Mental Health Experiment With Self as Guinea Pig

Around the Memorial Day weekend, I did something I have never done before.  I worked 80 hours in 6 days to help with my company’s backlog from disaster recovery.  While working my 2nd job (because they urged me to stay when I tried to quit in desperation), while maintaining a rapidly growing yard (part of my rent), while single parenting.

I reached some sort of new frontier.  A place I could actually see my mind start to disintegrate.  It was a first, and not something I would like to repeat.   It was as if the distance between my computer screen and stepping into the real world became too wide, and every motion of my self in space slowed 100 times.

I am proud of myself for having made it through 5 months so far of 60-hour work weeks, and helping my hospital accounts get back on track with patient care and billing after the biggest calamity for my publicly traded company ever, last week.  Funny thing about doing an invisible job.  When you go AWOL for 2 days, everyone notices.  Suddenly people realize they cannot process billing for payment, cannot easily look up necessary notes for patient care or medication lists or do surgeries without noted preoperative clearance.

It made me take more pride and realize how important the work of medical transcription and editing of hospital documents is, and at the same time understand why I tend not think it is so terribly important. . . because any job where you have to work 60 hours per week to break $30,000 a year to support 2 people does not seem to be so terribly valued. . . in a society that measures value with money.

I am going to hang in there until my daughter’s orthodontia is paid for and possibly my first week of vacation in 5 years, but then all bets are off.   If a friend came to me and told me, “I think I’m going mentally loo-loo,” and I asked why, and they said “I work too much,” I would encourage them to seek balance in their life by working less.   It is a lot easier to say that to someone else when you are not responsible for their child or their needs.

But it is time for a change.  Who knows if I can work toward my heart vision of creating a nonprofit organization that will bring some real healing to people in hospital environments, while I live in dire poverty?  I don’t know what will happen.  I only know I do not want to see the place I was this week ever again.

About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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