After I had my breakdown at age thirty, I moved back in with my parents. I found I couldn’t function on my own. I would fall asleep driving to my temporary job. When at the job, I couldn’t even read. The words were all jumbled. I appeared competent. No one could see that I, a highly educated and articulate former professional woman, COULD NOT EVEN READ A SENTENCE.
So, to parents’ home and care, I returned. They were tremendously supportive and encouraged my recovery by giving me work to do and charging me room and board. The rent was more than I could earn doing odd jobs around the house. We drew up a promissory note with well-defined terms, including interest charged for the money I owed them. Once I was up for it, I got outside employment, starting as a temporary file clerk for a commercial real estate firm. What followed was a decade long career in commercial real estate. It was a welcome change, not emotionally draining as was helping severely emotionally disturbed youth, and it used my analytic and problem-solving skills. Still, I continued my pattern of overdoing it, working long hours and neglecting myself, leading to repeated burn out and cyclical depression. As a result, my résumé which you can find on LinkedIn lists numerous short stints at various jobs and in multiple career areas.
Soon after moving back home, I met my future husband, a civil engineer who didn’t own a car, just three motorcycles and a small plane. Not your average engineer. Interesting. Complex. He even spoke Mandarin. Three years after we met, we married and later had a son. Since both my son and husband are very private, I hesitate to write much of my life as wife and mother. I can say, though, that I found being home with an infant difficult. At the same time, I found being at work, away from him, heart-breaking.
After childbirth and a pregnancy that kept me bedridden for five weeks, I returned to the workplace on a part-time basis. My job, as always, grew, consuming more and more of my time, while my son needed me home with him. When I worked first two then three days a week, my sister and my husband would care for my son. By the time that my responsibilities demanded that I work four days a week until 7pm, I put my son in a loving home-based childcare setting. Every time I would leave my son at childcare, he would cry for a good one and a half hours. I visited him during my lunch hour, which meant that he we would cry again after lunch. It broke my heart. Finally, I decided to quit work and stay home with him full-time. But, this too, would not last.