Dec 09, 2009
I live in Northern California, am a retired RN, graduating in 1959. Most of my experience was in psychiatry/medicine working with an acute high risk, uncooperative, often violent, difficult demographic in the East Bay Area of San Francisco, Calif.
There was chaos, danger, drama, one never knowing what was coming next, and I loved/hated it.
It was familiar, sad to say. I grew up in an abusive setting with a rageaholic, physically punitive mother, sexually molesting step-father. In that setting also, I never knew what was coming next.
Upon finishing my schooling, I married a young German immigrant man I met at U.C. Berkeley.
Over the years, he evolved into an abusive, raging/profane, alcoholic, and womanizer. I had no idea how to 'handle' this situation, and made a mess of it in my ignorance and denial.
My two children suffered terribly. In that sort of scenario, no one is in charge. The alcohol is. My life revolved around attempting to 'fix' him, running interference/damage control when he was abusive to our beautiful children. I withstood this for seventeen years, finally summoned courage to walk away, even leaving my teen-aged children who were also abusing drugs and alcohol, and out of my control at this point.
It was the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life.....leaving my children. I am happy to report that children and I are now close and loving, those days behind us except in painful memory.
Now, years later, I find I need rest, and lots of it. Had no idea how exhausted/burned out I was until I quit. As the song goes, I was "running on empty,' for the last decade of my work life. Life consisted of either work or rest, with no energy to pursue other activities.
As so often happens, the stress of my job led to multiple auto-immune conditions: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, essential hypertension, skin rashes, headaches, and more. Ten years in Alanon was enormously helpful. I gained understanding, compassion, and best of all, I met myself, heard my own story over and over. I was not alone.
Now retired, I still crave sleep, quietude, peace, and solitude. The good news is, I can skillfully meet those needs.