Coming To A Stop

I ignored the signs.

I nearly cried in meetings, felt rage, and couldn’t sleep. I still can’t sleep through the night as I write this post at 4:40 am. On Friday, January 28, I fell apart. When I booked it in the fall (it feels like a lifetime ago), the two weeks off were breathing space before the final push to the end of the academic year. I looked like I cleared the worse things to some people, but people who knew me were worried.

I worried too.

During my vacation, I booked a doctor’s appointment to not take any time off work and affect staffing. Like my vacation, it was supposed to be a way to gauge how I was doing, but it took on something more critical. Things began to take a dark turn, yes, that dark turn. When Valentine’s Day rolls around, it will be day 1 of my stress leave.

Am I worried about repercussions? I did for a little bit. Then I remembered Phyllis, my manager, who died of a stroke in 2014 and intended to retire in January 2015. She said yes, always dutiful to the organization and its rules. I remembered the same organization promised us counselling after dealing with a toxic coworker and failed to follow through. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time, wrote Maya Angelou. I ignored that too.

I worked through multiple crises, both personal, pandemic, and professional. I downplayed everything, believed the labels given to me, and tried to please, please, please. In a way, I envied the coworker who put on her coat and walked out. She neared retirement and seemed to have nothing to lose. I am not close to retirement, I thought. Then I remembered Phyllis. I broke down in tears in my doctor’s office and remembered life never follows a script. It simply goes.

And sometimes, you need to stop to keep going.

10 thoughts on “Coming To A Stop

  1. Sending massive hugs to you
    I took my first sick day in twenty seven years of my professional life this past Monday because I was too dizzy to drive to work
    You take care of you and enjoy your time off even if it is binge watching Ted Lasso which is really good!! I thought of you when I was watching it ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely the right decision. Conflating two aphorisms: if you don’t put on your oxygen mask, who will do it for you? I wish you all the best in sorting things out.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Many of us throw ourselves into our work and making sure our employers are happy. Few of us know when to take care of the most important person — our self. Good for you for doing so. {{hugs}}

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so sorry you’ve come to such a rough time. I learned some years ago that giving everything to work and neglecting yourself rarely (if ever) really pays off. Guarding your boundaries is essential and sometimes that means that it becomes essential to step back and completely take care of yourself first. Good for you for recognizing that. I hope you can find the stillness and the answers you need.

    Liked by 1 person

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