I was recently a guest on The Classick Team-Up podcast and we discussed self-care and a common misconception of it being all bubble baths and spa days. I explored that self-care is often painful because doing what you need isn’t always easy or comfortable. Little did I know that the time following recording this podcast I would be putting myself through a painful self-care task. This is a decision I’ve been trying to come to ever since I went back to work after my temporary disability. Work hasn’t felt the same since trying, and failing, to get the accommodation to work from home one day every 2 weeks so I could continue my TMS treatments and also having been “asked” to moved to a different position in the department.
Working and feeling productive is so important to me that my own health, both physical and mental, often takes a backseat. I convinced myself that the new position would be a great learning opportunity, although it kept proving to not be. I also convinced myself that the alternative to the accommodation I requested that management gave wasn’t an awful compromise. Leaving a few hours early on Friday every other week to get my treatments while working through lunch the rest of the week was putting even more stress on me.
My difficulty leaving wasn’t even completely about income as the company doesn’t pay liveable wages and I, as well as others, either live with parents, have subsidized housing, or are struggling month to month. I could probably live similarly being back on disability. However, contrary to popular belief being on disability isn’t easy and it does require a lot of work. Between all the forms to fill out, the incompetence of the social security administration, the dehumanization of the disabled by certain SS employees, the constant trips to the SS office, the intrusiveness of the process regarding all of my financial, medical, and work records, and society in general deeming those of us on disability failures and leeches, I preferred struggling on a mediocre paycheck to getting disability.
However, over recent weeks, my mental health has been deteriorating. I’ve been extremely depressed and started cutting again, and also suffer from debilitating anxiety attacks. I’ve also been in a great deal of pain because I’ve been avoiding taking days off to go to doctors appointments because of fear of how I’m seen as an employee. I’ve been on edge ever since returning from temporary disability, because although it’s part of my benefits package, it’s frowned on in corporate environments. Especially if it’s not deemed a physical disability. Although you’re not legally required to tell them what your disability is and they aren’t allowed to ask, all the paperwork from doctors is seen by someone in HR and it’s pretty hard to miss that the documentation is from a psychiatrist.
Anywho. After having a panic attack so severe a few weeks ago that I started seeing double and couldn’t understand what people were saying to me, I knew it was time to leave. So I told my boss I wasn’t feeling well and needed to leave early and haven’t been back. I would have preferred not to leave so abruptly, however, in order to be eligible for my disability again, I can’t give notice or a letter of resignation. Which screws me over for any future jobs that require recommendations, but it is what it is. Much of disability guidelines make no sense and are counterproductive, but alas, this is America. Where logic is frowned upon.
I was trying my hardest to hold out hope that I could land a new job before leaving this one, but that hasn’t worked out. Since I’m now unemployed I’m just trying to get my footing again, so to speak. When not in the throws of depression I make doctor’s appointments that I’ve been neglecting to make while working since I thankfully still have Medicare. But it hasn’t been an easy process.
So much of my self-worth comes from my ability to be productive and have an income. I don’t know if this is just something within me or if it’s been socialized into my psyche. The feelings of failure and guilt and hopelessness at times is overwhelming. I originally started writing this post almost a month ago, but couldn’t get my thoughts to come together. I’m still far from okay, but I am trying to get back to where I once earlier in the year.
The self care task I’ve embarked upon with leaving my job is definitely an uphill project. I don’t feel better or worse as of yet, but it was an important first step. It really really wasn’t what I wanted to do, and will probably come back to bite me in the ass if I can get well enough to work again. Sadly, I’ll have to cross that bridge when I come to it.