We all know when the car is low on gas we need to stop and fill up the tank. What happens when you continue to drive a car low on gas or on empty? The car eventually breaks down.
You see where I am going with this? Human beings are not machines, and unlike a car we can run on fumes for a long time where not only do we break down, but we bun out and we have to go to the “repair shop” to fix all the issues we chose to ignore while we forged on.
It has been a very long time since I last posted a blog. I enjoy writing, but since April of 2021, I haven’t done much of anything which brings me joy.
It started in late April 2021 with a mad dash to find a house to live in which didn’t break our budget during the worst time ever to be a home buyer in Nova Scotia with an over inflated housing market. Due to Covid19 a mass exodus from Ontario and other provinces wanting to relocate to Nova Scotia has driven the price of homes up beyond their market value.
We were told to buy first before selling our condo or we would be homeless. We ended up carrying two mortgages for two months as despite our luxury condo having the best ocean skyline view of Halifax, the developer decided to start his new project of putting up another building right smack center in front of our view. So, our million dollar view was still beautiful once you looked past the gravel pit with a parked bulldozer. Eye-roll… Timing is everything. We moved into our new home in June, an hour outside of the city.
In mid-May I learnt my Dad had eye cancer and would require surgery. I already felt like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown in April; I was also working in Healthcare during the peak of COVID – Wave 3 which required everyone to be working additional hours when everyone was already Covid fatigued. My Dad having cancer brought me to my knees. My beloved Father who had already endured so much.
My Dad was 84 and we weren’t sure if he would survive the surgery, but the surgeon said if he didn’t have the surgery the cancer would overtake his whole face and he would die an excruciatingly painful death. I was devastated. It was a lose/lose situation with my Dad.
My Dad survived the surgery, but he was back in ICU a week later on life support. The same day, my Dad went into ICU, we received an offer on our condo, we took it, peace of mind is priceless.
It is now October. My Dad completed his last and 30th radiation treatment this past Friday, and he should be able to return home to my Mom in a week or so we hope. A lot of prayer went up for him. I believe in the power of prayer.
My manager had asked me if I needed time to sort things out, or needed time for my mental health, and at the time I said no, I wanted the distraction of work, and I really did. I was excited for the changes coming to my position. I was looking forward to the new professional relationships I would be developing and I couldn’t wait to make some positive tangible changes to help improve patient care. I thought I could manage it all just fine. I compared myself to others who had endured hardships and how they didn’t miss a beat with the work they produced. I thought, what was going on with me was just part of life, “I am good, I can handle it”…
In late August right before my first vacation since I moved, my Mom had a mini stroke right in front of me. I took her to the hospital and spent time with her during my vacation to make sure she was okay. I didn’t really get a chance to rest, and I felt guilty for feeling like I needed more time. Again, my supportive manager asked me if I needed more time. I said no, I was already worried about missing out on a week of work as lots was going on and continues to go on.
With Dad being in hospital since July 5th and my Mom being desperately lonely for him, when I haven’t been working, I have been giving my time to my Mom. I have barely given any time to my husband who has been my rock and greatest support.
I used to run 3x a week and walked every day before I moved. I have gone for one run since I moved and barely walk. I have put zero effort into my appearance and it shows. I pray with my Dad every night before bed and when I am not able to see my Mom, I am checking on her multiple times a day. I stopped writing. I stopped playing the piano and I have even stopped reading. Any tiny ounce of joy I used to indulge in was gone.
Recently at work, almost any task overwhelmed me. Any feedback outside of praise brought me to tears and self-defeat as I beat myself up for being what I deemed to be, a failure. I was starting to drop balls. Frustrated with not being able to manage it all yet not wanting to give up, it became obvious, I could no longer go on like I had. I needed a break. I needed a rest, and I needed help. I need help to sort myself out and to find additional supports for my parents.
I am still questioning myself and whether I am taking the easy way out by taking a pause. Yet, the person I was before Wave 3 was more confident, assertive and happy. I felt like I could take anything on. Now I am a shell of who I used to be.
I have been miserable for months. Waking up every morning asking God to give me the strength to survive, not thrive, but to survive. Riddled with anxiety, I pushed on despite feeling very broken. I was like someone in a grocery store who didn’t grab a basket and had my arms full with groceries spilling out of my arms, as I bend down to pick up one item two more items fell and so forth as I couldn’t manage it all.
I am taking the time to heal and recover from a brutal five months and this has nothing to do with my workplace. It has everything to do with me not knowing how badly I needed to tap out and now I am tapped out. I am taking the time to set my parents up with good supports so I don’t have to feel like it is all on me and Brian.
I never understood the importance of self-care until now. I didn’t know that when someone offers for you to take some time to sort yourself out that you should take it. Don’t worry about what others will think! I was too proud and felt like I would let my team down whom I know have all worked so hard over the past 18 months.
Today is the first day I am starting to see the damage I allowed to happen to myself and like the Radiohead song ‘Just’ – “You do it to yourself, you do, and that’s what really hurts. You do it to yourself, just you, you do and no one else, you do it to yourself”…
Let me be an example of what not to do. Take time for yourself every day. It is so important. I hope this lengthy read helps someone out there.
Peace & love – Rachel