“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I am starting to hate lemonade. Really. How about something else? Maybe some tasty chocolate? Or at least orange juice.
Last week, I talked to my supervisor about an issue with getting a service dog. I had to retire Scout. He has a great home and is happy, so please don’t worry about him. He even has his own 8 year old boy to play with him. I opted to go with a local trainer to get a puppy trained from 7 weeks old to do exactly what I need. The puppy is tested for personality and temperament several times and trained to work from a young age. The other issue is I have local support. Due to the TBI, I can’t travel easily. I need someone to drive me and I can’t fly in a plane. The problem is the cost. I have to do some fundraising. The VA has a national program to advise employees of any possible ethics problems. Any employee can contact them at any time. I emailed them to ask specific questions about the ethics of fundraising as a federal employee. My supervisor went off on me. It was a 10 minute lecture about chain of command and trust. I didn’t do it to get her in trouble or a lack of trust of her. I did it to make sure there wasn’t an ethical problem and to get it in writing from the authority that deals with ethics. I tried to explain my thought process. Finally, I just went into “military mode” to get her out of my office. “Yes Ma’am.” I was ramped up; depressed, angry, frustrated. I locked my door to calm down for a few minutes. She came back, knocked on the door, and proceeded to lecture me again. I now was talking through a clenched jaw and noticed I had made a fist. I was pissed. The anger escaped by tears. She told me to “calm down” and that she needed me fully functional that day. Unfortunately, my ability to turn off emotions (or even modulate them effectively) was damaged. Once I am ramped up, I can just switch off like I used to in the Army. Now, it takes hours to get back to baseline. She left, still angry with me. I managed to make it until lunch time before the migraine struck. I spent all day Saturday in bed, sleeping or staring off in space. I thought about quitting. Friends pulled me out of the house Sunday. The situation was resolved the following week.
However, it highlighted just unhappy I am at work. I spend so much energy just getting through the day. I am constantly exhausted. I can’t do what I did before I was injured. Seeing patients is extremely draining, emotionally and mentally. My cognitive therapist also noted that I take things literally. That can be tricky in social work. I came to the conclusion that it is time to consider medical retirement.
Depression decided to make a return engagement with me. I dance with the monster every day. It seems like I have worked so hard to recover. And found out… I can’t. Part of me sees this as a failure of my body, of my determination. Part of me just wants to give up and not get out of bed in the morning. Then, there’s a piece of me that sees this as just another change. Perhaps it is time to move onto another career focus. In the meantime, my life is back where I hate it- uncertainty.
Really, how about some chocolate?