Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The (koff, koff) Mental Health Day

Is it a sin to take a sick day when you're not....quite.....sick?

It's compelling to re-examine ALL aspects of one's life when you fall in love with Jesus Christ and His Body, the Church. In that first happy rush in a deeper conversion experience, you tend to take care of tithing, not sassing your mother, not stealing office supplies, no nooky outside of marriage, you know, the big stuff.

The little things take years to be illuminated. Recently, I thought about the unkindness of not letting someone into traffic, even if they are big pig hogs who should have seen the "merge" sign two miles ago. Then there's the issue of ANY gossip or repeating of knowledge, not lying, truth-telling but about things that are not mine to repeat, much less spend any time judging or regarding.

Here's the latest little spark in the stubble: if I have separately defined vacation, sick and personal days, and only unused vacation days can roll over to the next year, and I plan to use all my vacation and personal days, but next week one day I wake up over-tired, can I take a "sick day" because I don't feel "well?"

I don't have diphtheria, I just didn't sleep well, I worked too hard at home or at work. I know my work is caught up and I won't inconvenience a customer or a co-worker. I really DO feel crummy, but I have no temperature. I will probably spend the day doing laundry, making soup and sun tea, napping on the couch and enjoying "Martha Stewart Living" and "Jeopardy!"

Is this moral? Should I submit to Caesar, who has power only because God has given it to him, and take only the time Caesar has rendered unto me? Or can I shift the definition of "sick" to suit my needs?

If it's moral, then it would be better not make up any illnesses, wouldn't it? The excuse could be limited to "I don't feel well," which is probably enough detail for the boss. I know that in my managerial life, I've heard WAY too many details about people's visits to the bathroom in the middle of the night when staffers have called me to report they're sick.

I think I know the answer, but I might be slicing this too fine....


Stella said...

I have wondered about this too. I'm a hard worker and tend to over do it every once in a while to where all I want to do is sit on the couch and listen to the Beach Boys or watch re-runs. It's the "I feel yuck" syndrome. I call it sick. Calling in sick and taking off to Bermuda is another thing. . .

Therese Z said...

You bring up something I almost added to the post: what I would DO with the day off. You said "going to Bermuda" and I agree, I would not plan a shopping-and-manicure day with my friends, no organized fun.

I'm still thinking about this, though, as an issue of submission to authority as a practice of holy meekness.

Deborah said...

I've learned that when our bodies send us messages, we should listen.
Mental health is important, too.
The question is, would you be effective at work? Would you feel worse afterward? And don't forget that rendering unto Caesar is one thing, but Caesar WAS a dictator.
As we age, we can do more harm than good for ourselves if we keep pushing too hard and ignore the signals of "timeout."
I'd rather have a colleague stay home on a "crummy-feeling" day than have she/he deplete their emotional/mental/physical reserves to the point where they get so sick they cannot work for long periods.
I ignored all my warning signs and even volunteered for OT all the time, till my mind and my body took matters into their own hands (more likely it was God's decision here) and I'm finally getting the help I've needed for a long time.
You obviously do not abuse the system. So take care of yourself and don't feel guilty. Jesus would tend gently to you, not demand that you suffer. Remember he's a healer, and doing his will just might mean caring for yourself sometimes in situations such as these.
God bless you and ease your mind and your body.
Debbie King

Therese Z said...

I think we've come up with an answer: it's okay to take a sick day without having a temperature. BUT, it would be really wrong to say we had a disease we didn't have; limiting it to the truth, that we didn't "feel well," would be enough.

On to the next sin....

TS said...

Mental health days are a very difficult line to draw. At what point is it real and at what point Memorex? I really don't know.



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