I was able to go to work on Friday. I had an ominous email from my boss waiting for me:
“We need to talk about this when you return on friday. These absences are not going to work for our company as it is creating a hardship.”
So after a few minutes of hyperventilating, I decided to go talk to my boss, rather than letting my rather fertile imagination run away with me. I poked my head into her office and she was immediately asking “What is that look for?” because I guess I looked terrified. I was very quickly reassured that I wasn’t losing my job, just that I needed to work with the other two clinicians -the therapist and case manager who has taken on the other half of my job- to make sure things worked well if I had to take FMLA days. She said whatever I chose to share was completely up to me, but she did encourage me to at least explain that I have FMLA status, to at least help dispel any hard feelings about my absences. There was meeting later in the day, with everyone present- the CEO, HR, my boss, the therapist, case manager, and myself. It wasn’t just about me, either; the CEO wanted us (the three clinicians) to formalize a few things, rather than the informal format we usually have when we talk about groups and what direction we’re taking things on campus. We planned to start having a weekly clinical supervision, led by the therapist, which looks good on paper and also will give us a paper trail, which always makes CARF and the state licensing board happy.
So, everyone at the table has known about my illness for a while, except for the case manager, who just came on about a month ago. So I took the leap and clued her in, because I work in mental health, goddamnit, if anyone’s going to get it it’s going to be my coworkers. I had hinted that I had a chronic illness but she was sort of blown away with all of my actual problems, and seemed impressed at how stable I am.
And I am, really. When I think back to where I was two and a half years ago when I lost my job, and just how sick I was back then, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I can have a really bad day and come back swinging the next, rather than ending up down for a week. I still wonder at times about my future, but I’m trying not to let myself dwell on it. What happens, is what will happen. I’ll be ok.