I’ve had a bit of a wake up call the last week or so and I’m still not sure whether on reflection that I am going the wrong way or whether I’m, ever so slowly, finding a loop back to the right path.
It’s only partly related to my surgery – although as I work through this I may find it is more related than I think.
I have been having problems with someone I am working with. I feel as though I am trying my hardest and yet nothing I do is right. It feels like a continual pecking by a bird who hurts a bit at first, though things start to heal, but then the continual pecking digs a deeper wound that refuses to go away. I also saw a post of the forum I am a member of that hurt my feelings, more so because when I mentioned this it was met with defensiveness rather than recognition.
Similar situations twice in a week? This isn’t someone else’s issues. This is down to me.
So why have I suddenly become so defensive online myself?
I’m not a confident person. I have qualifications aplenty but I know nothing. I am insecure and self-blaming and, while I would challenge others, I am unforgiving of my own mistakes and don’t know how to correct them. I take criticism very personally instead of constructively. I know all these things about myself, but I do usually manage them better than this.
I had a lovely message in my inbox yesterday (thank you Ms R) and it set me thinking about the ups and downs of this joint surgery. There are lots of mixed feelings: thrill of progress but then despondency; fear and relief; trying to keep up a positive attitude because everyone else is. Are we all doing this for each other and afraid to voice what we really feel? When my first hip was done I read posts about people getting up almost immediately and the pain being gone and someone else asking me if this was the case and was everything brilliant now (not quite those words, but that was what I felt I was being asked). There is a feeling of having to keep up a stiff upper lip, get on with things because you have to, there are people worse off …….. all these things we were often taught as children that we tend (hopefully) not to say to them now. In my work I have so many people talk to me because they can’t talk to anyone else. No one really wants to hear the bad stuff – they want to feel better by hearing only the good because they have their own problems and issues and view of the world.
I know I have underestimated how much energy this surgery would take from me. Not so much the first time, though that was bad enough, but certainly the second. Two major ops in 3 months and planning the third for within 6 months? It’s like being hit by a bus!
Now I don’t want to be self pitying – I’ve done a fair amount of that already. However, I work with other people and I also have to pay attention to them. To use my own phrase – you can’t give light to others if you don’t have some for yourself first.
After both ops I went back to work on day 6. I work online mostly – I’d already ended any f2f work when I knew of my impending surgery – and I had commitments and it’s easy enough to sit at a computer and write – isn’t it?! How silly of me to think I might actually be indispensable, and also to underestimate how much I could do – but also fairly typical. It is hard on the other people who have to go back to more physical jobs too early after this surgery, and they should be understood and allowed much longer, but they do usually (though not always) get until after their 6 week check despite some often quite significant pressure from their employers. I went back to work after 6 days – ok I dealt with emails and read through work stuff in hospital too.
I felt guilty that I might have to let someone else take on my work, that I might be sitting around doing nothing when I could be busy, that I only earned money if I worked. Were these important? Yes! But perhaps not as important as doing my best for everyone. My lesson is, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. And I think by being too tired and preoccupied I have not been as patient and considerate as I could have been for others and certainly not for myself. I have created my own wounds and now I have to dig deep to find the humility to heal them.