Dear Dr. Archer,
I'm a registered nurse and had to quit working and get on disability. I loved my job! I was able to work off and on, but not anymore. I have had four back surgeries and two on my foot. I have had several other surgeries, as well, and I also have lupus, fibromyalgia and arthritis.
I have a sense of failure because I'm no longer able to work. That, plus we need the income. I suffer from ‘lupus fog’ at times. I wouldn't be safe. I suffer with chronic pain. What can I do? Thank you!
Dear Mary Beth,
Get rid of that sense of failure, because it's unfounded and destructive. Just because you became ill and had to undergo multiple surgeries, does that make you unworthy? Of course not! Life can be difficult, and sooner or later we each have our cross to bear.
You went through school -- and nursing is difficult -- and became a professional in your field. You played by the rules and you made a good life for yourself. And then, it was lost. Just because you lose your job does not mean you lose your life, Mary Beth.
And it in no way means you're a failure. A job can help determine what and who we are on the outside, but attitude always determines who we are on the inside.
I want you to know that people who lose their jobs because of illness suffer from more mental illness, namely depression, than those who lose their jobs for reasons other than health.
Take as much control of your life as you can, while coming to terms with what you are incapable of doing. If you have dependent children and haven't done so already, check to see if you qualify for assistance for them, too. There is help; though sometimes it takes detective work to find it.
Vivian Greene said once, "Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... It's about learning how to dance in the rain." Do not dwell on what you don't have, Mary Beth, but what you still have and what you can accomplish.
Look into work from home, look into working for a managed care company as a case manager by telephone, look into consulting or working online. The possibilities are there…..Look, look, look!
Please read, "All Of This Is Too Much For Me"
. What I told Frank goes for you, too. Talk to family, friends, ex-coworkers. Talking helps, along with being proactive in both your physical and mental health.
Also, start a journal and write about your situation. I say that a lot but it works wonders. The more you do the things you CAN do, Mary Beth, the better your outlook and disposition will become. I wish you success.