As you all know my health hasn't been great for quite a while now and I've tried several medications without much improvement. My GP decided it was probably time to involve a psychiatrist for some medication management strategies. Yes my anxiety was through the roof before the appointment - it was a teleconference in the meeting room at the hospital I work but my GP and husband were with me for moral support so that helped heaps.
The psychiatrist was lovely (all that anxiety wasted!). He suggested to stay on the current medication but if it hasn't given significant improvements in a fortnight to increase the dose; also an additional medication to take to aid sleep with the longer term goal being to wean off the stilnox (it's really not good long term). He also recommended fish oil daily - not brave enough to try the liquid but I have been taking the capsules - I've discovered you need to take them with a cold drink or they dissolve quickly and you get an awful fishy taste when taken with coffee! His diagnosis was General Anxiety Disorder but he feels my low mood is in response to the anxiety and if I can improve this the mood will improve. He was really positive that there is medication that will be of benefit and I will get better. He felt returning to my place of work isn't in my best interests (which is what my GP feels) but ultimately his recommendation counts for nothing; it's what the work cover psychiatrist thinks that will determine my future. He also felt sympathy for my husband when I explained I quilt - his mum does too; so he understood every spare space needs to have fabric in it "just in case" and you never throw any out as it may be useful LOL!
The anxiety seems to have plateaued - I have had some benefit but not a significant improvement. I see my GP tomorrow so I'm sure she'll increase it. The medication to help me sleep does work but I dream a lot and they're not particularly pleasant dreams; I can't remember what they're about other than in most of them I end up crying and there's usually people from work in them - not sure I want to know what it all means!
Friday saw me having an independent psychiatric assessment for work cover . DH drove me down to the city but couldn't go into the appointment with me; maybe that was a good thing as she got to see just how high my anxiety levels get. The appointment took an hour - I had to go right back to the beginning and explain everything that has happened - I got quite emotional and teary recalling what happened last August and in February this year. She asked about the medication I've tried and what side effects I got from them (I couldn't remember which gave me what) and what I'm taking now. Had I ever felt there's no point in carrying on? I want to be on my own and not interact with people but I've never considered taking my own life.
Then we went into what I saw for the future. I explained emotionally I still feel empty and nursing is such an emotionally giving profession. I really don't have any idea what I want to do but I don't want to return to my current work place as I really don't feel supported and I've lost all trust; I've had another incident with my managers recently:
I received an email from my manager a fortnight ago asking me to take annual leave (I have quite a bit owing); I discussed it with my GP who felt as I'm not fit for work I shouldn't take annual leave. I then had another email the day of my teleconference telling me I would be taking 1 months annual leave effective 28/06/14 and once I've been off for a year work cover will take 4 weeks leave from me! No consultation; no consent just "you will". I felt really hurt and let down that they would treat me this way. My rehab consultant did some research for me and I can't be forced to take leave while I am unfit for work and work cover can take leave but only when I've been unfit for 12 consecutive months and as I did work in February they can't take any until Feb 2015 if I don't return to work.
My work cover manager had given some suggestions for what I may be able to do to successfully return to work; one was to work at a hospital over an hours drive away: I really don't want to go there; this hospital has amalgamated with the one I work at and my senior manager will be responsible for both! Another was working at the local hospital doing admin type tasks (I could probably manage this as it would be working in a small team without lots of interaction with others). The third suggestion was at a different hospital (about 50 mins drive away) doing documentation for aged care; don't know how I would cope with that as it would involve lots of interaction with residents/staff and families.
She didn't tell me what her recommendations would be or what her diagnosis was; I have to wait for the report to come through which will take at least 10 working days. (I'm trying not to stress about what might or might not be in it). This will determine where I go to work and what sort of a role I will have.
Nursing's all I've known - I've nursed for nearly 30 years. Maybe it is time for a new direction!