If you suffer from fibromyalgia (or think you do) and work full-time, there may be moments when you wonder if you can handle it all, especially if are also raising a family.
Having fibromyalgia can mean seemingly endless doctors visits, medication changes, debilitating symptoms, and unrelenting worry. For some, living with fibromyalgia can mean loss of relationships, financial stability, and even self-esteem.
Although awareness of fibromyalgia as a legitimate illness is steadily growing (FMS Awareness Day is May 12th), misunderstandings remain about the severe impact of this illness upon those who suffer it.
Approximately 4 years ago, I decided to temporarily retire from my profession as an art therapist. It was not an easy decision. Some even told me that I was downright “dumb” for leaving my work. Still, I knew that it was the best decision for me. Although the journey from that point has been tremendously difficult at times, to this day, I have never regretted that decision.
When to Stop
First, deciding to quit or retire from your job or profession is only a decision that you can make. No one else knows what is happening within your body. No one else knows the level of stress that you experience and the toll it takes on you physically, psychologically and emotionally. Please, remember that.
Of course, there are somethings to consider when making that decision:
1. Do you really have to quit?
- It may be possible to find a way to modify your responsibilities, so that you may be able to work from home. I suggest immediately contacting Human Resources and finding out what accommodations can be made for you.
- Perhaps taking a Medical Leave of Absence might be helpful for you, i.e., to give your body and mind a break.
- Switching to part-time work, either temporarily or permanently, may be another solution.
I cannot stress the following enough: do not leave your job without first trying to find ways to adapt. If you must, however, then consider the following:
2. Do you have a way to support yourself?
- Take a hard look at your finances: debt, savings, current checking, pension plan, etc. How long can you survive with what you have?
- Get creative. It’s not enough to simply decide to quit, you have to consider how you can continue to support yourself, even if it is in some very small way. Do you have a hobby that you can turn into a business?
- Get minimalist. If you don’t need it, sell it. Make every weekend a yard sale. Ask your friends to contribute items to be sold. Add that money to your nest egg.
- Get humble. Consider yourself a prideful person? Do you have the words independent to a fault tattooed boldly on your body? Well, chuck all that aside. Remember that family and friends love you dearly and will help you if you simply ask. Okay, perhaps not all of them, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Again, it’s no simple thing to decide to become unemployed or under-employed. If you have a spouse and/or children, it may be even more complicated.
When should you stop working? In my opinion, you should stop when you have no choice but to stop. You stop when the idea of working is more painful than the idea of being unemployed. At least, that is how I decided.
Next Time: When to Start