Therapists will tell you that when you suffer a loss you shouldn’t make any life changing decisions. As if death wasn’t life changing enough. I didn’t take that advice into consideration. I felt leaving my job of nearly fourteen years was justified, I was grieving and my perception of how I was treated in that grief was my affirmation. I felt betrayed and I was already in the planning stages of moving on when I was blindsided by tragedy.
So began my search for “something.” I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for. I told my friends that I just wanted to be content, that I wasn’t happy at my job and I knew this to be true even before Konnor’s passing. I lost my passion for staff Nursing for a while now. My heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I wasn’t myself at work, I felt stressed, frustrated. After nearly eighteen years on the floor in a hospital I knew when it was time to move along.
However, something happened in the process of me feeling certain I knew what I wanted to do and Konnor leaving this earth. With him went my mind, my certainty, my ability to reason, my self-control. I went from being somewhat self-assured to being completely unhinged. It would be a long nine months before I could begin to fake it enough to fool people into believing I was okay. I was “pseudo” making it. I had created a facade so I could enter the job market as a prospective, suitable employee. So this is how the mentally ill enter the workforce I thought.
Now in retrospect, I was just stagnant. I was in pain and nothing I did would let me escape it. Moving from job to job wasn’t the answer. I wasn’t searching for anything, I was unhappy and trying to hide. But I couldn’t hide anymore. I couldn’t hide from the painful truth. Konnor was gone. I was falling apart and I didn’t know what to do. In one year I had walked away from three jobs. I had to choose where to work and what to do with the rest of my life and I couldn’t at this point in my life, make this type of decision. Especially one as important as my career. But what I was doing to myself was self-destructive. This person was not me. I was always stable in my career.
I came across a quote that fits the story of my life right now. A griever’s life.
“I entered the afterloss broken and shattered. It’s like I had this big bag of fragments I once called life and dumped them in the middle of this new world and said, “Here, This is all I’ve got left. What can I do with this?”
I was shattered and I had no idea what had become of myself or how to put together this person I had become. I was weakened, unable to admit to anyone how I couldn’t handle the mess I was in. Grief clouded my mind and my emotions and I couldn’t think straight.
The position I took after leaving my job of fourteen years lasted only 5 weeks. For those five weeks I cried every day to and from work not knowing what the hell I was doing. I chose employment that involved sales and marketing. I had no clue how to incorporate sales and marketing into nursing. I was not prepared to learn a whole new aspect of my career. I could not handle the orientation phase in my state of mind, I was screwed.
At one point I was unemployed. I was panicked. I knew what I had to do.
I took another nursing Job that I knew I wouldn’t be happy with but yet I had no choice. It was what I knew. It was safe. I was back in the hospital as a staff nurse. Again the stress and physical strain was enough to make me realize I needed to re-evaluate my life. I stuck it out there for eight months.
Almost exactly a year to the day later I am at a new job again. The difference is my state of mind… I believe I am finally finding clarity. I am stronger, calmer. I have accepted the part of myself that cannot handle the stress that I used to be able to handle. This is okay to admit. I have been through hell this past year, I can take a less-stressful job. Most important to note is the place of employment is with someone I trust doing something I have been wanting to do. I am still in healthcare but in a care management type role. I feel focused. I feel certain I am doing the right thing. I haven’t felt certain about anything in quite some time.
A year ago I was in a very different state of mind. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I’m getting there. I think Konnor would be proud.