I am having huge anxiety about going back to work. My doctor submitted official paperwork to my HR department suggesting I be out for 3 weeks to fully recover physically (done) and work on recovering emotionally (not even close to done). That means my first official day back would be next Monday 4/21. Every hour that passes brings me closer to next Monday and I'm finding it more and more difficult to suppress the rising panic I feel.
I wish I didn't have to go back. At all. Ever.
It's not because I don't like my job; while the actual work has gotten boring and stagnant (there's really nothing I can do about that unless I go back to school to get a masters degree in public health which I have no desire to do), I love my coworkers and have a pretty sweet gig going. I work from home 3 days/week and am in the office 2 days. I have great insurance and benefits and tons of autonomy and flexibility which certainly comes in handy when going through IF treatments.
In spite of the fact that many people would kill for a position like this, I wish I didn't have to go back.
I think there are three main reasons for my anxiety:
One: I now associate everything work-related with being pregnant with Petey. To be honest, I kind of stopped caring about work a while ago. Towards the end of last summer I became pretty consumed with getting pregnant and once I finally was, I just looked towards the future. I had a countdown going for days until my maternity leave; I would sit at my desk and daydream about how our lives would change once the baby was here; I used my breaks to research items for the registry and get ideas from my SAIF group... I don't know how I'm going to shut that part of my brain off once I go back to work, how I'll ignore it and be okay and actually be able to focus.
Two: I don't want to see or talk to people who know what happened. I'm afraid they're going to ask me questions about all of this. I'm afraid they're going to give me those pitying eyes all the time like I'm broken. I'm afraid I might find that I actually am broken. I'm afraid everything will make me cry or make me angry or make me break down and that I won't be able to hold normal conversations or be myself.
Three (and likely the REAL reason for my anxiety): Once I'm back at work, that's it. My "time to grieve" is officially over and everyone will assume I'm okay and I've "moved on". Petey will be forgotten by everyone but me and I will be expected (by others and by myself) to behave in a completely normal way at all times and not act (or be) sad or upset. I'll need to force myself to focus on external things again and care about my work. Honestly, I can't really see that happening right now. I am completely in my own little world currently and while I don't want to wallow, I also don't want to emerge from the comfort of it. I worry that there will be unexpected triggers everywhere when I'm actually in the office that will cause me to melt down, and I worry that on the days I'm working from home I won't be able to take off my "grieving mother" hat and put on my "I care about work" hat. I am consumed with my grief right now - how am I supposed to just switch it off because the date on the calendar says April 21st?
I'm afraid it's too soon. I'm afraid I'm actually in worse shape mentally/emotionally than I think I am and that LIFE will just be too much for me to handle. But honestly, I won't know what shape I'm really in until I start trying to move forward. So, I will start working again next week. My boss was very open to me starting up again just from home if I didn't want to come into the office, or working shorter days and gradually increasing my hours...
I guess it's time. I can't hide from the world forever. (Unfortunately.)