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Dealing with lost career dreams and goals

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by Tulip, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

    I got sick when I was 18, I had worked fulltime for 12 months, then left to study a diploma fulltime. I got sick one month into the diploma and despite my pushing on I just wasn't well enough to continue. My plan had been to be graduate course, live overseas for 2 years working and gaining life experience, come back have career change into ambulance service and live out my dream career. Unfortunately that obviously didn't happen!. 19 years later I still yearn for that career, I don't think I can ever let it go even though it's very unlikely that i'll ever get to do it.

    I find it REALLY hard to come to terms with never ever being able to work and work in my chosen career field, it feels really surreal and strange. I don't actually think my brain can get itself around such a concept because it just defies logic.

    Is anyone else in a similar situation? Never been able to do your chosen career and still yearning/grieving for it?. Do you feel like you have lost a part of yourself as well in not being able to fullfill that desire?.
  2. justy

    justy Donate Advocate Demonstrate

    Hi Tulip, your struggle rings a very loud bell with me. Since first being ill at 24 (i am now 41) i have tried more than once to have the career i wanted to have. I have tried three times to do a degree and each time have become too ill to continue. I wanted so much to train as a midwife at 24 but couldnt handle the pace of the training. Many years later i trianed on a short course as a Doula but found that the work was too exhausting. Then i attempted to become a counsellor and did a years part time training, i couldnt go on to the diploma as i was pregnant at this time and couldnt manage both. In recent years i have tried gardening and another degree in public health (a complete disaster!)
    Many might say that i am lucky because i had children and spent many years bringing them up and many on here have not been able to do that. My family are a source of great joy and comfort to me but as a woman i have to say its not been always enough or what i imagined for my life. I have watched friends having families and jobs -even if only part time but i have never had the stamina for that and it has been a source of great grief for me over the past 16 years or so.
    During my last severe relapse 3 years ago i became absolutely grief stricken about all of this and it was very very painful, i guess it is my age as well palying into it all -creating a very unique midlife crisis.
    I feel that i have moved on slightly in the past year and am coming to terms with the loss of my dreams, but its not easy and not o.k to have to be in this position, especially when i have tried so hard to succeed over the years. The sense of a wasted life hurts me deeply as i know that i have a lot of useful skills that would help others and bring me joy.
    I do really understand your pain Tulip and i can do is to say i am sorry for yours and share my experience.
    Take care, Justy x.
  3. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

    Geez Justy how similar our stories are! I get the midlife crisis thing to.

    Thanks for *getting it* and i'm sorry you too have and are experiencing the grief that goes with it.
  4. lucy

    lucy Senior Member

    I think it is a very important topic. How to deal with a fact, that you cannot follow the normal course of life? Being denied by doctors and not being usefull to society, is not what we dream about. The days, months and years pass, and it is very difficult to find fulfillment in them. My escape is arts, but I am very lucky.

    The newest research into happiness talks about that it is not about being emotionaly happy, but it is about achievements, the inner feeling of having completed something.

    We have failed so many attempts to proceed with life, that we could be a perfect group to research what is there besides achievements.
  5. The first part of adult life (20's) is about getting established with your career, relationships, family, etc. If you've never been able to achieve that, it's like you're still stuck in that phase of life, unable to move on. My suggestion, and what has worked somewhat for me, is to try to do what you would have done, but to a much lesser degree that doesn't make you crash.

    My passions are more with design and music, so I can work on a computer or in my basement shop for a few hours here and there as I feel able. I get out a couple times a year to perform a few songs at a jam.

    I have a friend with the very similar disease, post polio, who was a radio news guy. He does Scrabble tournaments (working with words, competitive) and has blog where he "reports" on the tournaments and his weekly lunch group gathering (he also likes to eat good food).

    Paramedic and midwife would take some brainstorming, because they're highly action oriented. But think of it like a hobby or some light volunteering. If you have any artistic or crafty bone in your body, combing it with an art or craft could work. For example, knitting booties for babies, and then giving them to the babies and mothers in person every so often.
  6. pine108kell

    pine108kell Senior Member

    Over time, I have come to terms with losing my professional career. However, I do need the feeling of accomplishing something useful. Who doesn't? It is really devestating.

    CFS robs me of finding any kind of niche that helps me do that. I do not have the physical energy to do any kind of job, nor the mental energy to really even write or finish anything constructive. I spend a great deal of time just doing things to distract myself because it is just too demanding, and makes me physically ill, to try and actually focus. It seems like such a waste and a very difficult thing to endure.
  7. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

    I graduated from law school two years before I got really sick. I was able to do some legal research for other attorneys, but now I couldn't even manage that ... my concentration and processing abilities are far too erratic. Not to mention memory. The worst part is I took out US$150,000 in loans to pursue that dream. Not only can I not obtain my dream, I'm stuck with huge debt from it that I can't pay off.
  8. Mya Symons

    Mya Symons Mya Symons

    Yes. I was working on my Bachelor's degree when I got sick. I do yearn for the lost career. I also delude myself and tell myself that I will go back to school someday and finish. Maybe someday if there is better treatment available........ I guess the delusion is so I don't have to come to terms.
  9. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

    I just had to turn down an invitation to judge at a prestigious Championship dog show in 2013, on receiving the call I asked if I could ring the guy back as I was a little (understatement) taken aback. Showing and judging was a big part of my life before ME but I havent been involved since I became ill. I thought about it for 24hrs and went through every scenario, I hope to be better by 2013, positive thinking okay, but I have a back problem which I've had for 30yrs and which isn't helped by the ME, so I turned it down on the grounds that I probably wouldn't be able to do the bending that is require to judge, and I felt okay with that. Have kept my hope intact that some improvement will come via some means. Its hard staying positive though isn't it?.
  10. alexa


    i cried reading this thread.... and i don't have many soothing words...i became ill when i was 25, i am now 27. i had just finnished a bachelor degree and wanted to go into academia. but i can't, i am too sick to think ( CFS has no doubt made me dumber) and my body is too sick for manual labor.

    i am going back to school to become a funeral director in the fall, but i have no clue if i can make it. i have to get my drivers licence to do this and i have no idea how it will work when i have such trouble concentration.
    What is life? i try to feel greatful for the small moments, a good book, and a nice meal. but life is supposed to be bigger than that. i have tried art and i used to enjoy painting and singing before i got ill but it feels so pointless! i don't want to be a dilettant for my own pleasure when i have the effort. i want to have a place in society, acomplishments, i want to be proud of myself. now all i feel is a failure

    My big dream in life is to have had kids? are they sick aswell? I am so scared that i will have sick kids ( CFS or autism, they may be linked) or be too sick to take care of them.

    maryb : You can judge, i believe in the year 2013, no matter how shitty u might feel afterwards, You can always take ritalin of the day ( helps you get theough the day, but one is exhauseted afterwards and i don't think it is very good for you)

  11. goldiland


    South Florida
    Reading all of your posts really resonates with me. My frustration and guilt with this illness is with me every day. There are many people on this site who have come to terms with things and I very much envy that attitude and perspective. I was 25 when I got sick, got better after going out of work for a year and then got sick again at 38 and had to stop working again. I obviously had a long remission and was very functional and active for a long time. When I got sick again, it was a horror show for a while but I got a lot better after a couple of years and tried to go back to work. I thought I had tamed the beast but had a bad relapse again. I went into a severe depression after (or coinciding with) the relapse and have spent the last nine months trying to dig myself out. I have a wife and two young daughters and have a lot of guilt and anger that I am ill and there is so much uncertainty for both me and them.

    I can definitely relate to your points Alexa.... I was a CPA in a senior management position and was proud of myself most days...... now all I feel is dissatisfaction with myself and my circumstances. The lttle things matter but there is a bigger picture and you only get one go around. I realize that it is not my fault that I'm sick but it doesn't change anything.

    Wow, I just read through my post and I obviously did not take my cheery pill today. I hope you're all having a better day........Gregg
  12. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

    Sth Australia
    Tulip. Your story is very much like my own. I got sick when doing a 4 year diploma and hence never could finish it. Like Valentijin I still owe a lot for it as it was an extremely expensive course (in health field) but fortunately I dont have to pay the loan money back unless Im working.
    I used to also be in the ambulance service and was a trainee volunteer ambulance officer but had to give that up due to my unfortunate life circumstances (I had a disabled child needing much care), I'd hoped to get back doing ambulance work but of cause ME has destroyed that for me

    I was still hoping and in mourning for lost dreams with the career I'd planned to have etc.. for the first 13 years of ME/CFS but recently have finally come to terms with that I will never be able to get back to it and have come to terms now about being fine at that dream loss. It took a VERY LONG time to come to this point in which I can say that Im finally okay about it.

    There are other dreams due to the ME, which I still have to come to the point where I'd be fine with if I never achieve them eg I'd love one day to be in a situation of like "happy families". Ive never been married, I'd love to be in that situation of mother/father/child.. happy family (I raised my (unplanned) children completely alone and every part esp since one was disabled was an immense struggle) etc etc. I know thou that my happy family kind of dream thou is very doubtful to ever happen due to the ME. (both my children had major health trouble due to my own health, so I dont know even if I find the right guy and got married, it may be a bit crazy if I tried again).

    best luck
  13. k-AUS


    For me, dealing with lost dreams and goals is one of the most challenging aspects of CFS/ME. I studied my first degree in nursing then was married and had children in my mid twenties. Not wishing to pursue a nursing career, I went on to study a double degree in arts/education - this was difficult and stressful with a young family. I had a grand plan that I would have my teaching career up and running when the kids were in primary school and a little more independent. Through hard work, I did achieve that goal - teaching physical education 2 days a week at a primary school. I had ACHIEVED my goal and I enjoyed my new role.... for three years. However in my first year of teaching I came down with a terrible virus and my health gradually declined to a point that I could barely drive home. And of all subjects to teach - PE!!!! (SPORT).

    One thing I have learned about myself is that for a long time I have been drawn into societies tendency to value people for their achievements, ie. success in career, sports, travelling, financial independence ect, ect...For so long I thought having a successful career was the biggest achievement. It has taken me 38 yrs and CFS/ME and FM to reprogram my belief system to one that values not 'people's achievements' but who they really are. I now focus on creating a warm happy environment for my family and friends - not the loss of a career. It is hard to keep my spirits up at times though - still very much working on this.

    PS - have had CFS/ME and FM for 5 yrs
  14. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

    It's really sad to hear everyone elses pain. I wish I could wave a magic wand for all of us and poof us back into normality and good health!.
    redrachel76 likes this.
  15. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Senior Member

    I became sick when I was 18 and went to school for fashion design, then PR. PR is really what I wanted to do. I muddled through, but the sickness took over and I couldn't finish college. I have a year left. I finally found a niche I am good at in an art form and started my own business 7 years ago. But even though I now have this business that I can accommodate to my life as an ill person, I am still missing out on something; I can't do this consistently, I have to pace all the time and sometimes have an event where I could make a lot of money and have to cancel. I am always grieving. And, now I am realizing what it is that would make me really happy; LOVE. Work is good but when you are sick, I can't make it truly work the way I want to.

    But, I would love to have a partner to do things with, go out to dinner with, go to the shore with, etc. That isn't happening because all of the time that I put into work and then I am sick makes it impossible for me to have a social life. After I work, I crash and don't go out. Lot of fun! Everyone tells me how talented I am, but who cares?? I am told by others in the art industry that I have a gift. It's funny, I don't see it that way. To me, it's so easy and the enjoyment that I used to have from it....well, now I am too tired to really enjoy it.

    If I can't go out and enjoy my life, if I am so freaking talented, I don't care. I would rather be well, happy and broke.
  16. bigmama2


    FL, PA
    this thread hits home! i started getting abnormal exhaustion in highschool. still had it in college but things were better because classes started later in the day and i got breaks between classes. but after college- i was a high school spanish teacher- and that is a very demanding and stressful job. thats when my illness really showed up. used to sleep in my car during lunch period sometimes. it was a good job, i was happy w the pay and benefits, but it was killing my health. had to quit a few years later.
    after a while not working and trying to recover- i worked part time in various jobs, then full time in an office situatioon- exhausted as all get out. had to quit again. eventually started my own small business- did it for about 6 yrs- and my cfs (undiagnosed) got worse and worse. by the time i closed down the business i was so sick that i spent a few years semi bedridden. that was fun-not. havent worked since, but hope to in the future. i never learn!

  17. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

    My local clinic had a psychologist who had to give up her army career because of RA. She did some study into the effects of chronic illness -- job and relationship losses, guilt about not providing as much as one would like to family and friends, etc. Then she ran a great support group for people with chronic illnesses. Unfortunately she moved to a VA hospital -- they paid better.

    We could use someone like that here, perhaps. Not a "life coach", but a trained therapist with experience with life losses from chronic illness.

    Perhaps some of us can find such a person in our own community if we look specifically for a therapist with lots of experience with chronic illness. Goodness knows we have a lot of losses to deal with and good therapy could help with that. Too bad good therapy is so hard to find.
  18. Tammie

    Tammie Senior Member

    Woodridge, IL
    I can totally relate to number one dream has always been to have a family, and thanks to this illness, that is not going to happen (I am now 6 months away from 40 and am not even dating bc I am too way could I handle children)

    as to career I also really wanted that and I did manage to get my MA, but I got it when I first got sick adn earning it took way too much out of me I have not been able to use it......currently can barely manage to take care of my basic needs

    was talking with my counselor about this stuff today bc I totally feel like there is no point to my purpose, no one to share it with, nothing to look forward to
    redrachel76 likes this.
  19. edwards.kevin41


    I was 24 until I had finally built up my career in what I wanted. I started working at the age of 17 and for first five years I was switching my jobs left right and centre. Finally after the fifth year, I focused on finding stability and moving on one particular job stream. I worked for 3 years in the same field and I was planning to move into bigger cities. But now its 10 years since then. But I try to be happy about what I have achieved. Think positive act positive.
  20. mackkreinz

    mackkreinz [banned as spam]

    I am 13 years old at this time i am studying in science am planning to take admission in engineering in computer field and want to make carrier in MNC company after taking good experience of this company i want to start my own business.

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