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Re: Thank you all for the advice fallsfall

Posted by TamaraJ on June 8, 2005, at 13:25:58

In reply to Re: Thank you all for the advice TamaraJ, posted by fallsfall on June 7, 2005, at 20:46:46

Hi,

Getting a life and finding some enthusiasm for it **IS** my work right now. Going to Chicago was part of my therapy. Recovering from depression is as valid as recovering from surgery.

-- That is what I need to keep in mind. Getting out and being active is kind of like physiotherapy for a person recovering from depression.

This actually might be a very good time to address the workaholic issue. When you do go back to work, will you go back full time, or will you start out part time? Actually, either way, I think that your coworkers wouldn't be too surprised if you said that you need to limit your work hours for your health. Tell them that you are a recovering workaholic - people find that phrase amusing, but it does tell them that you are making a conscious, positive effort to reduce your hours. And treat yourself like a recovering workaholic. Set the number of hours that you will work (like to actually 40 if you go back full time), and then stick to it. When people see that you are working less because you believe it is in the best interest of your health (rather than because you don't care or because you are lazy), they will be supportive. You will need to be sure that your boss understands what you are trying to do. And when there is too much work, you may need to ask for his help in prioritizing what you are doing, or in finding someone to help you. Particularly if you are reducing your hours "for your health", other people will pick up the slack.

-- The good thing is that I have had discussions with my boss and, although not happy about it at first, he has agreed that I can give up my management responsibilities. I have enjoyed being in management, but it can be draining at times. So, that is a positive step, and will make it much easier to stick with a 40 hr work week. And, to start with, I will likely "ease" my way back in by working either part-time or from home. Although I am quite good at prioritizing, I do need to learn to ask for help when I have more work than the average person could possibly handle. It's funny because since I have been sick, the work that I had been doing has been divided up among about 3 people and some has been shifted to the two other teams, and they still can't keep up or meet the deadlines. So, I know not only my boss, but my colleagues, recognize that I was carrying quite a heavy load. But, it was a load I *chose* to carry. I could have spoken up if I had felt that it was too much. The thing is, until I got worn down by the iron deficiency, the workload was never too much. Now, I need to do what you say and reduce my hours for my health.

I worked for 2 years in the middle of my disability, and I was pretty strict about my hours. I worked in the software industry where overtime is pretty much expected. But I found that people were really very supportive of my limited hours. I was kind of surprised.

-- I know my colleagues will be supportive. I am fortunate to work with a great group of people, who have already told me that they will be "watching out" for me and making sure that I don't fall back into my old habits, including not eating because I get so caught up in what I am doing. Apparently, I will have a couple of lunch buddies LOL who will force me to sit down, take a break for about 1/2 hour and eat. No more working while I either nibble or pick at sandwhich or salad or scarf down something unhealthy.

The hardest part is to feel, yourself, like it is the right thing to do. Remind yourself that you are getting paid for 40 hours - not 60. So if you do a solid 40 hours work you shouldn't feel guilty. I needed to shift my thinking a bit so that I would see getting ahead at work as only one of my goals. I needed to see having time to relax as a goal (and that felt really strange!!). I needed to see recreation as a goal. That balancing my life was important.

-- Yes, reminding myself that 40 hours a week is nothing to feel guilty about will be important. What I am hoping to do before I go back, is to have in place some outside activities/commitments (not just dinners or movies with friends, etc.) like yoga or a fitness class that will "force" me out of the office at a decent hour. It is true that balancing work life and personal life is important. It is equally true that it can be a real challenge for the workaholic or recovering workaholic. That will be an important shift in thinking to make. What is that expression about habits - 7 days to develop a new habit; 14 days to hone it and 28 days to master it. Something like that. I always forget what happens at 14 days - I want to go from developing to mastering LOL.

For me, it was a major shift in attitude. But I knew that if I went back to the way I used to work that I would be back on disability in no time. Therapy did help with that a lot. And when I am tempted to work too much, I have someone to talk to about it - someone who will recommend that I do the healthy thing.

-- I think I will look into therapy. I have been working on my own with the David Burns' "Feeling Good Handbook", but I think actually talking to someone may be even more useful.

When do you expect to go back?

-- I had hoped to go back at the end of June, but I am not so sure now. I have really been in denial for the past number of months with respect to the depth of my depression. Anyway, my boss had suggested that I start working on special projects from home, as a way to start integrating myself back into things. Then, I would work a couple of days from home and some in the office, or 1/2 days in the office and 1/2 days at home. There is also the possibility that I will go on language training for a couple of months in order to get my advanced levels. My boss is being very accommodating and supportive.

Thanks again, fallsfall, for all of your advice. It is greatly appreciated.

Take good care,

Tamara


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poster:TamaraJ thread:507712
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/babble/psycho/20050606/msgs/509650.html