I have always been an ambitious person with specific career goals. And it is hard to reconcile that chronic pain doesn’t really allow for ambition. Really ticks me off, to be honest. But we can work and a lot of us do work. And there are certainly benefits to doing so.
- People- yes, social interaction with actual people. A major perk for chronic illnesses because we are prone to isolation. I am so much a hermit when I am off work… because I am off work due to not being able to function. So, reasons.
- Pain distraction- As long as you’re not exceeding your pain limits, work is actually a fine pain distraction. Rather than ruminating on it, you are focused on other things.
- Keeps you engaged- keeps you mentally engaged. I don’t know about you, but when I’m off work I have to work hard at keeping myself mentally engaged. I do a lot of freelance writing, blogging, and reading which helps. But then my sleep cycle gets messed up and then I sleep too much. And I social media too much. And Netflix too much. And I begin to feel like I’m not as engaged as I should be or could be. And seem to lack the motivation to do so. With depression though motivation was a real issue for me. So working forced you to be mentally engaged in something. Downside? Hard to do with pain and brain fog. You can’t Choose when and when not to be cognitively engaged in something.
- Money honey- Yeah, no one wants financial instability that comes with disability. And people with chronic illnesses and chronic pain tend to suffer financially due to disability and compromises in jobs. It is a fact of our lives. So money doesn’t hurt.
So working comes with it a few benefits. As long as we do not exceed our limits because when we do that, it becomes torture. If you’re exceeding your limits you have to a) adjust work or b) adjust your chronic pain management. Or both. But certainly helping with chronic pain management goes a long way in helping a person continue to function in their workplace. I had to adjust work and even then it is difficult to function. Work is not exactly an easy feat with chronic pain.
I still constantly fight myself over ambitions I have. What I believe I can do vs. what my body has historically told me I simply cannot do. Frustrates me immensely. Especially when it is also an enjoyment factor. What you enjoyed doing vs just a job.