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To be fed up with being disabled with no career?

(42 Posts)
ChiefChocolateTester Thu 03-Mar-16 10:45:52

I know I should be grateful for what I have, and that there are people out there much more affected by their disabilities than me, but its really getting me down now.

At school, I was always the one voted "most likely to succeed" and got really good grades - mostly due to being pushed heavily by parents and school as I'm naturally quite lazy.

I turned down postgraduate qualifications as I realised I wouldn't be happy with the career path I'd been moulded to accept. I drifted for a good ten years then finally found a career I really wanted to do, re-trained for it, and loved it.

Then I had my daughter and developed fibromyalgia quite badly. I could no longer do the physical aspects of my job, and the "brain fog", from both the fibro and my medication, meant I was making serious mistakes that were putting people in danger. So I left.

I'm currently on ESA and PIP, and living with my husband and daughter. I'm lucky because I get benefits and my husband earns a good wage, so I don't have the money worries of many disabled people.

I am down because so many people I went to school and Uni with have amazing careers, and me, who was "most likely to succeed", doesn't. I don't begrudge them their careers, but find it hard to reconcile what I was expected to achieve in life, with my current situation.

I'm 40 this year, and feel like time is running out to "make something of myself". I would have to be self-employed as my fibro fluctuates so much. I don't know whether to pursue this, or whether to just accept I'm now disabled and put the idea of ever "making something of myself" to bed.

If you've read all this then thanks so much. Sorry for being so self-pitying.

Pollyputhtekettleon Thu 03-Mar-16 10:52:23

YANBU but honestly, very few people, very few, have an amazing career. Your disability limits you from doing the job you enjoyed but are there other things that give you enjoyment in life? I don't know much about your disability but does it stop you from having some hobbies or starting some other area of study? I think your issue is not with the 'career' thing but how your disability has impacted your life. Are you getting any counseling? How you feel is perfectly understandable and it might help to talk to someone.

ChiefChocolateTester Thu 03-Mar-16 10:56:40

Polly - thanks. I thin maybe counselling is the way to go.

There are lots of other things I enjoy, and I could do some more study. But I feel like, if it isn't vocational, then what's the point. Pretty negative I suppose.

I just don't know whether to retrain again for a self-employed career, which I then might not be able to do because I have to be in bed so much of the time, or whether to "let myself off" and just focus on other things in life. I worry I'll always feel a failure career-wise.

milimilk Thu 03-Mar-16 11:43:58

I have had similar regrets, I've never really worked despite being an academic high flyer through school and university. My disability has affected me since my school days and I get PIP and ESA now as well.

Sometimes I'll look at the achievements of my friends and feel regretful that I missed out on that kind of experience, but mostly I try to focus on managing what I can, and remember that they've had to deal with the daily stress of a demanding career, which realistically I couldn't cope with. I feel a sense of having 'earned' the chance to take a break from all that since I've had to face the obstacles of disability in a way that most people haven't.

I've just learned to count my blessings, like you we're in a good shape financially and with my benefits I've been able to take up interests and hobbies (including postgrad study on a very part time basis) which helps me feel a sense of achievement. Nowadays I even feel quite relieved that I don't have the burden of work or career, as I've been able to devote more time to my hobbies than friends who have those commitments. My studies aren't vocational at all - they are purely following my interests and I feel quite lucky to have the time and finances to pursue them.

Frostycake Thu 03-Mar-16 11:56:14

Gosh, that sounds hard. I'm not surprised you're down.

Just remember that you have made something of yourself though - you are a loving mother and wife and have created a lovely home for your family. That is worth more than any career.

Have you been to see your GP and told him/her how you feel?


ChiefChocolateTester Thu 03-Mar-16 12:11:53

thank you so much. I think I will try counselling and look into some part time study. I guess I have "earned" the right not to have to work....and at least I can be there for everything my daughter does at school, which I wouldn't trade any career for.

Just having others validate my feelings feels awesome. Thank you so much.

HeyMacWey Thu 03-Mar-16 12:20:51

You're not alone - I'm in a similar situation.
I'm on a waiting list for some counselling to try and help with accepting my new life and mourn the loss of the life I thought I'd have. Most days in fine but every now and again you feel like you're watching life go by from the sidelines. I started doing crochet and sewing and get a real sense of achievement when I've produced something.

I agree that I've now adjusted my expectations and try and get joy from the smaller things in life - also brain fog almost helps me forget the mundaneness of every day life. I'm looking forward to spring and summer where I can potter in the garden.


HeyMacWey Thu 03-Mar-16 12:22:02

Sorry - just saw you're already doing hobbies etc.

ChiefChocolateTester Thu 03-Mar-16 12:26:41

Thanks Hey - I can get enjoyment out of the little things, but I suppose I wonder if I should plan for a time when I might be better, but I see how ridiculous that is. Not that I won't get better, but its silly to plan for a life where I will. I just risk further disappointment later on.

Hope things are not too bad today, Hey.

TheBouquets Thu 03-Mar-16 12:29:23

You have a husband and a child and I presume they live at home with you. They will be providing some care I would have thought.
I have problems with going out. I have physical problems. A number of conditions. I have had family who have provided some help but they also have expectations such as I should pay for this that and the other. I am not talking of minor stuff like bus/taxi fares and paying the café bill. I am talking of much much larger priced items running to thousands of pounds.
Having a carer is not always the best thing in life, especially if they are taking the P

ChiefChocolateTester Thu 03-Mar-16 12:34:09

Blimey bouquet, that sounds really difficult. Sometimes, I think for some people that third party carers who are employed could be better. At least everyone knows where they are then.

Its mostly my husband and mum who help me. I have a cleaner too, who is worth her weight in gold. I can thoroughly recommend getting one.

AliceInUnderpants Thu 03-Mar-16 12:35:53

Bouquet you misread. The OP is talking about a career, not a carer!

Chief I'm in the same position, I'm 32, have fibromyalgia and one of my two DC is registered disabled, the other still ongoing assessment. I'm also single so it all falls to me. I don't get any disability benefits as even the application has been too much for me to contemplate for a long time. I get it.

TheBouquets Thu 03-Mar-16 12:41:42

Aw Flick - I did misread. I should really not read anything until I have my specs on.
Sorry. Promise to try harder with the specs!

notquitehuman Thu 03-Mar-16 12:43:04

It's very tempting to look at other people's lives and envy their high flying careers, but try not to. Even those with high powered careers will feel unhappy at times.

Focus on yourself and your current situation, rather than labels given in the past. Being self employed could be good for your self esteem and help you feel like you're doing something.

It's nowhere near as bad as fibromyalgia, but I have bad depression and anxiety and have found that being self employed is so much better than a 9-5. It means I can work flat out when I'm going through a good period, and take time off when things are bad.

ChiefChocolateTester Thu 03-Mar-16 12:48:21

Bouquets gringrinflowers

Alice - that's hard not getting benefits. DIAL UK and CAB are pretty good at sorting out the forms for you. Being single as well must make everything such hard work. If you did get benefits would you be able to buy in help? Like a cleaner or mothers help fir a few hours a week?

I'm sat here with a half done PIP reassessment form I'm procrastinating over. Definitely keeping a copy of this one for next time! Its a pain in the bum!

ChiefChocolateTester Thu 03-Mar-16 12:52:17

Notquite - thank you. I have depression too and it is I fact worse than fibromyalgia when its bad - please don't underestimate your depression. At least pain has morphine to take it away! You're right about not comparing and moving on from labels - that are over 20 years old actually so not exactly relevant now, I suppose. Glad you have managed to find a balance that works for you xxx

BestZebbie Thu 03-Mar-16 13:13:38

Can you redefine 'succeed?' - if you were reading in a magazine about a woman with your conditions and life experience, and she had done something awesome and succeeded at it, what would it be?

IceBeing Thu 03-Mar-16 13:14:50

OP I think you need to have a good long look at the implicit assumption that having a career is a good thing, or that it is possible to 'fail' career wise.

What do you think life is actually for? Do you think when you die you get bonus points for your career achievements?

sorry that might come across as harsh - but honestly if you can shake the embedded societal baggage that says worth to society = career achievements+income you will be happier person!

I will tell you a secret....there is a point in everyone's career where they are doing the best they will ever do. After that point they will progress less rapidly, have less impact and less influence. This is because exponential growth cannot continue indefinitely. You have to peak.

When that happens you have to learn to deal with it - because there isn't really an alternative. And it happens to everyone sooner or later - everyone.

I think when people do come to terms with having peaked they are substantially happier than they were before. Firstly you have far less pressure to perform better and better and better. Secondly the process usually involves realising all the other things of value you contribute that aren't to do with your career. There is a shift from only finding value in one place to finding value in lots of places.

Through no fault of your own, you peaked a little earlier than most people. This means you have more of your life to enjoy free of the must-progress-as-fast-as-possible burden, IF you can accept the shift in perspective. You will then spend years watching all your friends with their fabulous careers having various degrees of midlife crisis while they over come the same barriers....and maybe one way you can add value to the lives of others is to help them realise that there is more to life than careers and in fact careers often get in the way of the important things in life!

IceBeing Thu 03-Mar-16 13:15:46

argh X-posted with everyone...doh.

Groovee Thu 03-Mar-16 13:31:26

I have fibro too and have had to cut back my hours as a nursery nurse. 2 mornings a week has been great but I 've been talked into an extra morning and today am finding it hard on my day off as I am knackered and my pain has flared.

But sometimes I find it all so hard.

ChiefChocolateTester Thu 03-Mar-16 13:45:26

Best and Ice - amazing advice. What I would really love to do is help homeless people or those using a food bank. Or helping people apply fir benefits because I can fill in forms well. And I would consider helping others a success. Not bothered about the money.

Grooves - its hard when you overdo it isn't it? Hope you have good medication. I made myself flare for about a week when I went on a zipwire. I knew I would hurt but I really wanted to do it. Was worth it grin

VertigoNun Thu 03-Mar-16 13:46:54

Oh two similar threads.

ChiefChocolateTester Thu 03-Mar-16 13:56:14

Exactly vertigo. Thought id get more traffic in AIBU so asked mnhq to delete chat thread. But people posted on both. Shame they cant be amalgamated!

VertigoNun Thu 03-Mar-16 13:57:17

I got very confused by the two. I am pleased you have had such a great response.

ChiefChocolateTester Thu 03-Mar-16 14:02:20

Sorry for the confusion blush. I'm pleased about the good response but saddened that there are so many of us with health problems. We should definitely have our own thread or facebook support group.

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