Monday, August 19, 2013

Adjusting to Life post Workplace Abuse: 20 Things Wish List Revised

In February, 2012 I blogged about 20 wishes; 20 things I would like to do.  Here is the original list from that blog:
  1. go to Alaska with Papa Bear - not a cruise but a land trip; not a packaged one either; taking time to linger and enjoy the beauty and wildness that is Alaska
  2. canoe Lake Labarge (yes, dear friends there really is a Lake Labarge)
  3. visit Vancouver - our original honeymoon destination
  4. buy professional DSLR camera.
  5. take photography classes 
  6. write a book
  7. get published
  8. be read
  9. take classes in writing
  10. go to writing conferences
  11. use my writing skills to tell others' stories:  everyone has a story to tell
  12. become as proficient at knitting as I am at crocheting
  13. bond with a good friend at a European style spa
  14. conquer my fear of driving on bridges, causeways and interstates/expressways (depending on which country you happen to be reading this from)
  15. do the CN tower with friends and family to cheer me on
  16. learn to swim
  17. go to Winterlude and ice skate on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa
  18. conduct seminars on the affects of trauma and PTSD along with seminars on walking with, encouraging and supporting friends and family who are victims of trauma
  19. become a motivational speaker
  20. visit Newfoundland
Looking back from the perspective of the reality of "now" rather than the wishful dreaming of "then", I see how totally unrealistic this list is.

At the time, I thought that with rest and careful attention, I would eventually get well.  Meaning that all the affects, all the disabilities, all the altered abilities would magically go away.

Sorry to say, but that is not happening.  And is not likely to happen.


My "now", my reality, is learning to live life as fully, as joyfully as possible within the limitations imposed on me by these affects.

As I continue to slog through the journey post workplace abuse, I see that while I have actually accomplished one or two of these goals, most are simply not realistic.  At least, not realistic within my current framework.

My life consists of coping daily with the physical - and emotional - affects caused by the escalating stress of those four years in abusive workplace #2.  The affects come and go.  Seemingly at will.

I have good days - and not so good days.

My life consists of learning how to cope with these disabilities or "altered abilities" that are invisible to the outside world, and find ways to have a fulfilling life.

These disabilities or "altered abilities" are generally invisible to those who don't know me.  When they're at their worst, I stay inside.  Away from people.  Away from triggers.  Away from anything or anyone which could cause the situation to disintegrate.

So ... going back to my list and taking a good, hard, long look at it, what is feasible at this point in my life?  Given my disabilities?

Or rather, maybe I should look first at what is not realistic on this list and then go from there.

What is not realistic are any of the goals which involve public speaking.  I don't do people well.  My mind gets confused.  I get overwhelmed easily.  The words don't always come.  It's frustrating as the mine is still there.

So what is feasible, what is realistic is to be able to use my mind and my writing skills in my "safe" place, my home, to partner with others who are able to address groups of people in what trauma is, how it affects people, how to walk with people like me, what to do and what not to do.  How to protect themselves emotionally when walking with people like me.  And that just scratches the surface.  Realistically, I can write the content.  Others would need to give it.

Another entire category in the list involves travel.  While theoretically travel is possible, there are problems.  One:  I would need a companion as there are times the cognitive skills desert me.  Another is money.  I've not touched on this part of the affects of workplace abuse, but when a target is bullied to the point where they are either terminated or leave the workplace "voluntarily" due to health issues, etc., they have lost their source of income - usually permanently.  I am too young for Old Age benefits.  I am not deemed sick enough for disability.  I fall between all the cracks there are.  Let's face it, travelling involves money.  It also involves energy.  People.  As I've said before, I don't do people well.

So what is left on the list?  What is doable?  Photography.  Writing.  Knitting/crocheting.  Taking classes on-line.  Participating in groups on-line.

Things that allow me to progress at my own pace without pressure.  Things that allow me to work at home.  Within my safe place.

And that is where I am now.  Today.

Where will I be next week?  Next month?  Next year?  Who knows.

I sure don't.

But what I do know is that even though challenging and often frustrating, life after workplace abuse can be good.  It can be fulfilling.

So with that thought, I will sign off for another day.

God bless each and every one of you who is taking this journey with me.

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