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What careers did we all. Do before becoming sick?

Emmarose47

Senior Member
Messages
2,127
Location
UK
I'm interested to know if there are trends amongst us of careers /jobs we did before becoming more sick.. What was it like? Enjoyable, stressful...
I was a psychiatric nurse (yep v responsible and stressful). Before that a support worker, restaurant supervisor and pre all of that I trained to look after children (0-7yrs..
 
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Azayliah

Senior Member
Messages
157
Location
USA
Got ME while in college. Prior jobs were substitute teacher, data entry, haunted house actor, and call center work. Didn't last long at jobs with too much sensory assault, regardless of how much I liked them.

The stress of my university time might be considered normal, but it piled on quickly. Emotional stress of being a perfectionist and art major, mental stress from trying to "catch up" (I had barely squeaked through grade school), and physical stress of going from couch potato to walking for hours while carrying heavy supplies. There were heightened financial and social stressors, too.

ME probably began fairly mild... a doctor said to push through my exhaustion and I got sicker, with a host of new abnormal symptoms medical specialists said meant nothing. Lost perfect attendance, coordination and strength to draw, and ability to learn fast. I struggled with comprehension to the point that I could get lost on campus and occasionally couldn't remember how to spell my name.

Fortunately, I figured out that while I struggled to stay awake when upright, I could still think and stay awake if I was laying down. So, I gave up art so I could lay down and use a computer to study, switched to a subject of study I already knew something about, gave up outings (previously frequented places like bookstores and libraries), and learned to rely on others for my basic needs. Graduated at 25 with a psych major.

Now an accountant in my early 40's. I work from home with hours that are extremely flexible. The difficulty and joy of the job generally depends on whether I'm in PEM.
 

Rufous McKinney

Senior Member
Messages
13,467
Fortunately, I figured out that while I struggled to stay awake when upright, I could still think and stay awake if I was laying down.

What a difficult set of talents and interests to have to set aside.

I understand the art part. Nope, lying down to do art isn't cutting it.

But frankly, your story is very inspiring because you kept at it, and found a solution that perhaps was not perfect, but you are managing.

I hope you can continue to improve and we ALL get some real help. REAL SOON.
 

Azayliah

Senior Member
Messages
157
Location
USA
I understand the art part. Nope, lying down to do art isn't cutting it.

I sure did try, though! But it's not just about laying down for other reasons, too. I'm clumsier, can't always hold up or push a pencil, can't always recall how to aim my strokes or the rules of textures and shading, etc.

But frankly, your story is very inspiring because you kept at it, and found a solution that perhaps was not perfect, but you are managing.

Thank you. I both hope this is inspirational for those who need that hope for themselves... and that it does not give people without ME the impression that I've managed to have a normal or thriving life.

So, for the people in the second category:

I diagnosed myself in college (formal diagnosis came later), and understood I was unlikely to improve. The timing gave me the chance to plan my future, and I chose financial independence because my family made it clear they did not want to foot my bills. I was lucky to have what I needed to struggle through college, but the result is that, even now, I sacrifice a lot to maintain this choice.

I can go outdoors once a month and leave bed about 1-2 hours a day; more risks physical exhaustion which impedes my ability to work. I must rely on a carer to handle the physical details of my life, such as cooking and cleaning, which might not be necessary if I let go of my job. Socializing at work leaves nothing for friendships outside. Learning for the job spares little energy for pursing my own interests.

It is considered acceptable to give up something big for something else that is big, such as when one gives up a dream to support a career or start a family. But I have no spouse, children, or capacity to excel at a profession. All of my large sacrifices are made to maintain something basic, and while I find ways to be joyful, I am also frustrated and sad that I often cannot so much as hum a song or doodle on a napkin on a whim.

I hope you can continue to improve and we ALL get some real help. REAL SOON.

Yes, real help would be so very welcome!
 

Mimicry

Senior Member
Messages
180
It was 2008, I was 19 and just finished high school (Finland, we usually go to high school at ages 15-18). My illness was mild at first and I was able to go to university, I studied environmental engineering and chemistry and wanted to do research, but had to quit my studies right at the finish line. I also did some part-time work as a cleaner and other odd jobs before deteriorating too much.
 

Mimicry

Senior Member
Messages
180
Biology Degrees; stressful work because extinction is forever. I took on endangered species and how might we keep them alive, on the planet, for a bit longer.
Oooh I'd dreamed of studying biology and doing something like that ♥️ I imagine it's hard and somewhat ungrateful work though.
 

Rufous McKinney

Senior Member
Messages
13,467
I imagine it's hard and somewhat ungrateful work though.

I did battles, ongoing. I was always in a position of advocating for wildlife. For fifty years at least. You find yourself often, VERY Unpopular. Fortunately, I was really good at it.

It's also a win some lose some situation. So I try to focus on my successes.

I'm retired and the ME pretty much precludes me doing basic things like: Identify this Plant. Executive Functions got very very tired.
 

Treeman

Senior Member
Messages
823
Location
York, England
I was an arborist. I struggled for decades. Never really fulfilled my potential, but still managed to work in the USA, Hong Kong, UK and taught and did consultancy work.

Obtained a master's, but all was done suffering with constant PEM and just felt miserable whilst living the life I wanted too.
 

Rufous McKinney

Senior Member
Messages
13,467
I had MONO impossible round IV, in Graduate School. Somehow, I was not struck down for very long by Bout 4. At least nobody showed up to operate on me, like the prior 3 rounds (tonsils first, pneumonia next; appendix taken at 15).

All I can say is I now know how lucky I was. Because whatever I was dealing with, was merely occasionally depreciating and well so what if I don't get to teh top of the mountain first, I still climbed the mountain.

I just got a whole lot worse, and classic PEM, and tons of new things wrong: after March 2018. House burnt to the ground Dec 2017. I was fine. Nothing was fine.
 

Rufous McKinney

Senior Member
Messages
13,467
I was an arborist. I struggled for decades.

oh, Tree Man, I Love You. (ok, well sometimes, I was the person hollering at the Arborists)

I'm so sorry you were unable to keep up this type of work.

I saved trees for many years. That was my original reason I was awake at 3am and I was all stressed out.

Because if the tree came down, in my home time, I decided it was entirely my fault. I had failed.

So I achieved a major coup at some point: I teamed up with a City Councilman and we got a new Position for our City, to be an Urban Forester, and Not Park Superintend #2. Our famous forest was being destroyed by the Park Director #1. And shortly thereafter, we go him fired for further tree butchery. BY BYE.

I also reviewed many many arborist reports.
 

Rufous McKinney

Senior Member
Messages
13,467
This thread is really eye opening. Of course, all these sick people once had lives, dreams, hopes, ambitions and even training! But its really got me upset, that somehow we just did not RATE.

So many wonderful human beings were STRICKEN by this malaise. Just knowing this is so- oddly powerful yet I want to scream how DARE They leave the rest of you like this?

Tears well up, in sadness, for all of us. And somehow that doesn't work, so maybe I'll just get Angry instead.
 

Rufous McKinney

Senior Member
Messages
13,467
I was a genetics laboratory technician
Loved genetics. I loved it so much I wanted to study biochemical genetics. (The mRNAs, rolling over there and copying DNA, and then lets see what happens next).

And when I visited a major University, considering all this, only the Genetics Department treated me like Roll Out the Red Carpet. I was impressed. Botany ignored me entirely.

Well, thats Botanists for you. My plan was limnology, I studied a huge freshwater lake; and then there were no jobs in limnology that I ever encountered. I ended up working in Botany entirely by accident.
 

ilivewithcfs

Senior Member
Messages
128
My day job was hairstyling. My passion was writing novels. I used to be a highly creative person and loved my old life. Doing hair, studying, reading, writing - I loved all of it. And I lost all of it. I made a stupid decision to work with a cold instead of calling in sick, and I've never been the same since. ME/CFS not only took away my energy, but my creativity also. The most precious and valuable thing I had. Never in a million years have I suspected, that I can lose my creativity, but here I am.
 
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Rufous McKinney

Senior Member
Messages
13,467
My day job was hairstyling. My passion was writing novels.
uh oh, oh NO.

I fully intended to write about 10 novels/memoirs/exposes and New Yorker articles....when I retired. And I had any number of agendas worked up.

Then everything burned up kaboom.

so then I got worse. Creativity has tanked. I crash if I paint. Crash if I draw. I don't write paragraphs any more. Let alone a story. In fact all this could be observed here in PR, as I would tell stories, back a number of years ago, and now I just write a sentence.


Snore.

Meanwhile, my best friend was the Hair Dresser. I was her hair victim, all those years ago, in order get her license and we had this remarkable adventure in San Francisco, on Market Street, taking the cosmetology test.

I was going to write a short story, about THAT.

I viewed most of my life as a remarkable adventure. The way I am today is nothing like who I was before all this, whatever it is, happened.
 
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