I quit my job because of my health and it’s not the end of the world

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Imagine this. Three weeks ago you were full of life. Doing better than ever. Yes you were still ill. You were still symptomatic but you were full of life – full of hopes, full of dreams, full of excitement and it was foreseeable that you could actually put all of those into action.

Imagine starting a temporary job that you ended up loving. The people, the places, the fact that it was out of an office, the chaotic and varied nature of it. And yes. I was symptomatic. Yes my joints were fucked. Yes I wore braces more often than not but I could do it. I could manage.

I was working over my contracted hours by choice and genuinely loving being able to do all the things.

And then life happens.

And life, as life often does hit me like a ton of bricks.

I had a little crash. Well I say little. Realistically it ended up not being that little. Presumably because it hit in the middle of a full day excursion so I had no choice but to deal. So what actually happened was that I ended up unable to move my legs for two hours which was fun. But anyway – despite feeling beyond dreadful the next day I thought I could push through and work as long as I took precautions and I did – nothing much else to say about that other than looking back I realise how stupid I was.

So fucking stupid. I’ve lived with ME for 5 years, I should have known better.

The next few days featured getting stuck in showers, chest pain, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, shakiness, dizziness.

All the signs that would let the average person know they had to stop or at the very least slow down. But did I?

No.

Admittedly that’s because I could adrenaline myself up to work and so I felt okay. Not well, but okay. If I really felt that bad at the time,  I would have swapped shifts with someone, especially for excursions. But I didn’t. I never felt that bad at the time.

God do I wish my body didn’t have this magical running on adrenaline power. I also wish I hadn’t gone to Oxford. Everyone said I shouldn’t be going. Everyone who saw the state I was in the night before.

But what did this stubborn bitch do. She went. Because I woke up feeling better than I did the night before and my thinking clearly went no further than that.

And then shit happened. I’m gonna spare medical details because they’re too painful to talk about. But to summarise, I ended up in hospital, and felt no better – if not worse after a day to rest. My body literally gave up on me. And me knowing my body knew there was no way I was finishing the last 2 weeks of this contract. It wouldn’t have been safe for anyone and would have certainty jeopardised any chances of a quick recovery. (Recovery being defined as where I was three weeks ago.)

So I made the brave decision to leave. I’m saying brave because it was difficult and it would have been so much easier to stay. I need the income, the experience and I was happy. I also need to know I can. Which of course I can and if I can’t work full time then that’s just statistics really.

Most people with ME/CFS can’t work full time at all. Very few would be able to successfully activity lead at a summer school – and I doubt any without some degree of payback.

This doesn’t reflect on me as a person or anyone else who has had to do this. It also doesn’t mean those two weeks were wasted.

It’s just life. Yet another curveball, another setback.

Another hurdle. But what I have learnt, is that this is a hurdle I can jump. I will see the other side.

 

 

Just chronic illness things…

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  1. Not being able to brush your hair due to fatigue, dizziness or joint instability.
  2. Being an expert at willing yourself to not vomit until the end of that class, exam, train journey….
  3. Coordination issues and generally feeling unstable on your feet.
  4. Being able to pretend your not in pain and act for all purposes normal even when you have really severe pain.
  5. Your bed is also your work/hobby ground
  6. YouTube and Netflix are your best friends even though you can’t actually follow much because brain fog.
  7. Following on from that, actually physically reading is such a struggle that audible is also your best friend.
  8. “Oh, I get tired to”
  9. “Will you ever get better?”/”Are you feeling better?”
  10. “You don’t look sick”
  11. Payback
  12. Feeling like your neck can’t  support your head.
  13. Your only friends are online
  14. Finding a job in your area that you are actually well enough to do is a challenge!
  15. Naps are life
  16. More doctors than friends.
  17. Questioning whether a bath or shower is the lesser evil
  18. Overdue laundry and cleaning
  19. You experience ALL types of pain
  20. Still havn’t shaved…
  21. Often drops things
  22. “Oh the toaster wasn’t plugged in! That’s why the bread didn’t toast”
  23. Overly sensitive to heat/cold
  24. Money worries
  25. Lives in dresses in summer months
  26. Migraines
  27. Following a recipe takes longer than it used to because brain fog!
  28. You have tried everything! From yoga, to veganism to herbal medicine to essential oils.
  29. Struggle to cross roads and get on the right escalator due to brain fog.
  30. Identifies with the term “spoonie”

Why getting a job is sometimes more luck than judgement .

So imagine this, you are just out of university. Every graduate in the country is looking for a job. This time, that wonderful season called summer, is a time where the job market is heavily saturated. And it’s difficult. Every single job seems to ask for experience or is in a difficult to get to location. Or due to health issues, it’s one that just isn’t possible. Not only do you need to think of a job now, but you also need to plan your future, apply for training contracts, mini-pupillages etc.

Then again you just have a thirst to travel. To run away from it all but here’s the catch – it’s borderline as to whether you have the funds. Due to flights it’s borderline as to whether I’d have the 5000 aussie dollars necessary for a working visa. (Would be planning on office temp work because health if I did it)

I actually have an interview to teach in china with EF on Monday to lets hope. I got a not really legit teach in china job a few months ago and turned it down due to that. The differences in how EF do things is already evident in the recruitment process.

But anyway. I Fear I have gone on a tangent.

This blog post is targeted at explaining that often times whether you get the job or not is just luck. To go along with that I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. And this is not to underestimate the hard work that is also involved in securing a job. For law, all the research into firms and in any case CV’s should be tailored for each position. Yes it is a lot of work, but it is also a lot of luck and that is the stance I am going to take in this post.

Many of factors go into how good the application was and whether you progress, such as;

  • How tired you were when you applied
  • How distracted you were
  • How tired/distracted the recruiter was
  • They may have filled all the positions and just not taken the job down
  • Where you live
  • You don’t have a driving licence
  • The recruiter just doesn’t relate to you
  • Hours your available to work
  • Potential commitment time
  • How good everyone else who applied was
  • Your CV is not ATS compatible

and many many other reasons why you may be rejected for a job without getting to interview but may get an interview for a more skilled job.

Getting a job can be a difficult journey for some of us. I still have these two provisional offers under my belt with no signs of progress and one is meant to start next week.

Shit happens with references too. Which is one of my issues right now because all of my previous employees have left their jobs. And due to health issues I wasn’t great at those jobs anyway…

Remember not to be disheartened about rejection.

Rejection is redirection and it could happen for a number of reasons.

Just take action and persist and eventually life will work out.

 

 

Post-Graduation depression

I guess this is a follow on from my post exam depression post and quick disclaimer – technically speaking I haven’t graduated yet, I graduate next week. But for all meaningful purposes – I have finished my final year at uni and am currently waiting for two provisional offers to manifest and stressing because I like to catastrophise and prepare for the worst – mentally.

Meanwhile I see everyone else getting on in life and doing amazing things.

And I feel a little lost. I feel like I’m not good enough –  I’m not trying hard enough. Hilariously today I’m pretty much bed bound due to my CFS. I can’t adrenaline my way through job applications. The research required for the training contract application that needs to be accomplished for the week is too much for my cognitive fatigue right now.  I feel like I’m not allowed to rest because I haven’t got THE job yet. As if not having THE job defines me as unsuccessful in comparison with everyone else.

Suddenly everyone is thrown into the real world – competing for that lucrative job. Because I have two provisional offers I’m not aggressively applying for admin assistant roles until September. I feel bad for that. I feel bad for putting my time and energy into training contracts and mini pupillages for that long term plan. (Essentially ideally I’d be a barrister but a solicitor would be the more secure way and I want that security. I am also not in a financially privileged position. I couldn’t work much throughout my degree due to illness. So a training contract and later becoming a solicitor advocate is more realistic).

I don’t know. Maybe it’s because my parents have always told me I can’t. They’ve never encouraged me or nurtured my ambition so I believe I shouldn’t have it….

And my parents and ambition nurturing is another blog post entirely, but I think that’s where it comes from.

It’s difficult managing the post graduate unemployed life. When you have limited funds and no income it can be hard to justify going travelling or paying £600 for that 3 day summer school that sounds really interesting if Job 1 doesn’t manifest. Both things I am contemplating. But volunteer abroad programmes are expensive (my travels would have to add to my CV).

It’s no wonder research shows over 40% of graduates suffer with feelings of depression. Because it is difficult. People expect things of you, you feel useless, like your somehow wasting time.

It is at this time that looking after mental health becomes so important. If you have chronic illness – don’t feel bad for resting when you need to. It is at this time that it is your responsibility and no one else’s to ensure you are well enough to be as productive of a member of society as is possible and realistic for you. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t fulfil peoples requests from you. If they give you shit about it – they don’t understand and unfortunately for some people (i.e my family) no amount of trying will make them understand. Take time for yourself  – do things you enjoy. Go on  a little holiday. Remember that this is only a temporary phase and that it will all work out in the end. Everything happens for a reason. God has a plan. Whatever it is that helps you get through.

You will be okay, you will get through this uncertain period. Yes it’s difficult but many of us feel the same. If social media is harmful avoid it – or just avoid certain platforms and remember that there is always someone to talk to.

ALWAYS.

My experience with imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome has been talked about quite a lot over the last year. Having learnt about it, and listened to many others talk about their experiences through it via YouTube I thought it was about time that I discuss my experience with imposter syndrome.

Impostor Syndrome is characterized by the conviction that you don’t deserve your success. It is the feeling that you’re not as intelligent, creative or talented as other people seem to believe you are. It is the suspicion that your achievements are down to luck, good timing or just being in the right place at the right time. And it is accompanied by the fear that, one day, you’ll be exposed as a fraud.

I definitely relate to this. I have incredibly low self esteem and when things go right, I feel as though a mistake has been made. I feel like it was just luck, good timing or that it was in reality something incredibly easy and any idiot could have done it. I am not good at seeing my own achievements as a success and I’m scared that one day everyone will realise how useless I really am, or that they already know that. Understandably, this can make life incredibly difficult to deal with.

In some cases imposter syndrome can be debilitating. Although it’s not a formal clinical diagnosis.

Personally, if I get good grades I think they’re wrong. If I win academic awards I think a mistake has been made. If I get a job, I question whether I’m really good enough and whether the employer has made a mistake.

I check my final year grades every single day because I still can’t believe it’s true…

For my first two years at university imposter syndrome really effected me. Not to the point that it was debilitating but enough to be something weighing my mental state down. I got into my admittedly not great uni (In terms of league tables but I couldn’t imagine having gone anywhere else) with BBB at A level and a further BC at AS. With a couple of resits thrown into that mix too. The offer I received was ABB. Yes I know I was only one grade off but I just had that feeling that I didn’t deserve to be there, that everyone else had it all together and was so much better than me. This was especially true when compounded by low grades in my first year. (I got 2:2s in all my coursework).

I still felt the same in second year, even though my grades had improved. Like I just wasn’t enough. Like everyone else was so much better than me.

It’s difficult, it’s reality.

To my understanding many people go to through this, so people do understand. It is also possible to overcome.

If anyone else reading this feels the same or similar then please comment! And any tips for overcoming imposter syndrome would be much appreciated.