I feel like I am waiting for so many things… right now I am waiting for my medication to kick in so I won’t be in so much (neuropathic) pain. I am waiting to see the counselor, I am waiting for (and in some cases dreading) doctor appointments. I am waiting for the weekend to be over and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting to heal, I am waiting to go back to work. I am waiting for my friends to have time for me.
I have so much going on, and yet at the same time, I have nothing going on. I am on short term disability (STD) until my arms heal. I did not choose this – management chose this. One arm was already injured then I hurt my other arm at work. So they decided I was too fragile to work at all because I can’t work in the lab. (Of course there is more than enough desk work to keep me occupied for the next year but they are unwilling to accept that – unwilling to make and support accommodations for temporary work restrictions. Mind you, there are other groups where the PhDs never work in the lab, but that’s another story.) So now I am waiting for workers comp so the doctors/therapists can work on my new injury. (Worker’s comp is another nightmare to be addressed at another time.)
I am waiting to get fired. Why would I get fired? Because the new management can not see my value. I work with a manipulative narcissist who has most people fooled – and he has been trying to convince everyone of my incompetence. Those who he does not have fooled, for the most part, have befriended me – or at least feel sorry for me. I have proof of this individual’s duplicity: I’m keeping records, saving emails, collecting evidence. You could say that I am being paranoid, that my illness is taking over, but there are others (outside my situation) who see it too. Those who recommended that I keep records in the first place. Even our new supervisor is starting to see through my co-worker’s games.
Why do I feel the need to have outsiders justify my concerns? Because otherwise I might think they are all in my head. It’s too easy to dismiss my own thoughts and feelings as related to my illness. Or to dismiss them based on a lack of self confidence. It’s bad enough that others are so willing to dismiss me.
Why do I have to constantly prove everything? I feel like I have to prove that I am good at my job, prove that I can work with others (even the crazy people), prove that I am sick, prove that I am sane, prove that I am worthy. And maybe it’s the last one that summarizes all of the others. I have to prove my worth. Prove my value. Justify my existence.
Existence is not such a simple thing. My father once told me that he caught my mother trying to abort me. When I confronted my mother, she said, “well, I wanted you after I had you.” I was in a car accident once that nearly killed me. It should have killed me. Odds were well against my survival. And yet I did survive. Was my survival a mistake? Was the failed abortion a mistake? Am I a mistake?
Are all of these rambling thoughts and feelings solely a product of my illness? Or are they just accentuated by my illness? Sometimes I just want to pull out my hair from frustration and desperation. These things spin around in my head and attack me – torture me – questioning my worth, my abilities, my sanity. Is the world attacking me or is it only me? Or is it both?
Sometimes I think the only ones who believe in me are my husband and my dog. It sure as hell isn’t me most of the time. And I know it isn’t the rest of the world. They are busy asking me to prove myself.
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