Fridays {my story}

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Have we talked about this before? I can't remember. But today, and yesterday, and the day before that are why I don't work on Fridays.

{Apparently I'm feeling chatty, and I have no pictures to offer. Read if you want a story. Skip if you don't!}

Back in September of 2009, I posted that I was considering antidepressants. I wrote of feeling overwhelmed, of not having enough time in the day, of being sad and wishing things could be different. Lots of friends encouraged me not to go that route -- and I truly didn't want to -- but I knew I was going to have to figure out another way to give myself more time.

Back, then I was working 80 hours every two weeks -- 44 one week and 36 the next. I worked (and still do work) 10 hour days on Tuesdays & Thursdays to give our office extended hours, so I got every other Friday off to balance out my hours. The weeks in which I didn't work Fridays were indescribably better than the weeks I did.

I had a conversation with my boss. I said that I would take the pay cut to not work Fridays ever. I cried, even though I didn't want to. I said I didn't know what else to do. He was very kind. Much kinder than he needed to be. And now, I don't work Fridays. Ever. Unless....

Unless my coworker will be gone. She has a normal M-F 8-4 schedule. But when something comes up, I automatically become the one who covers the office. Vice versa for her when I'm gone (it's just the two of us). And she covers for me so much (allowing me semi-frequent trips home, which is wonderful) that I would never dream of saying no. Never ever. I guess I could close the office, but I really hate doing that. I remember what it was like before I worked here and how frustrated I was that the office never seemed to be open when it was supposed to be. I don't want residents to feel the way I did. And extra money is always good, right? So I work.

Last month, my coworker took a week off to be with her family and deal with her mom's estate. I worked all week alone, including Friday. Not really a big deal. This is what happens when people go on vacation.

Then she got pneumonia (it seems to really be going around!). And she was out for another week. Working alone, working on Friday. Again. I was start to wear down, but I kept telling myself not to be a baby. When I'd think about how tired I felt, I'd try to to focus my attention on feeling bad for her. I knew she'd rather be at work than at home feeling as bad as she did. As they say in the South, bless her heart.

Then she came back for a week and a half... and left for vacation. A trip to Daytona with friends; it had been on the calendar for a while. Working alone for only half a week, but working on Friday again.

And my body has shut down.

Saturday was ok, but Sunday I couldn't do anything. I laid on the couch all day long. It was a miracle that I showered and folded some laundry. I had things I wanted to do (like go to TJ Maxx -- I love that place -- and go to Murphy's to check out cameras) and several things I needed to do (clean, grocery shop, etc.), and I just did N O T H I N G all day. I think that made me feel worse, but I couldn't muster up the energy to do anything about it.

Yesterday I went to the gym in the morning and poor Meg had to see me in my shut down/depressed/sad state for the first time. Poor her. She thought I was mad at her, but I wasn't. I plodded through my day, exerting the minimum amount of energy possible, and went to bed at 8 p.m. last night. I slept for eleven hours. Meg told me to skip my workout this morning, for which I'm grateful. I honestly don't know that I could've put forth the energy to go fast enough to make the elliptical stay on. Today I still feel like I'm in a daze. We have Community Group tonight, and since it's at my house, I can't skip (although I kind of feel like asking our neighbors if I can lay on their couch instead).

I will be fine. Truly, I will. My coworker will be back tomorrow, and, Lord willing, everything should go back to normal. I'm not sure how long my body is going to take to recover, but I'm hoping by next week I'll be as good as new.

It's humbling, really. Kind of embarrassing. So many people do so much more than I do. I don't understand why I'm like this. And it doesn't make sense, because in college, I did SO much more than I'm able to do now. It doesn't take very much for me to feel overwhelmed these days. It's crazy, seriously crazy, that my body has this intense of a physical reaction if I don't get the rest I need. My coworker thinks I'm nuts, I'm sure, for taking Fridays off. I worry that people don't believe me, that they think I'm lazy or just want an extra day off. But like Wes said last night, I know where my limits are, and that's good. And honestly, when it comes down to it, people can think whatever they want -- I just don't want to feel this way.

So that's the scoop. I'll be fine. But today, I'm tired.


Amy said...

Yes, it's rough if you don't have a "diagnosis" that you can point to and say, "I'm dealing with this at the moment." If you know your limits and stick to them, that's a very good thing.

Emma said...

Even when you do have a diagnosis, it is still REALLY REALLY hard to accept your limits. There is a huge difference between knowing what is good for you, and actually doing what is good for you. It's hard! I never want to say to people that I can't help them out, or that I have to cancel plans, but I inevitably end up paying for it when I don't listen to my body.

A woman who has the same illness I have wrote this great article about it, and I think it could apply to even people who don't have any chronic illness.

That being said, I would encourage you (if you haven't already) to talk to your doctor about it. Not because I think you need antidepressants, but because there are LOTS of physical reasons you could be dragging, or need more rest than most people. I don't mean to imply there's anything wrong with needing to take Fridays off - I think most of us work WAY too hard for too many hours - I just think it's worth exploring if there are ways that you could feel better.

KRISTIN said...

It sounds as though depression may be interfering with your quality of life. I would also encourage you to talk to your doctor and also ask for a recommendation for a good psychiatrist. There is NOTHING, NOTHING wrong with taking antidepressants if they are needed, and they can be extremely helpful! (Although there seems to be so much stigma regarding mood stabilizing drugs for some reason.) Remember, depression isn't always situational. It oftentimes results from chemicals within the brain not performing as they should.

KRISTIN said...

P.S. When was the last time you had a full blood-test workup from your M.D.? This may highlight any possible imbalances resulting in your exhaustion levels.

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