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I've become an awful person!

I'm off work for two weeks because of job stress. Burned-out. When I have tried to talk to my manager about it she is angry and wants to know answers to question I don't have answers for. I'm unable to talk to her about my feelings. She only talks about my negative behavior and attitude and "what am I going to do about it?"

My MD says I'm suffering stress related to my job. I've been an OR nurse for 8 years. Worked very hard to become Certified and work lots of overtime and "on call" hours. I've become an awful person lately. Have been "written up" and probably in danger of losing my job. Started on antidepressants and doing weekly therapy. What next?

Docpotter's Reply:

Your situation is precarious. Sounds like you have little support system. Now time for you to nurse and save yourself! And you must be very very careful, because your patient is in critical circumstances. Things can go from bad to worse. You must call your inner knowing to bring things back to balance - homeostates. THEN you can decide what to do with the rest of your life.

Do not trying talking to your manager. She is having her own similar problems. Your feelings add to her burdons. She doesn't want to hear it and it doesn't help you. Tell her what you know you need to tell her to improve things. Think of YOUR best interest. Consult your inner knowing, then ACT in YOURbest interest.

Find someone else to talk to about your feelings. Maybe you should write them in a journal and review them later, with an objective eye looking for patterns. This will tell you what the REAL problem is so you can CAN DO SOMETHING about it.

Yes, of course, your MD is right. You have driven yourself all these years. And you've worked hard, very very hard. For what?

You don't have alot of back up resources right now and very little support. You're stretched thin. Of course you've become an "awful person". Even the strongest camel's back snaps one day when one more straw is put upon it. To the onlooker, it's just one tiny insignificant, seemingly weightless straw. But the onlooker doesn't see.

You must rescue yourself or you will probably lose your job. Consult your inner wisdom to determine what to do. You may have to put on a front, even manipulate to survive.

My advice, get out of there. But do it strategically, to your best advantage. Act cool, look normal and get yourself transferred, to a paper job, if necessary, even if it might be for less pay. This is temporary, until you can regroup and figure out what happened and what to do next.

I advise staying off the prescription drugs. This can be a downward slide, in lots of ways. Worst is that you come to believe that you are "sick" in need of the drugs and helpless without them.

Burnout, which you are experiencing, is caused by feeling powerless, helpless in the workplace.

My book is excerpted at Gonyea Career Center on AOL. Lots of helpful, free information there. They also have online counselors.

Remember, it is time to nurse and rescue yourself. No one said it would be easy! Follow your inner wisdom. You KNOW better than anyone else what's happening and what you need.


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