At least once a day I feel overwhelming excitement, love and connection. At least once every other day I feel fear, anxiety, and sadness. And then every three days, I wonder if I can do this. But NEVER have I felt like… I can’t.
The overwhelming love and connection comes from the kids. Some can’t wait to say “what’s YOUR name”. Like Thinn, the little Asian 5th grader who left her seat, going against the flow of kids entering the bus, to sit next to me. We talked only 10 minutes or so but, when she left the bus, she stood on the sidewalk after the others had left; staring at me. I was so happy that I saw this and could wave goodbye as the bus pulled off. Her face said that, that was what she was hoping for, as she bounced up and down to wave back.
The fear and anxiety come from having a hard time walking up the walkway, fearing that people must see me struggling; holding on to the hand rail constantly, even when it’s wet, cold and icy. Losing my balance when I get to the end of the rail, grabbing for the only thing there now…snow. Not very supportive, that stuff. Could have been a disaster but, I caught myself just in the nick of time.
The sadness comes from not being able to do the simple things that I used to take for granted: walking up a hill, in a straight line, or climbing up steps. It’s like losing a friend. Not a BEST friend, but still a friend.
The self talk creeps in now, with the doubt, that voice that wants me to give up. The voice in my head that feels sorry for me, has little faith, and doesn’t think I can do it.
I speak to NO one at work. It’s not safe, so I hear no other voices to shut this one up. I have made a couple of friends at work, and after close examination, do feel I can talk to them…a little. I go to Doc with my negative self talk, and he says, “Sounds to me like you’re trying to talk yourself out of this job.” The voice in my head screams, “No Doc! No! That’s not it at all!” but, I realize he’s right. That’s the voice in my head… not the real me. The real me has a kind voice, is a cheerleader, and super supportive with 100% faith that this is the RIGHT thing to do. The real me focuses on all of the positive moments that support this idea, this kind voice; like Thinn, on the sidewalk. Every now and then, I talk to Doc for a reality check of what the other voice is trying to do, make me fail. Then, I turn it off.
Have you gotten back into the workforce after having to be out of it for a while? Were you successful? What roadblocks did you encounter? What did you find helpful in sticking it out?