I am right there beside you, sis. I was where you are a couple of years back when my Dad called on me because his situation was desperate. My situation wasn't so great either. I worked in a very stressful field, At Risk Children, sums it up. My cell was on 24 hours a day. Even while on vacation. I began to get foggy. This field is a dangerous one if your radar is not constantly tuned to those you work with and for. It is a high stakes gamble, all the time. I had sleep problems. I would always awaken middle of the night and fight to get back to sleep. Often I wouldn't. So by 3PM or 4PM, when ever I was off, I would collapse. I was a single Mom and my kids barely saw me. Then my youngest got into trouble on the streets, and that added stress took me out. I finally was run over by a truck. This is going to sound mighty funny, but I was relieved. I didn't have to keep up pretenses any longer. No matter how hard I worked, I was always behind. Bill collectors at my heels.
I had Fibro through-out. I would take thirty mgs. elavil at bedtime and OTC tylenol during the day. Nights were killers. Had to accept them to retain position. Also, got squeezed out of promotion by a younger colleague with more energy and fewer responsibilities.
So, when my Dad called in distress, it was a relief, also. I envisioned not having as much stress as I would be keeping house for them (he and stepmom), preparing meals, cleaning, taking them to their Doc. appts. No biggy, says I. Boy did I call that wrong. Anyway, I've gotten ahead of myself, how in the land of Fibro Fog I managed that, I cant say.
Between the blessed relief of being hit by a truck, I had decided I could use my physical being for survival and let my mental being rest. I decided I would do housekeeping for high end clients. I moved to Florida, aquired several high end clients, the word spread, I was very thorough and very dependable so many people called on me. This allowed me to take my pain med during the day as I didn't need a clear head, just do a good job, which only required physical output. I struggled. Often when I got home, I couldn't eat. I lost 20 lbs. That was the good part, the pain wasn't. I went from using Tramadol, pain relief w/o the fogginess, to Vicodin, to Methadone. I took a giant step back at this point to re-evaluate. My plan wasn't working.
Back home (Canada), I tried to keep up with the physical vs. the mental work. Could not earn enough to survive, no matter what. Meds were coming out of my meager wage and that left no money for food. My kids were pretty much under their Dad's watchful eye at this point. I had no plan, my plan wasn't working, I could not go back to either the mentally demanding or the physically demanding work. So, I went on disability. We have two tiered disability here. One (where I am at present,) pays rent, plus $200 per month, but meds are $5.00 co-pay and dental and glasses are paid to 80%. that's where I am now. The 2nd tier is federal, where the cheque is higher, but everything is paid for by client, in full. Neither is great. My pdoc (shrink) suggested CPP, the second tier and we will probably start the paperwork next month. I know it will take two years. That's just the way it is.
So, for you. You might be eligible for early retirement? Isn't there an insurance plan for disability within the institution you work for? If not, it is time to start to formulate a plan. An escape plan. Get paperwork for disability. familiarize yourself with what is involved, also, if you have disability insurance with the institution you work for, get pamplets, paperwork discretely. Explore all possible options. Are there any jobs you can schedule at your own pace like contract work. How about work from home? Be careful here though, there are more schemes than jobs, don't get taken in. Some ask for money up front, avoid those like the plague. Then since your DH is such a good support, sit down with him and see which options are feasible, for both of you. perhaps he could take on more wage earning work, and you do the shopping, housekeeping and cooking. There are llots of options, it's just a matter of finding the best fit for you. Take care.
Hi there Ciennagma,
First let me say, welcome to the Healing Well Fibro Forum and I want to encourage you to check out the second thread on the forum called Fibro 101, there's lots of info on there that's really helpful. We're always happy to see new folks on the site!!! Join in when you can. You'll make some great friends that truly understand what you're going through and they're all ready willing and able to answer questions, give support or just bring you a smile on a tough day.
OK.. as for your question, the best answer I can give you is, that's all an individual issue. I gave up my job about 4 months ago - I had a terrible anxiety attack and was so ill with Fibro, I just couldn't work anymore (atleast at the job I was doing, Nonprofit Exec Director.. 60-70 hours a week). I'm hoping to find something part-time, but the job market here is terrible. I'm currently collecting unemployment but if I can't find a job by the time it runs out I'll consider SSDI. I went for it about 10 years ago and got denied so I continued to work untill I just couldn't anymore. When I was denied I was about 42. They told me to reapply when I was over 50 and the likelyhood of my acceptance would be better.
SSDI isn't an easy process, it usually takes about 2 years to get accepted and chances are good you'll be denied at least once. Age is a big factor (even though they say its not.. it IS) .. my sister is disabled and they wouldn't grant her SSDI till she was over 50.
I just know I couldn't possibly do my old job ever again. I'm not sure what I can do now.. so I try to stay open minded and hope that something just right will come along. BTW, you can still work and earn up to $900.00 a month while you're on disability. If you have insurance like an Aflec plan you might be able to get disability insurance through them until you get SSDI.
I hope that answered some of your questions.