Change is in the air. Fall colours are out in full swing – beautiful, even though I have not had a moment to fully enjoy them. Change is also very apparent in me…

The past two months have been crazy-busy for me as I took on yet another challenge and new assignment. This particular assignment at work is close to my heart – but I have learned that the pace necessary to maintain the extremely high workload may be more than I can handle, given my health. I adore the job (emphasizing consultation), and love the subject matter (weather) – but working days, eves, and weekends with little to no rest is simply not something I can swing as a long-term plan.

This is becoming more and more apparent to me as I recognize the debilitating effects fatigue has on me, and my cognitive disability becomes more and more of an issue. As my fatigue increases, my cognitive ability decreases. I feel like I have swiss cheese for brains, as a rule, now. I know the information is still all in there – I just can’t always access it when I need it, nor how I need it, at times. It is very frustrating – and makes you question your own intelligence!

It doesn’t help when doctors/friends/family say things like “You have a long way to go down to reach the average level before we become concerned.” OK – yes, I function at a very high intellectual level. But the basic fact is that everyone has their own “average” or “norm”…and if you don’t live up to your own perceived level, nothing else matters to you at the time. Having to re-define your own levels is damned hard – no matter who you are. Frankly, I am finding it very emotionally taxing – to the point of being heart-breaking. I am having to find a way to re-map how I go about living and working – how I think, plan, prepare, organize. I have been doing this continually for a while now. But I am now facing the fact that I have to start looking to have this accommodated in some way at work. The problem is – how?

Working as I have been, trying to live up to work standards I had set for myself year ago, the only time I have had rest is when my body literally gave out, and my cognitive capacity reached scary “brain fog” confusion levels, forcing me to stop. This is obviously not conducive to a work-life balance at all. In fact, I have had no “life” part – no time or energy to play with my family, no time or energy to devote to my favorite hobbies (including my devotion to MS Means or the MS Society). Frankly, I miss my kids, I miss my creative outlets – and I am sick of feeling so sick and tired. And the more sick and tired I feel, the more stressed I feel, so the worse my cognitive dysfunction becomes, and so the more stressed I get…and so on…

You’d think I would know that working the hours/level I have been is not good for my health. (I can hear some of you tsk, tsk-ing as you read this. 😉 Yeah – I do know. What amazes me is how easy it is to forget, and get caught up in work (especially when you love it), and when you are trying to find a new “place” in the work world. You want to “prove” to yourself as well as your colleagues/managers that you are still a very valuable member f the team. You are – but only if you take care of yourself first in order to be able to contribute and be that valuable member of the team. Somehow, within the past year of trying out new assignments and positions as I seek my “place” in the work world, I lost sight of that very important fact.

Time for me to get back on the road to better work-life-health balance…for my sake and for my family’s sake. (My sister always tells me it takes more than one brick to hit me upside the head before I really “get it”. She is so very right! But, don’t tell her I said that! 😉

Carolyne

www.msmeans.ca

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