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My Mental Health Journey

2023 has not been a good travel year for me. In January of this year, I experiences a mental health crisis that had been building up for a long time. I posted weekly updates to my friends and family and I want to share my saga here to help shed light on Nurses' mental health struggles post-pandemic.


I’ve been open with a lot of the health issues I’ve been working through over the past year or two and this should be no different. I haven’t been doing well over the last few months and I was working very hard to ignore all the warning signs my body was sending me. The past month I’ve actually been home on a safety plan that my therapist and I agreed on. After a very rough week over New Year's, everything fell out from under me and my therapist was concerned for my safety so he made me go for a crisis evaluation at the nearest psych hospital. I started a partial hospitalization program this past Friday and I will be in it for the next 2-3 weeks. The program includes 5 hours a day of group therapy, weekly meetings with the psychiatrist, and family support meetings.

This week has been emotionally draining and I’ve had to face some hard realities but I have to believe that there’s nowhere to go from here but up. I’ve been so blessed this week to have been propped up by my incredible friends and family who have dropped everything to come to stay with me, drive me to assessments, guide me through FMLA paperwork, and called and texted to make sure I’m ok and supported.

Please don’t struggle alone.


Week one update: I’m in a much better place than I was a week ago. I’ve gotten my medications more regulated and I’m participating in 5 hours of therapy a day. It’s been a hard, Holy Week full of processing and much-needed rest. I would not have gotten this far without the incredible support from family and friends. From Bonnie Broome Reynolds driving me to the hospital every day and staying with me in Conroe so I don’t have to be alone to my whole family coming to family therapy and a family support group even though they live hours away, as well as dear friends and family who have driven to visit me, spent time with me, called and texted to make sure I’m not alone, and help me hold things down at home and at work when I can’t be there. I’m looking at 4-5 more weeks of intensive treatment before transitioning back to my individual therapist and psychiatrist.

Specific prayer (or good thoughts/vibes/blood sacrifice) requests for this coming week are that my Brain MRI and Neurology visit this Thursday go well and I get some answers about some of the physical health issues I’ve been having. Also, at the end of the week, my therapist and psychiatrist have the wisdom to make the right decision about how much total time I should spend in PHP. Lastly, I have the peace and insight I need to move forward in my life and take full advantage of this program even on the hard days.

If anyone is struggling like I have please know that you don’t have to do this alone. Asking for help can be terrifying but it’s also worth it. You are worth it. I can only hope that my story makes a difference.


Week 2 update: This week was a little more chaotic but overall going well. I’m adjusting to the routine and making a lot of progress in therapy. I’m supposed to spend 5 minutes every day in silence and I absolutely hate it, but I can see the value in it. This week I am incredibly thankful that my MRI came back CLEAR! No signs of Epilepsy, MS, or Parkinson’s, and my neurologist has cleared me to follow up as needed. My psychiatrist is managing my shudders and we think it’s a severe physical manifestation of PTSD rather than epilepsy. This week I’ve had a clearer head than I have in a long time and I’ve found the space to write again. I’ve compiled a manuscript and Ronda Harris has been the best editor ever! I’ve submitted to 5 publishers this week and one of them has expressed interest in reading my work. I’m learning to celebrate each step rather than worrying about what comes next, and no matter if they like it or not this is still worthy of celebrating as an achievement! Thank you to you all for rallying around me and lifting me up with prayers and kind words. I will have to testify in court this week for my CASA case which means I have to miss a day of group. Please pray for peace as missing a day definitely gives me anxiety, and for a favorable outcome with the youths’ best interests in mind.


Week 3 Update:

I’m about to start my 4th week of partial hospitalization. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to stay in Conroe to avoid spending nearly 3 hours on the road every day, and that I’ve had someone staying with me. This week was challenging and I’ve had to face some of my most challenging memories and intrusive thoughts. I’m working on getting my cardiac specialist and EMDR appointments set up for after discharge, even though that won’t be for a few weeks. I’m getting some energy back and most days I don’t have to sleep after therapy anymore. I’m trying to focus on gentle movement and reading in my free afternoons and retraining my brain using all my new coping skills.

Thank you, everyone, for your incredible continued support, from encouraging me and calling or texting to check on me to coming to visit and spend time with me. Thank you for making me feel loved and like I have value.

If you think about it this week, please pray/send good thoughts/vibes and/or ominous smoke signals that I’m able to work in all my medical appointments around my therapy so that I don’t have to miss any more time. Also, my short-term disability is approved. It’s currently pending and I’ve had issues giving them enough documentation to satisfy them. It’s officially off for review now.


Week 4 update:

I had some setbacks this week and wasn’t progressing as I had hoped, so I haven’t been able to step down to outpatient yet. my medication wasn’t being managed properly but my incredible therapist Allie helped me advocate for myself and I was able to switch psychiatrists. My new psychiatrist is wonderful and listens to me and is working with me to get appropriately medicated. I’m hoping to step down to intensive outpatient this week.

I ran into another challenge when I discovered that the medication I need to balance the chemicals in my brain makes my tachycardia worse. I’m working with my cardiologist to figure out how to make the balance work and I’m wearing an event monitor this week to see what is going on with my heart. I did a ton of labs this week and so far everything has come back completely normal!

Prayer requests this week is that my short-term disability appeal is accepted since my initial claim was denied.


Week 5 Update:

After 5 weeks in Partial Hospitalization, I’ve finally been discharged! I’m admitting to their Intensive Outpatient program on Monday and expect to spend 3-4 more weeks working through that before discharging back to my individual therapist and psychiatrist. I’ve made really good progress this week and the medication issue seems to be resolved. I still have more work to do but thankfully I seem to be past the worst of it.

The rest of my lab work that I was waiting on came back looking pretty good so now the main thing I’m waiting on is to see the EP Cardiologist to hopefully get my heart rate better under control.

Thank you to everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers! I’ve felt so incredibly loved over the past few weeks and it’s really been incredible. 


Week 6 Update:

I’ve finished my last week of 5 days-a-week intensive outpatient and this week I get to deep down to 3 days! If all goes as planned I should be discharged to community care Friday afternoon and I’m looking forward to spending some much-needed downtime with the family this weekend in Galveston. This week has been a whirlwind with about 2 appointments of some kind every day this week but I’m hopeful that answers will be coming.

I’m meeting with the Electrophysiologist this week to see what the next option is for getting better control of the cardiac dysautonomia and tachycardia issues I’ve been having. I’m also working on establishing healthy routines and hobbies to create some balance in my life. I’ve learned to knit, started writing letters, and joined the church choir, as well as restarted my CASA work with support from my supervisor.

Tonight was a huge milestone for me because I was able to go back to dance classes at The Dance Barre BCS and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with all my friends and getting ready for the showcase.

Again, I can’t thank you all enough for your continued support, truly it means the world!


Week 7 Update:

I’ve officially been discharged from intensive outpatient and I’m cleared to go back to my outpatient psychiatrist and EMDR therapy for trauma processing! No word yet on when I’ll be cleared to go back to work since that will be up to the Texas Board of Nursing. Until then I’m looking forward to getting some rest and catching up on all the normal life tasks that don’t happen during hospitalization.

I’ve also seen the EP specialist and gotten some answers from that end as well. He confirmed that my cardiac symptoms are most likely caused by POTS, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, which is a form of dysautonomia. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to reverse or cure it, but there are steps I can take to help reduce my daily symptoms and improve my quality of life.

For now, I’m looking forward to some rest and learning ways to better manage my mental and physical health on a daily basis.

Thank you again for all the prayers and well wishes, it’s meant so much on this unexpected journey.

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