Ever since the day the rug was pulled out from under me, my life has become less about producing and more about clawing my way to the surface for air. Before that day, when I was checked into a psych facility, I didn’t think I put excessive value in my job or took much of my identity from it. Until it was gone. Then I felt useless. Two and a half years later I still feel a little like a societal deadweight, simply because I can’t work.
Sometimes reality and my perception are out of sync with one another. I freelance write and am learning to draw. The responses to my work are warm and encouraging. And yet. I feel like a hangnail, an appendix or that hangy-down thing at the back of our throats. Useless.
So. where is the line between celebrating gifts and talents and over valuing what one does? I dearly loved my job. I would still be doing it, to my detriment, if my mind hadn’t collapsed. I feel lost without the interactions, relationships and community that my work provided me. I speculate that anybody who had the same job for 20 years would feel the same. Or would they? Maybe there ARE people out there who aren’t what they do.
Now, I write from a one room home sanctuary, venturing out only when my anxiety fueled diarrhea is under control and I feel capable enough to adult in public. Regularly I meet with my psychiatrist and therapist. I am a composite of the things I love, the things I loathe, my dreams and my nightmares. I’m have C-PTSD, depression, anxiety, weight obsession, irritable bowels and flatulence. And here’s the thing. None of those attributes is the definition of my worth and certainly not of my soul. This sounds true to me.
I say this with more conviction than I feel but with more hope than I have ever had.