So on Friday I pretty much flipped out about the hair thing. It didn't help that I felt too terrible to go to work - that doesn't exactly set the scene for calm rational thinking about my health. And really, it just seems that my body has to be fairly taxed to not even want to deal with having hair. It's upsetting.
And it got me to thinking. That I really shouldn't be killing myself over this stupid job. Not that I didn't know that before, because I did. I've known for a long time that the more stress I'm under, the less healthy I'll be, and that the job is a major source of my stress. But this is easily the most tangible evidence I've found so far that the stress is taking a real physical toll. Of course I have stress coming from elsewhere in my life: my family, maintaining a relationship, organizing a wedding, et cetera. But I must say, most of the time the job accounts for as much stress as everything else combined... and then some.
So, I did something about it. Sort of. Maybe. On Monday, after a long weekend of traveling and not feeling too great and waking up with migraine reverberations again, I decided it was time. Once I finally got into work, I found the two attorneys that I primarily work with and sort of laid it out for them. That in the past month or so, I get hives every time I shower, that my migraine episodes are becoming more frequent and more severe despite doubling my medication not long ago, and that I seem to be in the beginning stages of TMJ. (Thursday I couldn't really chew solid foods. It was awesome. That's not all that's happened; it's been a constant issue for several weeks now - just the most acute instance.) And that from everything any of my heath professionals can tell me and everything I can look up, the source of all of these problems is stress. Therefore, to the extent possible, the stress has got to stop.
This was a very difficult conversation. These women are my friends, so I feel relatively comfortable sharing these details of my health with them. Except that to face that these things are happening and making such an impact on what I'm able to do is really quite difficult. Basically, I'm having to face the fact that I am functionally sicker now than I was two years ago. This despite being on higher doses of existing medications, as well as being on an additional prescription. It makes me feel sad and scared (and somewhat inadequate, though I'm still far from it) to say to my employers, "I cannot do what I used to do." I am not inadequate, however. I just can't play superwoman anymore.
It is what it is. It's better to tell them this - to admit this - than to push myself and make myself even sicker. That will not make me any better. Getting more work done for them can't be my primary goal. I have to have something left for me, or what's the point?