3rd July 2021
Next week is a big week. I’m heading back to work on Monday after 18 months off, bar a somewhat abortive 3-week stint last summer. I will be starting in a new surgery – a fresh start – and I’m looking forward to it but am naturally anxious. I’m certainly hoping this return to work will be a bit more successful than my last.
I look at where I am now, compared to where I was this time last year and can see I’m in a very different place. I can see now, to what extent I was struggling last summer.
A lot has happened over the last 12 months… I lost my job, and found a new one (or it found me!), I started antidepressants and I’ve had a whole lot of psychotherapy. I’ve changed. Perhaps, (I certainly hope), I’m stronger…
The rebuild is well under way.
I still feel vulnerable though.
The way I can best describe how I feel right now, is that I am in the process of building this beautiful house (the new job) to the exact specification that I want, but this perfect house is built on sand. My foundation still feels a bit ropey.
My worry is that I’m going to crumble, that I might not hold up, or live up to expectations. I’m also worried about what happens in the event of me needing to go off again if it does come back, the thought of letting people down, and the inconvenience of it all.
I’ve done what I can to bolster the walls of my new house. The medication and talking therapy combine to make top quality cement, and the bricks I’m using are strong. I’m returning to work through the GP Retention Scheme, which will also give me additional time and support as I settle back into General Practice.
But the success of this build is dependent, ultimately, on the strength of the foundation.
I know there are going to be challenges when I return. There is the whole post-Covid landscape to navigate but to be honest, I’m far less fearful of this now than I was last summer.
The biggest challenge for me, right now, is that of trust… trust in myself and my abilities, having been out of practice for 18 months. I’ve done what I can to stay up to date with on line updates, enduring the particularly uncomfortable sessions on early cancer diagnosis…very much a hot topic in primary care currently.
But I guess there are the bigger trust issues I need to face…
Trust in results and trust in the system.
How do I accept “normal” results as being just that – normal? How do I keep the “what if it isn’t?” in check? We’re told to trust our gut, but I know I will be returning with an incredibly heightened awareness of those false negative situations. Investigating to the nth degree may be the answer to my current issues with uncertainty, but I fully appreciate that this isn’t necessarily in the best interest for the patient. I need to find some way of accepting that what happened to me was not normal.
I’ve mentioned before, the need to trust the system in which I am returning to work in – it is vital, but the healing of this particular relationship is very much a work in process. It’s going to take time.
I’m still carrying my box of emotional readiness for round 2, and it’s no less heavy. I won’t be putting it down any time soon, but perhaps my arms are a bit stronger now.
Next week awaits, an exciting new chapter.
A friend pointed out that those house foundations aren’t necessarily weak, it’s more that right now, they are simply untested. For all I know, they might be just fine, but I’m not going to know until I’m back in the saddle. I might be anxious, but I know I go forth with an incredible army of supporters at my side. My family and friends have been, and continue to be, an incredible source of strength.
So, here’s to Monday.
Bring it on…
Images: www.thebalance.com, www.skipprichard.com