My struggle with depression and anxiety. And how it changed me as a nurse.

My struggle with depression and anxiety                     

Depression is something I have struggled with since I was a teenager. At the time, I really didn’t understand that it was depression I was struggling with. It wasn’t until I was 20 years old, that I finally realized that there was something wrong. After the birth of my first son, I was diagnosed with post-partum depression. I remember when I heard the words leave my doctor’s mouth, “You’re struggling with depression.” I felt relief and ashamed. I was relieved because there was finally a name for what I knew was wrong. Unfortunately, at the time, I felt like I had caused the depression. I felt weak and worried about the stigma that would be associated with my new diagnosis. I didn’t tell anyone for a long time other than my husband and close family. I didn’t want anyone to know, which just added to my shame.

When I went to nursing school, I was worried when people found out I suffered from depression, they would think I couldn’t care for clients. Most people with depression care too much, and therefore they get so overwhelmed. Many put others before themselves, which causes them to lose themselves, and depression can sneak in. So, I never really spoke about it in nursing school either. I looked forward to my psychiatric rotation to learn more about the illness that had inflicted me. Attending nursing school made me realize that depression was not my fault. In fact, it runs in families and is considered a disease, illness, or condition, depending on who you talk to. It is not that your weak or caused it in some way. That was probably one of the biggest reliefs of my life. I finally understood that I have an illness that I need to manage.

Depression and its symptoms have been searched on Google so much, that Google has partnered with the National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI), to make depression screening a part of your Google search. It is important that symptoms are recognized and reported to your doctor. When I finally wised up myself as my post-partum depression lingered. I was told I had clinical depression. This meant I was faced with a lifetime of symptom management. In the beginning, I didn’t really understand this. I would take my medication for a while. Then I would think to myself, “I am feeling so much better so I might not need these pills after all!” So, I would stop taking them. Then life would happen, and I would find myself struggling again with the symptoms of depression.

Eventually, through therapy, I found out I had terrible coping skills and learned some more appropriate ways of coping. Basically, I had no coping skills. I also learned how to spot my symptoms early. This helped me so much because my biggest fear was hospitalization or worse, death. I wanted to be able to understand my symptom’s and be able to manage them before they were out of control. I finally submitted to the idea that I was going to have to take medication for depression all my life. I swallowed my pride on this one and realized it was something my body needed.

I was doing pretty good at managing my symptoms. Like with any illness, there were relapses, but I was prepared for them. Then a perfect storm started to brew in my life. Looking back, I should have seen the storm sooner. I had just graduated nursing school with my Associates in nursing. I was finally a Registered Nurse (RN)! After I graduated from the Licensed Practical nursing (LPN) program, it was a goal of mine for many years. I also wanted to start working in an acute care setting because I wanted the experience. I received an acute care position and was on cloud nine for a while. I soon realized, at least for me, that the acute care environment was extremely stressful. I started to struggle with anxiety. I couldn’t sleep at night before my shifts. My days off were spent dreading going back, because of the stress and anxiety. I kept myself in this position for too long. My health started to decline. My blood pressure was high, and my doctor told me to either de-stress my life or start taking blood pressure medication. So, I finally decided to find another place of employment. I found another nursing job that wasn’t in a high-stress environment. It was more community health/public health nursing and it really worked for me. I went back to the doctor and my blood pressure normalized! I was in a new position and starting to learn a new specialty. For a short while, things were getting back to normal. Then my personal life fell apart, in a huge way.


Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash

My mother became very ill. She had pneumonia, that turned into septic shock. Her infection had worsened, and her blood pressure plummeted. Her organs started to fail as her body struggled with the infection. She went into respiratory distress and could no longer breathe on her own. She was placed on a ventilator, a machine that breathed for her. Her kidneys started to fail. They put her on medications that saved her organs from failing but had the potential side effects of her losing a limb. I watched helplessly as my mother and a best friend struggled for her life. She moved from facility to facility as they tried to wean her off her ventilator, so she could breathe on her own. She ended up with a feeding tube and a trache. Eventually, she had to learn to walk again.

Through all of this, I become the legal guardian of my disabled brother. My brother has down syndrome. He came to live with me. I always knew that this would eventually happen, but it just came a lot sooner than I expected. So, we were adjusting our lives to become a family of 5! Through all this, I continued to work. I tried to be strong and pretend everything was fine, but my body finally couldn’t take the stress. My anxiety intensified, and I started having panic attacks that woke me out of my sleep. I became really depressed and found it harder to get out of bed and complete the simplest task. I ended up having to take some time off work, to help heal. With this was more stress, because I am the main income of our family. So, it wasn’t an easy decision. I leaned on my faith and prayed to God that he would provide. I know I needed the time off, but how bills were going to be paid was frightening!

The time off was really what I needed. Currently, I haven’t had any more panic attacks! It has been almost a year since my mom became ill. We are now looking forward to her possibly coming home. Now we will be a family of 6! I have found my stride again. Rachel has got her groove back! I am playing catch up on bills. For some reason, they didn’t go away, ha! I am back to work and have a new-found passion for nursing!


Photo by sydney zentz on Unsplash

How it changed me as a nurse

Depression comes with a stigma and many people are ashamed or frightened to say anything. This can cause a delay in treatment and host of other problems. It is important for me to get my story out there to hopefully inspire others to be more forthcoming, and bring down the stigma.  I feel that having depression myself, has made me a more compassionate nurse. I feel through my personal experience with depression, I am a better listener, and my patience is better. It has made me more open and approachable. Most of my patient’s sense this about me and tend to open up to me.

For me personally, as a nursing professional, it was harder for me to really be open about my struggles with depression. I didn’t want others to be judgmental or think it would hinder me from doing my job. It’s no secret among nursing friends and other medical professionals, that depression and anxiety are prevalent. I tell my patients not to be ashamed and to beat the stigma. Yet I never followed my own advice. So, it is time for me to not be ashamed and own who I am. It does not define me. It is only a small part of who I am.


Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

To conclude, I hope anyone who suffers from depression and anxiety is to know your not alone. Our story isn’t over because of an illness. We must manage it and grow from it. I took my illness and found the positive. It has made me a better nurse, more understanding, compassionate, gave me patience, and I became a better listener. There have been dark times and suspect there will probably be a few more in my life. But now I understand more about my illness and have reached a point in my life, where I am more mindful and understand the importance of taking care of myself. This has helped me to be better equipped to care for others.

Should nurses be forced into getting the flu vaccination? Or is there a bigger issue not being addressed?

The time of year is upon us again…the dreaded flu season! Many of us just become germaphobes this time of year!

For many nurses and other healthcare providers, it becomes a moral dilemma. The dilemma is made by well-intentioned organizations that set policies that providers have to obtain a flu vaccine. If they do not, then they’re forced to wear a mask half the year, or worse lose their job. This is to protect the providers and the clients that they serve. Should nurses be forced into getting the flu vaccination? Or is there a bigger issue not being addressed? We are going to take a look at both sides of the argument, and see if it is really all about the flu shot, or something else.

The argument for the forced flu vaccinations

  • The number one argument for forced flu vaccinations is for client safety. By taking the step of vaccination and getting the vaccine ourselves, we are protecting the spread of influenza to our clients. Organizations do not want their doctors and nurses giving the patients they are treating the flu.
  • Another is how effective the vaccine for the flu is overall. According to the Nurse Journal, the flu vaccine has been found to be about 70% effective. That is pretty good prevention for one shot.
  • Healthcare providers are typically more at risk of contracting the flu. It only makes sense, we are the ones closest to sick patients. We are on the front lines so we are at higher risk for getting sick ourselves.

The argument against forced flu vaccination

  • If doctors and nurses are forced into getting flu shots, then will everyone else be forced to get vaccinated eventually? When you force one part of the population to do something like this, then it opens up the door for more organizations to try and enforce flu vaccines.
  • The side effects of the flu vaccine can be severe. This really calls into question the benefit to risk ratio. The flu vaccine has shown a slight increase in risk for Guillain-Barre syndrome. According to the Eurosurveillance Journal, one flu vaccine can cause an increase of 2-3 times as many hospitalizations for seizures in children.
  • The year before the vaccine is made in prediction to what the next flu season viruses will be. Sometimes the mark is completely missed and vaccination does not work against certain viruses. This can cause a false sense of protection, and people can believe that they are protected, and they are not.


What’s the bigger issue and why is it not being addressed?

I personally receive the flu vaccination every year. It is my choice and I am not forced. I guess theoretically, I have worked places that do have policies that require vaccination or your job is lost, or you wear a mask. So I have been able to watch some of these scenarios unfold with fellow nurses, who choose not to vaccinate and the implications.

Client safety is very important. Flu shots are just the focus as of right now. It is easier to focus on this, instead of the bigger picture. Ask yourself a question. How many times have you gone to work sick? Was it because you didn’t have sick pay or forced to come in because no sick time? I have personally experienced being forced into work after a positive flu result. I was told come in or lose your job. This was a positive test and yes I was vaccinated prior. Hows that protecting our clients? Maybe the effort needs to be more on supporting our healthcare workers when they are sick and giving them ample sick time if needed. I have also experienced nurses coming to work when they are sick. In between clients they are checking their temperatures and they have a high fever, but still working. If you ask why they are working and not at home recouping. The answer is I can’t afford to take the time off. Maybe the answer is if you have a highly contagious virus like the flu, that has been positively identified, then you get paid time off. That will cut down on our poor clients who come in contact with us and our fellow co-workers. It is a much bigger problem than a flu vaccine. It is a whole system that needs to be reevaluated. It is just easier to pawn it off on mandatory flu vaccines. What do you think?

(Feature image)Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash


Things you need to know when your married to or dating a nurse!

I have been married for 16 years and there are still things that my husband doesn’t quite get when it comes to being married to a nurse. Dating or being married to a nurse can both be good and bad, and no matter what relationships take work! If you have an idea of what to expect before dating a nurse or walking down the aisle, just sit back and read on.

Sometimes we just need quiet time and space!

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Whether your an introvert or an extrovert, when you are a nurse sometimes you just need some time alone. You have just spent 12 plus hours talking to patients, families, doctors, labs, coworkers, and more! Many of your patients think your RN stands for Refreshments and Narcotics and use you as such. So by the time you are finally home, your patience and hospitality have been spent! So when the nurse in your life comes home and takes a shower, and hides under the covers for awhile. It is not you, they are just recharging and looking for a little peace and quiet! Don’t take it personally.

They eat like their food is about to run off their plate!



Let’s be honest, when we are at work sometimes lunches and snacks are hard to come by. There are times when we actually get a lunch and we are called away right when we sit down to eat. So it is either starve or shove it down! Then you have a belly full of regret! This can be quite shocking for your date. Sometimes you don’t even realize how fast your eating, but your so used to eating on the run, that you are trained to inhale and run! Nurses are big multi-taskers because we have to be. Sometimes that means getting your lunch down on the go! This can be shocking to people who are not nurses.

There can be graphic dinner conversation! 


Guilty! Nurses sometimes forget that they are not with their nurse buddies and conversation can go way south! As nurses, we have seen and done a lot. So it can take a lot to gross us out. We cope with this by sharing our stories. Unfortunately, we don’t realize just how gross something might be until we see the faces of our date, family, or friends!  Nurses also tend to develop a twisted sense of humor and this can really make people wonder about us!

Dates will be canceled or occasions missed.

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It is just the nature of our profession. We will have to work holidays and be scheduled when we really want to be somewhere else. We have to cancel because some of us are on call or we are called in because of short staffing. It is important for anyone dating nurses to understand this because it is a big part of our life. Even for those of us that are married, it can be a hard pill to swallow!

These are just a few things to know when dating or married to a nurse. There are much more for sure! So when we say it’s the nurse life, you now have a small glimpse at what that entails.


When a nurse finds out that they are also talking to a nurse, be prepared for stories to exchange like old war stories! There is nothing like talking to another nurse that gets it!

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Book review: The Nurses Guide to Blogging- Authors Brittney Wilson, BSN RN & Kati Kleber, BSN RN CCRN

*This post contains affiliate links. I never recommend products that I haven’t used. It cost you nothing extra to purchase through links. It just helps me with maintaining my blog!*

I recently just started getting my feet wet in the blogging world. What really inspired me to write a blog was seeing nurses like, The Nerdy Nurse (Brittney) and FreshRN (Katie), putting themselves out there! They are both valuable resources for beginning nurses and seasoned nurses. Personally, I wanted to start a blog, because I was dealing with the stress and effects of nurse burnout. I wanted to blog because I find writing therapeutic and hoped that by me sharing my experience, I could help others. When I launched my blog I quickly realized, there was way more to blogging than I thought! It is time-consuming and actually cost some money, gulp! I had already been reading some nursing blogs, but I was really wanting something that could help me with starting my own blog. Not just any blog, but nursing related! I found the book, The Nurses Guide to Blogging Building a Brand and a Profitable Business as a Nurse Influencer. I bet you can’t say that title three times fast, ha! All kidding aside it was everything I was looking for! I spent a considerable amount of time researching how to start a blog and everything in between, but this book really is the blueprint you need! The authors do the research for you and lay it all out in an easy to read, and reasonable 10 chapters! Below I will highlight some of the chapters and some of the takeaways I got from the book!

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*above is the picture of the book being reviewed by Authors Wilson & Kleber*


The Nursing Guide to Blogging points

  • I really enjoy how each of the authors writes about how they started their blog, along with the things that worked and didn’t work! It was really refreshing to see their stories and to see how they grew their business, and the time it took to do so!
  • The authors explain how blogs can be a great place for readers to learn about you and your passions! The book really goes into how nurses can influence health care and that is really cool!
  • I really like the chapter about finding your blogging niche. Before I didn’t really think about writing about a certain problem or finding a niche in blogging. This chapter also discusses the importance of an accountability partner!
  • The book goes into really great detail about your brand. This is important with blogging because you’re really starting a business! That was something that I had not really wrapped my head around until reading this book.



  • Something else I really never gave thought to, before this book, was Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is something I still struggle with, but The Nurses Guide to Blogging really helps to explain the in’s and out’s, in a language you can understand!
  • Chapter 5 has some great ideas on how to create the best content for your blogs, including some mistakes you might not know your making! I know I took quite a few pointers from this chapter!
  • Eventually, if you’re going to blog for the long haul, then monetization needs to be considered. The book goes into explaining more in detail how to do this, but not only that, it helps you not feel so guilty about it! As nurses, we want to help people, and we tend to feel guilty about things we need!
  • In the beginning, I was just on Facebook. Then I read this book and realized how important social media is for spreading your message! I had no clue how each social media presence like Twitter and Instagram, are used. This book really breaks several social media platforms down and explains how to use each platform correctly to grow your blog and get your message across.
  • Lastly, for me, Chapter 9 “practical considerations”, was the most helpful. It goes into more depth about organizing your blog business and the legal aspect of it.

The Nurses Guide to Blogging is a great book if you already have a blog or considering starting one. It is easy to read and I will be reading it again! I will be using it as a check list to make sure I get off to a good start. I am thankful for these two authors who helped pave the way for a whole new platform for nurses to educate and influence others in healthcare! I suggest picking yourself up a copy if you are at all considering blogging as a nurse. I think you will be pleased with the book and the information given by the authors!

7 myths about nurses!

There are many, many myths out there when it comes to nurses and the nursing profession. It is important for the general public and future nurses, to understand that most of these myths are not true. I have either encountered people projecting these myths on to me or have fallen for them myself. So here are 7 myths about nurses I have compiled that is important for you to know!


Nurses really want to be doctors

If I had a nickel for every time someone has said things to my colleagues and I like, “You’re so smart! Why are you not a doctor?”, or “I bet you wish you would have been a doctor!” Most of the time it is meant as a backward compliment, but it is strange that this myth persists. Most nurses went into nursing to become, well nurses! There are some who go on to become doctors or nurse practitioners, and that is fantastic! Nurses can move on to become practitioners in their profession. Most nurse practitioners actually have a Ph.D.! They work as colleagues with physicians to meet patient care needs. There are many reasons why we chose to be nurses instead of doctors. Nurses spend more time with the patients, they have the opportunity to develop bonds with clients, and there are many opportunities in nursing! Nursing is a professional organization and professional career, that we are glad to be a part of. These are just a few of the reasons that this myth is not true.

Nurses just clean up…poop

I get this from family and random people ALOT. They seem to think a nurses job is cleaning up after people and that’s where it ends. Yes, we do clean up poop, but there is so much more to nursing. We administer medications, work with the doctor and multiple other departments, take off orders, start IV’s, draw labs, and the list goes on. Those are just some of the technical things we do. We are also strong patient advocates! Patients open up to us and we are able to try our best to get what the patient wants/needs. We cry with patients and family, sing, and dance! You never know what each new day will bring in nursing.

Nurses have the best schedule, they are off 4 days a week

Ah, yes! This was what I was most looking forward too! But those 3 day work weeks come with a price dearie! (That is my Rumpelstiltskin impression). Most of those 3 shifts will become a 14-hour shift. Then there is management calling you asking you to come in on your day off. If it was a hard, stressful shift, then 1 of those days off will probably be used for recovery! I do miss the 9-5 a little. I wouldn’t know what I would do with myself if my shift ended in 8-9 hours. It would probably seem lightning fast.

Nursing school is easy

It really baffles me that people still look at nursing as an easy degree. Nursing is usually up there in the top 10 hardest bachelors degrees. Not only is nursing school challenging, but you have to fight just to get into the nursing program.  Many times there are entrance exam, point systems based on grades, and recommendations. Then they only take so many applicants! After you get in the program it doesn’t slow down or get any easier until the end. You have the BOARDS.

Learning is over once you graduate

Be prepared to graduate nursing and feel like you still know nothing. You will learn a lot more on the job. This is common because nursing is constantly evolving. For this reasons, healthcare providers have to be up to date on their evidence-based practices. There will always be new skills or medication to learn. When you sign up for nursing, you sign up to continue growing and learning all your professional career!

Nurses are the physician’s gopher

Okay, there are some days you are going to feel like the physician’s gopher. The truth of the matter is, we are all in this together and we are colleagues. If there are a lot of procedures that are done at the bedside on your floor, then you might have to set up the doctors supplies. That doesn’t mean you’re a gopher. You’re a team player! They have multiple people they are seeing on multiple floors. It would probably take them forever just to locate the supplies they need on your floor. Most doctors truly appreciate nurses and are great team players! When we all work together there are better outcomes for the patients and work is much more tolerable!


Nursing is a women’s job

This is one myth that stills hangs around, but it is slowly going away, I hope. I have worked with many nurses male and female! Every nurse is unique and brings different skills to the table. I think that it is great that our profession is expanding more and is open to both male and female. I’m not sure why people think nursing is a women’s job? It is a stereotype that is being broken, thanks to many wonderful male nurses!

These are the 7 myths about nurses that I have encountered! I am sure there is more. Feel free to discuss in the comments below! What nursing myths have you busted or even found to be true?

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What you need to know about online nursing education —

Below is a great article that describes the pros and cons of online nursing schools. If it were not for online nursing schools, I feel I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish the growth in my professional career. I am currently in my Masters in nursing education program and it is online. It is great for students that have to work or have other obligations, and they cannot make it to a traditional brick and mortar school.

It is not easier, this is a myth. I think it is actually a little harder, because it requires discipline and major organization. It is not for everyone, but is something that could allow you to pursue a higher degree, if you can make it work. I achieved my Associates degree via a hybrid program. This was online and then we went to the school for labs and test. Clinical was scheduled at local hospitals. My bachelors degree was entirely online. I am used to the online program layout and having to be self initiating with my studies. My Masters degree I am struggling with the self initiating part. It has been really hard this time around for me to organize and sit down to do my work. Blogging and crafts is were I want to spend my free time, and watching Stranger things! Ha! I need to get it together though, because if I don’t get through it I will want to kick my own butt.

The article below is from It really explains how the nursing education is shifting and how this can be a valuable tool to allow professionals to increase their education!

Nursing ranks among the top three most popular undergraduate and graduate online education majors. It trails only business administration and computer science and engineering, according to the “Online College Students 2016: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences” report. Online educational opportunities in nursing have taken off, according to Karen Ouzts, PhD, RN, APHN-BC, BSN program director…

via What you need to know about online nursing education — Nursing News, Stories & Articles