As of last Monday, I am taking a two-week leave of absence from my job. This leave is a result of the building stress I have been experiencing which has resulted in physical symptoms including loss of visual acuity, elevated blood pressure and greater-than-normal sleep disturbances. This stress is not entirely work-related, but the part that is, SHOULD be the part I have some control over. I have reported to my supervisor on multiple occasions over the last month that I’m not feeling great about the quality of my work, my ability to focus or my ability to meet established deadlines. I offered ideas of what I might be able to do differently to continue to assist my department with our overall goals and I was met with half-hearted words that were meant to be encouraging. I do not blame my supervisor for not immediately jumping to my rescue, but perhaps, if he took my long history with the company into account and my consistent reticence to ask for help (I DO NOT like being thought of as anything less than a workhorse), he might have understood that this wasn’t a joke. I’m not sure he was trying to make it into one, but I question the good faith of some of his responses in our one-on-one conversations.
It has gotten so bad not only because I was busy with work tasks, but that just sitting in front of the computer all day is exhausting. I am unable to focus with my brain or my eyes, my vision is literally impaired, even more than usual. I’m not sure if these are now permanent additional disabling conditions or if things will come back into focus after a couple weeks resetting. The situation is untenable.
I have also casually wondered to myself whether this may be partially the result of perimenopause, which is a condition that affects middle-aged women years before they actually lose reproductive capacity. I’m definitely not getting any younger. And I expect I will have quite the fight on my hands should I need additional support from my employer in this regard. This is yet another time in women’s lives when they drop out of the workforce en masse, the other being while having and raising their children.
At any rate, this is all probably an overshare, but it is where I am now. Something needs to change, including my relationship with my employer. I have made no solid decisions, but I am using my time off to clear my head and to come up with a proposal for what I am able to offer sustainably going forward. It will not be what I have been able to contribute in the past, at least not without some adjustments/concessions from my employer.
In the meantime, I am spending the weekend with a small chosen group of family and friends in the woods on a lake, which I anticipate being quite restorative. Of course I should not be setting expectations, but at least our food will be amazing. We have pulled pork, chili, burritos, pizza, sausage/sauerkraut, and wine/bread/cheese snacks on the menu. Plus, any trout that my husband catches in the lake. We will definitely not starve.
I may even share pics on my return. Until then, be well, dear readers.