Okay, so, on the depression front (because I know you're all dying to hear about my trials and tribulations) things are not great but there is progress.
The thing I'm currently struggling with the most is that my therapist today said she thinks I need to take an extended leave from work. She was saying that I should think about going onto long term disability for a while.
We didn't talk about timing specifically.
I am very torn on the subject. I have an over-inflated sense of responsiblity. Not going to work makes me feel weak and irresponsible and, well, if I were being honest, a bit worthless. Basically it makes me feel like a disappointment.
On the other hand, I recognize that I am no where near better, and I need time to heal, and that's not going to happen while I'm working, or it's going to be a much longer and more painful process. The truth is, this may be exactly what I need.
John pointed out that my workplace is willing to make an investment in people, be it in healing or training, so that they can benefit from a stronger person in the future. And I think I've come to the decision that this is probably something I need to do.
The truth is I can't go to work until I've been 100% for a while, I'm figuring at least two weeks. Because no matter when I go back to work it's going to knock me back. So, if I go back to work when I'm at 70%, and it knocks me back by 30% I'll end up at 40% - not a managable percentage in terms of functioning. On the other hand, if I go back at a solid 100% and it knocks me back 30% it leaves me at 70%, which is a managable level for life and work.
When I explained this to John, with percentages and all, he said to me "yeah, 'cause you're not an analyst at all..." which will only be funny for the analysts in the crowd, but it made me giggle.
I figure right now I'm at 40%. It might not sound like much, but it's a vast improvement on the 0% can't function can't get out of bed, can't feed myself stage.
It's been an interesting progression. First, anxious and in hell at all times. Then anxious and in hell only mostly when I was out of the house, or thinking about leaving the house. Now anxious and in hell mostly only when I'm out alone - if John is with me I'm mostly okay.
It still sounds pretty pathetic, but it's a huge improvement, and a huge accomplishment.
So, John and I have talked this thing backwards and forwards tonight. We seem to have come to the conclusion that probably 6 months is what I need. Not 6 more months, 6 months in total. I'm already through 1 month. I have an appointment with a psychiatrist on Wednesday, so I'll discuss it with them.
I feel like it's really hard having things open ended. So, we were talking about 6 months as a time period that gets me to the point of being okay enough to actually do some work, on me, and on my dyslexia and all that stuff. The idea is that I talk to my doctor and get documentation that says something to the effect of "This patient is on medical leave until further notice (which is what my current note says) and will be reassessed on a regular basis, with an anticpated tentative return to work on April 28, 2008"
That way I have a target date, I have something to work towards, and most of all I know that I'm not leaving my work with not knowing what to expect. They will know an approximate return date and be able to plan accordingly. Plus, if I'm ready and able before that there is no reason why I can't return to work earlier with my doctor's permission.
I can't tell you how hard it is for me to come to that decision. It goes against every fiber of my being to not go to work, it feels irresponsible and weak, and it feels like I'm a quitter.
My therapist pointed out (completely correctly) that she thinks probably I'm worried that people will think I'm a slacker and taking advantage of the system and stuff like that, that I'm cheating the system, you know, like getting EI and working under the table somewhere instead of actually looking for a job. She then said "Megan, the truth is, people know you, they know who you are and what your values are and they know that you would never do that".
It's nice that she has so much faith, but I'm not sure if that's really the case. Who knows.
Anyway, I should stop now before writing a full novel, but that's where I'm at right now. It's kind of wrenching my guts in all kinds of directions, which isn't very fun, but also kind of par for the course.
: When I wrote this (an hour ago?) I felt relatively sure of this decision. Now the above mentioned gut wrenching has stirred things up enough that I'm just not sure. What I do know is that I'm not well now, and that it's going to take more than a month to make things right, but maybe I should talk about being reassessed in 2 months. If I make the optimistic assumption of a 10% increase in well-being then I need 6 more weeks to get to my 100%, and then two weeks to make sure I'm still holding at 100% and it's not a fluke. Then the two weeks after that offer a bit of wiggle room.
Of course this all hinges on a linear improvement of 10% per week, who knows if that will happen. Or, you know, 0% one week, 20% another, that kind of thing. Don't worry, it all makes sense in my head.
I guess the key is that I need to find a way to give myself permission to be away for as long as I need to be away, maybe I don't set a time for it right now, maybe I set time intervals. Maybe 6 week intervals are good. Oh who the hell knows. I feel pretty incapable of knowing anything right now, or making any decisions...