I have no idea who I am any more. That’s what POTS has done to me. Or, what I’ve allowed it to do.
When I was a younger child and a teenager, I wanted to be an actress. My parents both performed, and I enjoyed it. I was a good student, and I liked acting. When I went away to college, I realized acting was more of a fun hobby than a career for me, and I became very interested in social services. Being a student and working in the helping professions was part of my identity for a long time.
Then, I had my son. Being a mom, student, and employee was my identity. I married my wonderful second husband, and being a wife became an important part of who I was, too. Then, I finished graduate school for counseling. For many years now, I’ve defined myself as a mom, wife, and counselor. Those three things have been so important to me. Today, I received an e-mail from the Connecticut Counseling Association about their conference – a conference I can’t attend, and don’t NEED to attend, because I’m in no position to finish my hours toward counseling licensure. That stung.
My son is 18 now, so I feel like “mom” is a small part of my identity. And I’m not sure how much longer I can hold onto my job with this illness, because it’s hard for me to string together enough good days to be able to hold down a full-time gig. So my identity as a counselor and employee may be coming to and end. I’m a wife, and I love my husband, but I’m debilitated up from my POTS symptoms so frequently, I feel like I’m more of a drain on this marriage than a decent wife.
Aside from being a mom, wife, and counselor, I was considered family organizer and administrator, too. I took care of my father’s medical appointments, banking, medication refills…anything administrative. For most of my life, I’ve been the family go-to person. I still am to some degree, I suppose.
Who am I going to be for the rest of my life? I’m barely a mom and wife, and my career is in the toilet. If this is as good as it gets, I feel like I have little to offer and have little value as a person. I realize that sounds a little dramatic and very negative, but that’s how I feel today. I promised myself with this blog, I’d write the unvarnished truth.