Juggling a healthy work life balance is difficult for most people. Throw in suffering with pain and you have a circus worthy balancing act on your hands! I have always been taught nothing in life comes for free and you will never be handed anything on a plate. Everything I have I have worked hard for and earned for myself. Something I am very proud of and wouldn’t change for the world. This has led to me having a great work ethic. Currently I am balancing two jobs. My main job is as a support worker. I work 3 days a week doing 12 hour shifts. This leaves me 4 days a week I can pick up shifts in my second job working in a pub, where I aim to pick up about 10 hours a week. I love both jobs, don’t get me wrong neither are my dream job but I do enjoy them.
This week my combined hours from both jobs where over 60. Before my chronic pain I would have no problem doing this. With our wedding in July, a dying car and saving for a house 60 hours a week is what I need to be doing to get everything I want. And I’m not shy of working after all nothing in life comes for free. However throw the chronic pain into the mix and 60 hour weeks are all of a sudden a daunting and impossible task. Knowing you’re going to be agony by the end of the week is a horrible feeling and entering the week with a positive attitude is just not going to happen! Throw in the new pain meds which make me stupidly drowsy and finishing one job at 10pm and then getting up for the other job at 6am is grim. I finally make it to a day off only to spend the entire day running around cleaning the house, doing the laundry and making sure there’s food in. Basically this week I have been a groggy, grimacing mess. I do my best to smile at work and pretend everything is fine. Taking it out on my co-workers in not an option. It is my choice to work so much and saying no to work is almost never an option for me.
I’m a workaholic! However I am facing the fact that with this chronic pain being unfixable I am going to have to think about cutting my hours down a little. This is something that fills me with dread. I have always worked hard and been proud of what I have to show for it, whether its something as small as I have treated my self to a new t-shirt or that my new car saving pot is getting bigger. The thought of cutting my hours immediately makes me worry. I want to have money and be comfortable. To achieve that to me means working hard. Cutting my hours makes me worry I wont have the things in life I want. Earlier I found myself ranting to my husband to be about how we will never have any money, we will be stuck with my s*** little car and we will never have the money to move out of our little flat. The truth is that cutting my hours a little will make very little financial difference but will make a massive difference to me. It will give me that one day a week to sit around and do nothing and rest! I need to convince myself to stop being so pig-headed and give myself a break! We are not going to face bankruptcy if I work 5 hours less a week!
Another kick in the teeth this week was seeing my old job advertised. Working with horses was more than just a job, it was a way of life. And loosing that because of this stupid chronic pain feels like loosing a part of myself. I got very upset seeing the job advertised, I would give anything to be pain free so I could go back to it. But the job is just to physically exhaustive for my back. And with the doctors saying there is no cure I need to get my head around the fact the career I have worked so damned hard for is over. Working with horses was my entire life for so long that initially I felt so lost without it! I think this is why I throw myself into work so hard, as working 7 days a week and being on call 24/7 is all I have ever known.
My partner, Rich, is a great support in my life and I do not know what I would do with out him. Unfortunately for him he gets the brunt of most of pain endured anger rants. He’s learning to smile and nod and let me get my anger out! Getting married to him sometimes fells like the only thing keeping me going! Roll on July!
Until then I need to learn to slow down and give myself more me time! Everything I’m working towards will come in time but it’s not worth getting physically and emotionally exhausted over! I am defiantly no longer the hare! But this crippled tortoise will win in the end!