What do you do for a living ...

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/28/2009 10:27 PM (GMT -6)   
I need serious help. My mother told me last night that she is embarrassed to say she has a daughter. I realize that the only thing that seems to matter in this world is answering this question -"what do you do for a living?"

I dont know what to do as I cant seem to make enough money to live on my own in new jersey (united states). I live with my mother who never acknowledges my illness. Any job I got my mother was not happy with it and would tell me to "get a real job". I was lucky to get myself to work - when i was a bank teller the pain became so unbearable that i would get stuck in certain position - like my body would just freeze. I quit after 9 agonizing months.

I've been sick since i was 15years old, went to college thinking this illness (cfs - fibromyalgia) was only supposed to last at most 10 years according to doctors but here I am at 34 (just had a birthday in april) and still in pain, brain fog, and stuck with doctors who look at me and say "keep doing what your doing" (bc i take vitamins and try to exercise) - i just started beginer yoga for stretching which helps) Anyway, i will stop babbling.

Any advice would be great. I have a bachelor in communication/public relations/journalism, graphic design certified -though its been years back to adobe 6.0.

What do you do for a living? Can you pay your bills?

Post Edited (kissi) : 4/28/2009 10:18:23 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 4/28/2009 10:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Everyone's different and sadly I can't tell you there's any miracle change you can make in life to make your life better. I've got a guide that might help improve your everyday life enough so that you can possibly hold a steady job and feel better overall. http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=24&m=1456901&p=1

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 1156
   Posted 4/29/2009 12:22 AM (GMT -6)   
I grew up in the NE, Manhattan to be exact. I remember how competitive the lifestyle could be. We were reared to be competitive and successful. Even when I was in published books my mother kept asking "What do you do for a living." lol

You are your own definition of success. Having a chronic illness is hard. Try to be your own cheering section at home. We are.


Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1081
   Posted 4/29/2009 4:06 AM (GMT -6)   
This is such a dificult question. I recieve assistance from the province. It's not nearly enough to live on. I struggle a lot with, just go back to work, why don't ya/ Well, it isn't that easy. I tried and tried, and couldn't keep up. So, I am applying for Long Term disability.

Hypothyroidism, Fibromyalgia, Facet Joint Syndrome, High Blood Pressure, menopause, Migraines, Chest Pain, Anxiety and Depression/BiPolar II
Synthyroid .075mg., estradiol.5 mgs., Amyltriptilene, 100mgs, bedtime, Tylenol 3 PRN (six-eight, daily), Valium 7.5mgs. daily prn. Flexeril, prn (not so helpful), Zoloft,150mgs., Zomig approx. 12 per month, prn., Meds for High Blood Pressure, vary.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 1014
   Posted 4/29/2009 7:28 AM (GMT -6)   

Yo Kissi!! 

I'm a former Jersey Girl myself!!!  Lived everywhere in central NJ!!  But I left there about 10 years ago and moved to the heartland.. Indiana.  I love it here.  I was "up to here" with NJ.  I couldn't stand the over population, traffic and people with their "Jersey attitude" not to mention the 4 rounds of Lyme Disease!!

OK... back to your topic.  When I was your age (I'm 51 now) I was a hairdresser and the main bread winner in my family.  I worked my butt off.  It was hard to make a decent living in NJ.  The cost of living there is outragious (sp?).  I wasn't as sick as I am today.  But it was hard.  I had young son and we barely got by.  I was married to a guy that was a professional musician and he was also a professional alcoholic, so what ever money he made he drank.  It was a hard hard time in my life.

When I moved here I changed my life... a lot!!  I got into the non profit world and became a leader in that arenea.  I was in an executive postion for a few years and it almost killed me.  The stress brought on a flare from hell... not to mention I was not in a very good postion to take care of myself.  I gave up my job about 6 mons ago.  Next week, I go back into the lions mouth again and return to work, but this time as an admin. asst.  Full time.. I'm hoping I can handle it.

It sounds like you're well educated!!  That's great.  But we don't just fall into the perfect job.  Even if we don't have fibro.  Shoot, I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. 

Have you ever thought about getting a career evaluation???  Sometimes your state has a program that's free!!  Or perhaps you can find something online to evaluate your future.

I'm sorry your mom is pressuring you to find a "real job".  If I were to try to make it alone on my income I couldn't do it.  I've had a pretty diverse work history, but my body doesn't agree with allowing me to do some of the things my resume would encourage.

I wish you the best of luck and I also wanted to welcome you to the forum.  There are lots of folks here that are more than willing to help you deal with your fibro issues.  Be sure to check out firbo 101 .. the second thread on the forum.  There's lots of great info on there to help you cope.

Take care!!

Fibormyalgia, 4x Lyme Disease Survivor, Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Dyslexia, 2 Lumbar Disk Herniations, Allergies, Bi-lateral Carpal Tunnel, Psoriasis. 
Meds = Elavil, Tramadol, Xanax, Lipitor
"Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - author unknown

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 6067
   Posted 4/29/2009 9:12 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kissi and welcome. I'm sorry your mother does not understand fibro and is embarrassed to say she has a daughter. I haven't worked in many years except helping DH out with his business when needed.
I think Patti's idea of career evaluation is good. You may find there is something you would like to do that you hadn't thought about. I think for fibromites the ideal job would be something you can do from home or set your own hours since it is so unpredictable.
It's hard for anyone to make ends meet anymore on their own or even couples.
We are here for you so read, ask questions and even vent when you need to.
luv and hugs
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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 4/29/2009 9:35 AM (GMT -6)   
I was just diagnosed a couple of weeks ago. I am a dispatcher - I work for a fortune 500 company and arrange for trucks to move our fresh meat product from our plants or distribution centers to our customers. This can be a very stressful and demanding position. The stress of this has caused my flares to become worse over the past couple of years - before I even knew what I had. I have been having serious fibro fog which is not good in this position and I am making little mistakes that can cause huge problems in this business. I feel exceptionally crappy and "out of it" this week. My employer is aware of my situation and luckily they are going to try to help. I am going to be demoted basically. They are going to try to find another position for me that will be less stressful and have only forty hours a week with a more flexible schedule.  Hopefully I will be able to stay within the same general department and I will only have to take a small (keeping my fingers crossed) paycut.  With the economy being what it is there isn't much room to move around so it might take a little while.  When people are retiring or quitting most positions aren't being filled - the work is having to be sucked up by everybody else in the department. I just have hope now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for now.  Everybody has to make adjustments I guess.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 4/29/2009 10:27 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Kissi,

  I work full time and cannot afford to quit (especially since my hubby just got laid off).  I am on Office Manager for an engineering company.  I know not all office jobs are like this, but I work off a laptop and have the flexibility to take my work home if needed.  This is so nice mainly because I have two young kids, but also because of the fibro issues.  I have yet to tell my boss I have fibro.  I work with all men and I don't think they'll understand. 

Anyway, I got this job through a temp agency 2 1/2 years ago.  This may be a great way for you to try things out. 

Sorry you're getting pressure from your mom.  If only she could be in your shoes for one day.
coping with fibro since July 2004
Officially diagnosed with fibro and restless leg - March 2009
Mother to two wonderful kids, born 1999 and 2002

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 214
   Posted 4/29/2009 11:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey there!
My mom refused to recognize my pain. My grandma told me that it is because she can't bear to think of her little girl being hurt. I"m 32!
Anyways, as my pain got worse, I had to make some major career changes. I worked for a major company making pretty decent money. I had a baby who is now 16 months old. I can only work for a max of 6 hours before I deteriorate. I have a part time job at the pet store. I took a huge pay cut. But it's not all bad. I LOVE ANIMALS! And money isn't everything. We just had to cut our spending and be really creative with any extra money we do have. I also had to cash out some of my retirement so that we could afford to live because I couldn't work during the last trimester of my pregnancy and I wanted to stay home with my only child for the first few months.
So, my husband goes to work at 6am. He comes home and we eat lunch. I take a power nap and go to work at 5pm -10pm. On weekends, I work 6 hour shifts.
It's really tough taking care of a baby, working, taking care of myself, the house, the pets that seems to adopt us.
But we make it work.
I feel kinda embarrassed about my employment. But it's honest work and honest money. I went from wearing a suit and sitting in numberous meeting and conference calls to cashiering, catching fish and such. I run into everyone I know at my work and I sometimes feel stupid. But, the economy is bad and I'm willing to do anything I physically can to contribute to our finances. It's weird not being the bread winner.
And it's my fault that I don't want to put my daughter in daycare.
So, that's what I do!

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 316
   Posted 4/29/2009 1:05 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Kissi,

I'm sorry to hear that you have been going through such a difficult time. 

I wonder if you can get on a waiting list for housing assistance?  You might have to wait for some time, but it may be just what you need to get your own place and be free to focus on you.  You may end up qualifying for additional services once you are there.  Try not to let pride get in the way of doing what you need to take care of yourself.

It sounds like you need some space from your mother, so that you can discover just what your own strengths and limitations are, finding just the right formula for living and thriving in spite of Fibro. 

If you need help finding resources, I would be happy to email with you to help you work something out.  Feel free to email anytime (see my profile).

Take care,





Fibromyalgia since 2007

"Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live."
Robert F. Kennedy 


New Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 4/30/2009 12:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for your replies. Very informative and helpful.

UPDATE: I really think my mother's negativity is an illness.

Tonight my mom was just going off like a lunatic saying that I do nothing all day but stare at the ceiling (not true) and that she doesnt believe that i am really sick -thats the nice things she said, some things I either blocked out or just literally cant remember bc my head hurts so bad. All i said to her was that I thought it was best that we didnt talk to each other and that I dont deserve all the things she was saying to me and she said oh dont give me that **** stop trying to be a martr.

It is so hard to stay focused on what i need to do when she is beating me up through my bedroom door. I didnt do her dishes or clean the bathroom today like I normally do bc I didnt feel she deserved it. Do you think I should have? I cant believe I am stuck like this.

I've wanted to look for housing assistance but I havent had a job for over a year, made it 10 months once so would they even consider me? I will look into it but I feel trapped there too bc mom works for the county and she will find out everything and probably be even more "embarrassed " of me and create more hell.

I will be tutoring at the school tomorrow. I am dreading it bc i feel mentally and emotionally drained. Hopefully i will wake feeling better, stronger tomorrow.

After reading the responses on here I must say that I feel a bit better and somewhat hopeful and definitely not alone in my job situation. Thank you so much.

Love to all.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1522
   Posted 4/30/2009 1:44 AM (GMT -6)   
All that negativity has got to making you feel even worse. You need a support system to help you feel better about yourself which will help you feel better physically. Do whatever it takes to get out of there. Once away from all that, you may feel less drained and more able to take care of yourself. Have you been evaluated for depression? A good therapist can help you sort things out and help you find a better path.

Have you thought about substitute teaching? Some areas only require a bachelor's degree. In our area (yours may be different), you call a number whenever you want to work to see what is available. This way, you can work on your better days. Depending on the classroom, it can be great or the worst day of your life.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 4/30/2009 7:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Kissi ,
Sorry to hear about all your troubles , It is hard enough living with mom , had to live with mine after left x husband and had to go on antidepresants and we didn't even know about the fibro then , and I was the one paying all the bills , was working at a bingo six nights a week , Think moms just get moody cause they figure it's there time to live alone . But anyway you should be very proud of your degree , it's alot more than most people have . I use to clean houses , I still clean two small ones and work at a bingo the money is great , good tips at bingo , and I set the pay on house's , use to have a house everyday , but rumey told me u will no when to quit and I did .Am waiting on social security now , My husband pretty much takes care of us , but every once in awhile I hear I don't do anything , I just remind him , I was the one who made ends meet when he was off work getting knee surgey and hand surgey , he played alot of football so he has had eack knee done 3 times , and when he goes off work , he likes to take advantage and stay home longer . Wish I could help ya , I myself went out one day and landed a job cleaning while applying for social , got home and said to my self , WHAT ARE U DOING , it is hard cause I want to work but know I can't do these long hours . I would sugest somthing with short hours where u get tip, the people I clean for know about my illness , and are ok with me coming on different days , they even gave me key . Well take care honey and try not to stress your self to much you should be proud.

Dx : Lupus , fibromyalgia , Meds : predasone 5mg morning and 5 at night , 400mg plaqunil a day , 400mg sulfazine a day , algeria , flexeril , vicodin , as needed .

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 316
   Posted 4/30/2009 7:44 AM (GMT -6)   

Section 8 housing assistance goes off of your income, so yes they will consider you with no income. There may be a waiting list, but being on a waiting list is better than nothing at all.

I wonder if you can apply in a different county than the one you currently live in (and that your mother works in). It is entirely possible. I highly recommend googling section 8 housing in new jersey and calling them to ask any questions on how the process works.

Once you no longer live with your mother (in a different county), you may very well qualify for other assistance (food, insurance, etc.). Try the New Jersy department of Human Services website. A lot of times, counselors in these types of offices will help look at your situation to see what type of jobs you may be able to do. Their goal is to help you become as self-sufficient as possible. While there may be some counselors who don't seem very helpful, that is not true of all of them (I used to work for the State of Arizona & knew many people who worked for transitional assistance).

Another resource you may want to try (hear me out) is calling non-profit agencies who help homeless people get back on their feet. I am not suggesting that you become homeless - I am suggesting that you call for advice. I'm sure they encounter many people who are staying with family and who's time in that home is limited. They may have some great advice or phone numbers to resources that you or I may not know of.

I think the advice for substitute teaching is terrific. There are many states that do not require a bachelors degree, but since you have one you should be all set either way. You can say "No" on your really bad days, but still work on days when you are able to.

Once you are out of your unhealthy environment, it will be easier for you to get back on your feet. You will spin your wheels over and over if you are constantly living in a disfunctional environment. I have no doubt that, with a little help, you will be able to live on your own and support yourself. This will do amazing things for your self esteem and for your health.


Fibromyalgia since 2007

"Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live."
Robert F. Kennedy 


Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 45
   Posted 4/30/2009 9:08 PM (GMT -6)   

I'm so sorry to hear you're getting so much negativity from your mother. Hopefully some of the ideas previous posters mentioned will help you out.

To answer your question, I work in a vet clinic part time. Generally I'm at work by 6am, and I only work for about 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. And some days even that completely wipes me out. Today I was only in for a little over two hours, was just in agony, and I came home and took a 3 1/2 hour nap. I'd be hard pressed to support myself these days, and the cost of living is lower here in the midwest. Our family lives off my husband's income, basically.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 316
   Posted 5/1/2009 5:09 AM (GMT -6)   
I need to make a correction to my last post.  Section 8 does appear to have a minimum income limit.  In can be looked up by county.  Since I didn't know your county, I chose Camden.  It shows the minimum as $15,600 per year for a 1 person household. 
Even though there is a minimum limit, this is certainly an option that can be considered if you decide that you would like your own place.  A part time job may very well be enough.


Fibromyalgia since 2007

"Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live."
Robert F. Kennedy 


New Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 6/9/2009 8:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey.. I can completely relate. I live in Jersey as well. I was diagnosed with fibro a few weeks ago after being in pain for over a year with no relief in sight. I work as an EMT which is such a physically draining job without having to deal with fibro. trying to get my mother to acknowledge my condition is like pulling teeth.. so just keeps saying, go into nursing or become a medic. well as you know living in Jersey.. you cant afford school! I have had such fibro fog lately that my bills are all screwed up and the bank account i share with my hubby is $27 overdrawn. I messed up. Sadly i had to go to my mother for a loan to make it thru the week and of course i got the guilt trip. I tried to explain to her about dealin w fibro and doctors appointments 5 times and week and the pain and stress levels but if you dont have fibro you dontn understand, What i am trying to get at is that i completely understand my dear!

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 67
   Posted 6/9/2009 8:47 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry that your mom is being so negative. I wish that some people would just *get* it, but they simply can't believe what they can't see. I hope that your situation improves soon.

I'll also second substitute teaching if you can do it. I did that in Virginia and it's a good way to work and not work (when you just can't get out the door) at the same time. You can make a fairly good living substitute teaching if you really want to.

Also, if you have any office/computer skills at all, I can recommend working as a temporary office worker. I did that for over fifteen years before the tendonitis killed my right hand. Again, you go to work when you can and don't when you just can't. Just let them know that you're not looking for long term assignments and see what they come up with.

I liked substitute teaching better.
When you come to the edge of all the light you have known and are about to step out into the darkness, faith is knowing one of two things will happen; there will be something to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.

I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best. - Marilyn Monroe

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 599
   Posted 6/9/2009 9:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Good advice from all. Kerri is right about speaking with agencies who help others find homes and get back on their feet. They are more than willing to share info, phone numbers and contacts of others who can help you. My relatives, though they don't/ won't realize/ are condescending about my fibro, and treat me like I am "slow" as well now, which is so distasteful. I cannot stand to be around them when I am feeling ill because they sap whatever strength I have that day. You should not feel guilty about the same. I bet you will qualify for assistance if you are living by your self. Your first priority is taking care of you, not your mother. Good luck and welcome.
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