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Jobs have always felt too much for me

(28 Posts)
BigCuddlyGorilla Wed 09-Oct-19 16:31:40

Hi all

Ds is still primary school age and I’m looking, after several years of being a SAHM, to dip my toe back in to the world of work by volunteering. I’ve always wanted to do it but now that I’m on the verge of starting a volunteering place I’m having my usual terrible anxiety.

I’ve always found jobs hard to cope with. There’s been a couple that have been alright but they’ve been low stress with v nice people. Any kind of work issues/ pressure/ office politics crap has always been too much. I’ve had a long history of anxiety and depression and in the last five years I’ve also been diagnosed with a visual syndrome and fibromyalgia which causes a lot of pain. Two of my relatives have died and I’ve had to go NC with my mother as I had a breakdown due to facing up to my childhood abuse in therapy.

I really want to be useful and feel like I’m contributing but I feel overwhelmed with the day to day let alone work as well.

Orangeblossom78 Wed 09-Oct-19 16:43:27

I can totally relate to this. Feeling the same after some years at home. I tried teaching before having DC and had to leave my induction year due to stress related illness, also have the fibro after surgery now and with my youngest in final year at primary there will be more time next year.

I am currently on health benefits also but will be reviewed next September which is a horrid process and want to try working then if possible, considering something like shifts in a quiet shop perhaps. Part time.

Orangeblossom78 Wed 09-Oct-19 16:44:58

I am thinking also about the day to day and wondering if can delegate some to the DC / DH more especially as DC getting older, also cutting it down perhaps and having more short cuts / lower standards really. hmm

BigCuddlyGorilla Thu 10-Oct-19 07:06:47

@Orangeblossom78 hello fellow fibro person!
I was also receiving health benefits (pip) until last year when the review came up and then they decided I couldn’t have them anymore. I should have appealed but I was too chicken. I have just reapplied though because I can’t even pick something up off the floor and I don’t understand why they suddenly decided differently. Were you getting pip?

Was awake until half midnight anxious about this volunteering, thinking about what if they want me to bend to get something or grab something from low down and I have to be a pain and say I can’t, what if my fingers are really painful that day and I can’t type, what if my back is killing me, also what if ds is off school sick because he is generally off a lot due to asthma.

Urgh. No idea what to do.

Weatherwaxed Thu 10-Oct-19 08:34:40

What sort of charities are you wanting to volunteer for? Or what sort of work do you want to do?
I volunteer for 2 charities. One is a social role where I host meets in the places I choose, the other is a part social host thing, but I'm also the secretary. The secretary bit involves lots of computer use but no more than 3 hours a week.

Orangeblossom78 Thu 10-Oct-19 08:44:11

They did the same with me for PIP at review but I started to appeal and they phoned and apologised and gave it back again. But now, I worry it is almost of putting as if they feel you are working or even volunteering they might use it against you. I'm also getting ESA but I have a bowel condition also.

I understand what you mean about the pain and difficulty with reliability etc and if it flares up etc. It's not easy. Maybe something flexible would be good. At the moment I am doing self care things like aqua aerobics or yoga while the DC are at school. It does help being out of the house although it is hard to make the effort at times. I am also considering maybe doing some sort of course possibly online (but the screen can not be good at times)

BooksAreMyOnlyFriends Thu 10-Oct-19 08:59:18

Are you able to drive? You could volunteer to take elderly people to appointments or be a driver for a hospice to collect relatives for visits. We have a local 'neighbours' fb page which organises that sort of thing. Sometimes volunteers have to bow out due to illness or other responsibilities and other volunteers will fill in, so the pressure isn't too much.

If you don't drive they also ask for people to visit the elderly as companions, help with pets, dog walking etc. You could involve your ds in that too.

Local hospitals and doctors surgeries love volunteers too. Our local surgery use them for the flu jab clinics.

Or how about at ds school? I used to go in to listen to readers and it was probably the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. Even an hour a week is a huge help to school and they won't mind if you can't be regular they just love any help x

BigCuddlyGorilla Thu 10-Oct-19 09:08:48

@Weatherwaxed I would love to work for an animal or children’s charity. I’m quite a socially anxious person so the sort of things you’re doing, while they sound awesome, wouldn’t work for me really.

@Orangeblossom78 yes I know what you mean. I haven’t worked in ten years so I don’t know who I’d fare health wise in the office environment, all I know is that using my phone for a while hurts my fingers so I imagine typing would also, things like that. I think you are allowed to work with pip, but maybe I’ve got that wrong.

@booksaremyonlyfriends I can drive a short distance but if I needed to help someone into my car it would likely cause pain. I thought about doing the visiting thing but I worry about letting people down if I feel unwell.

I did do the school helping once or twice. Unfortunately there is a lot of bitching and fallouts between the staff though and half of them aren’t talking to each other which put me off going back. (Also I’ve actually had to put complaints in about the school a few times!)

Weatherwaxed Thu 10-Oct-19 09:19:12

Hi OP. Ok so my examples won't work for you.
Could you find something to do at home, on your own terms and in your own time?
It could also be worth finding local charities and asking them what thet could use you for. Explain what you want from a volunteering role, why you like that charity, what your physical limitations/concerns are and your need for flexibility and then go from there.

Grinchly Thu 10-Oct-19 09:24:06

I would love to be able to doss around at home as well. I loathe office politics. I have caring responsibilities. I am anxious and depressed.

Unfortunately I have to support myself, despite suffering a number of debilitating and stressful health conditions. So, you know, I just put my big girl,pants on and do it.

I'm aware this sounds unkind OP, but your post really annoyed me.

Raindrops2019 Thu 10-Oct-19 09:31:24


Could you offer to help with reading in your child's primary school? When you sit and listen to a child read?

All they need is someone who will sit next to each child and listen to them read for about 5 minutes and then write down the name and date of the reading in the child's reading book. You could tell them you could be there for an hour/two hours that way you don't have to go into the staffroom or talk to staff until you are comfortable. It is a nice, gentle role and in a school, once the day kicks in, the focus will be on the children, not you.

It may help you to realise how vital this role is in some schools. My assistant readers were invaluable to me (two retired nurses). The children love them as they get one-on-one attention and you would be helping them learn to read! One of the most magical things you can do! x

BigCuddlyGorilla Thu 10-Oct-19 09:36:23

@Grinchly why did my post annoy you, because I haven’t HAD to work recently? I had to work for years and years in bloody miserable jobs that I hated including at some points while I was actually suicidal. I haven’t had some easy dossy life by any means.

caperplips Thu 10-Oct-19 10:23:43

I think perhaps Grinchly is grated because you are saying you want to work / volunteer but it comes across that you don't really actually want to ..
Why are you making yourself do this if you don't have to? That is a genuine question. Maybe concentrating on getting help for your anxiety . mental health would be a better option at this stage? Or studying - open university courses which might open doors to new areas of work in the future.

BigCuddlyGorilla Thu 10-Oct-19 10:46:37

I want to do something because I feel I have brains and qualities that could be useful. And I’m very bored at home. That said I do have to respect my limitations so I’m trying to find a way that works.

BigCuddlyGorilla Thu 10-Oct-19 10:55:07

I think I have problems coping with jobs because the slightest criticism causes me to feel awful and I take it really personally. I feel really ashamed. Probably to do with very low self esteem no doubt. I get terrified of what the people there will think and what if I do badly.

Zaphodsotherhead Thu 10-Oct-19 11:55:23

BigCuddly - most of us don't like criticism though, and it makes us feel awful. It's only through exposure to it (and learning not to repeat the behaviour) that we develop a thicker skin. I don't think there's a person on this planet (apart from maybe some pervy types!) that actually LIKE being told off, or told that they've done something wrong.

What about working in a charity shop? In our local Age UK shop it's mostly elderly volunteers, so I can't imagine the work is too arduous if you're on the till.

Orangeblossom78 Thu 10-Oct-19 14:12:28

Very rude post there a bit uncalled for! No need to reply then if it is annoying, it's not AIBU confused

There's nothing worse than feeling blamed for an illness or being called 'lazy' because of it. Some of us would love to be able to get up and go to any job.

I have thought about looking at disability friendly employers wonder if that would be any good for in the future if things improve. Maybe they could be more flexible. It's really hard with fluctuating conditions. I would not want anything too responsible such as driving people around or caring for others for example. Too draining. Maybe something less responsibility would be better- something even a bit fun...

MyRaGaiaStarFishPieA Thu 10-Oct-19 14:32:48

Honestly, you can't win on Mumsnet.

I have been in a very similar position OP. I am bipolar and have PTSD from child hood sexual abuse, I am a wheelchair user with several autoimmune diseases, need both my knees replacing and have other serious health issues too. I am also a carer for my ASD son. I used the last 10-12 years at home to get qualifications. I qualified as a TA then gained a BA through OU and an MA through a uni. It took me a long time but I did it. Now I volunteer when I can with my local schools and if I'm not in a flare up and feel I can commit to 4-6 weeks of 3 afternoons then I run phonics based reading interventions and creative writing workshops across a few primary schools. I would love to do my teacher training but one year full time is too much. My body could not cope with that. Which is a shame as I am an excellent teacher and my schools give me excellent feedback. So instead I am doing the first year of a second undergrad STEM degree and possibly a PhD next year. Last time I discussed this on here I was told I am a drain on society as I will never pay my student loans back and I should basically stay at home and wait to die or get a full time job and just die quicker.

There are other ways to contribute to society other than paid work, especially for ill people. If volunteering is all you can do then do it. But also work on your personal development , get counselling, get a qualification. Grow as a person and you will feel better for it.

Orangeblossom78 Thu 10-Oct-19 14:44:44

I agree with the above. Why do you feel you need to be working for free- maybe that is about low self esteem also. maybe doing things like joining a fibro support group and some self care things with them, perhaps walking yoga, supporting each other would be nice and then you might have more energy to support your own family especially as your child has asthma. You can't pour from an empty cup and that is all the more true for those of us with such health problems as they are draining. It is important to look after yourself and put yourself first a bit instead of taking on other emotionally draining 'stuff'

springydaff Thu 10-Oct-19 14:53:51

I relate to this! I find the world of work overwhelming. I am currently seeing a support worker through a MH charity that supports people either getting work or cooling in the workplace - highly recommended.

I'm also seeing a support worker to get me through the PIP process - do look out for one. A local law firm are supporting and representing me pro bono. 😎

springydaff Thu 10-Oct-19 14:54:19

Coping not cooling!

BigCuddlyGorilla Thu 10-Oct-19 15:20:37

Hi @springydaff you’ve posted on my threads on the relationships board before (I was under a diff username).

I didn’t know that either of those things are possible!! How did you get the lawyer re pip? I’m just reapplying having had it granted before but it’s all v daunting.

BigCuddlyGorilla Thu 10-Oct-19 15:24:03

@MyRaGaiaStarFishPieA you are an inspiration! I have thought before about studying. I’m learning French but I’m not sure what I could do with that in the future. I will have a think and look into some courses.

@Orangeblossom78 that’s true. I already feel so mentally drained. I’m just embarking on something of a mental wellbeing journey so hopefully that will help.

Raindrops2019 Thu 10-Oct-19 15:44:48

Sorry, realised you had already mentioned working in a school. Ignore my post!

Best of luck xx

Paddy1234 Thu 10-Oct-19 15:48:54

Have you thought about nursing and dementia homes - they are crying out for volunteers in all areas! Just be being around and speaking and talking to residents
You just may find you love it and also see if permanent positions come up that you are suited to

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