‘Some people say they could never work with sick kids, i’m the opposite… They have this will to survive that is so strong, they never give up’.

An honest account of my children’s nursing degree.

I started my degree in January 2015, I was excited to begin this journey, and my first grades reflected my motivation. My first placement was on a general childrens ward, and other areas included theatres, and one day with a community midwife. First year went by very fast and soon I was faced with second year. This year proved difficult and I began to regret my career choice. My anxiety began to overwelm me as the pressure built up, attending placements, writing essays and working part time, it all became to much. Still I managed to plough through, again with good grades. But I felt physically and emotionally drained. 

By the time third year came I felt glad to be close to the finish line. My grades took a slight dip, and I did not enjoy placements at all. In July last year I had a nervous breakdown and the doctor signed me off. I slept the days away, cried a lot and would not leave the house. I returned to University once I felt well again, but in October this year I was signed off again with depression, my medications were increased and this knocked me about for a while. I should have finished my degree December 24th, instead I am now returning to practice and making up my lost hours. Its not that I have given up but I needed to rest and now feel ready to continue at my own pace.

I understand my anxiety is a part of me, but this course has not helped. The 13 hour shifts, the lack of financial support, the academic pressure and the expectation of parents/patients has contributed to my increased anxiety. It is common knowledge that the NHS is in crisis, nurse shortages, packed A and E’s and critically ill patients just to name a few of the issues.

But with all this considered I have seen children survive the most horrific illnesses, the children I care for are the reason I still want to continue what I do, therefore just like these poorly children I will not give up.

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‘Sometimes i’m the mess, sometimes i’m the broom, on my hardest days I have to be both’. 

The above picture was taken weekend before last. In which I attended a xmas party, I danced and socialised and managed to look half decent. A week later and everything appears so different.
Last week was a rubbish week for me, I was tired, fed up and angry at times. As well as being un able to sleep and managing with it, I got through it, somehow. I didn’t want to socialise, or step foot out of the house at all. Last week I intended to sort out all my xmas shopping, visit my nan and remain smiley at work. I managed to visit my nan, complete some xmas shopping but no, didn’t think I was particularly happy at work. Then I had a punctured tyre so when I did finally venture out I ended up at a garage anyway 🙈

This weekend hasn’t been great either, I didn’t enjoy my night out Saturday and again felt like I couldn’t sleep or didn’t need sleep. So Sunday was meant to be a day with my man but no I dropped him at the train station and went home to sleep for 3 hours. Today has been a bit better, xmas shopping is almost complete, and wrapped, I helped my sister with an issue of hers and remained relatively calm.

The quote above has helped me reflect on the bad days. I know my mood will improve, and I partly blame the time of year. To be honest I can’t wait for xmas to be over. Once it is I can relax!!

‘If someone is pushing you away, thats when the person needs you must’.

I am clearly a perfect example of this, this quote is relatable in so many ways. I will push my man away till he is almost as drained as I am, I don’t like this and need to channel some different behaviours. I push you away in the hope you won’t go, that you will protect me and make me feel safe. Today has been out of control, from having only three hours sleep, to trying to push you away some more then, crying about it for the rest of the early hours.. But you handle me well, you hold me, reassure me, you know how i’m feeling by my moods, my tone and my facial expressions. And for that I love you, you didn’t give up on me no matter how hard I have pushed. A few more things to add, I thank you for being my rock, making me feel safe and reminding me of all the good memories.  

Tonight I have managed to calm down, be thankful and smile again 😊

‘I am the same person I was before you found out that I suffer with anxiety.’ 

I have always struggled in social situations, I desired to be a social butterfly but instead kept myself isolated. This leading me to dread meeting new people or new love. Sometimes when you aren’t looking is when you find somebody who genuinely cares, that was the case for me. This year has seen me face dark times, in which I have done so, alone. But I knew you were different as soon as I met you, I liked you straight away. But as always my anxiety makes me think the worse, so I instantly knew that the more we spoke the sooner I would have to be honest about my mental health. The more I began to fall for you the more anxious I became about telling you that I have anxiety. When I first told you, you listened, you held me and then came the hard part, you witnessed my mood changes yourself. I can be completely loving and bubbly one day then the next I can appear distant and isolated. It was then I thought you would leave me and not manage this situation, and I thank you for not doing that. Instead you talked me round, or made me laugh or just gave me a big cuddle as I cried. I’m smiling now as I write this because you don’t how much of a big difference you have made to my confidence, you have made me see that people do understand how i’m feeling, therefore I should not shut everybody out. I am grateful to have you in my life, I hope you know that all the little things you do mean the most to me.. The cute messages, the nights you have wanted us to go out when I all I wanted to do was stay in and be with you, the talks about our future and when you hold my hand when we are out. All these help me to feel secure around you and allows me to open up to you.

Although this maybe ‘cringe’ reading this, its so hard in this world today to meet someone who loves and accepts you with all your flaws, who not only understands them but helps distract you  by reminding  you of the positives in your life, while taking on your concerns and worries as their own. You have guided me in making decisions when I was at a loose end and supported me when I made a decision then changed my mind.

 

I just want you to know how grateful I am for everything you do, and that I can be miserable and tearful or ecstatic and happy, but then I look at our pictures and smile and that helps me to stay grounded.

 

 

‘Do not confuse my bad days as a sign of weakness, those are actually the days when I am fighting my hardest’. 

Diary extract from yesterday!

Today on world mental health day, I have laughed, cried and slept. A mixture of emotions has filled me today and to be honest exhausted me. Like lots of other sufferers I am overwelmed by the feel of dread or worry that occurs on a daily basis.

On days like this I hardly want to speak to anyone, I like to be in my own space and keep busy. This evening I have had tea, showered and looked through a magazine. These normal daily tasks help me to keep a little bit of routine, when all I really want is to sleep all day and not move from my bed.

So now I leave you with this final quote ‘you’re not going to master the rest of your life in one day, just relax’. 😊

‘When the world says give up, hope whispers try it one more time’. 

Diary entry: 10th October

 Today is world mental health day, ironic when this has turned out to be terrible for me. For the past week I have been feeling anxious when attending placement at the Hospital, I have been feeling like i’m not part of the team, like i’m not supported and drained from the long shifts. I arrived on the car park this morning and burst into tears. I just couldn’t face it today.. but instead of going home to bed I have come into University to address the issues I have which will be resolved. I have decided that I need to be working in another environment, one which inspires my confidence in nursing. Hopefully I will get the decision I wish for and be able to move. If not i’m not entirely sure what my next step is going to be, as I have again reached breaking point even though I am aware that there are always answers.

So on this day of mental health awareness, I leave you with this one thought. ‘Don’t fake being ok, you only hurt yourself, be real with what you are going through and don’t let it consume you’. 😊 

‘The fastest way to move forward, face your fears.’

In most pictures used on my blog I haven’t shown my face. Ive always lacked confidence, but I have decided to show the real me. My hair isn’t always great and my make up doesn’t reflect the look of a kardashian. But I am happy lately with who I am and how I look. My confidence is coming on slowly as i’m now surrounded by good people who lift me higher. 

My initial lack of confidence came from being bullied at school, for being skinny or not having the latest clothes. That wasn’t helped by ex’s who tapped away at my confidence even more by pointing out some of my flaws.

Now I believe that I am free again, I accept compliments and walk away smiling, before I would have walked away shyly without saying a word. I am happy now I have shown my face and ‘faced my fears’.. by doing so.