Life is full of twists and turns. You think you are on a certain path, then suddenly the road before you makes a sharp turn, and you begin heading into unknown territory.
This can be exciting. But it can also be terrifying.
My life took another unexpected twist this week. I guess I can’t say it was completely unexpected as I knew it was always a possibility this would happen, but I hoped and prayed it wouldn’t.
For those of you who read my last post, you know I was in a deep depression last week that led to me being off work for a week. Well, I wasn’t ready to go back yet this week and again went to visit my doctor. She put me on an indefinite leave of absence from work.
While working through some things last week, I had already decided that I was going to quit my job. The stress of it was too much and I knew if I didn’t resign, it wouldn’t be long before I ended up in the hospital. It was the stress and pressure of the job that triggered my depression.
This is the third time this has happened. I have had to take 3 leaves of absences in 5 years with 3 different jobs.
This time I realized I had to face reality. It was clear that the issue was not with any of the jobs. The issue was my depression. The stress and pressure of working full time is something I just can’t handle because of my illness.
Admitting this to myself is hard. I still haven’t fully accepted it.
But I did resign from my job. When I told them about the indefinite leave, I also requested that they not hold the position for me. It wasn’t fair to them for me to take an extended amount of time off, and I also knew that I would probably never return to full time work again. They are a small company and need someone in the role that I was in.
Since resigning from my job, I have been dealing with all kinds of different emotions.
Fear has been the biggest one. It has led to not sleeping and middle of the night anxiety attacks.
Fear of what my life is going to look like going forward. Fear of never being able to be independent. Fear of not having the financial means to take care of myself. Fear of never being able to travel or do things I want to do. Fear of becoming a burden to my family.
And finally, fear of what people are going to think. One of the first things asked when you meet someone new is, “what do you do for a living?”
What are they going to think when my answer is “nothing”?
I know I shouldn’t care what others think. I’m working on that, but I’ve been judged a lot because of my illness, so it’s a natural fear for me.
There is a part of me that feels completely defeated. I feel like I am giving up. That maybe I should have tried harder.
And a part of me feels like a failure.
I tried to lead a healthy, normal life. I’ve lived alone for a decade, had a couple of careers, worked full time, volunteered, had lots of friends. I tried really hard. And I suffered a lot trying to keep up with what life expected of me.
But now I need to face my limitations. I need to accept what I can and cannot do. I need to accept that my life isn’t going to be what is considered normal for most.
Then there is the other part of me that knows and trusts that there is still something ahead for me. No, I won’t be able to work a typical 40 hour per week job. No, I won’t be able to handle too much stress. And I know that my depression can surface at any time, crushing me, taking away my energy and spirit.
But I look back at all I have been through. All I have experienced. All the twists and turns of my life so far. And things have always turned out ok.
God has always taken care of me. I look back and see how events lined up to bring me where I am. And I know there is more for me.
I know I have a purpose that I have not yet fulfilled.
For now, I am taking the time to rest and heal. My focus is on getting healthy again.
I know I will recover as I have many times before. Like all of my previous times of depression, this time will make me stronger.
One thing I do know is that this disease will not defeat me. I’ve been through the worst of it and I have survived. I am a fighter. And when my defences are down and I am weak, there are people around me who will fight for me.
I know I can always count on that.
And most importantly, I have my faith. God has never abandoned me before. And I know He never will.
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