Before I post this week’s missive I just want to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you who stopped by my little blog last week and read my disturbed thoughts. I was very much of two minds whether to post anything so personal and dark, but you all were so faithful in reading what I wrote, and those who contacted me were so kind that you restored my faith in writing the whole ugly truth. I love you all, and watching the stats rise was such an enormous encouragement to me! THANK YOU!
Written late April 2016 after my latest work contract ended; updated 20th June 2016.
“I worked my a*& off to get back, really back; harder than I’ve worked at anything my whole life. ” – Detective Marcus Bell, Elementary
…”because there’s nothing like getting back for getting better” – current WorkSafe Victoria Return To Work campaign
Getting back; it’s what everyone recommends for getting better. I resisted it for a long while in my original sick leave but in the end I found that it was true! Occupation, purpose, time consuming work; it all helps to develop an inner feeling of being better, getting back to normal.
But, as my deepest darkest suspicions have been humming a tune all along, it’s not enough. I’m not enough. My efforts are not enough. It was a dark moment! Or two…
There have been tears, and more tears; it was so disappointing!
More doubt, more undermining of my confidence that was fickle at best, more breaking through my denial of recovery to let the truth of ongoing illness in. Then there are moments of resolution, mostly led by my husband’s sensible, problem solving , kind voice where I decide actually I will be okay; I’ll be okay, I’ll figure it out.
It’s not what I want; I think that’s obvious. If I could do anything to change it I would. I tried to see if there wasn’t any way around this decision to relieve me of my job by not renewing my contract. I spoke with the powers that be reminding them of my loyalty, commitment, long term intentions and proximity, for goodness sake, if nothing else! But I can’t fight my way out of this. Maybe I have to let it be.
Oh that so does not sit well with me. But a good friend reminds me that maybe that’s the point; maybe this is a long term play for my strength of character not a short term game for my own convenience! Ahhhh…it’s hard to swallow but maybe I need that.
So here’s the situation: the workplace I was working in when I got sick doesn’t have any obligation to me, to rehabilitate me. I was working there on a one year contract when I got sick at the half way point, and wasn’t able to return to work for any more than two mornings a week in the last 6 weeks of the contract. And that was just a desperate scramble to try to be okay enough to stay on there. I was utterly unable physically, and not even slightly ready mentally to apply for a new full time contract, the only way that I could’ve stayed on. So the contract, and with it, the obligation, ended and I went back to bed. Not what I wanted, but I couldn’t do anything about it; I just wasn’t in a state to change things. It was what it was.
So then, after another 9 months at home, I started back at work with a short term contract at the next place that would take me. They also have no obligation to me, other than to offer the same support that they would offer any other employee. They took me on when I was returning to work; they knew that, and made some allowance. But it’s not their fault, not their duty. No special exemption or workplace mentors; no keeping a place for while me while I convalesce and struggle to get back into the swing of things. You have to compete with every other well person and that’s just how it is. And when it’s over, it’s over!
Done 3rd May 2016
I’m overwhelmed, I’m in dismay,
The job I had, the work, the pay
It did me good, it helped me stay
Above the blue line, come what may.
Now it’s over, my sad reply,
Tears of hurt and loss I cry,
Feeling useless, have to sigh
For fear of dark days once again nigh.
It did me good, it kept me busy,
Filled my days and weeks, and nearly
Convinced me that I was now surely
“Better”, “fixed”; was I silly?
Silly to be believe in “health” so easily,
Of usefulness, I thought sincerely
That all was good, I did feel truly
That this was it, “I’m better, really”.
The routine and the structure, see,
Work and occupation the key,
Helped me build life, ABC,
From sickness to health; 1, 2, 3!.
I got me carried away, and planned
To stay and work, but now that’s canned!
“I have no hours for you ma’am”,
It’s over; nothing to be gained.
You’re done here! Well it hit me hard,
I did not see it coming, barred
From that which made my life less marred,
It feels unfair, am I so tarred?
By that which has my brain entangled,
Bipolar, why have you now mangled
This, above all else was dangled
Hope, that by work I’d disentangle.
Please let me stay, I love it here,
The colleagues; the task; the jolly cheer,
And to my home it is so near,
Please let me stay, just anywhere.
I’ll type the scripts, talk on the phone,
Check the work that others have done,
I’ll smile, be nice, work with anyone,
Please, please, please don’t say I’m done!