Where have I been? Well, I have been stuck. Stuck in a dark place in the corner of my mind. I really am an optimistic person. I know you are starting to question that right? Continued work demands combined with my continuing fatigue and tremor – despite my medications, really was (and is) getting to me. I called the Movement Disorder Specialist a few weeks ago and his nurse indicated that the middle of November was the earliest that I can see him – and that they wouldn’t change my medication until he visits with me again in person.
My tremor, which is the least thing that bothered me, came back with a vengeance. Yet the most bothersome aspects of my illness are the increase in fatigue, apathy, stiffness, and lack of focus – these are the main things that I struggle with as a therapist. These factors create a difficulty when I am trying to conduct about six hours of groups per day, all the while, my boss keeps wanting to add to my work load as she wants to keep me busy (as well as grow her business). This workload stress was icing on my cake of sorrow. At work (as a therapist), I can not show any sorrow. It is not that I see depression as a sign of weakness – quite the contrary, I empathize with my clients. However, when you are a therapist, you can’t show depression as it is considered an impairment – one that can cost you your license.
I came up with ideas – but they seem to all go down the drain. The first idea was to get a medication change right away – but that was shot down (see above – by the nurse) and now I am waiting until I can see the Movement Disorder Specialist. I tried to insist to my boss that due to my illness, I can only do so much, but my fellow coworker therapist gets dumped more work on her if I show any signs of slowing down, and my boss “can’t justify” hiring anyone else to help out right now.
I thought about quitting my job right away or going for government disability, but as I mentioned before, I am financially needing to work – and can not thrive on just the income of my wife. It is not as if we have a bunch of unnecessary expenses to sacrifice, as we already have a low mortgage payment and no car payments. It also seems that everything is so expensive these days: repairs, school expenses for kids, clothing for my daughter, medical expenses, etc.
My mind even went to some scary places with options, triggering the negative thought machine of my mind and activating some great anxiety with some very real conclusions. My Parkinson’s is progressive – it is a progressive illness. Despite my wife’s optimism that the doctor will give me some kind of medication that will keep me working until old age, I feel a sense of drain. I have always had a good solid work ethic and it pains me to say this, but I am getting tired.
My doctor said on my first visit that you don’t die of Parkinson’s. He is right – in the same sense as one doesn’t die from the physical act of jumping from a cliff – it is the rocks way below, or the heart attack that you have on the way down, or the final impact from that fall that kills you. The truth is that Parkinson’s can be an ugly disease no matter how optimistic a person that you are.
So I have decided that if I can’t get my boss to stop piling on work, and if I can’t manage at current levels of workload – I am going to request to work part-time. This will really hurt financially but this is the most realistic option I can see at the moment. Keep on!