I worked for 6 months before having to take leave from my job due to my chronic pain. When you first stop working due to health reasons it could feel like a blessing. Many people who deal with pain don’t sleep well and because of that we don’t feel rested during the day and our heads aren’t fully in the game. We get to sleep in and watch tv and let our bodies try and heal. We go through stages of no longer working.
1) Feeling Relaxed
Knowing that we don’t have the pressure of having to get up and go to work daily can be a big stress reliever especially when we have many doctor appointments and have to keep missing work. We feel that we can do so much with our lives and maybe find a hobby that can we can put our time and energy in. For the first few months, I worked and re-worked my first novel along with two others. I felt like this could be something I could do and I felt inspired. It was also fun to spend time with friends who I didn’t get to see normally.
2) Feeling antsy
It’s been a few months to a year of not working and you start to feel slightly antsy due to not being able to do a lot. You are anxious because your nest egg is dwindling down. Sometimes your drive isn’t there because there is always tomorrow. It’s okay to feel that way. I remember at a year of not working I started to become depressed, anxious and like I had the world on my chest. Some of my favorite things like writing felt more like a chore than something I loved. This stage is in between the first and last because there are times that I still felt relaxed not having to go every day, but at the same time, I went downhill mentally.
3) Feeling Lost
One of the last stages is feeling lost. This can be at any time, but I felt it after a year of not working. It felt like the world was crumbling and I was constantly angry and sad. I would see people on Facebook getting a new job, traveling and moving out of the house. I felt like “why me?” I didn’t want to do anything, and like I was a burden to everyone because I had to be dependent on others. I would sometimes feel like life wasn’t worth it and like I was worthless. At the time I wished that I could work to make money for myself.
There are many other stages in between these three, but I felt like everyone who is in my position has felt like this at some point.
Just know YOU are worth it