It’s 2pm in the afternoon. I sit here on my couch dressed in my pyjamas and still haven’t brushed my teeth. I feel anxiety. I feel emptiness. I feel dread.
How can I go on living like this for the rest of my life? I want to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t shower for days at a time. I’m not the only one who has no energy to take her garbage across the parking lots so it stays on my patio rotting for two weeks.
I’m a mental health nurse. My job is to help people improve their mental health. Help them reduce their anxiety. Help them overcome that empty feeling. Help them find purpose.
I feel like a hypocrite. Every time I go to work I feel like an actor. I put on this front. I don’t feel real. I never once feel confidence in what I am saying or doing. I sometimes feel like I’m the person who needs reassurance. I need the support just as a much as my patient’s do.
Am I the only psych nurse who feels like this? Or did we all go into this profession because we struggle with our own mental health? On one side, I am trying to build rapport, trying to encourage people to open up and speak to me while I am trying to hide my own mental illness. I am supposed to be a proponent of removing the stigma of mental health but I feel the stigma just as strong as everybody else.
I don’t want anyone to know I hate myself. I don’t want anyone to know I battle anxiety and struggle to make and maintain friendships. I don’t want anyone to know I just started taking antidepressants 12 days ago, my third time in the past two years starting Sertraline. Sometimes I feel like “it takes one to know one.” They know. My patients know I struggle. They can see through me. They know I’m one of them.
At times I wish I could tell them my truth. Tell them I know what they are going through. Show them that some days are better than others. Tell them that some days just making it to work is a feat. Tell them that all you have to do is “fake it till you make it.” But some days I don’t believe that myself.
Some days I want to give up. Let the illness win. On the days I don’t have the energy to fight my thoughts I just want to let my craziness out of it’s cage. Let it consume me so that I don’t have to try to control who I am anymore. I can just be.
My life feels like it is on re-run. I hit a really low low where I have no energy to do anything and just want to cry. I don’t clean my house. I overeat junk food. I sit on the couch for the whole day and I call in sick to work.
Then I remember I am a mental health professional and I start to implement some of the things that I tell my patients to do. I become motivated and begin to feel better. I have hope. Then the cycle starts all over again.
If I could just let myself be who I am then maybe I wouldn’t struggle so much. The sadness might come from trying to be somebody I’m not. Trying to be an extrovert when I am an introvert. Trying to like extreme activities when truly I just enjoy sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee and a book.
I understand life is about ups and downs but I no longer want to be stuck in this cycle. I need change. This time I need the help.