I went back to work after a seven-month hiatus.
It would have been fun to tell people that the reason for my disappearance was that I went sailing around the world. I wish it were true. I spent the last seven months recuperating from a relapse, at home.
The first few months were the worst. I wasn’t able to do very much- physically or mentally. My symptoms had returned, with a vengeance. At first I thought my symptoms were worsening, and I began to wonder whether or not this illness is indeed progressive. I know some people get worse and don’t seem to recover. Slowly, though, I started seeing some improvement. By late June I knew I would be able to go back to work in the fall.
I returned to work two days a week. I had been looking forward to connecting with students again, and was happy to be back. Meetings, on the other hand, were something I had not been looking forward to. On my first week back I had two of them. I was not used to focusing for such long periods of time anymore. So I spent my first weekend cooped up with an unusual headache, digestive problems and lymph node pain.
I feared that my renewed symptoms would pull me back into the depths of Dante’s Inferno once again. I knew if I wanted to get through this temporary dip I was experiencing I had to stop being afraid. Fear is this overwhelming, nagging and steadfast feeling that always seems to crop up when least expected. It’s my Achile’s heel. I know I have to confront it head on like the proverbial monster in the closet. Which is what I did, and within one to two weeks I started feeling stronger.
My energy levels and symptoms are better now. Of course, I do experience the occasional setback when I’ve overdone it or when I don’t get enough sleep. It’s still difficult to gauge whether or not an activity is suitable for my energy levels, but I’m getting better at it. I’ve also managed to tame my fear of relapsing.
It’s great to be back at work.