Heading Back to Work Very Cautiously

Honestly, I’m not sure I wrote about trying to make the decision about whether to continue working or not this past spring.  I am a high school teacher in my 17th year now. This past March, my health and mental health were at the breaking point, and I had to go on a medical leave. That alone was tough. I was out lof work 3 weeks (one week was Spring Break). It was much needed time off to rest and get physically to a less fatigued state, and I was able to make it through the rest of the school year when I returned from leave. 

But taking a medical leave definitely made my husband and I have some serious and challenging conversations about whether I should continue to work or not. We’ve actually been talking about it for a couple of years now. But finances weren’t where we wanted them, savings wasn’t enough, we have a daughter in college….blah, blah. You know it all. Yet, in March, I was so bad, everything was so bad, that those things just weren’t that important anymore. If I had to stop working, we would deal with it. 

And yet. After some discussions with my husband, my family, and co-workers, I have decided to return for this school year. I’m worried though. And I may be putting myself into an awkward position if I have to leave in the middle of the semester or at semester time. I agonize over leaving my students like that, over possibly leaving my colleagues like that – basically in a lurch. But, work told me that I need to do what I can and what I want and if it comes down to a decision such as leaving then I will have to do it, and it will work out.  Bottomline is they would rather have me there for as long as possible then have me resign prematurely. This in itself is a relief of sorts. I know I’m replaceable; it isn’t that. I just don’t want to cause issues for others. Teaching is hard enough when everything is going smoothly!

Once I made the decision to go back, I was excited. Then, I transitioned to feeling freaked out. This summer, my health has improved. I don’t know if it is the new antibiotics I am on or my additional thyroid meds or a combo but it has been a real JOY! Yes, of course, I am off for the summer and so I can rest, etc. when I want, but I’ve been doing this for the past 4 summers and I can tell you for certain, this summer has been different. I’ve had days and weeks of energy levels I haven’t experienced in YEARS. YEARS. 

With this new found improvement in health, I am even more anxious now to return to work. Weird, right? I’m afraid I will lose this feeling, this energy. I’m fearful I will end up feeling so overwhelmed and fatigued that I can’t do anything outside of working (and even that became impossible in March). I don’t want this little victory for my quality of life to go away or be whittled away somehow.

I don’t know how I am going to handle the 8-9 hour days. Many of my physical symptoms have improved but what if I go into a flare? WHAT IF? I know I am making myself silly by worrying about thinsg I have absolutely no control over. I logically know this. I keep telling myself that I just have to take it literally day by day. Step by step. We’ll have to see how it goes. We have a Plan B…kinda.

Source: pixabay.com

Teachers start back tomorrow. We’ll have a few weeks of professional development and then students are back August 28th. I’ve only ben anxious since Wednesday. Off and On….all of today. The alarm is set, I have my bag packed, there’s not much else I can do, right?

I want to be excited, and I am. I’m beginning my 17th year of teaching, my Awesome department chair gave me the classes I want, the schedule that best suits my health needs, the team I want to work with. There is absolutely nothing to not be grateful afor and about! My biggest WISH is that I am able to complete this school year in a healthy state.

Thanks for reading and for listening, dear peoples. Peace – Belle

20 Comments on “Heading Back to Work Very Cautiously

  1. Best of luck with your choice. I went through a similar decision making. Twice, actually. The first was a rousing success. Just being back at work gave me new found energy, and working in health care, a greater empathy for those I was there doing the work for. The second was not so successful but it involved surgeries and a long rehab and that doesn’t mean anybody else can’t go back over and over. Good luck again. Actually, it’s not luck. Good happenings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment. It makes me feel like I’m not alone in this! I’m sorry your 2nd go around was so tough. I’ve been struggling with whether to work or not for several years now. It scares me to not work and scares me to work. It’s hard to know what the best choice is in regards to health especially when symptoms, especially severe fatigue, fluctuates. I guess I’ll just know if/when I need to call it quits! Have a good day! 💚💚💚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have similar fears, each time I experience an improvement in health I begin to worry about whether or not it will last, how I will deal with raised expectations from myself or others if I’m feeling better, or a million other things. I have been “thinking” about returning to work for about a year now. I haven’t gotten very far, in part because of the fear of all the same things you spoke about. It sounds like you are a great teacher and your students will be lucky to have you. I’m glad to hear of your improvements!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment. I’m so glad I’m not alone feeling this way. It really is hard! I want to enjoy feeling better, but not too much in case it gets dashed. I’m trying to mentally be ok in case I crash. You totally get it. I hope you can get back to work again. I also hope you are making progress in your recovery journey. Thanks again for your kind and supportive words!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a lovely vote of confidence from your boss and coworkers. It’s obvious that your work is valued. Focus on that, and as you said – take it day by day. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel like many of my colleagues understand. They are really sweet and kind to me. I’m very lucky as I know many with chronic illness do not have that kind of support. Thank you for reading and commenting! Hearing from you boosts my confidence! 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Take solace in the many blessings that surround you.
    Find peace one day at a time…
    Prayers & Good Wishes for a spectacular 17th year!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad to hear your are feeling better! Can’t worry about what if’s….sounds like you have a good support team in place and if you can’t ya can’t – gotta take care of you first and foremost! Will keep ya in my thoughts and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing!!… you will do fine as you are a courageous young lady who has a lot of support with family and friends!.. remember; “Victory is not always winning the battle, but rising every time you fall” (Napoleon Bonaparte).. 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May your troubles be less
    Your blessings be more
    And nothing but happiness
    Come through your door
    (Irish Saying)


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