My life has not been all that great in this busted economy, so I have taken to imagining that my life is ten times better than it ever was. In the evening, when I return home from a job I hate to a small apartment I despise to microwave a frozen dinner (the only kind I can afford) I imagine that I am wealthy, without a care in the world. Since all of my problems could be solved if only I had more money, these fantasies take me away from the cares of my real life. I love my fantasy life, and up until now it has kept me going in my real life.
A few months ago, my boss told me that she would be transferring to a different office and that I would have a new supervisor come summer. I like my old boss, and would have followed her to the out of state office where she transferred, except that there were no openings that covered relocation and I do not have the money to relocate. Do you see what I mean when I say that all of my trouble could be solved if I had more money?
My new boss is awful. I can’t stand working for her. She has no respect for anyone but herself. She came into the office and tried to change how everything is done; the first thing she did was fire all of the non-union employees so she could bring in her own people. My office is now filled with new people who are not nearly as pleasant as my old co-workers. On top of it all, my new boss came to work when she was sick and I caught her cold. This is where my problems get worse.
Since I was too sick to go to work, my doctor gave me a note to stay home. It was so nice not to have to go to work, and since I get paid sick time it did not impact me financially. When I got over my cold, I didn’t want to go back to work, so I lied and told the doctor I was still feeling fatigued and he wrote me out of work for another week. When that week was up, I still did not want to go back to the office so I told the doctor I was still not feeling well enough to return to work. I have [private disability insurance] so I still have money coming in to pay my bills even though I am not working.
My doctor has run all sorts of tests for various illnesses, from chronic fatigue syndrome to mono and all have come back negative. I don’t know how much longer I can stay out of work on medical leave, but the thought of going back leaves me feeling very depressed, especially since I have crawled further and further into my fantasy world since being home all this time. I have started to look for a better job, like I had before the economy went sour, but I am not having much luck. Can you think of any illnesses that I might ask my doctor to test me for, to keep me out of work just a little bit longer? Maybe until I can find a better job?
Dear Paradise Lost:
I think you might be suffering from a very real illness called clinical depression; if your doctor has not had you screened for it yet I suggest you come clean to him and ask for a referral to a mental health professional.
While having a fantasy life is not uncommon and is actually a healthy way to deal with life’s everyday stresses, regressing into that fantasy life at the cost of living your own reality is not healthy. Your life does not sound very enviable, but pretending to be sick in order to remain out of work on leave is not going to improve your prospects at all. What is worse, and extended illness could actually hurt your chances of finding a new job, should your current employer report on you when called for an employee reference.
If you are suffering from depression there are medicines and counselors who can help you to overcome the symptoms and help you to function outside of your fantasy world. By following a prescribed medical plan, you will be able to work towards making your fantasies a reality – but you have to take the first step and get tested! Depression is a treatable illness. You will not be sent back to work right away, and your bills will be covered by your medical insurance. Since depression is a documented disability, your private disability insurance should cover you while you work towards recovery. I know it is hard, but once you find the courage to do the right thing things will get easier. Please write back in six months or so to let me and my readers know how you are doing!
Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.