Becoming a nurse has always been my ambition from a young age. I always new that’s what I wanted to do and through everything I did it was for that career.
College I worked my ass off to get the best grades possible and then I went onto do a course of Level 3 Health and Social Care which I completed with great grades. After I applied for an adult nursing degree which I was successful to get onto to AMAZING! everything was going the way it should and my path was falling into place in front of me allowing me to move on.
My OCD was present at this time but not to the extent where it was limiting my life and stopping me from living my life but I knew it was hanging around. I didn’t believe that this was going to affect my life long dream and stop me from doing it wasn’t I wrong.
I started university and I was so excited that in 3 years I was going to complete this course and I was going to be a qualified nurse. I really enjoyed the first few months, I was making new friends and learning lots of new interesting subjects it was a whole new environment but I felt as though I was thriving in it. This was going to be great. After settling in it was time to start our placements on wards, this was the practical aspect of the course and what I was most excited and looking forward to. My OCD wasn’t even a second thought, I was placed at an hospital 1 hour away from my home town this was okay though I would move for the mean time so I could be closer.
My first day on the ward, I had a bunch of different emotions running around my body worry,anxiety,excitement and anticipation. I was doing a twelve hour shift 8am to 8pm and that was a wake up call. Everything was going fine I was shadowing and watching trying to fit all this information into my mind. All of a sudden when I started to have patient contact my OCD came into full force it was speaking to me ‘You’ve hurt them’ ‘You did that wrong’ ‘doubt yourself’ ‘You are no good at this’ I couldn’t believe it after all this time it was a no show and all of a sudden WHACK! it was back. Everything I did from that moment on meant this little voice was always talking to me and making me doubt myself it was a full on day along with this dark cloud looming over me.
I came home and cried, cried a lot. All these thoughts were swirling around in my head ‘How are you going to be a nurse?’ ‘Did I hurt someone?’ ‘What If I do hurt someone?’ ‘I am not going to succeed at this’ I was so emotional and I couldn’t get myself together after this experience and these thoughts wouldn’t leave my head.
I went back to university after this for a month or so but the thoughts and OCD became to much. I had to make the hardest decision of my life and this was taking a break from the course to get myself some help I can feel myself welling up even writing this. I made this decision and went through with it, I had lots of anxiety around what people were going to think I had to tell my friends at university and my family and friends at home. I didn’t want to deal with the judgements and looks of disappointment, it was hard enough that I felt this let alone what other people were going to say and do.
I got myself the most brilliant therapist and went through a year of CBT with him. This was a god send I had never really opened up like I did in this year and it felt great and to actually talk to someone who was going to help and support me.
My intention was to always going back to my nursing degree but after my CBT I still didn’t feel ready I felt as though going straight back to it would be the wrong decision for my health. I decided to get a job with less stress for a year and get myself back on top to where I was before. This didn’t happen and I still struggled for months after and 3 years later I still have not returned. On the other hand for the first time since completing my CBT I have got myself a job back in the health care sector and I am super proud of myself as this is where I feel as though I belong.
This year I would have been graduating as a qualified nurse, I see on social media the people I knew on this course posting about passing and getting their degree and that they now have jobs. I find it really really hard and I can feel myself welling up looking at it. That would have been me if it wasn’t for this f**king mental health (sorry for the language) I would have been a nurse. I go through my daily life still yearning for this and seeing nurses around makes me want to get back to it so much but I am more nervous than you could imagine. I just cant explain the sadness I feel in myself at times, I could honestly cry.
I have to look forward now though. Who knows what the futures brings, maybe I will go back to my nursing degree and qualify or maybe I will become satisfied with my current job and it will be enough. I have to remind myself that I have been strong to get through this and come out the other end with the light.
I had to let go of my dream and I will never forgive my illness for that.