Can’t Stop Thinking About Work

I don’t know why, but work has been on my mind a lot lately. I keep going over the same stuff in my head again and again, and the nightmares have made a bit of a comeback.

J asked me why I was thinking about it. That’s a good question. I know I’m not ready to go back to work, so why do I keep thinking about it?

Part of it is that I used to enjoy my job. I was good at it and it was a good fit for me. I worked with and for good people who I liked and respected, and pretty much everyone got along. Even now, I’m still sad that work pushed me into a place where, after four years of excessive stress, I finally broke down and lost so much.

Part of it is that being on disability is nothing like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – in fact, it’s a lot of work. I have to force myself to get out of bed, force myself to eat breakfast, force myself to take my pills, force myself to shower, force myself to do my exercises, force myself to keep in touch with people, force myself to stay busy so my thoughts don’t take dark turns… It’s not “free time” at all.

Part of it is that I miss my friends. We had a pretty decent group of people working and we all got along pretty well. Most of them don’t even know what happened to me – the last thing I said at work was, “My stomach hurts. I’m going home.” I’ve managed to keep in touch with a couple of them but I don’t see them very often and I worry that we’ll drift apart.

Part of it is that I like being productive. Successfully finishing tasks and helping people out made me happy. So did working as part of a team to track down and fix problems. There were always new problems to tackle and I enjoyed being involved.

Part of it is that I’m scared that somehow my disability insurance will be cancelled. Dr W has assured me that won’t happen, but it’s still something that the irrational part of my brain just won’t let go.

Part of it is that I’m scared that I’ll have to go right back into my old job, with the same problems and stresses that led to my hospitalization in the first place. This is something that both J and Dr W have said I don’t need to worry about but again, I just can’t stop thinking about it.

Part of it is that I feel like I’ve disappointed everyone. J, my family, my friends, people from work… everyone.

Part of it is that I know I can’t do the same job that I did before, but I don’t know what else I CAN do. Assuming I can concentrate and remember enough to be retrained, what on Earth can I be retrained to do?

Part of it is that I’m worried that Dr W or Dr C/Dr P will think I’m faking my condition and “fire” me as a patient. I don’t know what I’d do without their support and skills.

Part of it is that I have no idea how to tell when I’m ready to go back to work. When the nightmares stop, I don’t have a panic attack, and I easily get out of bed for X number of days? When Dr W says so? When the thought of going somewhere outside doesn’t make my stomach cramp up?

Part of it is that there is such a difference between my good and bad days that I worry that when I go back I’ll hit a down, be unable to work, and cause hardships for my co-workers – not to mention the embarrassment.

Part of it is that I’m worried I’ll never be more than a shell of what I used to be. I was GOOD at my job, dammit.

Part of it is that I’m scared that word will get out about what happened to me and anyone I work with will think I’m “Crazy Mark” and everyone will be nervous to eat lunch around me or work directly with me.

Part of it is that I really wish I could turn back the clock or go back in time and tell myself six years ago what was going to happen. Dwelling on things doesn’t make anything better, but I can’t help it.

Part of it is that I’m scared I won’t be able to work in a meaningful way again.

Part of it is this dark, amorphous cloud of dread, anxiety, and sadness that hovers in my periphery, telling me there’s no point in trying because I won’t be able to do anything.

That’s what I can think of right now… I’ll try to listen more closely to my thoughts and if there’s more, I’ll update this list.

Stay safe!

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