A tired woman looks at her phone showing a low battery and a red cross of health.

How Working Impacts My Health

Trying to make a living while living with a chronic condition may be possible depending on the severity, but also may be one of the hardest things to accomplish for some. If your condition is more stable and predictable, it is easier to know your limits and work around them or even find ways to cope when you do something that triggers a flare. In my present experience, working takes a lot out of me.

Pushing myself means something different every day

Setting boundaries is a huge part in coping with and honoring your health. I have always worked hard to stick with mine, but my body is also incredibly unpredictable so there is no set definition of what it means to push myself.

Every day is different. So when it comes to making consistent income, it can be challenging when I had set out to do something one day preparing for my limitations to be a certain way, but suddenly they turn around and become worse than I had anticipated. It forces me to have to put whatever I was doing on pause, or even entirely stop it until I feel better, which causes me to fall behind.

I spend nearly every waking moment in burnout mode

The most frustrating part about having to make a livable wage as someone who severely struggles with their health every day, is the fact that I have no choice but to push my health to the side. I’ve had to sacrifice so much just to barely get by every month. I don’t see or talk to my family or friends anymore-—I’ll see my family once every other month if I’m lucky. I spend all of my free time laying in bed like a zombie.

On days where I feel like a 1% phone battery, I have to spend that 1% on making money. It’s no wonder I end up burnt out every day, but in a world run by money, I don’t have a choice and it’s one of the worst feelings having to sacrifice my overall feeling of humanity just to pay bills.

Everyone assumes because you are doing it, you are fully capable

There is a huge difference between what someone is capable of and if they should really be doing it in the first place. There are plenty of wheelchair uses who are capable of walking, but should they if it means it’s going to do nothing but inflict more damage or pain? Absolutely not.

People assume that if you are showing up and working, that you are entirely capable of doing so both in general and long-term. What people don’t see is that although I may be doing the work, it is still inflicting so much pain and harm onto my body each and every time I do it. It’s not something that is sustainable for me or my body.

I may be “capable”—I am capable of anything if I set my mind to it—but at what cost?

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