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Struggling with work/career change

PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:39 pm
by Katie777
I am a year and a bit into oms (started from diagnosis). I had a severe relapse leading to diagnosis a short while after returning to my teaching career. I had previously left teaching due to a combination of stress and family crisis, I stayed away for 2 years and initially thought I would never return. I got brave, went back and then got ill :(

I only work part time which is how I have coped so far. Teaching is rough in the UK these days! The stress is really getting to me. On top of that the physical demands of the job take their toll. I have lots of old symptoms hanging around as well as fatigue and newer sensory issues. I know the job is making me significantly worse and I fear a stress induced relapse.

I do meditate and work hard on being present but am quite often overwhelmed at the moment nevertheless.

While I am optimistic for my health long term, I think a less stressful environment is probably important in that. I would love to know if others have changed jobs/careers for that reason? Have you found you have the energy for work when the stress is not sapping you? Any success stories?

I would have to work more days in another role as my pay would be less. I think I am looking at 30 hours a week. I worry a little about coping with extra days although they would certainly be shorter and probably spent behind a desk.

Any experience and advice much appreciated.

Re: Struggling with work/career change

PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:58 pm
by Blueberry
Many of us have had to change jobs or as in my case stop all together.
It's sucks but getting more ill sucks more.

I was a farmer and loved it.
But being a physical job ment when I got weak, even part time isn't an option. And dangerous.
I also had such bad fatigue I had to sleep all day.. Lost muscle and the love for life.
However I started LDN 6 months ago and it fixed my fatigue... I now don't need to sleep all day and gave me the energy to exercise and build muscle again. Brain fog also lifted.
My mood is better than ever and am even coming off antidepressants.
I'm now doing odd jobs and hope to work for decent money again one day and a job that makes me happy and helps me earn my keep.

Sometimes we have to take a step back in order to move forward.

I follow OMS religiously, but for me I did need a medication to get me back on track.
You are not alone, I hope things improve or you soon.

Re: Struggling with work/career change

PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:20 am
by Meow
Hi Katie777

Teaching is a tough job no matter what country you're in, and I assume that you are a teacher because that is your choice of occupation. The decisions you face are not easy ones, but here's a few thoughts:
- If your employer does not know about your MS then maybe talk to a counsellor about options for disclosing your MS so that your needs can be catered for by your employer.

- If your employers do know about your MS maybe talk to the HR people about possible options for continuing to use your skills and qualifications in a different role which would have fewer negative impacts on your health. Employment laws vary but most first world countries have fairly strong provisions for ensuring that work does not damage employee health, and legal requirements that diversity must be accommodated - i.e. no discrimination - which is about more than just colour, religion etc, but also about capacity and disability.

- Think laterally - what else can you do that utilises your existing qualifications and would maintain your income - i.e. can you move into curriculum development or some other area where you are still working in the teaching sphere but the stresses may be less. Can you look at doing some further study/qualification (maybe part-time) which would enable you to move into a different aspect of teaching? Your employer could possibly support you in this.

- Talk to a "careers counsellor" about other career pathways you may be able to follow which will utilise your existing skills and qualifications.

Good luck with it. It is tough, and I have found that the impacts from my MS have affected the satisfaction I get from my work. I'm still doing the same job (although not full-time any more), but can no longer take on the really interesting and challenging work which used to provide me with so much mental stimulation and satisfaction, so strangely enough I get some stress from boredom! Against this I look at the positives I get from working with a really great bunch of people who are very supportive of me and the problems that my MS causes me.

Re: Struggling with work/career change

PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:59 am
by Katie777
Thanks for your advice. I will feel a bit lost without teaching but I don't love it, I am not having to give up a passion so I have it easier than many, I see that now. I feel stronger about putting my health first from your reminders of how many people have to make changes. I have so much faith in oms, I have to stop and accept that right now I do have MS, I am not recovered yet.

Teachers are nice people on the whole but it's generally an isolating job, I would like to work in a team again (pros and cons I know). Some know about my MS, including the head, but it just gets forgotten under the mountain of stuff going on... I am on my 2nd one year contract, ending in the summer, so can't really expect too much from them. I plan to leave at my next opportunity anyway which is Easter.

The other main option is teaching assistant, bad money but I could supplement with tutoring. I tried this before and couldn't make the step down, I still carried the teacher stress. Where I live is a bit sleepy, the options for curriculum work etc. are not really available within commutable distance. I love it here though so that's ok by me :)

A part time office job will be ok for me. Gosh making the decision is the hardest part! I feel more peaceful now x

Re: Struggling with work/career change

PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:45 am
by KathLB
Oh Katie777, I know just how you feel! It's so hard to take the plunge to actually jump away from something when you don't quite know what you're going to.

When I had my first major relapse (after many years of 'minor' undiagnosed vision, numbness, tingling, vibrating, dizzy, fatigue symptoms) I left my job in a flood of tears and never went back. I know it was the stress of that particular job that finally tipped me over to a 'proper' full on relapse and then diagnoses.

Now, 17 months in and 17 months on OMS I feel so much better but still need to be mindful about the stress levels in my life. I am very disappointed I have had two minor symptom flare ups (numbness, tingling, eye pain) over the 17 months - I won't call them relapses as they are nothing like the relapse I had - just more a reminder that this lurks and no matter how fab my diet is I need to look after my mental health equally.

I am in the middle of one now and it's pretty disheartening but I can account it back to about 3 weeks to a bad day at work when I didn't even realise my stress was up but then I did have a cry when I got home so it no doubt was! But I was feeling 100% perfect then so didn't think anything of it.

Anyway, I'm rambling, but I hope you can find the change to make your life less stressed. We do have to put our health first, we hear it and know it but we actually have to do it! Me included!

Take care

Re: Struggling with work/career change

PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:16 pm
by Katie777
Thank you Kath, that makes me feel a lot clearer and more confident in my decision. I feel truly horrendous today and that's the last push I needed, I will be resigning next week.

Re: Struggling with work/career change

PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 10:08 am
by sabinerose
Hi Katie777,

I completely understand your difficulty. I think ultimately you won't regret putting your health first.

I trained as a lawyer and a few years ago had a job I loved in poverty/community law. Undiagnosed illness forced me to quit and I became a home-based typist, becoming socially withdrawn and losing my self-esteem. I finally got a diagnosis, but by that time I had lost all confidence to get my legal career back on track - and so I still work as a typist.

For me it can be quite painful to hear about the progress of my old friends and colleagues. However, I'm learning to be happy for others and focus on the positives. The job I have allows me to take time out without any explanation. I can exercise and do fun things during the day. I can start and finish whenever I like. I can fit in yoga and other things, choosing what I do and when I do it. I have more energy and overall better health. My last MRI showed no new lesions. :)

There will always be some pain when you lose something you love, including a job you enjoy. But making the choice to put health first is empowering. Have no regrets! x

Re: Struggling with work/career change

PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 6:50 pm
by Kashu
Yes me too I was doing volunteer work part time and finally got the perfect job cooking to support myself.

It was in the kitchens of a huge resthome and I loved it. Only 2 months into it I went away for the weekend and woke up numb all down my right side, and so my MS journey began.

They really wanted to keep my job open but deep down I knew it was serious even with no diagnosis so I resigned.

I took a couple of years off and was on a government benefit but eventually not working was driving me nuts so I got an admin job, went overseas with my voluteering and when I came back I retrained.

What I am saying is that take some time and don't feel all is lost. You may ease back into your profession and it maybe in a different facet of it or you might end up doing something different but you will be ok.

One thing that appears to be with us MSers is that we are achievers who can't be kept down for long :D

Re: Struggling with work/career change

PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2019 6:10 pm
by Jul
Hi Katie,
Lots of great advice here. I am a teacher too. I transitioned into working 30% three mornings a week a specialized teacher and that works for me. I happen to love it but having said that, I recognize that the pace, isolation, demands and the incredibly stimulating environment is not MS friendly at all. I fantasize about working at a desk in an adult environment with dim lights but I would miss the kids. So I work hard to walk slower, keep a slower pace and use mindfulness to offset the crazy environment. I feel like I am going against the grain when I am there but I see the kids respond to the calmness I bring.

We have more student behaviour than we used to and that puts me on edge sometimes too so I have a lot to manage at work to keep my MS stable. I couldn’t imagine sticking with it if I didn’t love it. MS is giving you a gift then to make a change you might not have otherwise have made. Find something you like and that will help your health a lot. Something that makes you smile.