About a week ago I got a clear message from higher ups at my job. Without going into too much detail, it boiled down to them looking for ways to cut overall costs. I have had several weeks where I had to deviate from my assigned work schedule to go to dr appointments or because I got sick. Each one of those deviations were approved, and I always made up my hours and got all my work done. Even so, they said, if I’m not going to show up when the schedule says I should, why are they paying me to be there?
Based on past trends, it’s possible that this will never be mentioned again, no action will be taken, and they may have even forgot that they said it by now. I can, however, think of a terrible thing to say to someone with a depression and anxiety disorder: We could decide at any moment that your job could be handled by the other 2 people in the office and we will fire you. And it’s likely that you’ll get no warning. And what you’re doing may or may not be quite enough to justify us keeping your job.
Sure, that puts me right at ease.
This happened a couple short weeks after my martini of imbalanced brain chemicals decided to invite the depression bitch to stay. It is also unsettling because overall I have little control over the many different ways my body fails me: I can’t stop food from trying to kill me. I can’t help that my immune system overachieves at fighting the wrong fights and ignores the right ones. I can’t make it through a week without at least one potentially life threatening event. Despite all of this I’m somehow supposed to still be a person and have a life.
I worked for months on something that failed me in the end. Now I feel like I’m living a series of failures and I want to hurt myself to get control over something. I am hurting myself in completely invisible ways. I’ve had increasing numbers of panic attacks and my supply of Xanax dwindles.
I decided to call my psychiatrist because I say yes to drugs. They could get me in in November, or they could get me in tomorrow. I don’t want to think about where I will be in my brain if I wait another month to adjust medications, so I took the appointment for tomorrow. Guess what time it is: it’s 30 minutes before my scheduled time to leave work. So I have to leave work early the same week I got in trouble for leaving work early for doctor appointments.
They might cut me a break if I tell them that if I don’t take this appointment it’s likely I will cut myself daily or eat the wrong foods until I can’t move and wonder if there’s anything I’ve ever done well before in my life and have to force myself to make every movement that I am required to make for the next month because I have no energy or willpower to be a person. Or probably longer than a month because the drugs that are supposed to help me are cheeky bastards that sometimes just stop working.
But I really don’t want to tell them that many details.
I’ve been in this position before, where my health has interfered with my ability to meet my work attendance requirements. I hate this position. I know I was hired to do a job, and I know that means I have to show up in order to do the job. I used to think that I could control my health better if I had a less physically and mentally and emotionally draining. Working with critically ill animals for 14 hours at a time doesn’t leave much room for other life functions. Now I sit at a desk and have a stable schedule and no one dies as part of my normal day.
But I still have to deal with this body and brain, which are still broken. I’m having trouble matching my reality to the rest of reality. It will take some time to figure it out.