When Any News is Good News

Well, things with my last job have finally come to a close.

If you’ve missed some of what happened up to this point, here’s a quick rundown:

I started working at the corporate office of a large clothing company as a technical designer at the end of July, despite having the feeling that full-time work was beyond the scope of what I was currently capable of. I got off to a rocky start, but seemed to excel for a brief time before the anxiety took hold of me. Very quickly, panic attacks began happening at work (more frequently and severely as the month progressed) and paranoia crept into the equation until I had the unyielding feeling that my boss was not only trying to sabotage me, but also the company. These paranoid delusions (which I took to be real) led me to begin an inquiry against my boss with the HR department, only to find that she had done nothing wrong.

At that point the mixed sort of episode of paranoia “fun” morphed into a mixed episode weighing heavily on the side of depression, and I pulled myself out of work to go on a leave of absence. A month ago I was cleared to go back to work, but only for three days per week. I put in an accommodation request form with my employer, asking to be reduced to part-time status.

I had been waiting for almost an entire month to hear back (which has really been stressing me out, I have been dying for any news at all), but Monday the wait finally ended. My employer got back to me and they decided not to make my requested accommodation. They gave me a few options to consider, none of which really made any sense for my situation except for “separation” [that’s the polite word for termination] from the company.

I can’t say that I am surprised, and I am almost a little grateful this is how things turned out because it was a very chaotic atmosphere to work in and I have been very nervous about the prospect of being thrust back into a group of people that I’d just had some of the most intense paranoid delusions of my life around. Needless to say, I felt a little self conscious, and I know many of their attitudes toward mental illness are based on ignorance alone, making it something of an uncomfortable potential reunion.

Don’t get me wrong -I am definitely sad to miss out on the great wages, medical benefits, a position where I could learn new things, working with a team of excellent people, but this job also had a lot of downfalls. That, and I’m simply not surprised at their final decision, I genuinely expected it after the way things have gone with my previous employers.

Admittedly, I’ve secretly been planning in my head for the occurrence of this situation, so I have a plan already, and some money saved to help limp me through to the next phase of… whatever. Life, I guess. Once the moves I’m making become a little less immediate and anxiety producing I plan on sharing a bit more with you. 

What I’m left with, and what I expected to be left with when I started this job, was to find out just how realistic (or unrealistic) full-time work is for me. And if the paranoid delusions have anything to say about it, the verdict has me leaning toward unrealistic. Unfortunate, but again, not a surprise, and in the last two years I’ve had plenty of time to accept it. 

That acceptance has left me walking away from this whole situation calmly, in good spirits, and even with a little bit of grace (if you can imagine that). As much as I fantasize sometimes about leaving a job and wreaking havoc upon my evil employers, this way (with understanding) has been a lot easier, a lot less stressful, and subsequently with a lot less erratic mood behaviors.

And any time there are less jagged-shaped mood swings I have to say, “yay”!

3 responses to “When Any News is Good News

  1. Wow. I’m going through something similar – I’m at the point you were half way through your story (on sick leave). I’m definitely afraid of leaving my job (what to do without medical benefits?!) and what that might mean to my career. I’m still not sure what is going to happen.
    I’m encouraged by your story – thanks!

    • I’m glad to hear you feel encouraged!

      There are also a lot of things out there that can help cover the cost of medical care, state programs, local charities, and, for example, I see a doctor at a hospital that is willing to cover the cost of my visits when I don’t have an income. Asking the financial department of your local hospital is a great way to find out about opportunities in your area!

      Of course, I do hope it doesn’t come to you having to leave your job, but sometimes (like in my case) it just can’t be helped. I would also suggest considering (if you find yourself attempting to go back to work but don’t feel particularly confident about it) trying to ask for some kind of accommodation to help you return. That was kind of the final blow in my case (they couldn’t make the accommodation), but there are plenty of companies out there who are willing to try to help however they can. If your employer can’t meet your accommodation and lets you go, you don’t have the same penalty as you might if you were to simply leave your job if you want to apply for unemployment. You can also bypass that penalty with a doctor’s note, too.

      Good luck! 😀

      • Thanks for the guidance. You are a big help. I come from a family where we learned that ‘you have to be dying to stay home from work’, and so I’m struggling to reconcile my sick leave with my work ethic (future blog post topic?).
        I know that I need to take the time off, and my anxiety is made better with your advice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s