newbie with fibro having work trouble

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/17/2009 9:01 PM (GMT -6)   
I have fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as low thyroid. I'm a recent college graduate, so pretty much have just entered the work force.

For years my condition was so bad that I almost always walked with a cane, and sometimes used a wheelchair. My condition has been better for a little over 1 1/2 years now.

When ever my condition was obvious I found no one would hire me, so I started hiding it to the best of my ability, again, since it's improved, I can mostly hide it.

However I'm having a really hard time. The only job I could get requires almost 100 miles of driving a day, a lot of walking, and often dealing with large crowds of people. I'm a strong introvert, and a very low energy person, so I'm constantly having to pretend to be high energy and upbeat, when in reality I can hardly keep my eyes open I'm so tired, and I'd just rather not be around people.

So many people say my job sounds like it must be a great job to have, but I'm starting to really go nuts dealing with it. Problem is if I quit I don't know how I'd be able to feed myself, the economy is so shot. This was the closest job I could find!

I'm really worried that the fibrofog is affecting my ability to make judgments, I feel so overwhelmed so often by dealing with so many people at once with all their wants and needs. I'm also worried about the worse symptoms coming back, making it physically impossible for me to do my job, leaving me with no way of supporting myself.

Anyone else deal with a similar situation? Any advice?

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 159
   Posted 10/17/2009 9:41 PM (GMT -6)   


So sorry you are having such a hard time with your job.  It's really the pits sometimes when you are about to drop and you have to put on a "show face".  I've been there, done that myself.   Are you driving 100 miles round trip to the job or driving 100 miles during the day on the job?  If it is to the job and back, could you possibly carpool, bus, train,etc?  If it is driving around all day, could you split your day up and do most of your driving in the morning, when you have more energy, and do more office type, sit down stuff in the afternoon?  You say you have to do alot of walking on the job---could you try to pace yourself by having walking then sitdown tasks, then walking again?  These are only suggestions since I know nothing about  the type of work you do or your schedule.

However, I would like to welcome you to the forum.  I'm fairly new here myself.  You will find alot of supportive, good people here.   We really DO understand how difficult it is sometimes to do your job when you are dog tired and in pain.  I'm sure others will come along with some "hellos" and some support too. 

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/17/2009 10:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the reply
Really it is about 80-100 round trip depending what way I end up having to go. Unfortunately there's no one else that lives anywhere near where I live that works there, and the public transportation option, well it isn't an option, there is no public transportation from here to there. It doesn't help that I still am not all that comfortable driving, even after more than a year of doing this. I had to get over a serious driving phobia to handle just getting to work (it actually was so bad driving use to sometimes cause me to have panic attacks). Sometimes I really think I made a poor decision, taking a job I was incredibly ill suited for, and I wonder why they hired me, but I can't find any work doing something I'm actually good at. I don't know what else I could have done.
I guess it's good that I conquered a phobia, but it still isn't something I'd be doing if I had a better option.

I think I've gotten myself stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I'm constantly looking for a way out. However I've been looking for different work for several months, and the only other options aren't stable, so I could never be sure whether I'd be able to pay the bills from one month to the next.

The one nice thing about the job is after we do a bunch of walking they actually do let us sit down for a while, that's the one reason I've really been able to tolerate it. However I'm always paranoid about my condition getting back to the point where even that isn't enough.

"could you split your day up and do most of your driving in the morning, when you have more energy, and do more office type, sit down stuff in the afternoon"

I do have an early morning commute, unfortunately mornings are when I have the least energy, it's very late at night when I have the most, but there's no work to be had late at night (about 12-5am is generally the peak of my energy, it's all downhill from then, which means I have to force myself to sleep when I have the most energy, and work when I have the least).

Post Edited (emeraldraven) : 10/17/2009 9:14:49 PM (GMT-6)

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 40404
   Posted 10/17/2009 11:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I seem to have most of my energy at night too. I took an aftenoon job where I work until 11:00 at night. I just don't know if I will be able to do it when the weather gets cold. But the manager told me that if I can't do it, I can take a leave of absence until spring. I was very happy about that.

I hadn't worked for seven years before I got this job. So this is a huge accomplishment for me.

I hope that you can continue to work. Try to take it one day at a time. That really keeps the anxiety down. Take everything as it comes and try not to worry about the future.

Best wishes, and welcome to the forum

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 6067
   Posted 10/18/2009 8:23 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Emeraldraven and welcome. How long have you been at your job??? What would happen if you told them the truth about your health problems, would they accommodate you when you aren't up to doing so much walking???
I also went through a period of having panic attacks while driving and have pretty much over come it, although don't know about driving as far as you do a day, and it is a great feeling to conquer something like that.
I wish you the best.
luv and hugs
Forum Moderator Fibromyalgia
Fibro,Sjogrens, Anxiety, Gastroparesis, IBS, Gastritis, Allergies, High Blood Pressure, Low Blood Sodium, Osteoarthritis and Celiac
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Vit D/calcium

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 10/19/2009 5:27 PM (GMT -6)   
I've been at my job for over a year. I don't know what would happen if I told them the truth, it would probably depend on how bad my illness progresses I think. If it gets bad enough I just wouldn't even be able to even do the minimum that they need someone to do. If it gets really bad I wouldn't trust that I have the ability to safely keep driving that distance either.

On the positive side I've gotten them to accommodate me some by letting them know my back gives me trouble (which is true), so they don't make me do the heavy lifting, I'm a small frail looking person anyways, so I don't think most people expect me to lift much, back problems or no anyhow.

I think I'll have to keep looking for opportunities that I'm better suited for.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1522
   Posted 10/19/2009 6:45 PM (GMT -6)   
Stop worrying about getting worse, that will actually make you worse! I know it is hard but take it one day at a time. Just think about getting through the day, not the week, not the month. You may stay the way you are, or get a bit better, for years. You may flare up and it might last just for a weekend. There is no way to know.

It sounds like you'll need to keep this job until you find another one. Keep putting in applications, hopefully, something better will turn up. The economy has to turn around eventually.

You don't have to "tell them the truth" unless you lied in the first place. You got the job and obviously have been able to do it for over a year. If you do flare and need to make changes, that would be the time to tell them about your illness. Otherwise, don't tell them anything. If you need to tell them, make sure you have a plan. Do not make it seem like a secret that you covered up or something you lied about when you applied. You tell them that you have a chronic medical condition and you are now in a flare. You will need some accommodations to continue working and you don't know how long it will last. If you can give them a list of accommodations that will benefit them as much as yourself, they are more likely to go along with it.

I am doing well right now but a 100 mile/day commute with a full day of work would knock me out. I hope you find something better soon.

Good luck.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 10/19/2009 6:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Emeraldraven and welcome!!

The middle paragraph of your first post hit me right in the gut.

"However I'm having a really hard time. The only job I could get requires almost 100 miles of driving a day, a lot of walking, and often dealing with large crowds of people. I'm a strong introvert, and a very low energy person, so I'm constantly having to pretend to be high energy and upbeat, when in reality I can hardly keep my eyes open I'm so tired, and I'd just rather not be around people."

Oh jeeezzz...I thought for a minute that we must be Just kidding. I've always known I was an introvert and have even been through the Meyers Briggs test to prove it. Hard core introvert. Prefer not being around people/crowds, pretend to have lots of energy and upbeat and all the time I'm so miserably tired I can hardly wait to be home in my safe home. But doc said it was time I stopped working because of my health. What job did I have??? I was teaching college! You'd be surprised to find that a very large number of teachers are introverts.

Anyway, it looks, by your description, that you are pretty much stuck until you find a new/different job. So, in the mean time I'm guessing you'll have to make the best of the situation. Think of the items you will be able to add to your resume! Have you updated your resume? Added all of the things you are doing on this job? Are you willing to move some distance and relocate for a new job?

OK, now comes the hard part. I know you are going to think I'm crazy, and you're probably right, but the one thing you truly need to do is RELAX!...oh, I mean relax <sshhh> Tension and worry are only wasting your energy and making the pain worse. Pamper yourself, nice bath bubbles, candles and something refreshing to drink and then soak in a nice hot bath. Do some easy activites with a friend or just do something easy by yourself...something where there aren't crowds involved. I know that I have to force myself out of the house much of the time. Go to the library and get some book and videos you enjoy...all free if you have a library in your area. Get some popcorn going and relax to a good movie. The more you stress the more you will be miserable. OK, I know you're saying.."ya right! easy for you to say but you're not me and it's hard." You bet it's hard to relax! I still am not good at it but I try. ;-)

I'm sure there are lots of people on this forum right now who are laughing their heads off at me!...I can hear ya out there! YOU, an introvert??? hahahaha I babble away on here all the time, host a Chat Night once a week and post the daily Koffee Klatch and I'm and introvert? Sure, because I'm in the safety of my own home and space. But it's painful to be forced into situations that only add stress and up your pain level.

Keep looking and we'll be right here beside you all the way...OK? Here, take my hand and we'll walk this path together. <extending hand> I know we'll succeed because we're not alone.

Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.
Richard L. Evans

(\o/)Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums

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