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Recovery blog

Putting My Health Before My Career

By: Julia C., Renfrew Alumna

Posted on August 13, 2018

I was a teacher for eight years. During that time I was very focused on my work and over that time my mental health started to deteriorate after years of being underappreciated at a poorly run school. Each year my eating disorder symptoms would get worse because I didn't know how to cope with my anxiety and the stress from school. I couldn't accept that something needed to change or I needed to make those changes myself.

I had wanted to be a teacher since I was 10-years-old. After several difficult years my passion was not what it used to be. I began to hate teaching. When I told my boss I would not be returning I did not get the response I would have liked. I told them I was struggling with an eating disorder, insomnia, anxiety and depression. Instead of showing me compassion, I was chastised for my decision to get help and how leaving would impact the hiring process.

This past year I've been working part-time for a private company. This job has been accommodating of my schedule especially when I had to take a leave of absence for residential program, followed by Day Treatment and Intensive Outpatient Treatment. I go to work every day for a few hours and I'm respected. The staff supports me and sees my hard work and dedication. After going through treatment at The Renfrew Center I have learned that my health comes before work, always.

For those who are in a similar situation as I was, I would encourage you to speak with your employers about making adjustments to your schedule even if it's for a limited period of time. My company was very considerate of my needs and how I needed to take time for myself. I gave my company periodic updates on how I was doing and when I would be returning to work. When I went back to work, I eased into it. I understand that not everyone can have this luxury. At the very least, I think it's important to make sure to attend appointments and to continue to practice self-care, especially after a long day at work or a difficult session in treatment.
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