lost my identity

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yankee girl
Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 8/19/2009 4:08 PM (GMT -7)   
With my husband's encouragement, I resigned from my teaching position 2 years ago due to the fibro--I was always exhausted, I hurt so much, the pressure of the job, lesson plans, etc etc---But I miss it. I miss the kids, I miss my identity.
I was very proud of being a teacher.  I've been on several interviews (my husband thinks I'm crazy!) but have not been offered a teaching job and I believe it's primarily due to my attendance record as I did take an extended leave during my last year due to the fibro. Could also be my age, as I'm in my 50's.
I am fortunate in that I am working part time in my other field--social work--I work with Alzheimer patients and their families. I have very flexible hours and not as much stress as teaching---but I don't have that sense of belonging, of pride, my identity is gone. I feel like a failure.
 Hubby reminds me that I'm forgetting the negative aspects of teaching---all the prep time, administrative BS, grading papers, having to be "on" since "the show must go on" each and every day----I know he's right, but I keep thinking that if I could land a teaching position, that I'd be better since I'd have that sense of belonging again----am I crazy? 
  My fibro is getting worse .  I really don't know if my body could even take the mental and physical stress of working full time again....I tell myself I could handle it, but realisitically, intellectually, I don't know....My head and heart are at odds.
Thank you for reading...
fibro, PTSD, anxiety, severe nerve damage/several surgeries on wrist, TMJ--have titanium disks, depression, mitral valve prolapse.
xanax, roxicodone, melatonin, accupril, HRT

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 222
   Posted 8/19/2009 4:18 PM (GMT -7)   
hi, sorry to hear you feel this way.
I really know how you feel tho, i gave up my career in outdoor education as a result of my problems and i think this is where my occasional outbursts of rage come from.
Could you get a locum teaching or would that be more hassle.
I know how you want to give it another chance and maybe you should so you wont be wondering what if, at least you'll have tried.
I work in a chemist now and while it's not what i really want it'll have to do for now.
I used to define myself by my sports and ow that i cant do them i feel as you do.
I guess we have to be realistic and not hard on oursleves(wish i could take my own advice), we have our health issues and need to work around them.
Your hubby is jusr trying to watch out for you but maybe you could ask him to just support you in trying and if it doesn;t work out, you'll at least have tried.
take care
BikeBoo, biking with my boo since 1999
Of all the things i've lost, i miss my mind the most! But it has its advantages!
Fibro, spinal arthritis and all that goes with it.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2858
   Posted 8/19/2009 5:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi...have you thought about doing some substitute teaching?  I know it's not the same but it would
put you back in the classroom, even if it was only a couple of times a week.  Just a thought.  I know how hard it is to have to give up our passions because of fibro.
fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 386
   Posted 8/19/2009 7:54 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello Yankee Girl,

How about volunteering at the library? Reading, teaching kids and adults of all ages. My dad is retired and not the healthiest man in the world, but he just has to keep learning and doing. He taught a few different ages of adults that were illiterate at the local library. He would do up his own lesson plans and meet them once a week. Do you need the money? My folks have also volunteered with ESL classes at a local school to help read with children as well.

You are very valuable!
Fibromyalgia, Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia, Gastritis
300mg Gabapentin, 50mg Pristiq, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Ultracet

Elite Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 8/20/2009 1:40 AM (GMT -7)   
It sounds to me as if you are grieving, which is a very common response when learning to live with a chronic illness.

Please don't feel that you are abnormal. I think that what you are feeling is completely normal, and very understandable.
Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.

Medications for Crohn's ~~ Diet and Nutritional Therapy for Crohn's ~~ Dealing with Abscesses and Fistulae ~~

yankee girl
Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 8/20/2009 2:13 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks so much for replying Boo, Donna, Danib, and Lori---

I started substitute teaching last year, and it's just not the same--they aren't "my" kids--I did have some days I did enjoy though, but again, it's that lack of belonging---I was just the sub, it wasn't my classroom, my kids, my school.

Money is always nice but we're so fortunate in that we're not dependant on my income. Yes, working with Alzheimers can be rewarding,---Danib, I'm so sorry for the loss of your grandmother----that disease is such a vicious thief---
The nonprofit I work for lacks what I consider good basic managerial skills --my immediate supervisor quite frankly is an idiot, and I'm embarrassed by her press releases (it's all I can do to not take out my red pen to correct everything)--I'm very vocal and state my opinions (in a professional manner) which fall on deaf ears (but my staff are behind me 100%).

My supervisor has told me to always "talk to her if I need anything"---well, I told her that my staff and I feel like the "red headed step children" of the agency------and she actually agreed with me that yes, indeed, you are the red headed step children!!!!! I mean, hello......is that exactly what NOT to say???? She's very inconsistent and changes her mind constantly. I don't even have a consistently working computer while others in the agency have brand new lap tops.

I do conduct a class with my early memory loss folks one day a week---that's the highlight of my week. I've received wonderful feedback on this, and again, it's not the same. I'm sorry for sounding like a whiney brat.

Yes, I'm so fortunate in many ways to have this part time position, but it's just not teaching, and my identity remains lost---maybe I'm just in mourning for my lost career.

thanks so much for reading (again).

ivy6---just read your post--thank you---you may be right---

fibro, PTSD, anxiety, severe nerve damage/several surgeries on wrist, TMJ--have titanium disks, depression, mitral valve prolapse.
xanax, roxicodone, melatonin, accupril, HRT

Post Edited (yankee girl) : 8/20/2009 3:27:19 AM (GMT-6)

American Woman
Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 96
   Posted 8/20/2009 7:36 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Yankeegirl
I just read your post and the replys. I have to agree with Ivy 6 about grieving. My sister in law said the same thing to me. My brother (her husband) died in March and that is also when I was diagnosed with fibro and having a hard time dealing with both. She said you are also grieving for the loss of the life you used to have and the loss of your brother ( I also had to leave my job that I had for 20 yrs.)
Once I let myself "grieve" for what I don't have anymore and focused on what I still have, it has become less painful and I;m thankful for the time I had with my brother(he had cancer) and the closeness I have with his wife. I can deal with the fibro and yes there are days I just don't think I can do this anymore and I think we all feel that way from time to time.
I want to thank you for working with the alzheimer patients and their families. My mother had alzheimers in the mid 70's and we had never heard about it and there weren't any support groups or any kind of help back then to try to understand this terrible disease. It may not be your classroom and I do understand that, but you sure are doing something wonderful now too.
God Bless You
American Woman

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Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17524
   Posted 8/20/2009 2:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Yankee Girl, I used to teach too and I know I couldn't get a job now.  I have extreme hearing problems plus they want to hire kids fresh out of college at the lower pay rate.
You couldn't pay me to substitute.  I did it and lasted 2 1/2 days.  LOL 
But, have you considered tutoring?  You would have your special kids and you could see them excel and I think that could solve your problem.  Just think about it!
Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 8/20/2009 3:02 PM (GMT -7)   
You just described exactly how I've felt these last six weeks since I lost my last job. I had worked in the same hospital RN job for thirteen years, the last six or so with steadily decreasing hours to accomodate my "fatigue problem". I left that job to take a full-time hospital job, as my husband and live-in daughter had been laid off, and we needed the money. I washed out at five weeks, unable to learn, adapt, or carry the hours. I've since had a major emotional breakdown with hospitalization, applied for disability, and have had barely a day since of being out of bed for more than half a day.

The realization that I'll likely never be well enough to work as a nurse again breaks my heart. I got into nursing late-at 40-and was quite proud to be an RN. I feel like I've lost a huge part of who I was. What hurts even worse is the realization that I'd not been reliably able to be a very good nurse for quite a long time now, no matter how hard I tried. My current fibro-fog makes it hard for me to think of myself as a nurse at all, despite my years of experience. I can't even offer to volunteer at the local health clinic, d/t the fatigue and fog.

I swear, I'm not the same person I was six weeks ago. She died.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 163
   Posted 8/20/2009 3:05 PM (GMT -7)   
My husband hated my job, so I took a step down. After complaining daily and blamining him for getting me into this mess making my FM flare up too he finally just said "Okay, do what you need to do." I got my high position back. I felt stupid and run over for listening to my husband. I should never have taken a step down. We FM people have to keep on the move. I noticed if I sit for 20 mins. I lock up. The desk job with low pay was not for me. I let my husband dictate to me what to do with my career when we don't even share the bank account. Stupid me. My point is don't be like me. All the regret. Do what you what or you too will regret it. nono
Fibromyalgia, Chronic Myofacial pain syndrome, Malaise, Fatigue.

yankee girl
Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 8/21/2009 6:04 AM (GMT -7)   
American woman, Sherrine, DreamspinnerCheryl, littlestrebel-----thank you all for responding.

with my current job, I don't have the energy for tutoring---but I'll keep an open mind about it! thanks for the idea!

I want to thank you all who told me I'm doing something important---of course I already knew that, but it sure is nice for others to acknowledge that---something we all need from time to time. It helped so much.
I just keep hearing my former principal telling me that "this is your calling" (I was a high school exceptional student ed. teacher)--I'm still having to accept my disease, my physical limitations. I take a higher dose of my meds than I did when I was teaching, and they certainly have an effect on my abilities/concentration----so I'll work on staying focused on what I have, and what I'm doing has tremendous value---just like teaching.

My husband knows me, he knows what I endured that last year teaching, how hard it was to drag myself to school, the pain and exhaustion---if I want to go back (If I can get a teaching job!), he'd support me a zillion percent---he just knows how difficult it was that last year....

thanks again to everyone who took the time to respond. Can't express how much it helped.
Yankee girl

fibro, PTSD, anxiety, severe nerve damage/several surgeries on wrist, TMJ--have titanium disks, depression, mitral valve prolapse.
xanax, roxicodone, melatonin, accupril, HRT

Post Edited (yankee girl) : 8/21/2009 7:08:28 AM (GMT-6)

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