Pulling the emergency buzzing on life

Health care professionals, we all know what it means when you hear “CAN I GET SOME HELP PLEASE??!!” In the firmest un-wavered voice or even worse still the crash buzzer…… SHIT JUST GOT REAL! In a care setting it’s the biggest call for help.

So, what happens when life hits you really hard? Work gets “heavy”? what is your emergency call buzzer? And who comes running when you shout for help? Deep, I know but reality.

As health care professionals, we spend most of our lives looking after people, supporting them through the toughest of times. Wiping the tears of the family whose relative you have carried out last offices on. Telling a family that unfortunately this pregnancy isn’t progressing. To the opposite of congratulating another 5 minutes later with the lovely news they are about to start a family of their own. A whirlwind of emotions felt in one shift.

Inevitably with anything in life with good days there will be bad days, and in nursing I think this is something that we fail to have open dialogue about. It’s not until you hit mid rush in the worst possible shift of life. You’re in the treatment room and someone asks you if you’re ok? Or can they help. It’s like tsunami, it washes over you uncontrollably and then they open. YES, that’s right the flood gates, that overwhelming self-doubt that you aren’t amazing and today you feel like the worst nurse to ever exist. GUESS WHAT??? You’re only bloody human!! Even the nurses you think are super awesome always have their shit together. BET you all the bloody tea in china it happened to them. In a job where lives are involved and emotions are high it going to happen.

How do we cope?

We are very “BRITISH” in our regard to emotions. Stiff upper lip and all that. Wipe your tears and crack on. I’ll make you a cuppa dear. With all the greatest intention in the world sometimes it’s just not enough.

November 2016, I pulled the emergency buzzer on life. My mum was ill and it rocked me to my core. We all just think our parents are invincible. They’ll be here forever, but they won’t. Lucky for me I’ve still got mine (shout out to my very own jenny from the block) But I became overwhelmed. I think through all my life experiences I’ve learnt that it’s not a bad thing asking for help. I plucked up the courage to speak, I walked into my managers office and I said, “I’m literally on the edge of life” dramatic much, but that’s just how I felt. I didn’t want to take days off because I didn’t want to let my team or our patients down, and I wanted to be there for my mum so I was travelling to and from Leeds. Physically and emotionally I was drained, I’d cry on my own. Keep my feelings to myself and try to pretend I was fine. I am so grateful every day that I am fortunate to have been welcomed into a team that’s so in tune with each other, and to have such a rapport with my manager that I could openly have the conversations that we had in her office. The crying, the moaning, the feelings of embarrassment and the self-doubt. It was met with such compassion, understanding and a genuine regard not just for my physical health but my mental health. Thank you!!

It’s really easy for people to say leave it at the door, but this place becomes your life. I see these wonderful people that make up our team more than I see members of my family. They are my family, my work family. Being anything else but great is just a disservice, so help was needed

We put in my application and I decided to go for counselling. I will never be afraid to admit this, because my mental health IS IMPORTANT. It’s important to me, it’s important to my patients. How can I give them the care and advice they need if I don’t take the help that I need?

This isn’t about telling everyone to go get counselling not everything works for everyone. Its more to say in a high paced environment, things get tough. In life, we really need to pay more attention to our mental health.

Like my friend Dodd told me “the burn out is real”.

Sometimes it’s the small things that will keep you going. Like my meet ups with “the sues”, making time just for myself, spending quality time with the people I love. Or taking that leap of faith to seek professional help. Find YOUR fit!!

Sometimes the clouds gather and you can’t seem to find your way out of what seems like the darkest of storms. But I promise you this there is always help, there is always someone that will listen and you will get through it…. JUST PULL THE BUZZER

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