Square one… again

After having a total meltdown at the thought of returning myself to the situation that broke me in the first place, I thought I’d finally made a decision.  Now… well, back to square one, I guess.

Let’s backtrack a bit.  I guess it’s time to finally break down what broke me down.

Two weeks ago, I broke.  After weeks, months of fighting depression, trying to sleep it off, trying to remind myself that no one likes or wants to go to work, I broke.  People can only be pushed so far before we don’t bend anymore, we break.  I’d bent as far as I could.  I felt uncomfortable, scared even, to go to work.  And despite numerous attempts to fix the situation, things just kept escalating.  I couldn’t anymore.  Those were the words I kept saying that morning while I was doubled over in tears.  “I can’t anymore.”  I had been fighting bouts of nausea for weeks on end, and the thought of going to work, facing the students, literally turned my stomach.  According to the Boyfriend, I was curled up in the fetal position on the bed crying every time he opened his mouth for about 45 minutes.  I couldn’t move, couldn’t say much of anything.

The doctor diagnosed me with stress-induced depression and insomnia, as well as a developing ulcer.  I’ve been on medical leave from work ever since, with a tentative return date of the 26th.

That brings us back to last night’s and today’s meltdown.  That looming deadline has my stomach turning again.  Not that it really ever stopped, but it’s getting worse, and the nausea kicks back up when I think about going back.  I’m no better than I was when I left.  I’ve spent all day crying at the drop of a hat.  And not just a few tears; we’re talking the body-wracked-with-sobs kind of crying.

But I can’t give in.  It would disappoint so many people, let down so many people, including myself.  That’s why I’m back at square one.  I thought I’d chosen my health, decided I knew when to say when, but it has been made abundantly clear to me that I need to do this.  I can’t disappoint myself.  I can’t disappoint the people I love.  I wish this were an easier decision.  And maybe it should be.  Maybe I’m making a bigger deal out of things than I should.

I just don’t know.  Again.  Hello, square one.


2 thoughts on “Square one… again

  1. Girl! I totally cried at work, in front of teachers and students, 3x already. Yes, the reasons were different but it was still work-related so I can totally empathize in that regard.

    That said, there is no choice that you could make that would disappoint the people who love you (ME!!!) and want the best for you. No job is one-size-fits all and if some aspect of this school is jeopardizing your health and happiness, then you deserve to move forward doing something better. You are too brilliant to waste your talents on the unappreciative.

    Furthermore, this is YOUR life and there is no standard “right” way to do it. Anyone who says otherwise is full of it.

    I guess I really felt the need to comment because I've been having such similar thoughts. I'm super homesick and if I quit grad school and my job and left NYC after just a couple of months, I'm sure there will be some people who feel disappointed or think I just wasn't tough enough to take it. I think about that almost constantly.

    But no matter how many times I turn it over in my head, I come to the same conclusion: When it comes to decisions about my life, I am the only one qualified to make them. No one else. And whatever choices I make, they are valid and good because my opinion is ultimately the only one that counts.

    So, I love you and I hope this helps. You've got too much on your plate to be thinking in terms of other people's feelings about the issue. Let me know if you need ANYTHING.

    <3 Meredith

    P.S.- I love your writing. Amazeballs.
    P.P.S.- It took me so long to write this comment because I kept having to edit out my… ahem… colorful language. I need to watch that.


  2. I was exactly where you are 2 years ago. I was in a job I hated and I was miserable. I finally decided I had to get out — and I wasn't feeling particularly picky; I just knew I had to get the hell out of the job I was in. The job I have now isn't perfect, but it's infinitely better than my old one. I still have bad days but overall, I really like it. What I learned in the process is that everyone has a niche. Sometimes it takes awhile to find it.

    Like you, I have incredibly high standards for myself, and I was raised with the idea that disappointing my parents was the ultimate failure. As I left my old job at the end of the my last shift, I cried. I was leaving a job I hated, and I still cried. I cried because I was disappointed in myself. To be a floor nurse is to wear an incredible badge of honor…and I couldn't do it. It beat me. I failed. Two years later, I still feel guilt and a sense of failure and I'm still disappointed in myself — so much so that last fall I decided I was going back to it.

    Until Tim said no. Tim is a pretty easy-going guy, and it takes a lot to get him worked up. He was adamant that I wasn't going back to floor nursing. And that was when I realized how miserable I truly was and — and this is the kicker — what a huge impact hating my job had on my marriage. He didn't say no just because he didn't want me to go back to being that unhappy — he said no because he didn't want *us* to go back to being that unhappy.

    That was when I had to stop and redefine what being disappointed in myself meant. And I realized that I would have been more disappointed in myself for staying in a job that I hated that was detrimental to my marriage than I am for throwing in the towel and admitting that I was not meant to be a floor nurse and changing jobs. If I look at it that way, finding a job that makes me reasonably happy isn't a selfish thing — it's something I had to do to protect my marriage, which is more important to me than anything. And that makes me proud of myself, not disappointed in myself.

    If you can afford it, don't go back. It's the holiday season; find a mindless retail job until you can find a teaching job that will make you reasonably happy. Life is too short.

    If you have to go back, remember this: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Nursing is often an exercise in the futility of trying to make people care about their health. All you can do is put forth your best effort; the fact that I can't make people care about their health and make people listen to me is NOT a reflection on me and it does NOT mean I'm bad at my job — DESPITE the fact that, like in teaching, the government says the exact opposite.

    Know too that the three-steps-forward-two-steps-back feeling is normal. (Or at least I hope it is; it's been the story of my life the last few years!) =)

    lots of hugs,

    P.S.-Totally agree with Meredith; your writing is amazeballs and I am seriously envious of the way you have with words!


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