Mental Health Nursing with a Mental Illness

I’ve heard it all before trust me. People seem to have this view that if you have a mental illness or any mental ill health you can’t possibly be a nurse! let alone a mental health one. well guess what you can!! We aren’t magical creatures who have never been or never will be sick – in fact statistically we are more likely to develop mental ill health than the general population. It’s just a bit of an extra obstacle to overcome. Don’t get me wrong your condition has to be good as there is a lot of stress and difficult things to cope with that will make you question if you are doing the right thing multiple times a day and you need to be able to care for your patients as best you can. Although it also gives you an advantage. I understand what it’s like to be on a psychiatric ward as a patient and all the things that come with it like the fears people feel and the importance of patient relationships. What it’s like to be stuck on the same ward for weeks on end and feel fed up and depressed or elated and what I wanted from the nurses caring for me. But most of all I understand the importance of what I’m doing and the impact it can have on people. And also what it’s like living with a long term illness too in the community. People often say that you don’t have to cope with this you don’t understand, but actually I do. I 100% understand what it’s like to have to take antidepressants and mood stabilisers and anti psychotics 2 times a day and that you can’t just ‘take a day off’ from this and how you can’t really drink alcohol, but if you do you will just fall asleep anyway. Then the days that are more difficult because you do occasionally trip up or get knocked off by one thing or another and all the feelings come rushing back and suddenly getting out of bed seems like the most difficult thing in the world and that just comes part and parcel with having a mental illness and no one is immune from it even nurses. 

But no I’m still a good nurse. I love it and I am good at it and care about my patients and want the best for them and just happen to understand what it could be like for them better than most.      

So here’s to us – and we are many! The carers who too have their own problems yet love looking after others non the less! 

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