Thinking about the whole not working thing... again

I find it weird, in this economic climate, that people would find it odd that I am concerned about work stability. I get that I don't have it now, but I had valid reasons for trying to maintain it. The thing is, upon reflection, and then some more reflection, I realize how futile it all was. Yes, financial stability makes me feel so much better. No one likes to worry about bills. And I sure don't like the decrease in my funds with this short term leave, or the fact I have to wait and depend on doctors form filling skills to know if I will continue to have funds at all. And you never know what is going to happen in life, any change of circumstances can throw you throw a loop, and it is a good thing to know you have a career that is stable. So of course, no matter how poor our health we try to hold onto that, knowing because of our poor health we are at a higher risk of being disposed of and laid off.

So the thing that is constant is the chronic illness and chronic pain. That gets worse or better, but never goes away. So yes, when I was unable to go into work I felt horrible about it. And yes, when I missed more than my share I felt like I was failing my boss, my co-workers, myself and my family... and that was in fact confirmed by my employer, as she said the said thing, verifying all that guilt I had. We all have to deal with that guilt that we cannot be all that we think or believe we should be. Not unrealistic desires in themselves... simply unrealistic in our current state of health. We do have to accept our limitations and let go of that guilt, but it sure ain't easy.

So beyond the guilt and the desire to maintain financial stability, I got to thinking about the price of success. The days I was unable to go into work were more than any other employee, but given the amount of migraines, acute, status migraines, it is freakin amazing. Big deal for me, not so impressive to those outside of my brain. Let's say I did not miss any days at all and was a model employee that coughed on people and threw up on shoes once in awhile. That would be great for everyone outside of my brain. I would have financial stability. I would not have to deal with pesky guilt issues. Sounds like a good idea... simply go into work no matter what. Which, hey, could be really fun with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. Work would literally be like a funhouse, where I bounce off the walls, think I can touch the ceiling, ask people if they also see that plant shifting and growing and shrinking. Joyness for everyone. Who needs shrooms? Point is, those days I miss are the days when I am frantic from the pain, desperate from the pain... or those days when I simply could not move because of the pain. Let's say for the sake of argument that I suddenly develop an even more impressive pain tolerance, or that is, the ability to mask my pain from others. Then it comes to is it worth it? All those pills to take for preventatives, that do not work so well, and all those things to take when the migraine hits, that also do not work so well, when the triggers are all around you while you are working. All the migraines that cannot be treated, all the ones unsuccessfully treated. Honestly, succeeding is its own kind of hell, but a hell that is way more internal (since no one notices so much when you manage to be present and in pain) and way more horrific, because you know the battle will just continue the next day. So even winning you are losing. Success in work also means no other aspects of your lifestyle have a chance of prospering, because there is simply no energy left for anything nonessential. So when I thought about it failing, and having to go on leave, I feel better (emotionally, mentally, physically... but not financially) and succeeding, is a horrific hellish non-ending battle that cannot be survived for long. Like I always thought... if I just keep going to work, keep pushing through, it will be all right because soon something will come along to make it so this pain is not so constant... only something never did. We are designed for long term acute pain survival without mental and emotional distress. Unless we are robots. Damn those lucky robots without a nervous system. I am a little afraid to return to work, okay a lot afraid, because I know what happens. I already know the price of success and it is too high a price to pay. Impossible to maintain.

So all that guilt and self-loathing for those days I failed to beat, or fight the pain, were absurd. Failing was what let me endure so long. Failing gave me that brief moments of peace to suffer without an audience, suffer without upholding a facade, suffer without having to do a damn thing. Yet I felt so bad about it and it was the succeeding that was slowly killing me. In fact, when it came to knowing if I missed one more day I would be fired, laid off or demoted, that I promised to come in every single day no matter what until my next neuro appointment... well that appointment was bumped, and I got a brutal status migraine, and I could not escape the fact that I could not succeed and tried to just put an end to it all. So without the possibility of failing once in a while, I could not endure. Silly to worry about failing to win the battle against pain, when succeeding is actually so much harder, so much worse, so much more damaging and just plain horrific.

What does not kill you does not make you stronger. Quite the opposite. I felt strong to go to work every day. I felt useful and productive, despite my health, ignoring my disability. Foolish to ignore the price of pain. It was not about the days I could not come to work, not about the sick days or the leaves of absence… to employers it is, to me it was… but those are merely a reflection of the overall illness and battle. They are necessary. Not to be avoided. Not unless you want to be cornered, trapped and desperate. Not about that at all. It is about the price of success. It is about the toll of chronic pain in daily life. I am simply in too much pain to maintain a full time job. Period. It becomes obvious when I am not working, because I am still in pain (without all the nasty aggravators, stressors and triggers) but still a wackload of pain. Emotionally though the pain is more bearable when I know I do not Need to do anything when I am suffering. Emotionally stability is necessary to surviving chronic pain. It should never be overlooked. Working may provide financial stability, but constantly needing to endure that pain kills.
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