Disclosure – The Sequel

Last month I blogged about how I respond when someone asks me why I have come into mental health nursing and received some positive feedback on that piece.
This morning a conversation between myself and a lovely, very dedicated and very experienced nurse turned to the subject of ECT or Electro Convulsive Therapy (I will write a whole blog on this in more depth sometime), she asked had I seen this treatment and it felt entirely natural to reply “seen it? I have had it!”
This led to a conversation about my experiences of mental illness which felt ok, more importantly it felt safe to disclose. I have been on placement in this team for one and a half weeks now and feel as though they have had sufficient time to realise that I am quite sane (or at least as sane as I will ever be on that spectrum!) and that they have had the opportunity to judge me as a person not a diagnosis.
I hope I showed in those few minutes of conversation that I have come into mental health nursing as a career for good reason.
I hope my experiences of mental illness and how every day I still have to put effort into managing my condition will result in me being a more compassionate nurse with the ability to truly empathise.
I didn’t go any deeper and disclose some of the trauma in my past which has influenced my mental health, it was neither necessary nor appropriate. She is a colleague with whom I am there to learn not a nurse there to treat me! I doubt I would disclose that although with my mental health I am certainly becoming more confident rather than always automatically assuming I will somehow be ‘found out’, that someone will say I am on the wrong side of the fence, that I should be helped not helping. Time and confidence has shown me that I can not only be a mental health nurse with a mental illness but I can be a more informed one because of my experiences.
I am so fortunate to be able to believe in hope, I believe that by sharing that hope I can help others find their own meaningful recovery on their journey.

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