I’ve become very good at powering through in my life. It’s the hazard of what I do. I’m married to a Marine. This means that when it comes right down to it, most of everything we do is my responsibility to keep up on. So whether it’s the dogs that need to be cared for or bills that need to be paid, life has to move forward regardless of what I would rather do.
This same attitude applies to my job. In an ER, there isn’t “down time.” If you are caught up on patient treatments and don’t have anything you can do for the list of triages waiting because the doctor hasn’t put up orders yet, there is always blood to clean off of something and stocking to be done. In fact, even when you aren’t caught up, there is blood to clean off of something and stocking to be done. There isn’t really an option to view yourself as unimportant. The entire team relies on each other, so calling in sick means you will be sorely missed.
This all boils down to my life motto: Power through. It’s not the healthiest motto by any means. It means that sick, tired, injured, depressed, whatever I may be, I wake up everyday and power through. Carpal tunnel and cubital syndrome included.
I have become SOOOO good at this mantra that no matter what it is, I have a hard time asking for help. A very hard time. I know that if I ask for help and someone doesn’t follow through, then I’ll have to do it anyway so it tends to be easier for me just to have the expectation that I will. But this kind of life lived in this way gets lonely very quickly.
Lonely may not be the correct word. But while the rest of the world is relying on you to hold it up and keep it turning, you have no one to rely on when you are too tired to keep going. It means that I spend much of my time writing emails to friends in need, taking time out of my day to help them and trying not to complain. So much so that I struggle to tell people when I can’t. I might be a bit of a people pleaser, but more than anything, I want to help people and be there for them because I know exactly how hard it is to feel like you have no one.
Powering through might be the worst habit you can ever develop. It leads to a feeling of never being able to let the world down. And it means that, while I am in constant pain, I have a hard time saying no. It also means that I only have one friend strong enough to tell me how it is. And the number one thing she text messages me when I ask her a question is, “It can wait. Take a break. Your life will still be there waiting tomorrow.”
And it will. Whether I believe it or not.