Thursday, April 25, 2013

To whom it may concern:

Dear [Supervisor]:
  If your only "complaint" about me,  is that you want me to work when you call (on any given day no matter what I have on my schedule) then I suppose I will graciously be thankful for that.  However, I feel a little misunderstood. Clearly, you don't "get it", but I don't really expect you to. You have never walked in my shoes and I have never walked in yours.  I can only explain my own reasons for not being able to work any time you want me! First, I am exhausted from the time I get up in the morning, every morning without relief.  I still have to think about EVERY SINGLE move or step I make.  Having a regular schedule or routine makes my day much more tolerable. I am happy to fill in when I can tolerate it or have an open spot in my planner. Sure I used to say "yes" to every single request for awhile, but what you didn't know was the number of appointments I had to cancel or reschedule to help you out( I still have some sort of doctor follow up appointment nearly every day because what most people don't think about is your brain being the control center for the entire body! When it gets hurt, other parts are also effected. I see lots of specialists as a result!) What you didn't see was all the anxiety and confusion this rescheduling created for me and for my poor husband, left to "pick up the pieces" after I fell apart.  I have a hard time even spatially being able to figure out how to read a schedule and how much time something will realistically take. Sure, I lived in denial for many years, ashamed that this is what life had come to.  You also didn't know that I literally didn't understand that I could say, "no, I'm sorry, I can't come in today." I have spent many years trying to relearn these simple social interactions again! I also never told you about the migraines that have returned since working in your department.  There was a department meeting that I missed for being in the ER to have a stroke evaluation, yes stroke! Why? Because, I did too much and my body was so exhausted it was, quite literally, making me stop!! Praise the Lord it was NOT a stroke!! I try not to let you in on the anxiety and fear I struggle with because of this.  I have also tried to spare you from knowing that when I do too much I sometimes have a physical reaction to my exhaustion: throwing up.  Maybe, you agree with my rehabilitation doctor who wanted me to "just stay at home, without the stress of a job". Maybe that would have been better for me?? But, I stubbornly wanted to hold a job, to feel like a productive part of society again, to regain a part of me I was convinced I lost along the way . I still have a lot of healing to do and I always will. The brain doesn't heal exactly like a broken bone. Instead, doctors have been working with me for years to try to help me create more healthy boundaries for my own daily survival.  So, while I want to just say to you, "I'm sorry I have brain damage, I'm sorry I have different limits than a 'normal', well educated, 33 year old. I'm sorry I am no longer willing to constantly "crash" after being at a busy desk, answering questions for hours without even taking a break, like I really should/need, to ensure the desk runs as smoothly as possible. I'm sorry I look and can even act normal most days." But,  I'm not sorry any more.  I have nothing to be sorry for.  I am not a victim, I'm one of the few aneurysm survivors. This is just how my life is now.  There is nothing that can reverse the damage that was done to my brain.  I'm just trying to live with it the best way possible and it means setting different boundaries in order to survive and live a full life, in a new way.  Please know that I love my job and I will continue to show up on time with a smile on my exhausted face.  What you see when I walk through the door in the morning is a smile, one I have chosen to put on my face.  Behind that smile, is a brain already flooded by the millions of steps it had to think about to even get there.  It is a brain already flooded by the multitude of decisions it had to make while driving there. I'm not asking you to understand it, you simply can't if you haven't lived it, I just want you to know.  Please don't pressure me into doing more than I am able without suffering for it even several days later. Please don't give me attitude (yes, I can tell it annoys you) if I say "no" or have to get back to you about something! I simply cannot process information at the same rate I used to.  I will help you fill in your schedule every single time I can. I won't even complain about all my struggles when I am there.  I would love to be able to just fill in ALL the time for days or nights, back to back.  If I could, I certainly would!!! But, I simply need time to recover between!!! For now, I will use all my remaining energy to 'plow through'  my struggles, put a smile on my face, and offer the very best customer service I can for the library! Thank you for understanding and giving me four hours a week to be part of the library staff, even with my new limits!

 Sincerely, A Blessed Girl

Well, unless you are a trained professional or know me well!!!


Shelby 2.0 said...

wow. YAY for you, that must have felt very empowering, beautifully written. I am a survivor also,and I dont have a supervisor anymore. but this letter could also be written Dear Mother, or Dear Sister. would you mind if I put a link to this blog on my FB page, or copied it to share with others?

Blessed Girl said...

Sure, Share if you like!! Thanks for reading!

Shelby 2.0 said...

Thank you, I definately like, hated that you had to go through it though.