This week, an embarrassing, expected, and much dreaded thing happened to me. I lost my job because of my mental illness. I let it get too far; I abandoned my post. I should have done it sooner.
The combination of anxiety and depression has been spiraling out of control for some months now. I’ve sought help from my primary care physician, a sleep specialist, my regular therapist, and my psychiatrist. I haven’t slept a full night since December. I was stubborn; I didn’t want to give into my illness and let it dictate my life. So instead of dictating and me listening, I ignored all the warning signs and let it run roughshod over everything, just what I was trying to avoid. I failed.
I am sorry for my failure. I regret putting coworkers in tight spaces and awkward positions. I mourn for a job I should have loved, if I were healthy. I want to blame myself, but would I do the same if I had cancer? If I were in a car accident?
But as my mother reminded me, I could not have failed without trying. I tried. I tried to balance the life of a mother, a teacher, a wife, and an advocate. I wasn’t ready.
Yet, for all that, I drown in guilt. Because I’m not ‘strong enough,’ I didn’t try hard enough, I didn’t just suck it up and ‘go to work.’ I didn’t ride it out like I’ve been so thoroughly conditioned to believe I should. Because where do I get off thinking I was ready to go back to work anyway?
So I fall, and for a few moments I will lay and rest my aching head, stinging eyes, until I can refocus on what is most important, and try again.