Help! Do I Give Up My Career? Any Insight?

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Is anyone able to work full time?

I have a full-time job as a Title I Reading Teaching and I LOVE my job. It is my dream job and struggling readers is my passion.

But...I'm in my 8th week off of work (sick leave). I had summer break, then I worked 13 days and then I couldn't do it anymore. I have gradually gotten worse for years, particularly this past year. 

I am doing everything I can do to get better: resting, movement (as much as I can), relaxation, eating well... nothing seems to be working.

I am running out of sick leave and I feel worse than ever...

So... Do I give up my career that I love?

Do I try going back to see what happens?

Do I take a few years off and hope I can find a similar job in the future?

Plus, there's the issue of money! 

I know you can't really answer those questions for me, but any insight from those who have been in this position?



0 likes, 19 replies

19 Replies

  • Posted

    So sorry that you continue to suffer. I also loved my job, but it was demanding as I was effectively running 2 large companies in addition to being on various boards of directors. After three years of trying to push through I conceded defeat, but was able to go part-time running a smallish company in the same group and thus reducing  work-related stress enormously plus giving myself more ‘me’ time..which I am still using in large measure for extra rest. 16 month’s in this is proving beneficial though it is a long and slow haul back towards good health. But only you can tell what’s right for you up my full-time work led to quite  a few months of depression for me but I came through that and I have to admit that I should have eased off  sooner, probably  before CFS really set in.
  • Posted

    No one can make this decision other than you but sometimes it's helpful to hear other people's perspective and experiences to help guide.

    My situation is similar in some ways (cfs and unable to have enough energy to work) but it's different in that I really don't love my job but I'm stuck for different reasons in that it took a very long time to train for and pays fairly well. I also have a ridiculous amount of debt and so have felt stuck in this job I know it's wrong for me, it drains me and felt contributed to my fatigue (it's a very emotionally demanding job). I tried and tried but was losing the battle so last year I arranged to reduce my hours to 3 days a week. I hoped that the extra recovery time would be enough. But now I'm a year in and I'm back off sick again. I'm giving myself a little time to rest and think about what I want to do but I think everything is telling me that I need to leave. It will have a huge impact on my life but in some ways I think that what's needed just now because the status quo is not working. I worry I'll regret leaving a profession I worked so hard to get but then I think my health is more important and the only life we have is the one we're living right now and that's all we can focus on.

    I hope some of all of this is helpful.

    Good luck!

  • Posted

    My heart goes out to you, Abby. I was diagnosed with CFS 25 years ago, and as much as I had always dreamed about being a teacher, it just became too difficult for me to teach full time. I came home each day exhausted and went straight to bed. I would sleep the entire weekend, as well. The quality of my life was at its worst!

    Since, I love being with kids and did not want to completely give up my dreams, I decided to find a job teaching part time allowing myself time to rest and heal, but still tying to do what I loved most. If you can, I would suggest that you try to do the same, at least for now. Hopefully, in time, you will gain enough strength and will recover to the point where you can work again full time. But for now, I think it is more important to pace yourself so that you have the chance of recovery. 

    How long have you been sick? So sorry if you already mentioned this. Karen

  • Posted

    We are all individuals so every person is different. Is impossible to say how things will panic out for you which I think you realise. From my own experience, I had to take I'll health retirement from nursing aged 38 ys. That was 20 yrs ago. I was diagnosed with ME 21 yrs ago having been unwell for at least ten months. I was off sick for a year , then had to take the ill health retirement.I had carried on working 8 months whilst unwell. Then one day my body just gave up and I was on verge of collapse at work. I tried three times to go back but was futile . I have never improved. Intact my symptoms have exacerbated over the years. With new ones along the way. I have been housebound for years?

    I do not intend to be negative, just saying it from my own point of view. I have written in other threads on here and felt I am being negative because others have said they have recovered or manage their symptoms well enough to have a normal life. Sorry but good for them. I am pleased for them. Unfortunately this disease , and it is a disease as classed by the WHO, hits everyone differently. Yes some people do get well enough to work and they maybe don't fully realise why some of us don't. I am very positive and push myself as far as I can. I even help others with their problems ! I am in constant pain , cognitive problems, food intolerances. It isn't just fatigue that is involved i have any issues as many of us do.

    The main thing is to be kind to yourself . try not to expect too much from yourself. Pace between activity and rest. Sounds like you are already doing this. Supplements etc help some people , they have never done anything for me. Magnesium injections did a little for a shirt time. Vit d helps some people . again is doing nothing for me .I am currently on it for low vit d levels.

    I do hope you find some improvement before too long. It really is how long is a piece of string! If you do feel you are ready to try work again at some point, the best approach would be slow and gradual. Never back into attempting fulltime at once. It would very likely just knock you down again. Sounds like you are not near any of that yet though.

    Sorry if anyone thinks I am negative. I am certainly not. Just realistic. It broke my heart giving up my job. I was a successful senior nurse and my nursing was everything to me. I would never have given it up lightly .

    Take care x

  • Posted

    Hello Abby,

    ?I am working full time hours but achieve part-time work.  I am much slower doing the work due to the brain fog and energy it takes.  I can still continue doing the work I love as I am self-employed and work from home, except for meetings.  I spread the meetings out, making sure I don't have too many per week and I choose only jobs not too far away.

    ?I know no practice would employee me now and I wouldn't be able to take the stress there either.  Our Cfs is greatly worsened by stress. Therefore answering to bosses, travelling in rush-hour traffic and meeting deadlines will always 'hold back' our recovery if that stresses us.  Unfortunately being off on sick leave is still stressful as we are continually checking if we can go back yet, consequently putting a different deadline on ourselves.  

    ?My advice is to see if there is a way you could continue doing the job you love but in a less stressful way.  That might be changing to part-time, changing to a lower position, becoming self-employed, freelancing, or working for a different company who will provide a less stressful way for you to carry on working.  If you aren't working there will be different stressful elements ie, lack of money, boredom, continually monitoring your own health and then feeling depressed.  

    Emotionally it is better for us to do what we love doing as that makes us happy (helping with the depression) and helps distract us from our ailments. If you love working try hard to find a way to carry on but consider the stress levels. If you're stressed all the time you will struggle to recover.

    Good Luck


  • Posted

    Hi everyone,

    Just to say the nhs say that there are three levels of cfs/me:

    Mild-still functional but get symptoms and often able to work

    Moderate-less functional much more "ill" as it were after activity

    Severe-not able to work often house/bedbound.

    You can Google for better descriptions if helpful

    I was told i was moderate to severe by the cfs/me service and can't do the job i love right now. I hope in the future that i can but,for me pushing yourself is counter productive. If you feel you are ok to go back, ask for a phased return. There are some on here i know have tried to return without success and others who have managed to go back. It really is a mixed bag.


    • Posted

      Thanks Beverley. Already aware of this, but good for newly diagnosed or those still seeking one.

      I am moderately severe , but more to the severe being housebound .

    • Posted

      Hi Janet,

      Just read another post on here where it was being mentioned which is great as the different levels are important i feel.

      I did too much in my first year or so when i used to have sometimes a couple of days with energy? I wasn't aware it was cfs/me then and carried on doing things-gym, swimming, yoga and pilates-oh my! Of course i was shattered but i carried on because no one said what it might be then. Mine is not after post viral fatigue, it was from a car crash and i had physical injury and ptsd symptoms so was told that always being exhausted was part of my recovery. I was told to exercise gently. I agree I had To do something as i couldn't bend over due to my fractured spine and needed to rehabilitate it. It was after a friend was diagnosed with pvs then cfs that i asked my Dr about a referral. I've had it for 5 years and it's so unpredictable.

      This condition sucks whatever level You are at. It really needs more awareness and the unrest film is definitely getting alot of press right now.


    • Posted

      The media often gets it so wrong . was something recently and it was totally misinforming. From time to time they drag up the graded exercise thing. The media write it is the cure for it which is total rubbish. Fact is it has done more harm than good .

      The worst professional regarding CFS/ME in the UK is sir professor simon Wessley. A few years ago now he proclaimed it was a psychiatric illness . all in the mind and not real. He still spouts this. Still thinks exercise and CBT is the only way to go. Awful man.

    • Posted

      Hi Janet,

      Funny you should say that. As part of the insurance claim for the crash (other party admitted liability) i saw a private psychiatrist that said i would have got cfs/me anyway?! Somehow he felt my life predicted it. He also told me that i shouldn't have had any therapy for my ptsd symptoms as they'd get better on their own (try telling that to vetrans with it) he was extremely full of himself and was more interested in repeating how long he'd worked for the cfs/me service than listening. He had white coat syndrome from the other side and looked disgusted when i asked for a glass of water and slumped on his settee. I was irritated by his response to me. People with the condition seriously don't need this kind of fool managing their treatment never mind being influential in claims for compensation. I felt like i do today the morning after the crash and it never went away. I have read so many times that it can affect anyone and aren't so gullible to believe his statement. You have to do your own research which is difficult when you're exhausted.


    • Posted

      Hi Beverly

      And did you know that we are not allowed to donate blood ? Now surely that stands for something ! We can donate organs but so can just about anybody . X

    • Posted

      Hi Janet,

      I do know that but, i can't give blood anyway because i had a blood transfusion in 1993-it was the cut off year for mad cows disease i was told!


    • Posted

      Ah so you are a mad cow! Just like me ! Lol we have to laugh don't we ?! Otherwise we would completely lose the will to live x

    • Posted

      It is interesting though isn't it how we cannot donate because of CFS/ME ! Makes their insulting psychiatric assumptions so pointless and unfounded .

    • Posted

      I agree, much the same as me being told I can't donate blood because I had a transfusion in 1993! I' feel it says we don't care about those with it but want to prevent others getting it if we can. I don't have CJD so why ban people on speculation?  It's 24 years ago now . the biggest irony for me was that I'm vegetarian. Lol!

      Much more research and publicity needed for CFS/ME 

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