I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through it with your anxiety. Is this something new or have you always suffered with anxiety? Starting something new, whether it be a job or a placement, is always a challenge at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a pandemic. I really feel for you! It sounds like your mental health has taken a huge hit since you started working at the hospital and I guess it’s about getting to the heart of what’s triggering your anxiety (not always that easy to pin point, I know). It’s such a textbook answer but I would encourage you to talk to someone about what you’re dealing with so you can get the support you need. Is there someone at work you can talk to about how you’re feeling? If your anxiety stems from working at the hospital, no one will understand you better than your fellow nurses because they’ve been there! Talking to someone isn’t a failure, if anything it’ll make you a better nurse In the long run because you’ll be better equipped to do your job when you’re no longer trying to cope on your own.
Secondly, I would explore other options such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or applied relaxation therapy, both of which will teach you key coping skills to better manage your anxiety. I can only imagine that you feel utterly overwhelmed right now and sometimes it can seem like this is your new normal but trust me, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Also, (another textbook answer coming up, sorry) you’re not alone – nine in ten nurses are feeling more anxious than usual due to the coronavirus so you’re certainly not an anomaly. The past year has been a lot for the most stoic of nurses to deal with, let alone a student nurse. This doesn’t mean you’re not cut out for the job, not at all, it just means that maybe starting something new, that involves going into a hospital in the middle of a pandemic and working directly with the risks that everyone else is able to avoid by staying at home, isn’t all that easy for a 19 year old nurse in training. You’re human and you’re very much entitled to say, hang on a minute, I’m struggling with this one.
I would encourage you to write down all your thoughts and feelings after work too to help unpack those emotions. Never underestimate the power of reflection.
I know your MH is in a tricky place right now but anxiety does not define you and it will not hold you back from having a successful nursing career.
I’ve every faith that once you’re armed with the tools you need to manage your anxiety, you’ll be able to move forward without the exhaustion, panic attacks and stress you’ve been experiencing.
Wishing you all the best with your future! Keep in touch and let us know how you get on. Lareese X