I’ve had the flu for a week. I’m a little slow on getting it together with blog/blog. Still, I’m working on it. Look out for new posts here tomorrow and on my YT channel! Thanks for sticking with me!
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
I happened upon this image today on the FibroArt Facebook page. It’s been a bit of an overwhelming period for me, and this image seemed to speak well to how the past few days have been. 🙂
Please, take the time out to visit and like their page. It’s a wonderful space that celebrates both art and survival.
Happy Monday, Everyone! I hope the weekend was pain-free & stress-free. Here is this week’s FibroArt piece, which was found on Pinterest (Fibromyalgia Inspirational…).
I believe this piece is titled “Lonely Girl in the Rain.” It’s a powerful image, and regardless of the original theme, I think it lends itself well to fibromyagia.
It’s super-easy to get bogged down in the reasons why having fibromyalgia sucks: you can’t do this, you can’t do that, etc., etc.
Well, how about focusing not on the moment that’s sucking the life out of you, but the possibilities of the next moments?
I’m usually big on being mindful to moment, but let’s be serious: there are some moments that it’s just not worth it. And reflecting on the past can be a double-edged sword. You can begin to mourn who or how or what you used to be, instead of focusing on the positives of the past.
So, it might just be useful to look forward to the unknown future. Allow yourself to dream your possibilities, and then…
let them go.
Yes, let them go. Whatever you imagine that you can or will do and that you can or will be, let it all go. Why? Because in letting go of having to do or be something, you begin welcoming freedom into your life.
Imagine not having to live up to anyone’s expectations, not even your own. Imagine not having to live in the shadow of your past self or in the pain of your present self. Can you imagine that? I can and do.
Now, when I imagine what I can/will (a.k.a. should be able to) do something, I take several steps back, and tell myself two words: do less.
For example, If I tell myself I can/will do 10 minutes of yoga, then I tell myself I shall do 5 minutes of yoga. If after 5 minutes, I can actually do more, then that’s a bonus.
In other words, challenge yourself to create opportunities for success.
Everyone needs that, especially we who have fibromyalgia.
Take small steps. Expect nothing of yourself. Celebrate everything that you do.
If you have fibromyalgia (or perhaps any chronic illness really), sometimes it may feel like you are in a constant war with your body. It doesn’t work the way you want it to. Perhaps you feel that you can no longer trust your body and that it has betrayed you–I know I felt like this for a really long time.
Over the past year, I’ve worked hard to come to terms with my body and its capabilities. I’ve come to realise that it’s not about what my body cannot do or can no longer do. It’s about what my body can do, and how I can change my thoughts and actions so that it can do more.
Having fibromyalgia has allowed me to slow my thoughts down to fall into step with my body.
Yes, I move slowly sometimes, and when I do I get the chance to see the world around me more. Yes, I am in pain sometimes, and when I am I get the chance to feel a heightened sense of empathy with those who are suffering around me.
There are many negative ways that you can spend time thinking about your illness. Still, who wants to live like that? 😉
I made a promise to myself that this year would be a body positive fibromyalgia year. Actually, every year from this point forward will be that.
I resolved to learn what are the positive ways that I can think about my illness…and its impact on my body.
So, love your body, embrace your illness, rebuild trust with your body and take one more step on your path to happiness.
You know what fatigue is when you can’t even get up to take a shower…