As I sit here, waiting for the laundry dryer signal to alert me it's time to get moving, all I want to do is cry. I already spent half the day in bed and I can not wait to jump back under those covers, close my eyes, and turn off my brain.
Depression is an evil little monster living inside me. I often feel so ashamed that I'm plagued with this mental illness that I don't talk about it with anyone. I can't even talk about it with other people who I know are also plagued with similar challenges. Why would they want to listen to me when they feel the same way?
As a nurse, we always tend to self diagnose, try to get to the answer or root of the problem, and look within, hoping to use all of our personal and professional experience to help others, learn and grow. Part of our work is reminding ourselves that we are all humans, we are all patients, we all deserve compassion and patience.
I have memories of being a child, crying, and being told to "knock it off, or I'll give you something to cry about" and "go to your room if you're going to cry."
Nurses are the ones who listen to their patients, hold their hands when they cry, and understand the realities of mental health. We know how important emotional expression is for our overall health and well being. We have endless hope for our patients, for the world at large, the what seems to be a taxed and dying health care system, and of course for our colleagues and one another.
I was brought up in a home where we were not allowed to show our feelings. I have memories of being a child, crying, and being told to "knock it off, or I'll give you something to cry about" and "go to your room if you're going to cry." As an adult I can see how these words damaged my self worth.
I believe there's a way to undo the damage that was done. Sometimes all we are and need to be as nurses is The Listener, the one to nod and agree, validate, and support.
Recently, I had a wonderful conversation with a powerful, brilliant woman who is encouraging me to continue to self explore, to write, and to blog. She assures me someone needs to hear my story and that I can make a difference in someone else's life by writing.
I believe there's a way to undo the damage that was done.
I know, as a nurse, sharing my story will help others. By showing my patients that I too am there with them, they'll know they are not alone. I'll be proving to my colleagues and my patients that it is not just ok, but absolutely right to admit to and speak about living with depression. I hope to help break the stigmas around mental health which hold us back from healing - much like the destructive stigmas around plant medicine which hold us back as well.
I often struggle to make myself believe that my feelings matter but maybe, by being open about it, I will find and make connections with other people, patients and professionals on my same journey as we help each other grow our self worth, one person (and one plant) at a time.
I wish you all peace, love, and happiness.
For more information about writing and mental health visit these links below: