I wanted for respite to completely reset my energy and so enable me to continue to stay at my job full time. I also knew that this probably wouldn't happen, as I had nothing in place for that energy to stay with me upon return.
Unfortunately, I was right.
Magical thinking does not work.
There are more clinical definitions of magical thinking, but I define it as thinking that life will dramatically change for the better without doing anything different to cause that effect to actually happen.
It is true that life always changes.
It is also true that life seldom changes in the way we want without some action on our part. If my goal is to have more energy but I change nothing in the long term, then I will continue to charge towards burnout.
In fact, respite seemed to accelerate my burnout upon returning to work because respite had given me such clarity about how much I desperately needed to simplify my life and without making the necessary changes quickly, I began to experience alarming symptoms on a grand scale.
Panic attacks multiple times a day. Nightmares. Neediness. Forgetfulness. Depression. Doom and gloom thinking. Sensory overload. Isolating when not at work. Headaches, stomach aches. Emotional instability. Intrusive thoughts. Impulsivity.....
The symptoms were quickly becoming alarming, worrisome, and dangerous. I was able to hide them from peers but the people who know me best were seeing the signs of a potential downfall.
SO.... I am returning to part-time.
Miraculously, I should be able to stay at the thirty hours I was at before, even though I am still on disability, as long as I get the proper documentation to prove that I need extra money for my medications and other mental health services, which I do.
There was a time when I would have felt like a failure for not being to stay at full-time but not anymore. I am not called to be normal, average, or non-disabled - I am called to be myself. Myself, like all selves, has limits that need to be honored in order to be well. Apparently, that limit is to work around thirty hours a week and that is certainly more than the amount I used to be able to do.
I am not called to be more than I am.
I am enough.
(And so are you too)
(I painted this during my respite in Cleveland, GA. I promise I will post more about it soon!)