You know, I've seen it written that women who have experienced Domestic Violence and have had to take a leave from their jobs, experience a high degree of uncertainty anticipating a return to work. Boy, am I experiencing a high degree of uncertainty at the thought of returning to work!
I don't think it's just the fact that I have been out of the work environment for a while or even that I will have to catch up on all the changes that have taken place while I have been gone - I think, at least for me, it's about whether or not I can actually do the job anymore.
If I were to take it one step further I would say that my job is almost part of my past...it is where I was before I left. Somehow to go back there is like having to hurdle all of the very real challenges but also this irrational one as well - like somehow you are back there, in the abuse.
I have struggled with the whole back to work problem for the last year. I have been on a long term leave from the hospital but now they are starting to pressure me to come back. Am I ready? Can I handle it? What if I can't?
I am afraid of being afraid as well. I bet that doesn't sound half as odd to a lot of you reading this as it might be to someone who has never experienced DV. I am afraid of that slippery slope which starts with anxiety and then starts slipping faster and faster downward until soon you find yourself in a full blown panic attack. I'm afraid of situations that might make me afraid too. I'm also afraid of rounding a corner and coming face to face with some of my former friends who flat out disagreed with my decision to take my kids and run to a women's shelter.
There are some people in my life who love me and ache for my life to get back to 'normal' - for me to get back to work, get back into the rythm of things and just face my fears head on and thereby prove to myself that I can indeed 'do it'. How would you handle this? Seriously... I hear what they are saying and I too would love to be once again earning a decent paycheck - but at what cost? I would be leaving early in the morning and coming home late and I would have to find a sitter who could handle my son's anxieties. I would once again start stuffing my feelings down, a necessary skill that I developed into an art form in order to emotionally survive ( I worked in a pediatric critical care unit) but which is certainly not healthy when you have spent the last two years trying to actually get in touch with your feelings..I could go on.
My dear friend Cass just wrote a post entitled 'the upside of down'. She wrote this after listening to me talk and talk about my fears and all of my worries and stresses about going back to work at my old job. I like that post very much because she talks about letting go of things in the past and moving forward, of not being afraid to try new things, and to listen to your heart.
I still don't totally know what I am going to do but I'm one step closer. Thank you Cass for your insightful words, they encourage me and remind me that I have options. To all of you reading this who can relate to my dilemma, please, let me know what your thoughts are. Do you have any words of wisdom? Thanks friends.by