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Are you with me?

I just finished writing an email that I have been putting off writing for the last few days.  I have been procrastinating in the worst way.  I had to write the hospital that I worked at and let them know that I can't go back and work the shifts that I wrote two weeks ago and told them I am going to go back and work.  Does that make any sense? I changed my mind, not because I'm picky or because I like to be difficult... I changed my mind because, even though I wish with all my heart that things could be different and I could just stop stressing about work, the reality is that Domestic Violence has had a real and very profound effect on me and my children. Are you with me?

If you have been following any of my blog posts then you might remember that I am a Registered Nurse who has worked in Pediatric Critical Care for most of my career.  I left my job the summer of 2010 and entered a women's shelter with my children. I was depressed and stressed and frightened and everything else that goes with having lived with Domestic Violence.  I have spent the last two years getting back on my feet and helping my children to do the same.  I have had to heal from a very serious depression and learn to take care of myself.  I have had to learn about abuse, too, so that I can understand why I felt the way I did and so I can challenge the beliefs about myself that I still struggle with today.  It has been a very difficult time, but I would not trade it for what I had before.

I used to go to my job to escape, to get away from the person that I was in the home.  I didn't like that person, she was sad and lonely and a failure.  At work I was incredibly skilled and respected, I had people who I could laugh with, who respected me for what I could do and what I knew.  I have talked to lots of other women over the last couple of years who felt the same way, and like me, they didn't often talk about what their other life was like.  Maybe we didn't share about the abuse because we didn't want the horrible reality of it to come into the area of our lives that we were desperate to keep solid and good -- interesting thought.

My stress for the last few months has been that I am being pressured to come back and work.   Actually the stress is not so much that I am being asked to work (although I have written about my fears of not being able to do the job anymore) it is that the hours they are saying I must work are not going to work for my children.  I have agonized over this and prayed for wisdom and at the end of the day I realize that to work twelve hour day shifts on a two on, two off, three on, two off schedule is to throw any stability that we have worked so hard to have, right out the window.  I would have to leave early in the morning and to return late in the evening.  My son still struggles with terrible anxiety and has just finally gotten to the point where he is back at school and doing well.  He still can't sleep at his dad's house and often wakes in the night yelling for me... how can I jeopardize what he has gained, what we have gained?

So the email is written and sent and now it's just a matter of waiting to see what is going to happen.  I don't believe that they will help me to find a position that is perhaps eight hour days... they don't have any reason to.  You see, there isn't a policy in place that would address how the employer is going to help employees who have survived Domestic Violence.  Other hospitals have them, but not this one.  Perhaps one day that will change and perhaps I might have a hand in bringing about that change, but for now I, like so many others, must continue to stand up for what we need, even if it means challenging the way things have always been done.

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About cjw

A mother of three and a survivor of domestic violence, I am passionate about helping women who feel isolated and alone, women who may have children that are profoundly impacted by the trauma of domestic violence and women who need to understand where they can go to get help for themselves and their families. I am a registered nurse who has worked for the last 16 years in a critical care area only to have to flee to a women's shelter and have my whole life changed. I know fear, I know pain and I now know food banks...I'm in good company.
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