Writing things down can sometimes provide you with more clarity on what you are trying to express.

    Every health professional sets different boundaries in a therapeutic relationship. It is difficult to speak about your Psychiatrist and what boundaries they have. You could just ask at your next appointment what boundaries they have if you are having a bad day in terms of contact and let him know that you were unsure. Another suggestion would be to ask them to support you in developing a plan in how to manage the really hard days and establish if contacting your Psychiatrist is an available option.

    It is understandable that you feel a level of trust to your Psychiatrist and being thankful for the care they provide you is a normal response. In my own experience, when people I work with thank me for listening and being there for them, I don't generally feel uncomfortable.

    I am not sure I have answered your question specifically and hope that some of these suggestions help you find ways to talk with your Psychiatrist at your next appointment. Discussing boundaries is important when you begin a healing journey with any health professional.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,
    Nurse Jenn

    1 person found this helpful
  27. Guest_201
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Guest_201 avatar
    1294 posts
    23 March 2020 in reply to Nurse Jenn

    Thanks Nurse Jenn, I forgot that I asked a while back, sorry. I'll write it down even if I email the Telehealth company or fax it to them for him, or even just write it down and put it beside me so I can ask in the session next time, thanks.

    Tayla

  28. ReeCar123
    ReeCar123 avatar
    22 posts
    31 March 2020


    Hi Nurse Jenn,

    I would much appreciate your help. My partner is currently suffering from emotional exhaustion and is really energy depleted. He is often very tired, cannot concentrate, his head crazy, he feels numb and foggy, he is a bit down etc.
    I have given him some good links to read and he was very happy about that. He is trying to exercise, eat healthy, do mindfulness (probably not enough) etc. but he still struggles regularly.

    Is there anything else that could really help and are there things I could do to support his recharge?

    Thank you so much!

  29. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    414 posts
    2 April 2020 in reply to ReeCar123

    Hi ReeCar123,

    Thanks for reaching out. You are doing a great job already establishing a supportive environment for your partner and that is often half the battle. I also wonder are you doing okay? It is tough supporting others through a health issue and hope you find some support for you also.

    Providing your partner with reading material about his symptoms, encouraging exercise and mindfulness are really good starting points. Other avenues to try could be:

    1. Reaching out to a GP and getting a physical health assessment and talking about his current symptoms

    2. Trying a program such as Mindspot which has treatment courses related to low mood, anxiety, worry and panic. You do not need a GP referral, the course is free and available online and/or via telephone. www.mindspot.org.au

    3. Keep a symptoms/mood/activity diary and list these each day over a period of time and look for patterns and triggers. There are apps that can help with this like Daylio.

    4. Some people look at their diet as a cause of some symptoms which may be an avenue you wish to explore - you might discuss this with a GP or other health provider.

    5. Try a program like NewAccess (Developed by Beyond Blue) - which is a phone based coaching service that helps people with low mood and worry. It is only available in some parts of Australia but is free and can be done over the phone - you can find out if it is available in your area by checking out this link.

    These are a few options but visiting a GP (even if it is by a phone or video consult) can be really helpful in getting a health care plan in place. If you or your partner need some additional support, or just someone to talk with, you can always call the Beyond Blue support line on 1300 22 4636.

    Wishing you the best possible outcome,

    Nurse Jenn

  30. Sleepy21
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    Sleepy21 avatar
    1195 posts
    3 April 2020 in reply to Nurse Jenn
    Hi Nurse Jenn,
    I saw this posted somewhere else, don't want to double up but cannot find it.... was just curious about how reviews for mental health practioners and doctors work. Where is the best place to access online reviews, (many doctors have no reviews at all - some have many!) I was considering which hospital to go to.. or weather to go to hospital last year. A certain hospital admission was offered to me, it was really empowering to get informed and read reviews of the hopsital - which ultimately led me to decide NOT to go (which was the best decision for me). How do we get that informed in regards to the doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists or social workers we work with for our mental health? I wish there was more of a review system to share experiences, to help us make educated choices. It helped me so much re the hospital. Thanks for any feedback - would love to hear

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