The thought I’ve been rolling around in my mind is the possibility of taking a short leave of absence from work. While of course this would be beneficial for my skin, I’m thinking of it more because of the divorce. TSW causes a lot of wonky things and erratic mood swings might be one of them, but I’ve had days where I feel I simply can’t go on and have to go sit in the restroom multiple times a day just to calm down.
Yesterday was one of those days and by the end of the day, I was absolutely CONVINCED that I was going to bring up taking a leave of absence. Actually thinking seriously that I could do that made me feel a lot better about things, giving me an ‘out’. Today I’m at work and I feel pretty okay – no snuffling into my keyboard, no locking myself in the bathroom stall for 15 minutes to stare teary-eyed into space and compose myself before I completely lose it. So I vacillate between “I can totally keep working, no problem, this is great, what a cushy job” to “I CANNOT CONTINUE OH LORD GIVE ME STRENGTH”, often multiple times in the course of a single day.
So there are pros and cons to taking a leave of absence from work:
Duh – the biggest one – I get to have time off of work to just sort of wrap my head around things. This will also benefit my skin. I’ll be getting more sleep, won’t have to endure any work stress, can take time to do more relaxing things, etc.
I’ll have to announce my leave (and why I’m taking it) to my boss and team. Also, because I’ve worked here a while and am known by almost everyone in the office, people are going to wonder where I am and I could easily see this turning into the entire office of hundreds of people knowing my divorce status. Which isn’t a big deal per se, but I don’t want people coming up to me apologizing, treating me differently, talking in hushed tones to me, etc.
If I take a leave, some of it is going to be unpaid. I’m saving a lot of money by living at my parents, but I still have to consider the loss of income. I think the time to regroup outweighs the loss in earnings, though.
It’s going to be super weird when I come back from the leave. Everyone will ask where I am, and I don’t want to have to explain divorce a million times.
I could also see going pretty crazy with being able to sit at home all day and obsess about my skin. I don’t itch a lot while working because it’s socially unacceptable to start scratching away and I can distract myself, but I itch out of habit ALL THE TIME at home.
And, I also wish I could foresee when the peak ‘badness’ of TSW will be – I would love if it coincides with taking a leave. But I have the uneasy thought – what if I take a leave for a couple weeks, come back, and then my skin decides to explode?
Have you ever taken a leave of absence from work or school for mental/emotional reasons? What was your experience with it helping you (or not)?
But, now I am 8 weeks in. About to enter the 3rd month soon. I’ve entered a new stage and that stage is resigned acceptance with this TSW thing.
I already went through the stages of doubt, denial, fear, and optimism. But now I’m completely used to having crappy skin every single day. I’ve had it for so long that it’s just a part of me. But I’m a little nervous because from what I’ve read, the 3rd/4th months can be really tough where a flare ‘peaks’, so we shall see. I’ve never had any concrete “peaks” so far, just periods where areas would gradually get worse and then gradually get better.
The bad news: Everything on my body is the same if not worse. The rash is creeping around my torso and might be spreading downward from my neck to my chest, because my chest has been really itchy lately and has a few rash spots on it.
The good news: I don’t itch so badly in the evening. The “itch attacks” I do have are less frequent and not so intense. My face looks slightly less like “Tired-looking girl with terrible red skin affliction” to “Tired-looking girl with blotchy and uneven complexion”. The skin on my face feels a lot softer, although by the end of the day it’s still dry and tight. I don’t get the “chills” so much any more. So I am glad to see those improvements!
New “symptoms” I’ve noticed, that I’m not sure if they are connected to TSW or not:
– I have had brief waves of really intense nausea for the past 2-3 nights.
– I have to think since TSW messes with so much of the body, it also affects hormones, because my monthly cycle is disrupted…it’s either going to be really late or not come at all.
But regardless – here is my optimistic thought for the day! Happiness CAN coexist with life stress, TSW, grief, anger, loss, chronic disease, and whatever else anyone can go through… just have to keep convincing ourselves of that!