So, I’m relatively stable in my disease these days. I am by no means the person I once was. I’ve been stripped of physical strength. My mind has become sloth like. By the same token, I am not as sick as I once was either. I don’t get wild fevers anymore. My pain and breathing are manageable. I’ve grown accustom to living in my altered and pain ridden body. I’ve become used to the side effects of all of my medications.
Realizing that I am about as stable as I probably will ever be, I can’t help but think about work. Working again weighs heavily on my mind and I have a lot of thoughts about work. Here is a sampling of the ramblings in my brain:
- I want to contribute to my household financially again.
- I want to feel like a productive member of society again.
- Am I capable of work life balance knowing I have a chronic illness now?
- I don’t want to get into my old workoholic habits.
- I hate feeling guilty for not working.
- How would I manage my fatigue at work?
- I don’t want to work again only to end up back where I started medically speaking.
- Can I find something I want to do that will work for my changed situation?
- What might that be?
- I’m sick of the heavy feeling that being at home is taking advantage of my spouse who faithfully goes off to work every day without complaint…more guilt!
I know that I can’t and don’t want to do what I did before. Working as a healthcare administrator is endless crisis management, topped with corporate pressure to provide more for less and less and less. Even if I hadn’t become chronically ill, I was reaching burn out in the world of healthcare management.
In addition, I have a serious work “problem”. I tend to be a workoholic and worse than that, I tend to push myself to excel beyond a normal human being. My husband asked me the other night if I would be a workoholic if I made snow cones for a living. I replied by explaining that I might start my career as a simple snow cone maker only to end up owning the snow cone shop and probably building a snow cone empire. So, yes I would be a workoholic even if I made snow cones. I have no idea how to tone it down, let alone turn it off and I know in my changed physical condition, it will wear me down quickly.
So as I contemplate returning to work, I have no earthly idea if it is realistic or a wild pipe dream. I’d at least like to figure out if it is possible or not. I don’t know how to manage the guilt I feel for not working and this has been an ongoing struggle for me.
At the moment the thought of where to begin feels overwhelming, so I think I’ll do what I always do when I feel this way and just start. I’ll put a new resume together. I’ll start talking to people and most of all, I’ll try to stay open the guidance and direction I am being shown…no matter where it might take me.