Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Help! I am afraid to go back to work!

Ever since the day I entered kindergarten, I was a worker. While I was in school, I strove to excel. I had always wanted to be a doctor and knew that I had to be exceptional to get into medical school. So I didn't go to parties, I studied and read, and I learned anything and everything I could.

In college (Go Capital) I was a TA and LA for multiple science classes while carrying a full course load. I worked during the summer at the Summer Institute helping with Organic Chem lab (which I loved), lecturing for a few pre-labs, and tutoring. Sometimes I wish I had known how much I was going to love Chemistry; I would have majored in it rather than Biology, but that's another story entirely.

Then came medical school and residency. Learning medicine is in and of itself a full time job, and residency takes work to a whole new level. I started practicing medicine right after I graduated and practiced for another 5 years.

Then all hell broke loose. I got pregnant, lost my job, got in trouble for writing prescriptions for my husband's migraines, lost my license, and couldn't find a job to save my life. I was hospitalized twice for depression, in outpatient treatment three times, and have gone through countless hours of therapy. I essentially broke down. For the last five years I've been a housewife. Initially it was difficult but I've settled into a groove and have become comfortable.

The other day Tim asked me how much money I'd need to put together a proper work wardrobe. In other words, "since you can go back to work now, you need a wardrobe." The prospect of doing some serious clothes shopping is exciting; the idea of working fills me with dread.

I am bogged down with questions: what if, psychologically, I can't handle it? What if I've forgotten so much that I make serious mistakes? Everyone wants me to go back to medicine, but I don't want to practice, so what do I do? I haven't worked for 5 years; am I cut out for work anymore? I am so scared, no, make that terrified, that I become frozen in my tracks whenever I try to make a positive move in the work direction. And this from a former professional gal who was damn good at what she did.

So how do I get through this and move on? Any input would be greatly appreciated. I suppose my dream of supporting my family off of my blog isn't going to come to fruition, so that means I have to get a job outside of my house. How did you working moms handle the fear, if you had it?


LOVE MELISSA:) said...

I'm a dentist and had the same fears. It was very hard to go back to work but it will come naturally. Everyone says it's like riding a bike and this is so true. Good luck!

Jamie said...

What a tough situation, I know you'll find the answer that works for you.

Adelina Priddis said...

Is there any reason you must go back to work? Unless it was necessary I would continue to be a stay at home mom. But if it's a must, I would start slow. Decide where you will be most happy. Get into part time, and slowly move to full time. Good luck! You've been through quite a bit there.

Unknown said...

We fear the unknown. When depression and anxiety are a factor, this fear turns to dread. You really should consider meds to level you out and keep your situational anxiety under control until you find out first hand that YOU CAN DO IT! And that you can enjoy it and handle it and be successful at it too! I know that you can. You can handle more than you think and you may enjoy it once you get into the groove. I have faith in you.
(Hello from Bloggers Village)
jenny at dapperhouse

Andrea said...

I wish I had answers, but I know when the day comes I'll be right there with you with the same concerns. And I know you'll be able to be one who helps guide me! :)

Kate F. (@katefineske) said...

When you do what you love, things start to fall in place... it just doesn't happen over night. (At least that has been my experience?)

I never thought I would want to start working again... but then I did... do you want to work? Or do you need to work? It is scary (I know have a sitter 1 full day and 2 half days a week since I work from home and teach at a community college)... but if you want to do something, the only way to really do it is to force yourself to step beyond the "fear factor." Good Luck!

MariaS said...

That is a tough one. I went back to work after staying home with my son for several years once he got into preschool. I was dreading it too - I was scared to death too...and I made it through. It all comes back to you. I promise. I have since gone back to being a SAHM and blogging, but let me know if you need some one on one support - we can always chat through it! {Hugs}

Rachele said...

I agree that you need to find something you LOVE doing. Maybe in research instead of practicing...or maybe something completely different. Re-inventing yourself may provide excitement (along with fear) that will motivate you to achieve goals like when you were younger.

You can do it!

Quirky Homemaker said...

Wow! What a story. I can't help, though. I still stay at home. Like you, I don't think my blog is going to end up paying for much. My husband is trying to put a bug in my ear about going back to work, too. But, I think it would be detrimental to my family. So. . . We'll see though. I might really want a job once both kids are in school full-time. My mind might change. Is there any chance you could wait until your child(ren) are in school full time?

Maryann's Mama Tales said...

Is there a refresher program available? Or perhaps switch specialties like someone mentioned earlier.

Sheri said...

Isn't it a horrible feeling. Depression and anxiety can make things looks so much worse than they are and make you doubt who you really are. It is true, it will come back but until you take that first step towards finding that job that is right for you, you won't know...scary and so hard to do.

I don't have any great advice but I too have been there and that first step is so so hard but worth it when you realize you can and will do it just fine.

Do what is right for you as far as what you pursue. You are the one taking the leap, make sure your feelings are first...hugs! I too am here if you need to talk.

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