Ending My Hiatus

  1. I'm ending my detour!

I’ve been on an unofficial hiatus for almost a year now, but it’s time for that to end. Without going into too many details, I have experienced several health-related setbacks over the last year. When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I handled the changes in my life and energy levels fairly well. As incidents of stress increased in frequency, severity, and duration in my life, however, the combined impact of that stress and my fibromyalgia took a greater toll on me.

Bouts of illness and depression followed. These experiences made my work outputs in inconsistent and unreliable. Subsequently, I faced situations where I could no longer keep promises I had made. When this started, a lot of people were relying on me for a lot of different things. Clients relied on me for quality and timely work, which I could no longer consistently produce. My family relied on me for earned income and daily needs; and I couldn’t consistently provide either one.

The house of cards that had been relatively secure when I was feeling healthy started toppling down. The cards kept falling faster than I could rebuild them. The more I tried to rebuild, the less energy I had to maintain the remaining cards. Finally, in December 2015, my house of cards collapsed entirely.

The stress was unbearable. The last few months I have experienced repeated illnesses, one after another. While my husband and my children also experienced these illnesses, they recovered more quickly and they did not get each of the illnesses that invaded our home. But my ability to fight back was nearly depleted.

During much of this time, I was unaccustomedly idle, but I wasn’t completely idle. I couldn’t work, because I couldn’t concentrate. Between the physical and mental weaknesses I was experiencing, I could barely manage to do the simple things—like washing, drying, folding, and putting away laundry in a timely manner. I began to gauge my ability to concentrate by playing Minesweeper. Usually, I can maintain at least a 70% success rate, but I was getting down to a 30% success rate before I’d just clear the tracker and try again. I just couldn’t concentrate!

But I could think. Slowly, I figured out where I went wrong and how I could fix it. I found ways that, when my strength was restored, I could work without risking the same broken promises I’d failed to keep before. I could reset my priorities and shuffle around how I tried to accomplish things. Now, finally, I’m back up to my 70% success rate and I’m getting back to work. I’m still not wholly recovered from these experiences, but it is definitely time to bring my hiatus to an end.

About the Author

Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie Allen Crist is a writer, advocate, and marketer. Stephanie’s first two books, Discovering Autism / Discovering Neurodiversity: A Memoir and First Steps: Understanding Autism, are available now.

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