I have been out of work for nearly two years now. It dawned on me this morning that at exactly this time two years ago my health took a turn for the worst and I was awaiting the results of blood tests that changed my life forever. Nothing much of an anniversary to celebrate there..
However, as I began to think of all the awful things this disease has put me through in these last two years, I couldn’t help thinking how far I have come. Some days it seems like only yesterday I was sat across from the doctor as she spoke of a disease I had that I knew nothing about. Other days, it seems like a lifetime away.. like a whole new life started that day.
Being out of work has been incredibly tough. I get bored very easily and thrive on having projects to focus on. I have found the hardest thing is not having people to interact with during the day. When family and friends are out at work and you are sat alone in bed, you can’t help feeling like a bit of a failure and incredibly sorry for yourself.
Things have been looking up, though, and I am busier than ever. With the support from my family and friends I have found the perfect role which suits my disability and lifestyle. I am now the proud owner of my own business. I mentioned before how difficult it had been to find work, especially in this economic climate, that fits in with my condition. Part time jobs around here are scarce and unless you want to work in a bar (erm, can’t possibly stand on my feet for that long) or be a cleaner (can very rarely lift a hoover) you are out of luck.
Rather than sitting back and waiting for that perfect role that would solve all my problems, I thought about other options. I thought of what I enjoy doing, what I could easily cope with and how much money I needed to earn. That’s how I came up with the baking business. It’s a great love of mine to bake and be creative. Being my own boss means that I can work from the comfort of my home and still interact with customers and clients, plus, I get to choose my hours. If I have a bad day, I can put off the work until later. It has given me the option to work as much or as little as I please but most importantly, a sense of achievement and something to focus on.
I know not everyone will be able to do this but I am simply presenting to you the fact us RA sufferers do have options, and there will always be something that fits around us when we are ready to return to work. My business is proof that just because we have RA doesn’t mean we have to sit back in the shadows and watch others excel in their careers. We just need to look a bit harder at ourselves and set realistic goals. Weather my business is a success or not, at least I can say I tried. At least, at the end of these dark two years, I have moved forward in my life (even if I had to take a few strides back first). The point is, it doesn’t matter what you do or where you do it, just try and grasp a sense of achievement and pride in yourselves this year as I am positive it will do wonders for your self esteem (this doesn’t just relate to work, it can be anything). Even if your sense of achievement is the fact you managed to walk to the end of the road for the first time in years or lift a kettle to make your own cup of tea. The smallest things can help us who suffer with RA attempt to slip out that spiral of depression and self pity.
So my friends, I hope your minds are ticking over with the thoughts of what can I reasonably achieve today/this week/this year... and I want to hear all about your achievements (however small you think they are). Here’s a thought (and forgive me for sounding all mushy ‘cause I hate that crap).. ‘Don’t just be inspired, be an inspiration’. (I came up with that all on my own! Although someone probably said it first...)