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When I Had To Stop Working

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Friday October 19 2018 11:13 AM

This week, Joan Jordan champions her professional revitalisation and shares with us all the joys of returning to the workforce. 

Sorry for the spoiler in the title. You already know how this one is going to play out.

Girl studies hard and gets a computer science place in Trinity College. Girl works her arse off and builds a nice little life for herself and her family. Girl is winning. Girl firmly believes that bad things happen to other people. She has plans, you see……

Mike Tyson nailed it when he said, “everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.” Next thing- girl is punch drunk and wondering how on earth she got into this position? More importantly, how was she going to get out of it?

When the editorial team asked me what they wanted to write about this week, I must say that I felt a bit anxious. I still feel shame over having to throw in the towel and stop working in 2009. I didn’t get formally diagnosed until 2010 and until then, lived with the unsettling conviction that something was really, really, really, wrong with me.

I HAD to stop working. End of story. It was destroying me every day. Not knowing what was destroying me made it even worse. People like explanations and I just did not have one to give.

I didn’t realise how important having a job was to my standing in society. It’s one thing to stop working as a lifestyle decision – another entirely when you feel forced into it. People ask difficult questions. Social outings and meeting new people became awkward. I also felt terribly guilty about not having my own money.

Actually, the story didn’t end there. After chasing a lot of dead ends, I retrained and now work 15 hours a week from home. I do my work in the mornings before cog-fog sets in. My business card says that I am the EUPATI Content Coordinator. I love my job and do not take it for granted for a second. I’m even happy to be back paying taxes! Long story short, it was not easy to get back into gainful employment, but it is possible.

If one good thing has out of all I went through when I had to stop working, it’s that I learned more about compassion. Being kind is important (and that includes being kind to yourself). Don’t judge others when you are not standing in their shoes. If you feel that you are stuck in a situation through no fault of your own- seek help. I’m glad I went to Citizens Information to find out what my options were when I had to stop working.

Dedicated to MS

Without whom this blog would not have been possible.

Author: Joan Jordan

Tags: working, employment, ms, multiplesclerosis

Comments

Declan

Friday October 19 2018 13:24

The feeling of self-worth is so important to feeling well. Glad you found something you enjoy doing.

Niall

Friday October 19 2018 13:30

Girl gets knocked down, but gets back up.

Constantly impressed and constantly proud of all you have achieved and keep achieving, Joan.

Keep the blog posts coming...

Joan Jordan

Friday October 19 2018 14:47

P.S It's me, commenting on my own blog. I didn't mention MS until the end of this piece. It wasn't intentional. I just noticed it after I had written it. Joan

Mary

Sunday October 21 2018 20:39

Joan I think you could have wrote it about me and many more.
We take so much for granted as we never know the day or the hour .
Our life's will change. I need to do something but I keep getting setbacks, hopefully something will happen soon.

Helen

Wednesday October 24 2018 09:21

Concussus resurgo.

Well written Joan and I can relate, so much. I had to give up full time work a decade ago and I was gutted. My whole sense of self felt diminished. I've carved out a new, part time career, that gives me such happiness and time to rest as well as get the validation most people need from paid employment. It feels all the sweeter for the loss.

I feel very proud of your achievement as a EUPATI coordinator. Beir bua mo chara.

Zoe

Sunday October 28 2018 07:57

Such a well written piece Joan, and it really touched me personally as someone who has also had to retrain due to having MS as well. I’m so glad you’ve found something you can do. Being able to work from home makes such a difference. I completely hear you when you say that you never realised the validation that a job gave you, the joy of earning your own money and how you lost a whole infrastructure when you stopped working.
Such a good piece :-)

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