When I Had To Stop Working

This week, Joan Jordan champions her professional revitalisation and shares with us all the joys of returning to the workforce. 

Sorry for the spoiler in the title. You already know how this one is going to play out.

Girl studies hard and gets a computer science place in Trinity College. Girl works her arse off and builds a nice little life for herself and her family. Girl is winning. Girl firmly believes that bad things happen to other people. She has plans, you see……

Mike Tyson nailed it when he said, “everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” Next thing- girl is punch drunk and wondering how on earth she got into this position? More importantly, how was she going to get out of it?

When the editorial team asked me what they wanted to write about this week, I must say that I felt a bit anxious. I still feel shame over having to throw in the towel and stop working in 2009. I didn’t get formally diagnosed until 2010 and until then, lived with the unsettling conviction that something was really, really, really, wrong with me.

I HAD to stop working. End of story. It was destroying me every day. Not knowing what was destroying me made it even worse. People like explanations and I just did not have one to give.

I didn’t realise how important having a job was to my standing in society. It’s one thing to stop working as a lifestyle decision – another entirely when you feel forced into it. People ask difficult questions. Social outings and meeting new people became awkward. I also felt terribly guilty about not having my own money.

Actually, the story didn’t end there. After chasing a lot of dead ends, I retrained and now work 15 hours a week from home. I do my work in the mornings before cog-fog sets in. My business card says that I am the EUPATI Content Coordinator. I love my job and do not take it for granted for a second. I’m even happy to be back paying taxes! Long story short, it was not easy to get back into gainful employment, but it is possible.

If one good thing has out of all I went through when I had to stop working, it’s that I learned more about compassion. Being kind is important (and that includes being kind to yourself). Don’t judge others when you are not standing in their shoes. If you feel that you are stuck in a situation through no fault of your own- seek help. I’m glad I went to Citizens Information to find out what my options were when I had to stop working.

Dedicated to MS

Without whom this blog would not have been possible.