Last week I marked the 2-month mark of being back to work after my FND diagnosis. I'm an educator and school counsellor that's thankful to have found the just right position that's well-suited to my needs. It's exciting to return to the work I'm passionate about in a new capacity, with a new attitude, and even a new Functional Neurologic Disorder diagnosis.
I'm stronger, more resilient, and setting better boundaries than ever before. Once I learned that I was to be placed in a school where the work culture would be supportive under the leadership of an administration that creates open conversations around mental health and wellbeing for all; I can finally be my authentic self: compassionate, honest about my strengths and challenges and it's been exciting to return as a school counsellor, passionate about mental health advocacy.
Now, instead of holding my stress in my body and feeling that my best wasn't enough, I hold my head high.
I am enough, I am strong, I am resilient and have courage. My best is enough. The work I complete by day's end is enough and satisfying. I can confidently say at the end of my day:
I've done a good job today!
Yes, I made some mistakes. Yes, I took responsibility for my words and actions. No, I didn't get everything done, meet everyone's needs, or solve the problems of the universe.
I did what I could and am satisfied with my efforts. It's taken a lot of hard work, therapeutic reflection, honesty, learning new inter-personal skills, emotional regulation
strategies and practicing distress tolerance skills. It's my job to mindfully practice these new tools I've learned. I choose to put them into action when I'm managing something HARD. I practice showing self-compassion , taking care of the body I'm learning to love, and show up for myself with authenticity, compassion and to accept that what I bring to my role as school counsellor is enough. I bring wisdom and experience, leadership, expertise and more. My mental-health journey over a seven year period though complex physical health challenges to finally learn what was wrong with me supported my well-being and made me the resilient human I've always longed to be. I've learned that I will live the rest of my life with Functional Neurologic Disorder. There's no cure and that's okay!
I've GOT THIS 💚
...even when I have to manage what's hard.
...and when I don't I know that I'm a child of God, have a loving family, friends and colleagues, that I deserve to seek out the medical practitioners, who can see me as the WHOLE, Honest, Worthy Human that I am, who is enough, who will support me with helpful strategies and tools when I struggle. I'm human and we all struggle at times with our mental health. I choose to prioritize my mental health and my well-being and mental health are simply on a continuum. Some days the wheels are falling off the bus, others I sparkle and am fuelled by joy. Most days we are all juggling life somewhere in between the two. We're stronger together.
"I'm not alone and neither are you!"
There is a whole community of compassion available. I'm capable of doing my job, even when I struggle with functional symptoms. It will be okay. Help is available. I can self-advocate fiercely to meet my needs. I am a confident, capable human, who has a passion to give back as well as to work and earn a living with confidence. I want to talk about my journey to wellness. I have value and am good at my job. I have a strong desire to come alongside my hard-working colleagues and support my school community and students. I choose to initiate conversations about mental-health in my place of work and to talk about the tough stuff.
I continue to celebrate and give thanks for my second chance at a joyful life and with a commitment to love my strong body and mind for what it's taught me.
I will talk about the importance of mental health in the overall equation that is:
health & wellness. Questions? Comments? Please leave your thoughts below. Are you struggling with heading back to work with a mental health diagnosis? I'd love to hear from you, lift you up and support your 'Back to Work" journey and well-being. 🙏