I am a Psychiatric/Mental Health nurse from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I want the general public to know that my job isn’t just managing aggressive or annoying behaviors, rather there are some nights where I soothe the anxious to sleep with a hug and a song or two. Most nights I don’t get to eat my dinner because I am in the room with a family as they unfurl their drama and after they leave, they expect their loved one on the locked unit to just “deal with it and go to bed.” I want them to know that every time they call the unit to yell at someone and complain to me about their loved one not being normal again after a diagnosis of schizophrenia… I don’t take it personally and no, they aren’t being jerks… they are mourning the loss of a loved one who is still alive and well right in front of them. They are mourning the loss of what could have been and their “new normal.” I want the general public to know that when “just another opiate addict” dies in an alley from a heroin overdose…. I am heartbroken and mourn the loss of life that I’ve most likely helped detox a time or two. Mostly what I want the general public to know is that I’d honestly rather a patient be diagnosed with cancer than a mental illness these days because there is less stigma. Fighting cancer is celebrated and people rally around the patient to encourage them. Fighting a mental illness is a life long sentence of torture and pain for the person diagnosed and I, your psych nurse, am celebrating you and fighting for YOU!

- SK September 22, 2015