I got a surprise this morning. The postman brought a letter indicating that my benefits are being cancelled. From today? No, I get a week time, from the 18th. From that day I’ll be fit to either go back to my old job or to go looking for a new one.
I worked in the mental health field for 13 years. I gave it my best. Survived a few reorganizations and relocations. Saw old bosses leave and other take their place. I went to meetings, thought about how we could make health care better. How we could be progressive and how to fuel the love and interest we have for the chronically ill. I took care of my colleagues and would go that extra mile if needed. I don’t want to sound as a saint because sometimes the things we think are a good thing to do prove otherwise. A lot of the times we just don’t know. I love my job.
What I don’t love is the institution on its own, the long meetings, the lack of vision. Lack of compassion maybe. I love the clients I met there. But ‘they say I’m too soft’ and also ‘that they can’t adjust my job because of a burnout’. I got the choice: to heal on my own and just come back without a conversation nor adjustment about possible stressors at work or leave. Like that. ‘No adjustments’ were possible not even for the first month (if I would ‘choose’ to return) after being absent for 7 months at that time.
I became more ill and depression hugged me tight. While working I did pay for insurance. I followed a mindfulness course. I went to a burnout coach and followed her advice. I did what the GP told me to do. I made an appointment myself with the occupational physician and psychologist. Everybody tells me basically the same thing; take care of yourself first. Take the time you need to heal. Now I see a therapist every week and I also started drama therapy. I take my medications. I monitor my sleep. I follow the advice of my psychiatrist which is not to go back to work yet.
Without notice and without being examined by a doctor, this letter came. I went to the union and they told me to take legal steps and in the meanwhile, I don’t know. I feel defeated and sad, on World Metal Health Day.