“Hello, my name is Abbie. I am a student nurse and I suffer from mental health conditions, and that’s OKAY!”
This is a sentence that I’m trying to accept. On a good day I will accept it, on a bad day I probably won’t. But I am getting there.
Before I started I was obviously seen by occupational health and was stable enough I was cleared. But just because this happened it didn’t mean my mental illness was cured, although in my head I just wanted to pretend that it didn’t exist.
Since I started my nursing degree I was obsessed with being “normal”. I didn’t tell anyone that I am gay, I didn’t tell anyone that I have an eating disorder, and I definitely didn’t tell anyone that I have EUPD. I really stigmatised myself around these topics.
It’s been the last few months though that things have started to really rear their ugly head and I have had no option but to be honest, because if I didn’t I don’t know what might have happened. Hiding is just so exhausting.
I was really scared before I started my most recent placement, this was due to how badly I was treated on my last one, well I think that’s why.
When I started my placement I was really enthusiastic and was really involved and embraced it massively, it felt great. But as my mental health started to decline I realised this wasn’t maintainable, it was just tiring.
My mentor caught on that I wasn’t who I was at the start, and then one day just as we were leaving, I told her everything. I told her that I was struggling and that I had seen a Dr and was feeling suicidal and told her some of my history. She was really supportive and gradually as time has gone on I’ve become more and more open with her.
She helped me tell uni about what was going on so they now know. She also knows that I have a personality and eating disorder, which were things I never thought I’d be comfortable sharing within my professional life, but here we are.
I was so scared for such a long time about people knowing at uni that I had built it up to be something absolutely massive, and it really isn’t.
It’s not “normal” but It’s not an issue. In fact, it’s benefited me having experience of this, I see lots of mums with different mental health issues, some with EUPD and others with different issues, but it has meant that I have a lot of empathy towards them.
Because I have finally managed to be open people can actually support me. I’ve probably had a better response about the whole situation by telling them then if something were to have happened and they ended up finding out.
It really hasn’t been easy, quite frankly it’s been terrifying. But I’m getting there when it comes to accepting the fact that this isn’t going to go away and I’m just going to have to get on with it and be a nurse with a mental health issue.
I’m not in the best of places at the moment but at least I am not having to hide that now. I also have fantastic support from my uni and couldn’t ask for a more understanding bunch of lecturers.
I will get there eventually with accepting myself, and one day I’ll feel okay with saying that I am a nurse and have a mental health condition.