Thursday, May 9, 2013

When your path shifts and the goal posts change

I made mention earlier this week about being off work on sick leave.  The story behind that is that I am experiencing lots of stress from different aspects of my life at the moment.  Some areas are completely within my control and others are not.  I am not the sort of person who openly discusses with friends or even family what it is that is getting me down or making me feel overwhelmed.  In my scrambled thought process it is a way of admitting a weakness.  Don't get me wrong I don't think people showing weakness is a bad thing, I love to help others but I can't admit my own weaknesses to myself or anyone else.  This is part of what prompted me to return to the blogosphere as it previously gave me an outlet for these thoughts and allowed me to work through things. 

On Monday I was ordered to rest, to take care of myself and to relax.  I had broken out in hives and Monday was the 9th day in a row of being completely covered in them.  My largest measured 18cm x 6cm, ouch.  This year I have been going at what feels like 100mph every day and suddenly the word relax was being thrown at me.  First thought was one of panic, as if I could slow down, didn't the doctor realise how much I had to do.  I was already feeling overwhelmed by life's tasks and now she wanted me to pause for a week.  That really wasn't going to work for me, but i smiled politely, took the sick certificate and came home and sulked! Yup, you read it, I sulked.  This was me, a person who had just finished working 4 nights shifts, had 1 night off, worked another 4 night shifts, had 1.5 days off and then returned to day shift.  In the past 3 weeks I hadn't had more than 1 day off in a row, I felt overwhelming exhaustion with the inability to rest deeply at night due to dreams about some of my stressors.

The start of the dreaded hive outbreak.

When Tomcat arrived home on Monday night he took one look at me and asked me to reduce my hours at work for my own health's sake.  You see I have a complicated medical history and in truth I am extremely lucky to be alive.  I will share more on that another time.  In recent weeks and months I had toyed with the idea of cutting back at work but felt a sense of guilt at not being able to work full time.  This time however I knew Tomcat was being 100% serious and I knew I had to listen.  Earlier in the day a close friend (the ever talented and beautiful MissD) emailed me something that was like a thunderbolt and stopped in my tracks, " I'm so praying for you - I don't believe you should just be managing like this but you should be flourishing."  In that moment all the thoughts about needing to slow down, needing to adjust my path and goals made sense.  I had dismissed them and thought, no not yet.  In that moment I knew God was speaking to me through MissD, I felt a sudden peace with the decision to reduce my hours, and the sense of guilt at what I perceived as not being able to cope just drifted away.  On Monday night I had my first restful sleep in many weeks. 

Now I find myself in uncharted territory.  Until now my grand plan had been to work hard and long hours for as long as I was able to.  Even writing that statement now makes me laugh, money from long hours was not even coming close to making me happy, so that was a very very silly goal.  Now the path has shifted and I am going to have more time on my hands.  I need to set new goals as I don't want to waste my new found free time.  I still want to serve others but I am unsure in what sense or area.  One thing I do know is that I have to help myself first.  I need to teach myself the art of relaxation and yesterday I discovered a new way of doing so (more on that later in the week).  I need to optimise my health and only then will I be in a position to be of use to others.

Have you been dismissing thoughts about needing to change an aspect of your life?

What are your goals at the moment?

What do you do to relax and rejuvenate?

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