Hoping for a flexible career while living with chronic pain

Still hoping for a career in spite of living with chronic pain and fibromyalgia

Some days it can be difficult to reflect on the career losses of living with chronic pain.  I look around at friends and family members with dreams of accomplishment and the ability to carry it out. As a young child I dreamed of being a psychologist and a writer.  I wanted to make a difference in the lives of people who were suffering.  As I grew older my dreams became more sophisticated and branched out to potential paths yet the heart of it remained.  I love counseling and coaching people and enjoy the healing power of writing.  Friends have commented regularly on my insights into living and wisdom to sort through complicated situations whether in writing or in regular conversations.  I also love doing research, strategizing and developing systems that can aid a group of people. 

When looking ahead, I still see many barriers.  I read through Craigslist and am drawn to many career opportunities in social work, strategic planning, the legal field, research, writing and social media.  When I read through the details it can be difficult to imagine myself in a structured job that doesn’t allow flexibility for my bad days.  Add in commute and preparation time and my energy level can be drastically reduced.  During my work days I found I could work roughly 15 hours a week, but it still made life outside of work challenging.  When most of my energy went into work, it left a lot less for my family and responsibilities at home. 

I still have hope that a new career path will open up for me.  Writing and consulting can have the flexibility I need, yet allow me to contribute to others.  Perhaps there could be a way for me to return to school for a masters or doctors degree in counseling.  This is also a job I could do part time, though internships could be challenging.  My experience with chronic pain in both these categories would be helpful.  As much as I enjoy my current life, I miss the value, the people, the stimulation and the growth that comes from having a career.   I will continue to make the most of my daily life in spite of my pain, yet keep the dream alive for something more. 


7 Responses to Hoping for a flexible career while living with chronic pain

  1. doesithurt says:

    i admire your strength to even consider going into the work force with what you go through. Don’t even think of it as a “barrier”. It’s rather a challenge for you to overcome. Nothing is impossible for us with chronic pain. It is hard, but doable. There have been so many people that have inspired me due to what they’ve gone through that it gives me hope, and it should give you hope too! Keep with it! It will be hard to find something and to stick with it! Just do it! Push thought the pain and you will be rewarded in kind!

    • Thank you for your words of encouragement. It is true that many people have found a way to move forward in spite of chronic pain. We have much to offer and pain does not have to be a stumbling block. Blessings to you.

  2. Have you looked into possible allergy connections for fibromyalgia? A big part of mine is allergy to Candida, wheat & corn, treated with sublingual drops at Allergy Associates of La Crosse Wisconsin. Acupuncture can help you with witdrawal symptoms.

    • I have considered allergies to be a factor with fibromyalgia. I have had testing done in the past, but not for food allergies. Acupuncture didn’t consistently work for the chronic pain, but could possibly work with withdrawal. My experience with acupuncture was pretty powerful, even if the effects were’t signigicant with the pain. Unfortunately I couldn’t handle the expense and my insurance didn’t cover it.

      • Allergists often don’t test for food allergies because they can’t be treated with shots. You can desensitize to foods with sublingual drops. Before I saw Dr. Kroker at Allergy associates in 1982, my fibro felt like I had been blowtorched all over. I’d go upstairs in my home & be overwhelmed & just lie on the floor & cry for 20 min. When I could move, I couldn’t remember why I went upstairs. I’ve been working full-time eversince I started on sublingual drops. Still have some episodes, but I’m not disabled. It wasn’t only about pain, It was about mood, memory & energy. As a psycholigist I referred some of my fibro patients for acupuncture. It’s didn’t help with pain as such, but made a big difference with energy. Don’t ever give up on yourself. There is a reason for the pain. Don’t just look fo pain relief, so detective work on all possibilities. It’s not all just in your head.

  3. Bryan says:

    I empathize with you deeply. I too suffer from very intense neuropathic pain that is mostly unexplained–since 2003–and I am 26 years old. Would you allow me to repost?

    • Sorry to hear you are suffering with unexplained pain as such a young age. You are welcome to repost whatever you find useful as long as you give the source of where it came from. I hope you are able to find some relief, support and answers for your pain. Regards, Elissa

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