I have decided to stop stressing about the "will-I-or-won't-I-go-back-to-nursing" dilemma.
Every time I have contemplated going back to nursing, I have had knots in my stomach. When I started planning to start nursing again, I didn't sleep well. I'd have nightmares about being at work, in a chaotic, understaffed ward that was completely out of control. In my nightmares I felt panicked that I was so busy that I was unable to take care of my patients properly, placing their safety at risk. As you might have guessed, it was this sort of stress that lead me to quit my nursing job 2 1/2 years ago, and I believe that this stress contributed significantly to the onset of my illness.
After months and months of beating myself up over not being able to return to nursing I have decided to let it go. I simply cannot take on the stress and responsibility of caring for people in potentially life threatening situations. My health cannot stand up to it.
After much reflection and contemplation I have decided that I need to completely change direction. I want to work again, but in a different field. Looking back at my childhood hopes and dreams, I recalled that, growing up, all I wanted to be was a kindergarten teacher (until I was steered toward nursing in my late high school years). I loved the idea of working with pre-schoolers doing fun and creative work. While I'm yet to see how far I will take this journey, I have started down the path. I have begun my Certificate III in Children's Services at Swinburne TAFE. I will be at TAFE two days per week and on placement in a daycare centre two days per week for the next 6 months. I may or may not continue on to the Diploma of Children's Services or even a graduate diploma in early childhood education at uni. The Cert. III course is my way of "testing the waters". I want to see a). if I really want to work in children's service, b). how my family copes with me no longer being a stay-at-home-mum (SAHM), and c). how my health holds up to the studying/working schedule. It is all a big experiment at this stage, but it is progress. I am moving forwards. I am looking to my future instead of being consumed by illness.
My first week has been really positive. There have been a few issues with timetabling that have been frustrating, but once they are sorted out, I think I will enjoy the student life again (it has been quite a while since I studied!). Practical placement starts in week 4. I'm not sure where I'll be placed yet, but I'm looking forward to getting out there.