So what have these things got to do with each other, I hear you ask? Well, let me share a little story with you …
As some of you know, a few months ago I started seeing a therapist, and she started scratching around in my past, and my life very quickly went sliding down the s-bend. Or so it seemed to me. Ok, so I was spinning wildly out of control all on my own, but it seemed like my therapist gave me that extra push.
I took what I thought would be a short break from work to deal with some of the mess that was bubbling out of the sewer. The short break quickly became long as I lost all ability to function.
Around New Year I almost mastered the ability to get out of bed every day, so started going back to work. Slowly. Part time. As I could.
My bosses (Kojak and his superior, Crazy Lady) were terrific. They told me to take as much time as I needed. That they wanted me back, but to take my time and only come back as and when I was ready. Work part time, come in when I could, etc etc. Kojak even told me about his own experiences of something similar. Told me to take care, be safe, etc. Kind, sensitive, caring, right? Very SNAGgy, right? Well, yes. Or so I thought.
Since then, there have been good days, and bad days: days I could make it to work, and days when I could even deal with some of the piles breeding around my desk. And other days where the flashbacks or other freakiness were just too much for me, so I’d stay home. And of course in amongst that I’ve had surgery and other health issues preventing me from doing anything much at all. But I’ve been making an effort to do what I can, without compromising myself or people at work too much.
Today Kojak calls me into his goldfish bowl and tells me the flexibility of my arrangement isn’t working for him. He says he needs (and wants) me back at work “properly” or I need to go “offline” for six months until I “sort myself out”. Huh?
I work in an ivory tower where “properly” is full on, high pressure and long hours; and “offline” is code for doing some boring cr@p that serves little purpose.
I was completely thrown. I know there’s a lot on. I know the unpredictability of my working arrangements isn’t convenient. But I also know I’m trying.
I was very upset – mostly at myself for being unable to cope with life and work and everything. But also upset at Kojak because he’s already spoken to a colleague of mine to see if she’ll do my job for six months – BEFORE he’d spoken to me about the idea. I’m annoyed at myself for being unable to cope with what seem to me the most basic work requirements, let alone go back to huge workloads and long long days. I’m also angry at myself for being so fragile. I’m worried that the career I’ve spent the last decade building and thought I so desperately wanted is being flushed rapidly away.
I’m at a loss over what to do.
So there you have it…. life, careers, and toilets. A connection you’d probably never thought about.