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I'm going back to work. Again.


Night Elf
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I quit December 16th, just two days before I went back to my treatment center for my eating disorder. I wasn't sure I'd ever work again, but I really miss being there. So I talked to my treatment case manager about setting boundaries with my coworkers and I'll talk to my therapist about it as well tomorrow. She won't be as happy. She wants me in treatment, 5 days a week, for the next 2 months. My case manager said it's not good to stay in program too long. She's ready to cut back my hours now so she told me to work out a schedule with my store manager and then she (case manager) will adjust my program days. 

Yes, this is the thrift store where I had some problems. My coworkers don't believe I have a problem I can't fix on my own. They think I shouldn't be in treatment. And although I prefer part-time work, my hours always creep up so I'm working full time. I hate that! So I need to discuss that with my store manager as well and tell her I just flat out cannot work full time. She's happy I'm coming back and said she'd take any time she can get. 🙂

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Ugh.  I hope that your coworkers and boss are different now.  That is about as all I can say.  I don't think they were good for you before and I couldn't believe that they were saying the things they did to you.  Major lines being crossed.  

I hope it is a positive place for you and a supportive environment. 

All the hugs and good thoughts to you.  I am glad you are getting treatment. 

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I think setting boundaries will be key, so hopefully your case manager and therapist will offer helpful guidance about that. I think it's likely healthiest for your eating issues and other therapy to be topics you don't discuss at all with your co-workers. I realize that when it's a work atmosphere where people freely share personal thoughts and opinions, that that can be fun and friendly. But also it makes it easy for boundaries to be crossed. I wonder if your therapists can help you come up with a phrase or two that you can pull out and use to signal that you won't talk about certain things.  Such as, "Thanks for your concern, but I'm not going to discuss those issues at work any more." And a follow up, if they press you to talk, "It's nothing personal, but I'm not going to talk about that."

Or whatever you decide. I find it's helpful for me to have some phrases that I've practiced, so that I'm not caught by surprise.

I'm glad that you will stay connected with your therapy, even after you start working again.

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I actually had set up some boundaries before I quit last December. I told everyone that my eating disorder was no longer a topic for conversation. The only reason it was brought up recently was when I visited 2-3 weeks ago, they asked me how things were going. Then they all started in on their 'this is your choice to stop' and 'you don't need treatment' and 'we can be more effective therapists than the ones you're paying for.' Once I start tomorrow, if my ED is brought up at all, I will just say I don't want to talk about it. I'm coming to work to get away from my thinking about my ED. They all agree on that one point at least. I think they'll honor my boundaries.

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2 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Ugh.  I hope that your coworkers and boss are different now.  That is about as all I can say.  I don't think they were good for you before and I couldn't believe that they were saying the things they did to you.  Major lines being crossed.  

I hope it is a positive place for you and a supportive environment. 

All the hugs and good thoughts to you.  I am glad you are getting treatment. 

Thank you. My DH is a bit concerned as well but my store manager is my close friend and if I have any serious problems, I can count on her to help me out. She already stuck up for me once so I know she'll do it again. She has opinions too but somehow they're easier to hear from her. But she's also respectful so I don't think I'll have a problem. It's really our two volunteers that give me the most grief. One is a Board Member and the other has been there for 6 years, so neither of them are going anywhere. They're the ones I need to watch out for. I know they care for me a great deal. I honestly believe they think they're helping me when they're saying those things. One thing that will be helpful is sharing the food they bring in. I always avoided it but my treatment team is trying to get me to be more open and less restrictive about food. I think the two volunteers just didn't like that I wasn't eating what they brought in. They usually fixed me a plate and brought it to the register for me. I'll be better about that now. My eating has greatly improved.

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5 minutes ago, Night Elf said:

I actually had set up some boundaries before I quit last December. I told everyone that my eating disorder was no longer a topic for conversation. The only reason it was brought up recently was when I visited 2-3 weeks ago, they asked me how things were going. Then they all started in on their 'this is your choice to stop' and 'you don't need treatment' and 'we can be more effective therapists than the ones you're paying for.' Once I start tomorrow, if my ED is brought up at all, I will just say I don't want to talk about it. I'm coming to work to get away from my thinking about my ED. They all agree on that one point at least. I think they'll honor my boundaries.

I think it's going to be very difficult to set boundaries with these people. Is there some reason you can't look elsewhere for a part-time job?

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43 minutes ago, hippymamato3 said:

I think it's going to be very difficult to set boundaries with these people. Is there some reason you can't look elsewhere for a part-time job?

I’m glad to hear your treatment is going well, and I do hope your coworkers will be respectful of your boundaries. From what you’ve said, though, I don’t think it’s likely that they will. Possibly looking for a part-time job somewhere else would be healthier for you.....I’ve worked at many jobs over my lifetime, and can’t think of anytime a coworker would have fixed me a plate of food and been offended if I didn’t eat it. In my experience, that is not typical workplace behavior. 

Edited by HSmomof2
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Listen to your therapist over the caseworker.  The therapist is the one who is best to help you with this decision.  
 

As others have said, you need to look at employment somewhere else.  This place is not a good environment for you and the past has shown that boundaries don’t work there. 

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Are jobs hard to find where you are at?  It sounds so toxic, especially for someone in the place you are currently in your journey.  Seems like a fresh start where people don't know your story to offer their 2 cents might be helpful.    Good luck to you and your continued health.

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Don't worry, my job is sort of like a trial run. My store manager asked me to come back for the 2 weeks she's out for surgery. She'll really need me there because I know how the store runs as much as the other assistant manager. I am sure I'm not  going back in a managerial position though. Anyway, her surgery is within the next month. The idea is to work until she's back and then we'll make a decision based on how things are going.

Yes, I could look for another job but as much as these women have crossed lines, I love them and I know they love me. We've had so much happen together. Even though they've said some things that seemed over the line, they have been very supportive. I mean, what other job would put up with my changing my schedule every 5-6 weeks and quitting 3 times? I start getting burned out and lower my hours and then they start creeping up again and I get burned out, repeat cycle. This time I'm telling Carol up front that she cannot increase my hours as we both know I fall apart. And if I really did reach burnout, I have been known to take a week off just to relax. I just don't think I can find another job with the same benefits as this one. I've learned how to cope with my coworkers. Like, when they start talking politics they don't say anything when I walk away. The truth is since I'm up front and everyone else is in the back rooms, I don't interact with them as much as I'd like. 

Anyway, I appreciate the concern and it may be that you all turn out right, in which case I'll quit again and tell Carol that job is just wrong for me. As for the moment though, I'm way excited to be returning. I've missed the people but I've really missed my regular customers. They've all asked after me and my coworkers have just told them I'm taking some personal time. I miss running the front of the store and running the register. I miss sorting out and pricing jewelry and keeping the other cabinets looking nice. I miss working with one of our volunteers on keeping the special purses display full. I had the responsibility of that case. I know they've changed some things since I was gone, but it's all going back to the way I like it. I doubt Carol will say anything. I ran the front of that store extremely well. I have a system and I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

And I did talk to my therapist about it last Tuesday and once we discussed potential problems, she did agree it would be good for me to try again. I decided to hold off a week until I met with my treatment case manager just to make sure she was on board. I told her I didn't want to rush my treatment but she said their center is never in the business to keep people from getting back to life. She was very excited at my wanting to find a way to stop thinking about my eating disorder and she knows that work does distract me. 

I also talked to my dietitian. That may sound funny but we've become like friends over the last 13 months so I wanted her opinion. She also likes the idea. She did talk to me about skipping meals and snacks when I get too busy. She wants me to continue following my meal plan. I've been meal compliant  for 27 days and that's the longest I've ever gone so she said she's hopeful.

 

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