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Monday, 11 June 2012

I have gone with the application...and going back to work

After a lot of thought I have decided to go ahead with the application for the Attendance Advisor post.  I have done this for social reasons, rather than any dedication to my employer.  I have been off work with depression for a few weeks (though I wouldn't have been at work anyway last week as it was half term) and I have decided that it is time I got off my sorry posterior and got on with things.

I have contacted the college today and they have agreed that I can return to work tomorrow.  Usually they insist that I have to produce a fit for work form from my GP, but I mentioned that I was told by an advisor that I can return when I feel up to it.  No more comments from the HR (human remains) department about getting medical clearance.

I don't have a lot of contact with people when I am not at work (excuse me, kettle boiling) ... and living on my own does not help.  As with my approach to living with cancer I just have to allow myself some down time and then pick myself up, dust myself off and get on with it.  Being on my own I am not high on the list of priorities for others, even my brother and family who live locally.  That is really the way it should be, but there are times when I just need others to communicate with so I can break the cycle of bad thought patterns.  It doesn't need to be a deep conversation, just something to refocus my mind at the right time.  I feel that if I contact friends or family that I will become a nuisance and they will then want to have less to do with me than they do now.  Also I am an adult and I should be able to get on with things and behave like a responsible adult, sometimes.

I have never quite been sure whether this journey is easier for those of us on our own, or for those with immediate family.  If you have people directly in your life it is easier to maintain motivation for living (which is something that I lack at times) and you have others to consider, do things for and with, and interact with.  That is something that I only have at work.  One the down side it must be difficult to have to maintain a sense of normality when things aren't going well, and knowing what an immediate impact those times have on others.  There again, there is no perfect way of living your life whether or not you have cancer, or whether or not you have others in your immediate life.  I know from my own experience of being a carer for others that it can be difficult to accept the ill health of another.  There are times when we all wish we could just be normal again; but there again, what is normal?

I grew up with a father who had emphysema and who died a couple of weeks after my 18th birthday.  This experience at least gave me a basic understanding that living with a chronic illness is still living.  Just because someone has a life-limiting disease does not mean that they cease to be a person, and a person who has to be treated differently.  Maybe that is why so many of us feel that it is difficult to talk about having a chronic illness as others tend to change the subject / not want to have to deal with it at all and you never see them again / or feel that you need to be treated differently.  It is like shouting at someone who is hard of hearing, or actually deaf.  Turning up the volume at which you speak is not necessarily going to allow them to understand what you are saying, whereas projecting your voice and speaking clearly may get the message over.  It is a different technique to achieve the same ends.  Having a chronic illness is a constant condition of the body, but it does not have to be a constant condition of the mind.  Mind over matter?  Not sure it is anywhere near that simple, but even with a chronic illness you are still living, so life does go on; and as I said before, what exactly is normal?

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