Hi JoAnn -
I'm sorry you're having problems like these. I can really relate to what you're going thru tho. My underlying problems are a little different - psychiatric stuff, Lyme Disease - fatigue, malaise, cognitive deficits. But I understand what you're going through. I worked on the Space Shuttle boosters and also did cargo integration - a Master's and 35 yrs experience in aerospace (structures, fatigue, fracture mechanics).
I struggled the last 3 yrs I worked. Like you, I developed elaborate adaptive/ compensating things to get me thru the work week. Double and triple checking everything (and finding mistakes once in a while) and putting off decisions or turning in work til I felt more alert. It really takes a toll on you too. And adds to all the stress you already have.
I didn't expect to reach my limit where I did - but then I guess you can only work at max capacity for so long. I crashed physically and mentally and spent a few days in a psych unit. I have been off work ever since. It's very disappointing ... but when I look at what I was doing and how I felt .. well, it really wasn't safe. Just because nothing really bad happened during that period doesn't mean that what I did was a good idea.
Having been off work since last Dec., I'm really relieved that I don't have to go back to that situation. We're adjusting financially, and my LTD co. has contracted with an advocate co. to put me in for SSDI.
Anyways, I have a few suggestions. If your employer is large enough you're probably covered by Family Leave (FMLA). That will cover 3 months. Will your Drs support your short term disability? That will give you some time to work thru some things - and be free from all the pressure you're under. You already know that you can't continue to go on like you are now indefinitely. FMLA and Short Term will give you some time to figure things out.
After you've been out from underneath all the stress and pressure your'e feeling, you can work with your medical people to decide on Long Term Disability.
Something I would suggest is to get a formal neuropsychological exam. I went thru a neurologist and he actually ordered the exam. The neuropsych exam is actually a medical procedure and not a psychological test, and so it was covered by my insurance. You could check with your ins. to find out. The test itself is like a SAT test on steroids ( 7 or 8 hrs). They check all facets of cognition. Different tests look at verbal and math skills, short and long term memory (audio and visual), processing speed, problem solving, matrix reasoning, and more.
It was very worthwhile. What I thought was a memory problem was really a little different. While much was intact, there were major deficits in processing speed, problem solving, and matrix reasoning. And there is a literal IQ drop.
You could really use some more information about your situation. You don't want to give up too easily on your educational background and a job you really like. I think it would help you to have a neuropsych exam so you can see where/ what problems you may actually have with cognition. Having a realistic assessment of where you're at will make it easier for you to come to a realistic decision on your future employment.
On yeah .... I'm still not driving - really for the reasons you've given. The financial part will have to sort itself out. If I'm approved for SSDI then we'll definitely be looking at moving to a low cost of living area (but close to grandkids, so there is that).
I never expected to end up where I am now at 59. I have a lot of education and experience that I can't use now. But ... the overwhelming feeling I'm left with is relief ... that I won't be going back to a situation I'm really not capable of doing now. It's a huge relief that I don't have to be constantly alert for mistakes, double and triple checking everything, trying to work thru the days of brain fog. The consequences of mistakes I could have made involved costly repairs and flight safety.
Sorry if this has rambled. I'm too tired now to find any more typos. Please post how you're doing and any questions you may have. You can work thru this. The challenge is to reinvent ourselves to be as productive as possible. And you may yet be able to do work like you've been doing - but with different circumstances that will make it possible.
Lyme, anxitey, depression, chronic C. Pnuemoniae
"... expect the unexpected ..." (O. Wilde)
"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." (Mark Twain)