Work. That thing that sometimes just has to give. Looking after a child and supporting someone else with depression takes time and energy. It is worth every evening of bath time, every moment of cuddling, every time of just giving space. If it has to, then work can give. The health and wellbeing of my family come first, as long as it doesn’t prevent me earning enough to keep our house and put food on the table.
I’m not the main breadwinner, and that puts so much pressure on you. Knowing that after a period off sick you have no choice but to go back is hard enough for me. I wish I could earn more, or that I could, say, work part time. I wish I could give you that more practical support. If it is causing me sleepless nights then what must it be doing to you?
I know you worry
Being off for a week puts me off going back sometimes; you lose the habit. You’ve been off work for so long, and your boss has been so supportive. I know you are worried about how HR are going to be about your plans. I know you worry about what your colleagues think. To be honest, we all worry about those two things if we have been ill, but the worry when it has been due to mental illness is greater. How will you make sure the scars stay hidden? How will you manage the energy to work a whole day and be around people?
I don’t know the answer. No person does. I know one thing though, your family love you so very much. I’ll pick up more at home for a while. I know things will be harder. You will be more exhausted. However, it’s that next step. The next step to fighting your own head. I’m hoping with my whole heart that nobody says something stupid. I’m hoping that you realise that there are people who don’t judge you. Just remember, if you need to step out for an hour and do something to help then that is positive. You haven’t failed at going back to work. You’ve acknowledged your limitations and admitted you need the space.
Let’s look forward to new beginnings, big steps and another stage down the path of recovery.
Don’t panic if it becomes too much. Take that step back and you’ll keep moving forward.