I can’t get to sleep. Another transient insomnia attack. Sigh.
I haven’t written much about work since I’ve been sick. I’ve avoided any details of my situation with just about everyone except a couple of friends, my husband and my parents.
My current period of absence from work due to ill health runs from mid December – so that’s nearly 10 months now. Work have been in touch asking to set up a meeting with Occupational Health to look at “timescales” with regard to my return to work. It’s routine stuff – but it’s NOT MY ROUTINE so it feels disruptive. I can’t help but look at my work situation with a letter like that hanging around.
I am incredibly fortunate in many ways. I’m financially sound (even though my wages ceased in the summer) thanks to the hard work and support of my husband. I know not everyone is in such a good position. You’ll have to forgive me but this might even help to know that even where money is not a factor this kind of stuff is still not easy – so you’re not alone if you struggle with it.
I’ve been reluctant to talk about work because I don’t want to risk muddying things with my employer. I want to blog freely and vent some of this from my system – but it’s not sensible right now.
The union are making enquiries of my behalf about possible voluntary redundacy or some kind of deal. Which they are doing with my blessing.
But the reality that I could soon by unemployed feels both wonderful and terrible.
Wonderful to be free of the worry about work would be a huge relief. Free to get on with life and try to find ways to work and earn in the future that are more flexible to my fluctuating health needs. Not worryng about timescales or letting anyone down or having to answer to anyone about whether I am better or not. Being a person first and foremost.
Terrible to have no status – to be unemployed – to have lost my job through ill health. To be a statistic of another employee turned unemployed by CFS and not have been a shining exception to the rule. To somehow not be strong enough to have fought this illness off and not have it dictate my life decisions. To have a working life ended, after fighting so hard to get to a good job and a good wage that made me proud. To fade away and never have the opportunity to beam at my colleagues and tell them I am leaving my job for something even better. To have failed somehow.
It’s a huge transition. It’s totally new terrain.
I have had a fierce sense of independence for all my adult life. Now I find myself reliant on someone else. And in the back of my mind scared to death what will happen if that is ever gone. Will I ever earn a decent wage again? A wage to live your life by? To support your family with?
Will I ever be well again? Will I ever go for long walks? Cycle? Work eight hours a day? Take things in my stride?
Will I cope with just being? Not having a working label or status anymore?
When people ask me “And what do you do?” what will I say? “I’m accomplished at living a tiny life with pain and fatigue. And you?”. Well, that would require the energy to go out and meet new people in order to be asked – so perhaps no need to worry on that count.
Which tick box will I tick in the future? Or do I (like my husband said) draw my own tick box on the form?