Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Do something

When you suddenly have so much time on your hands, it’s hard to know what to do with it. Since I have left work, fourteen months ago (God, has it been that long?) I have struggled to fill my time so that I don’t go stark crazy and lose the plot. I have never really been one to sit around and do nothing. I get itchy feet and bored quite easily. I have found I am addicted to reading. I love the escapism of a good book where I can forget all my troubles and get lost in the story of fictional characters. I find that I am frightened of returning to work because of the commitment I would have to make to employers. When your health is up and down, as mine has been, it’s difficult to see how you can possibly commit to a job and not have to take time off because of a flair up or a bad day. I don’t want to let people down; I did enough of that with all the time off I had at my previous job.
I have found out that in the UK, surprisingly, even if you are on benefits you can work full time in a voluntary position. I’m unsure how this is allowed; surely if you have the ability work full time then you would want to get paid for it? I understand the flexibility that comes with volunteering, though, and it seems like a good option for people with arthritis. I have been doing bits and bobs of volunteer work over the months I have been sick to help others and keep busy. I strongly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a path into work as it is a good confidence booster and does wonders for your self esteem. I have felt like a failure because of unemployment in the past. I have felt defeated and insignificant to society but ensuring I do something worthwhile with my time is, slowly but surely, diminishing these feelings.
It’s so easy to sit and wallow in your pain but arthritis doesn’t define me, and it shouldn’t define anyone. Find a hobby, donate some of your free time to a worthwhile charity (even if it’s a case of working from your bed – as I have often done) and most of all do something you enjoy at least once a week. It will be a lonely and sorrowful life if you don’t chose to do something about it. I have just completed my first book, which has taken me three months to write, but I have thoroughly enjoyed investing my time in something I enjoy. It has given me something to focus on and a goal to achieve. Now’s the hard part (trying to get published), but I have a strong sense of pride that I have, at least, achieved something this year. Remember that life is what you make it, so what do you want to do today?


  1. Hi Rheuma Girl! I've been out of work for 10 months now, I know what you mean by feeling that way. I feel like such a loser for notbeing able to work, everyone tries encouraging me that I don't need to feel this way, but I do. I occupy my time with reading a good book or photography, which is my favorite. I recently contacted animal shleter to possibly do some volunteer work. I love animals and would love to do something to get me out of the house, even if its once a week.
    I wish you all the luck with your book! I've always wanted to write one of my experiences with RA but everytime I sit down to write it, I can never fully express the words I want to say.
    -- Mallory

  2. i will have a copy WHEN it gets published not if kerry, well done!:)