Resigned from my position/ A good friend

Deciding to resign

Hey gang. Yes, I’m still here. Still breathing. It has been a HARD WEEK. I am exhausted. UGH!!!

One of my biggest regrets from this week is that I did not manage to carve a pumpkin for the IF smackdown thing, one with Vivelle patches all over it and Crinone goo coming out of its eyes and PIO 7-inch needles coming out of its ears. But no matter: many of you did that for me. You are brilliant, resilient, creative women, and you rock my world.

I am drinking wine. DH and I are joking about a mock NPR show we’re going to create, complete with our hilarious (to us) repertoire of accents.

I have officially resigned from my position as social worker at a nursing center.

BIG SIGH.

I know it may not seem like the best time to make a decision like this, but let me assure you: it was. It is. I did not do this rashly.

The truth is, I have been thinking about resigning for many months now. Only recently did I allow myself to make a peep about it on this blog (I think I started peeping in August or September). I’ve been paranoid about writing about work in a public online space, even if anonymously. But there is no getting around it—I use this space to air everything, and work is a big, big part of everything.

I don’t want to go into all of the reasons I’ve been thinking about resigning before this point. What is important for me to be able to write about right now is the right now, and why this feels like one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long while.

I need: Time to rest. Time to grieve. Time to cry whenever and however I want to. To think. To feel. To do yoga (a LOT). To say goodbye. To research. To prepare. To clean and organize my home. To bake again. To make delicious dinners. To paint. To write. To design a private practice. To publish some articles about infertility. To reconnect with my family (and have the time to drive to Ohio to do so). To go through this next cycle (if that is what we decide to do) without having to juggle a full-time job at the same time. I have been going, going, going for almost three years now, loss after loss after loss after loss. SIX LOSSES. I have not had much of a break. I was going to social work school throughout most of it—one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my life, so difficult to juggle seeing personality-disordered patients (for the first time ever), writing long tedious papers, going to classes, etc., while managing my own serious trauma. Then I managed to graduate with honors (how? how?!). Then we uprooted from Brooklyn, our home of a decade, and moved to LI. Then I got this extraordinarily challenging job…

It is time for me to stop all else and focus exclusively on regrouping, healing, dealing solely with this monumental condition, this crisis, this trauma, that has been in my life for almost three years.

So we looked at our finances. Not great, but not abysmal. We looked at what we’d be able to do on 77K salary (what DH will be getting come Nov 8). We looked at what it would be like for me to be on his health insurance for $300/ month, while paying back my $350/month student loans. It will not be financially comfortable, that is for sure. But it’s not like I am not ever going to work again. I will, and maybe sooner than I think. I might only need a month or two or three away from work, and we can certainly afford that.

Resigning

Telling my boss and handing in my resignation letter was not as difficult as I’d thought it would be…I was a brain-dead, grief-stricken zombie, so that always helps!

I told my boss that I am barely making it in each morning. I am crying every morning and every night and many times throughout the day in the bathrooms at work. I am having trouble in the middle of the day with a crushing fatigue that makes it nearly unbearable to walk around and do things. I am having trouble with psychological triggers. I am having trouble managing the enormous grief and confusion and uncertainty inside me.

“And I have no idea what is coming next,” I explained to her. I told her that at work, I like to be 100% professional and reliable, and I just don’t feel that I can be that person. I do not feel reliable. I feel fragile and like I am barely hanging on. I am able to pull myself together for the residents and family members, but after my performance, I usually have to go crash somewhere—the bathroom, my car.

I know I will get better, I know it is only a matter of time.

But I also know that I do not just want to get a little better—-I want to do some serious healing. And I can’t do that while holding down a super-stressful full-time job.

I told her that I am out. I am tapped. I am officially depleted. My resources are sliding against zero.

I did not go into any of the problems with the job that have been bothering me for months—there was no need. And this, it turns out, is a blessing. It made the break easier between us. This will be a friendly parting.

Sigh. Good. Good work, girl. Am proud of myself for managing at least this: a friendly, professional parting.

I have offered to stay for a full 4 weeks (last day: Dec 2nd), to train my successor, to write a manual for my position, and even to come in whenever they need me in the future months without pay to help train my successor further, if need be (within reason, of course!). It’s a small, understaffed department and I don’t want their lives to be miserable; I want to help make this transition smooth in whatever ways I can. In return, I hope, my boss will still be willing to write me a recommendation letter when I start job searching again. She loves me, admires my work, and even though I’ve had my very tough times dealing with her anxiety and micromanagement, I know that she is ultimately on my side. I want to keep it that way.

A good friend

I also want to write about talking to my friend in WY, Wednesday night. I call her Elle in this blog.

I hadn’t wanted to talk to her. I was so wrecked, emotionally, so fragile, and I was worried that she was going to say something that would  unintentionally hurt me. Do you ever do this? Avoid talking to people because you feel so fragile that they could say “Hello, how are you,” and it will feel like a personal assault? UGH. It is self-isolation at its finest.

Ugh is my new favorite word. I think I’ve said it, thought it, approximately 7 billion times this past week.

But there I was, still in my bath towel from having taken a scolding hot shower (one of the few things that has given me pleasure this past week—scolding hot water while drinking, or slugging, wine). And I just picked up the damn phone and started punching in Elle’s number before I could stop myself.

Her voice was a balm.

My dear Wyoming friend. The one who conceived twins while we were in grad school at the University of Michigan (this was my other lifetime—and an MFA in creative writing). I found out pretty recently that she conceived them with donor sperm and IUI.

When I saw her for the first time, at a grad student tea, I gravitated toward her across the room because it was love at first sight. I’ve been friends with her now for 13 years! Oh my GOD.

Anyway, we talked. She has known me through some of the craziest times. Like for example when I separated from my first husband, whom I’d been with for 14 years (married for 3).  Like for example when I subsequently had a crazy, soul-crushing, life-changing relationship with a man who clearly had Narcissistic Personality Disorder and was a sociopathic vampire (and of course the sex was mind-blowing—it was the first time in my life I’d had a physical relationship like that, but that’s another story). She also heard all about my life before NYC. Living on 60 acres in a log cabin, while doing AmeriCorps, growing my own vegetables and chopping my own wood. She knows about Prague and all that happened there. And so on.

“Your life has had so many chapters!” she exclaimed during our phone conversation. “And now this! This chapter! What is it about?”

“It’s about so many things, so many things,” I said.

“What is the theme?” she said.

She and I are writers, and we talk about themes. Life themes, like story themes. She’s amazing.

I threw out a few of my ideas. She threw out some of hers.

We talked about how I have always been extraordinarily sensitive, and supremely attached to things. Nostalgic for people and places and things almost before they are gone. My attachments are fierce, and wonderful, and meaningful. But so, so strong. Loss is very difficult for me, always has been. I do not like to let go. Case in point: Staying with my ex-husband for 14 years, because I loved him deeply, even while our relationship simply (and clearly) did not work.

“But at the same time,” my friend said, “you are an adventurer.”

“There are two poles,” I said. “The attachment, and the adventure. I feel like I ping between the two. The adventure forces me away from the attachment, even while it leads me into new attachments.”

The losses. The relentless lesson in letting go! The relentless lesson in non-attachement.

“Listen,” I said. “I consider myself sort of Buddhist, even if I’m not completely comfortable with the label, but I honestly do not think I am headed toward non-attachment in this lifetime. I don’t think this lifetime is about becoming enlightened. I’m not even interested in becoming enlightened, you know?”

“Well, maybe you are making rapid progression toward enlightenment in this lifetime, you know, making a lot of steps in that direction, even if you don’t achieve it this time around,” she said. “But in the next life, you’ll be so much closer.”

“I don’t even know if I believe in ‘the next life,’  or past lives,” I said, laughing.

It didn’t matter. All that mattered was talking to her. Talking to someone who had known me and loved me long enough to be able to say any of this at all. It felt so good. Grounding. Warm. She cares about me so much. She thinks about me, wonders what my bigger picture is, and is there for me all the way through whatever it is.

Old friends. Something magical about old friends.

I’m so glad I called her.

And now, my newer and equally magical friends, blogoshpere ladies of the carving knives and wicked senses of humor and intelligence and caring that blows me away, I shall commence to drink my second drink and watch Breaking Bad with my very cute new husband, sitting over there, eyeing me. Good night.

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12 Comments

  1. Tess

     /  November 2, 2013

    It sounds like you have been thinking about this for a long time. My therapist also told me not to let infertility stop me from doing things I’ve wanted to do.

    A private practice! Yoga! Finding something more fulfilling. All of it sounds like steps forward to someplace better.

    Reply
  2. Although your posts often make me want to cry, scream and punch many many things for you, they are so entirely cathartic for me to read. I hope you never stop writing. I want to tell you how happy I am that you are putting yourself first. That you know when it’s time to look after you, and everything else can wait. I’m so pleased you walked away from your job. I think having this time will really allow you to recover and heal. It’s so important. I wish I had been able to do the same. With my new job kicking off in just over a week I’m terrified of being found out as a sobbing emotional unstable wreck. I tell myself that I can do this but I’m not so sure. At least I’ll be free of the sweet pea thief, I tell myself, someone who has very nearly set me over the edge of no return. Anything can be better than staying there. But I see how my environment, creativity and mental health has suffered by my carrying on day after day. We keep going don’t we, and I’m conscious how loss after loss after loss doesn’t really get resolved unless we face it full on. And so I applaud you for knowing when enough is enough. It takes courage and dedication and a full understanding of your own needs.
    I can completely relate to your fears of contacting your friend. The feeling that even the simplest question will be personal assault. The self-imposed exile as a result. I’m so pleased that she is there for you. Having even just one person who can empathise or listen or support you makes all the difference in the world I’ve learned. I’m so glad you’ve got her. My friend, you are doing so well, it’s inspiring. I wish you hope and healing and peace and lots and lots of love xx

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for your encouragement! I do think it is going to be helpful to have time to just be healthy. Right now I am not making the grandest choices—lots of coffee, a bit of wine, lots of sugar—and if I have all day to shop smartly and cook smartly, for example, I think I can turn some of this sloppiness around. That’s just one thing I need to get in order. There are so many other things!

      My biggest concern right now is that I will direct my frustrations on undeserving targets, without work there as a giant bull’s eye to target. (Like my defenseless husband. Must be careful….).

      I commend you for leaving your work environment, too. You know what your limits are! You are removing yourself from something that felt entirely toxic. I’ll be there cheering you on in this next move and hoping for the very best! xo

      Reply
  3. I think your plan is a solid one. It sounds like it is exactly what you need. Thank god you are a person who can figure out what she needs and who is willing to move towards it.

    PS, I also had a sociopathic sx vampire in my past. It was terrifying, but I didn’t realize how terrifying until I got out of it.

    Reply
    • Oh man, I’d love to sit down with you over several bottles of wine and talk about THAT, the sex vampires! They are evil. Mine was also a fool. A fool vampire. Who was also quite smart. A big mix of a lot of things—a shapeshifter, really.

      Although I understand on one level why I got involved—it makes sense when I plot out the points—on another level I have no idea who the hell that woman was who got together with him. Me? It seems like a different woman entirely. I’d like to go to therapy someday for just that subject and hash it all out.

      Yes, terrifying to look back on, isn’t it? There are some seriously crazy dudes in this world! And I was fresh out of a very serious relationship I’d been in for 14 years, since age 19. So in a lot of ways I was like a 19-year-old still, when it came to dating/relationships. I was such easy prey, and so hungry and curious about sex that actually felt good.

      Reply
  4. Wow, what a beautifully written post. I think it sounds like leaving your job was a really healthy decision, even though I know how scary it can be. Just do what feels right now and jobs and things will work themselves out.

    Your friend sounds amazing, there’s nothing like a great conversation with someone who truly gets you. I’m so glad you have her.

    Reply
  5. Kali

     /  November 3, 2013

    Hi, is your friend a single mom? I started with donor sperm and IUI, but as we know that didn’t work. I am glad it worked for her.

    I am so glad you reached out to her and it was positive. I have a cousin who does this for me.

    I am also interested in your post because my relationship with my best friend of 32 years is sliding and I don’t know if I can save it. You asked me about it in a previous comment, and I’ve been meaning to answer you, but haven’t been able to put the pain on paper. It is connected to what you’re saying about not wanting to talk to people because they’ll hurt you–but I don’t think it’s my being oversensistive, I feel judged by her, and she’s actually yelled at me while I was crying my heart out at the hardest times. . . I realize she doesn’t know what to say, and I sent her your post on How to Listen but I fear it may be too late. My resentment at the very truly hurtful things she said may be too much for me to tackle and overcome right now.

    Reply
    • Kali

       /  November 3, 2013

      And, now I have to come back and say I’m so sorry I dumped all of that on you. You are in your own pain, I am not asking for anything from yu, I hope you understand that. It’s hard to talk about this and comment without expressing my own endless pain that is on the surface always waiting for a chance to show itself.

      Reply
    • Oh my goodness, never worry about telling your story! I say this even while I worry that I become too me-focused in my own comments on people’s blogs—in an effort to connect, to show similarities, and commiserate. It’s all good in my book. Do not feel dumped on in the slightest. And please no rush to put the pain on the paper, or at all! Only if you ever feel like it, if that would feel good for you. Just from the bits you’ve written about it I can feel the absolutely enormous weight this is putting on you, and with good reason—a friend of 32 years is nothing to take lightly, and you must be in so much pain over what’s happening. God, I am sorry you are going through that. But maybe it is not too late…

      You know, when I was going through one of my losses, I called one of my best friends crying (I call her “Shane” on this blog), and she immediately said, in a very stern voice: “What. What? What are you crying about? I can’t understand you!” annoyed that I was incomprehensible through my tears. I’ve met her father and I know that he can be stern. Logical. She herself is resilient, strong, and has not often shown a great deal of vulnerability around me. She is very solution-focused, which is one of the things I admire about her—but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for exploration. So I try to keep all of that in mind. I totally lost touch with her when she had a baby because it hurt too much, and although she was lovely about it, maybe she felt abandoned by me during one of the most important times of her life—I know she holds nothing against me, but it still must have been hard/odd for her. She recently wrote an email to me that is obviously trying to check in with me, to see if I’m okay, and yet she does not come out and ask (the title of the email read “happy halloween?” which was the only indication of checking about my happiness…). I wrote back about Pittsburgh, tried to be light and jokey, as we used to be, while saying that I am still trapped in a nightmare, a long story “I’m not sure anyone wants to hear at this point” as it is so heavy. Giving her the option to ask if she wishes to. I haven’t heard back from her. But I have to remember that perhaps she is reading that line in my email not as an invitation but as a “leave me to my business.” Communication is so awkward, tricky, so easy to misunderstand.

      Your situation with your friend—she should never yell at you, no matter how frustrated she feels. She should not judge you, of course. You are awesome for printing out that piece for her—that is very bold of you, and just the right thing to do. She has said and done some damaging things. But it’s not irreparable—in my opinion, nothing ever is. Maybe, just maybe, those hard interactions can be looked at in a new light—confused love, frustrated connection. But if the friendship is going to come back together again, it will do so very, very slowly, so it’ll take so much patience! Which is an ugh.

      I feel like my friend (above) and I are doing this super slow and tricky dance, trying to figure out how to communicate with each other, not burden each other. It might take years to figure it out! But as long as she is willing to stay in contact and keep trying, I’m going to hang in there, too.

      One thing that comes to mind—do you think she would be willing to see a therapist with you? Even if only once or twice? Someone to help you air your grievances—and help you remember your love for each other?

      And no, my other friend, Elle, she is not a single mom. Her husband’s testicles descended late and so he had no viable sperm. They tried three IUIs with donor sperm, and the third one worked. They kept it secret until very recently. What a crazy thing for me to discover, as I’m going through this! Definitely very normalizing for me.

      Hang in there sweetie. xoxox

      Reply
      • Kali

         /  November 4, 2013

        Thank you so, so much. The compassion you are able to show, the ability to step into my shoes, while you yourself are going through so much, is amazing.

        I’ve thought about the therapist but I think my friend thinks it’s just me being oversensitive. She has yet to see a therapist for her own depression, though she finally got medicine for it–I’m pretty sure she was inspired by the efforts she sees me making to protect my health on all fronts, despite her words to me. She just says “we’re fine” or if I try to bring it up she gets upset, last fight I blamed on the hormones but I’m not on any now and her words still feel like a knife. This has not been just a recent thing, I didn’t even tell her the last time I was pregnant until the miscarriage, I couldn’t reach for the phone but when I got the awful news about the heart having stopped, my instinct was to call her for comfort; this is the woman who flew out here for my first IVF. But our relationship has been on a downward slide since then.

        I have so little spare emotional energy for this, and she hasn’t yet met me halfway, yet it’s torturing me.

        Sometimes I want to just write it off as part of this ongoing hell, but I don’t want to pile losing her on top of all the losses this process has brought me.

        And blessings to your friend. I’m so glad they took the steps they needed in order to have their twins. We are taking the right steps. Statistics are on our side with donor egg. I too have had all the immune testing, and my losses have been at different times in the pregnancies, so I don’t think it’s my ability to carry. My one fear is that I’ll fail to build a lining again this time. I am doing acupuncture and eating well this time–it’s never been a problem before. And I am doing the uterine scrapings, which I didn’t do last time.

        Thank you for listening.

        Reply

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