I am returning to work after having been on leave since August 2015. Starting next Monday. Normally this would cause me a great deal of worry. How can I cope when I have not been able to cope with the pain of full time in the past? And how can I handle it mentally and emotionally long term when I am just pushing through the pain every day? What happens to the exercise routine I am supposed to be doing? What happens to the little bit of a social life I have? As per usual all that disappears. It just works and the pain and nothing else is possible. It is more status migraines. It is missed work. It is guilt. And stress.
I know this.
I have experienced it over and over again.
Not this time my friends. This migraineur with chronic pain has finally learned her lesson. Learned her limits. The limit, the Wall, is below full-time. It is a threshold I cannot cross right now and maybe never will be able to again. We never can know what treatments will come in the future and my response to them. All we can do is act on the facts right now.
So a part-time role it is. Stepping back from my career, which clearly I was having issues with and instead of doing a job I should be able to maintain. A one day on, a day off alternating cycle.
This is not an easy choice. My brain tells me constantly that I am more than capable of working my old job. That I am more than capable of working some of the jobs I found when I was looking. And I am. Intellectually. I simply am not physically. Not pain wise. Fatigue wise. Brain fog wise, even that complicates things for us. So there is this discord. I feel like I can. I want to. But I can’t.
Secondly, I have little ambition any more but I wanted that career. I wanted some career goals and to hold onto that progression. To have at least some ambition left to me. It is hard to just accept I need to just to a job. Do something I am capable of, but won’t make me much money and will not get me anywhere fast.
Third, satisfaction. I want a job I can sink my teeth into and is going to be interesting. The job I had was at least in some sense interesting on a daily basis. By no means hard. But it was what I settled for when my pain got worse. And I liked it. I enjoyed it enough that it kept me interested. The job I will have is not interesting in the least bit. It reminds me of a job I would have had as a summer job. Once I am trained there will be no more interesting facets to it.
Forth, money. I will not be making. It means compromises financially for my health that I have had to make in order for it to even be the least bit feasible I could work part-time. That is tricky. By no means easy.
So there is difficulty.
What you gain though?
- Less stress
- more down time to recover
- not pushing through the pain
- staying within my limits