Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hanging on by a thread

I am reaching the four-month milestone at work and I'm getting nervous. I haven't managed to make it that long at one job in several years. Usually, about 3 1/2 months after I start working  somewhere, the store of energy and strength wanes and the momentum I've built up starts to lag. Bone-crushing fatigue from the fibro sets in and some part of my body will hurt so bad I won't be able to function. Shortly after that, a particularly devastating bout of fibro-fog kicks up and then I might as well just start packing my things. No boss wants to deal with an employee that doesn't come to work, and when she IS there, isn't effective or even very accurate. Frankly, I don't blame them. If I had the choice to hire me or not, I would surely choose someone less... plagued.

I always tell myself, "THIS time will be different! I'll push through the pain! I'll go to bed ever earlier! I'll blame my screw-ups on someone else! Then maybe, I will get to keep my precious paychecks coming in just a teensy bit longer."

The crappiest part about this looming milestone that I haven't managed to avoid is that four months is almost exactly the amount of time it takes me to make enough money to dig ourselves out of the hole we've been in while I wasn't working. By now, everyone is getting used to having food in the house (that they actually want) and we've managed to start fitting things in the budget like clothes and school supplies. At least, we've gotten to the point where we have planned to go on these shopping "sprees." But, no matter HOW confident I am in my current state of health I haven't learned not to jinx myself and keep my purchasing plans to myself.

This weekend, I let it slip that I wanted to get DH a new cell phone for his birthday. For the first time in a long time, he actually has his eye on a specific gadget and it is within the realm of "reasonably priced." His birthday just happens to be in a few weeks, so this seemed to be very well timed. Also, TD has been BEGGING for her first cell phone since she has started Jr High, and if we get DH a new one, we can pass down his old one to her. So, within 3 seconds of my mentioning a new cell phone to DH, TD was in the room jumping up and down with the exuberance that only an 11 year old girl can show. It might be a birthday gift for Daddy, but she has a lot more at stake than he does in this whole interaction.

This morning, I realized exactly how long I have been working at this job, and my heart sank to my feet. The only way to make this whole cell phone thing work is if I not only continue to work for the short term, but going forward as well, or else TD will be the proud owner of a cell phone without any service. That's just not cool to do to a kid. Now, I feel like I'm waiting for the piano to drop out of the sky ans squish me. I just don't have the confidence in my own health to feel good about all this yet. I don't want to go back on promises, and I don't want to disappoint my husband or my little pre-teen TD. Suddenly, I feel like a huge weight has been planted firmly across my shoulders; as if this horrible thing is going to happen and I just haven't figured out when.

Just now as I was thinking about this I realized Christmas is only a few months away. I've got five kids to shop for this year. We only barely made it through without help from anyone last year. I can't face having to go to charities again for presents and holiday dinner. Yeah, I know I'm stressing way too much about this and that the stress will probably cause my worst fears to actually come true. I can't help it. All it takes is one look at my houseful of loved ones, and I know I just can't let them down. I can't. I have to figure out some way to avoid the inevitable.

I know. My brain is racing down worst-case scenarios and I'm letting my emotions get away from me. However, you can only do something so many times before you start to recognize the same signs and the responses become second-nature. The only way to avoid the same end is to change your actions and reactions in a willful and purposeful way.

So yeah, I WILL push through the pain, and I WILL go to bed earlier, and I WILL find someway to get through the brain fog that I know will probably be coming along any day now. I'm praying with every fiber of my soul that something will be different this time, that I'll be able to shake off the depression that comes along with mindless screw-ups. It's that little, dark whisper in my deepest mind that tells me to just give up. Working is just too stressful and painful and I suck at this job anyway. Just give up and call-in and let them fire me already so I can get some freaking sleep. Everyone already knows that you will fail at this like you failed at all the other jobs so give them what they already expect.

No, I haven't given in to that sweet sounding monster yet. So far, I have managed to keep the worst of my demons at bay. The Gray Monster has threatened to attack a few times, but I am resisting. I don't know how long I can keep it up. I'll need all the support and prayers I can get.

Am I alone in this, or do other people have the same sort of recurring stumbling blocks in their life? Do you have any tricks to avoid falling into the same pitfalls over and over again?



  1. I will send you prayers and positive energy. You can totally do this. Things ARE different this time because YOU are different. Have faith.

    As for Christmas I understand the overwhelming waves. However, figure with L & M, they will have a Christmas with their mother and another one with myself and their 'adopted grandparents' in FL so they will fare pretty well. Plus, I will gladly help out with Christmas dinner. I can not do much, but every little bit helps. It takes a village they say . . . I think that applies to adults as well as children. You are doing an AMAZING and OUTSTANDING job and this year is already different. Positivity is shining down on you. *hugs*

  2. One day at a time, Debs... I am glad, though, that you are working with your sister, because of the understanding factor. Maybe the key is going to be managing your physical issues together with the job - managing them on purpose. I know that the store goes through periods of slowness - perhaps you might schedule some down time for yourself during those times. Make it renewal time and not planning anything stressful.

    Stick a dollar or two in a jar and label it Mom's Sanity or something - put it out where the family sees it and can contribute if they want to. When you have the opportunity for some rest time, take the money and do anything from buying an ice cream to having a spa day...

    Another idea - you might think about a balancing act when you buy something. When you shop, make a point of putting something aside, too. You might put the amount of a monthly bill, or a percentage of what you spent - but it will be there for a rainy day or a need. That one comes from experience. I would worry about buying things when it seemed we had money, then when something happened and we couldn't make a bill, I would feel guilty about buying school supplies or groceries!

    I wish I were closer and could help out more! Call me if you need me, hun... I love you and I am proud of you for being such a fighter!