First Week of Work – In Over My Head?

My therapist says it’s too early to quit. I agree. It’s not too early, however, for me to question seriously whether I can actually handle this. One of my long-term goals during this time of disability has been to get back to meaningful full-time work. The first step is part-time, easier work, such as administrative or computer work. Get used to working again, keep a schedule, build stamina and concentration and competency. I still can’t believe how these things are not part of my repertoire anymore.

Because I had been volunteering at the site of the new position, already knew something about the org and knew the staff, we thought this would be an easier transition to part-time work than another place might be, even though my therapist thought we were about 4 months early to start working part-time. Yet, I applied, interviewed and accepted the job, knowing it would be harder than the volunteer work I had been doing, including different skills and software. And it is a newly created position, so there are lots of unformed and unstated expectations by staff, board and my self.

When I talked with my therapist, I acknowledged that within this first week, I saw all the normal signs of starting a new job. Overwhelmed by number of tasks to be done in 15 hours a week. Learning curve for software programs. Expectations unclear. Sense of doom (we all get that at the beginning – WHAT did I sign up for??). Emotional and tired feelings as try to absorb tasks and environment.

At the same time, I’m feeling things that are unusual for me. I feel physically and mentally ill, and at wit’s end when I’m at home. I’m able to disguise it or work through it at work (another of those “functioning bipolar” thingys). I get confused easily so I forget how to do simple things such as use a mouse or walk to the bathroom. I’m angry and hateful. Not at anything in particular, except myself, I suppose. Probably for biting off more than I can chew.

I desperately need rest. And a chance to S-l-o-w-l-y integrate what I’m learning. That’s what’s behind the unhealthy coping skill of wanting to hurt myself again. One of the coping skills I learned in the hospital in May is to look underneath the hateful and painful and dangerous impulses to see what I really need. And if I did those better things, the dangerous impulses would decrease.

I’ve got 3 days of rest now until I go back. I still feel hateful and angry. I still want to disappear from the earth. I suppose those could be side-effects of the steroids they pumped into my back on Monday too. Just another feature in my not-as-rainbow-like week.

I’m very glad to be progressing along the path to full-time work again. There is still a lot of psychological and psychiatric stuff to process to get there again. And religious stuff too (SIGH). Yet I have this good opportunity to try my hand at gainful employment for a non-profit I believe in. That should be good news.

I wish it was right now. Just too tired and emotional. I can’t even think what would be restful since I’ve slept a whole lot now. Watching the Olympics or reading a book or watching a movie still leaves too much room for my mind to wander down paths where it doesn’t belong. Figures.

8 responses to “First Week of Work – In Over My Head?

  1. I think the fact that you can name all of this is amazing. I know it’s part of your bag of skills and ability to think through your emotions. And I think, because you are aware and working through it, that you’ll be OK. Call me a cheerleader, but yeah… I continue to send gentle hugs. And prayers for peace and continue wisdom.

  2. I’d be happy to be a sounding board or a resource if thinking about what you need to rest would help. Consider me a process partner, if needed.

  3. Im very proud of you and how far you’ve come! Let’s work together to get you the decompression you need these next few days to help recharge you. I love you!!!

  4. Easing back into work after a long absence is always difficult. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need (once you figure out what that is) and take lots of time to relax and be easy on yourself this weekend.

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