Friday, April 16, 2010

Learning to Put Myself First

I had my bi-monthly appt. with my therapist on Wednesday - and we spent the entire session discussing my health and how I must learn to put myself first. I have been seeing this therapist for a year now (unrelated things), and she was beyond alarmed by my physical appearance on Wednesday. (It's been about 3 weeks since I have seen her.) I have lost a ton of weight (that I did not need to lose and it is still coming off), looked exhausted and had no energy.

Honestly, I had to come to come to grips that those lovely vows of in sickness and in health may not apply to me. (There is a lot more background that has not been documented here and my counselor is aware of it all.) It is sad, feels lonely, but I need the truth so that I can make decisions for myself. Therefore, unfortunately, I am attempting to put up a wall in order to allow myself to put myself first.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you my personality, it appears to be very typical of us that are unfortunate enough to come down with cfs. Type A - People Pleaser - you know the drill. It's hard to turn that around and become selfish (for lack of a better word).

I will not allow ANYONE to make me feel guilty any longer for activities and social events I am not feeling up to attending. When my doctor and I agree that I need to cut my work hours back, I will for me, and will not let anyone make me feel guilty for that choice. (I will speaking with my doctor within the next week). If later we decide I need further cut backs - I will also move ahead with that, period.

I am planning (I am the only one planning which has caused some resentment on my part, but again that wall is going up, and now I'm doing it for me), I am putting money away in savings, paying off as much debt as possible, anything I can think of to make life a bit easier for ME, when I need to cut back or take some time off. I no longer see it as "IF" but "WHEN".

Knowing, I have the support of my employer is a huge load off of of me. However, I am aware that they will not be able to hold my position for me, if I have to go out for an extended amount of time. (My position is too essential, and it truly would create a hardship for my company, which I understand.) I do have their full support to leave early if I'm feeling really badly, to come in a bit later with no recourse, to take the odd day off (with notice the day before if possible) to help prevent a crash. They also offered to reduce my hours - but 30 hours would be the minimum they would be able to work with. I appreciate the honesty and the flexibility. Plus, it no longer feels like I'm hiding.

I didn't ask for this, I never wanted this, why should I feel guilty? But I will again, I know, but I will do my best to remind myself of what is important. As my therapist put it: "All the people adding to my burdens, making me feel guilty, and not understanding, will still be going on with their life 5 years from now, but if I don't take care of myself, where will I be?"


  1. Hard truths and hard lessons but essential. Well done. You're moving forward.

    Incidentally I thought I was almost irreplacable at work (I even had people tell me so) but after I was gone ( I wasn't as wise as you and kept pushing until there was nothing left and I HAD to give up work) it was all sorted out. I wasn't irreplacable and those people weren't in the least suuportive when they knew how Ill I was and how ill I'd been. You have to look after No.1

  2. Thanks Cusp.

    Honestly, I'm still pushing and not as wise as I sound. However, I do SEE the reality now and am willing to cut back to 30-32 hours as soon as possible (more than likely within the next couple of months) - however, deep down I know that I should probably just take some time off completely and I'm still fighting that (internally).

    However, these are MY decisions now, and I can not let everyone else (Family, friends etc.) dictate what I know my body is telling me.

  3. Oh I totally relate to all of that! When I had to quit my job I felt just horrible. I was one of the key players, second in charge sort of thing and I knew that the business would suffer without me there .. and apparently it has, but I cannot change it and no amount of guilt will fix things ...
    It's great that you have made this agreement with yourself to put your health first, it's a vital decision. Well done!!