How many of US had a very stressful job before you got sick?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Jgavi, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. Jgavi

    Jgavi New Member

    A new medical finding came out this week that stress can damage DNA and cause all kinds of problems in our bodies- we all know stress is bad but it seems the people I know who came down with FMS/CFS had a very stressful job.

    Many nurses...Many "deadline" type jobs....

    If you dont mind I am curious what you all did or are doing for a living!?

  2. abbey71

    abbey71 New Member

    I am new here and unsure of the techniques but I am giving this a shot. I am retired due to fibromyalgia and other illnesses. I did have a very stressful career with deadlines and extreme pressure. I have in the past and still believe the stress from my 20 years in the type of work I did contributed to my fibromyalgia.

  3. lease79

    lease79 New Member

    I was really young when I developed the cfs/fms, so it wasn't a stressful job. But my homelife growing up was extremely stressful :(

  4. UPK5

    UPK5 New Member

    Hello Jgavi,

    I had middle back problems for many years and knee problems (torn miniscus) before I had been diagnosed with FMS.

    I am a pre-school teacher and a mother of 2 sons. I was hired as a head teacher with the agreement I would continue my education and work toward getting my Master's Degree in Education. I had already received my Bachelors in Elementary Education and Physcology. I went back to school after 23 years. It was a big change for me. I started off working part time & taking 2 courses in graduate school.

    The following year, the director persuaded me to teach 2 pre-kindergarten classes, one in the AM and one in the PM. I did and continued to take 2 classes in graduate school. My assistant teacher was extremely helpful and the stress was building, but we worked as a great team.

    The next year, I figured I can do it again. However, I worked with an assistant who was NOT so cooperative. She would let me know how she knew how to everything that needed to be done, but she would NOT do it, because I was the HEAD teacher. I never knew what to expect at work. One day, she would be kind and helpful, the next day she would say derogatory things to me and sometimes in front of the students. She said the things in such a way, that they caused tremendous pain in my heart, yet she would end them with a gentle caring smile, like all she said was really in my best interest. The year continued like this. I loved teaching the children, but my body & mind was getting tied up in knots. That year I had 3 epidurals in my back to try and release the pain, but they didn't help at all. The doctor who had diagnosed my FMS, tried a botox injection in my back also. I was going for physical therapy twice a week. No matter what I did, I was still feeling so much pain. In the midst of the series of epidurals, my knee collapsed and I had arthroscopic surgery too.

    The doctor had told me, I needed to get rid of the stress in my life. I said, OH RIGHT, how do you do that? What an easy thing for him to say.

    I did not sign up for any graduate classes in the spring, because I was too ill. I was out of work for a couple of months from the orthopedist's orders. I missed the children, but not my assistant teacher. I never told anyone about the problems I was having with her. I must have held it all internally and not realized it.

    Last year, I worked a half day, with an assistant teacher who was extremely helpful and never said a negative word. The children and parents were great too. I did not sign up for grad scl courses, due to the doctor's recommendation. This summer, I had another fabulous assistant teacher who communicated with me beautifully and the summer was a pleasure. For the first time in 1 1/2 years I have been without pain for the past 3 weeks. I still have some pain, but it is NOT chronic like it has been. If I walk too much, or do too much, my knees buckle up on me, and I am toast.

    As I reflect back on my situation at work, I tend to attribute that extra stress, on my bad back and knees, the straw that broke the camel's back. My chronic pain and fatigue didn't disappear immediately after not working with this person, but now I am more convinced the mental anguish ripped my insides out and has taken this long to get my life back on track. I must be super careful, NOT to take on too much. I am still working part time. I will only work with an assistant who is pleasant. I am very good at what I do, I feel like a jerk for letting someone destroy me like that.

    So when the doctor told me to get rid of the stress, NOW I can truly see what he was talking about.

    I am hopeful that I will be able to continue to have good days without pain. I try to be cognizant of the things and people affecting my life.

    I know I still have lots of aging body parts, I can't overdue it, or I will pay for it in many ways.

    I agree stress can cause a big MESS!

    Wishing you lots of stress-free and pain-free days!


  5. rileyearl

    rileyearl New Member

    Yes on the job stress! Although I quit my job over a year before I was diagnosed. I'm a definite type A personality and I don't think it really mattered where I worked, I always take on too much and end up burned out. The last one was working for a big payroll company. My job was to set up new accounts, which involved working intensely and quickly with someone from the new account to create a payroll system that would work for them, then convert all their payroll records, taxes, etc. and put them into my company's mainframe. As the economy dragged to a halt, there were layoffs--20% of my department. Those still standing were bombarded by tons of new accounts--bribed on by deep discounts. Where I had been converting 4 accounts in 6 weeks before, I was looking at 10 accounts. And they shortened the conversion turnaround time to 2 weeks.

    So, I quit and now have an internet business from home. Of course I'm still that type A and can really make it difficult, but it's fun and might even be profitable someday.

    I hope my DNA isn't deformed from stress. I want my son to be able to keep perspective better than I do. Good topic!

  6. icare

    icare New Member

    I was a superviser in a manufacturing plant..Had about 30 people to manage...stressful you bet!!!

  7. cushy

    cushy New Member

    I firmly bielieve that it all has something to do with our past and our present, post traumatic stress from previous jobs ,relationships,finances can supress the immune system wich makes us weak and prone to disease I am 38 and used to waitress I worked stressful night time and daytime jobs and had previously been in abusive ralationships I am the mother of three I started to get ill 3 years ago first with fibro, then anxiety, depression, now discovered osteoperosis and cushings syndrome I have been unable to work since febuary it has been the most horrable horrible nightmare I have ever encountered I have been very ill they found a tumor on my adrenal gland I have to have it removed I have been evicted from my apartment because I have no money to pay my rent the finances have been horrable to say the least but I am holding on strong I will hopefully be able to get back to work after I recover from the surgery and remove the problem. I can hardly function,so yes I bielieve that work related stress contributes to your health tremeandously so if you can find something that you enjoy for less money and quit trying to please everyone else you get much farther in this world

    god bless

  8. LittleBluestem

    LittleBluestem New Member

    My job was not particularly stressful and I had been at it for over a year, so was well accustomed to it. I came down with the 'flu' that started the CFS at the end of a week of vacation.
  9. KelB

    KelB New Member

    My job for the last 7 years has involved working long hours in the office, then being on callout 24x7 one week in three (and quite often getting called when I wasn't officially on call).

    Not unusual for me to work a 13 hour day, then have the pager go an hour after I got home and have to work through the night - then have to go in and work a full day the next day. No such thing as a weekend off! My record was doing some sort of work every day, for 35 days straight.

    When I was referred to my local hospital's Chronic Fatigue Unit, the specialist Occ Therapist identified my job as the primary factor that set me up for CFS. In her view, my CFS was then triggered by a 24 hour stomach bug and perpetuated by - three guesses - my job!
  10. juststevie

    juststevie New Member

    I always said, “I thrive on stress” I loved it. I constantly loaded up my plate. I was in retail management. Macy’s among others, I was on the opening team for Universal Studios Florida (started when it was dirt) we wrote policy as we went. I had 132 people working under me. There were days when I literally worked from 6 a.m. until about 3 a.m. drove an hour home showered and changed slept an hour and drove back. I then became a Director for Convention Sales & Service along with retail sales manager of uniforms to hotels (Orlando) then I quit and did the same thing under my own business. I have also (founded) and have been running a gift program for abused & neglected children in foster care facilities for about 17 years. Oh yeah, I managed a couple Elvis impersonators for conventions on the side. I produced their CD’s & videos and designed their web pages and was web master as well as for a few other. Oops forgot I also was on the Board for NACE (National Catering Association Executives) and then on the Board for CFCSA (Central Florida Convention Services Association). Oh, one more thing, I sold booth space, bought radio & newspaper ads, produced and managed several Bridal Shows (with 500 hundred guests and donated diamond rings, entertainment and food. I did this just to see if I could. It worked so well I did it several mores times. WOW, I am exhausted just writing all this. I have had all kind of “fun” personality programs and it clearly shows I am NOT type A. In one, I was described as being a “White Knight” I run to the aid of others or as some called it “a bleeding heart”. I have a family and a loving husband. I raised two children and one 14 yr old I found living in the woods. I now raise her daughter. I have two cats & used to have a dog. I forgot years ago, I founded and ran an animal adoption agency.

    Now, I do not even recognize the person I just described. I could not have possibly done all this. I am terrified of responsibility. I feel like I cannot get anything done. I put everything off and avoid people.
  11. nanswajo

    nanswajo New Member

    Yes, I had a stressful job as a fundraiser, without much support from my boss. I also ended a long-term relationship and had a restraining order against him during the same time. Things were tough trying to make it on my own.

    Then I moved across country from west to east which was a huge change in way of living. During the move I stopped in Michigan at my father's house. He had just moved in to a nursing home. My 2 sisters and I were to go through things in the house and decide what to do with it all. When I arrived my sisters had taken everything! I was horrified. I've never really gotten over it.

    My father also had been helping out me financially when I lost my job, so my sisters had convinced him to change his will so that I would receive less than them, even though he had also helped them at one time and with even more than for me.

    He died a year ago and I was devastated. If he new how I felt he would feel so bad, but I didn't want to let him know because he was ill.

    But, you know, I was depressed even as a child and extremely sensitive, so I think there is more to it for me than all this stress. It just exacerbated whatever was already a potential problem for me.

    Oh...writing this makes me angry and sad all over again. I try to forgive by remembering my sisters as little girls ( I am the oldest).

    Things just happen in life, don't they. We all go through it and react in different ways.

  12. Adl123

    Adl123 New Member

    I had a very stresful job as a teacher. Now, regular teaching is not unusually stressful, but that is the way it was a long time ago.

    Nowadays, teaching is very stressful, primarily due to the state tests. They have always existed, but now there is too much emphasis placed on them, so that the interesting projects and activities that made teaching a human activity, have been banned (at least they were in my school). Oh, yes, and the tests do not parallel the curriculum, which we must follow! How's that for logic?

    Another thing that made it stressful is that teachers were made to decide who, on the assistant staff, would loose their jobs. In the school I was in, we all were a family, and had known eachother for many years. When the principal came to a faculty meeting and told us that we had to decide who would be fired, I had what is called in Chronic Fatigue circles, my "crisis" in the form of an anaphylactic reaction. Things have gone downhill from there.

    Of course, to do this to us was unujust, and probably even illegal, but we did not know it at the time.- Absolutely horrible!!!! - and not in our job description.

    I would not be a teacher now for all the tea in China. I love to teach, but the public school system in my state is all mixed up. You can tell that, by the low ratings it has, even though there are many excellent teachers, all doing their best. We had an hour of meetings for almost every $1000.00 in federal money that we received (and we received many thousands).

    Bit by bit, the energy of the teachers is drained by extra demands, so that there is little time or energy left for the important thing, actually teaching.

    Now, I guess I can get off my soapbox. Thanks for this post.

    [This Message was Edited on 08/28/2005]
  13. ImDigNiT

    ImDigNiT New Member

    I was a Manager with expanded responsibilities for a staffing service. I had offices in North and Central Florida as well as South Georgia. I was responsible for anywhere from 200 to 400 employees.

    I was also responsible for sales, accounts payable and receivables, hiring and firing, budgeting, proposals, presentations, worker's Compensation,unemployment claims etc.

    Needless to say it was mega stressfull. Then I continued to have sprains,pulled muscles, broken feet and numerous other injuries including orthoscopic surgery.

    My mind or body could not take anymore, thus the Fibro/Chronic Fatigue.

    I am from N. Florida but I am in Denver right now and going to the FFC. I pray to goodness the will give me some relief.

    Peaceful mind and body.
  14. CFIDSNicole

    CFIDSNicole New Member

    I didn't know stress could damage DNA, but I have always placed part of the blame for my CFIDS on my job.

    When I got sick, I was a grad student in an English master's program. I was teaching two English 101 classes, taking two grad classes, tutoring in the writing center, and trying to get all of my papers written. It may not sound stressful, but it was incredibly stressful. I had deadlines in teaching, I had deadlines as a student myself . . . I worked late late nights and got up early and started all over again. Being a type A personality didn't make it any better because I couldn't accept less from myself than the best. But an odd added twist is that I am a master procrastinator . . . what a deadly combo.

    I had to quit grad school (for now at least---coursework all done, but still need to write and defend a thesis). At the time I didn't have a diagnosis, of course, but I kept thinking, "This job is killing me."

    I do think my job definitely is partly responsible for my ill health. Of course, I think I was kind of predisposed to CFIDS, from my high school mono-like illness and ear infections and whatnot. I don't think a perfectly normal person would get CFIDS from just a stressful situation--something in my genes or body or whatever must have made me predisposed to it, but I think the huge stress of being a grad student and teacher pushed me over the edge.

  15. Leenerbups

    Leenerbups New Member

    I was a waitress when I got it. That is a stressful and physically demanding job!
  16. Jgavi

    Jgavi New Member


    I know we all have our theories on FMS/CFS but it seems stress in some form is always in there....

  17. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    I was a stay-at-home Mom to one easy daughter, great relationship with my hubby, who had a great job so we had no economic stress at that particular time---life was good!

    Much stress has come since as a result of FM, but in my case, I don't think it contributed to getting it.

    Interesting question, though...


  18. snooker11

    snooker11 New Member

    yup - stressful deadline job + sick mother + sick friend. I am certain all these factors contributed to fibro onset. it seems like stress plays a large role in symptom onset in those with a fibro predisposition.
  19. nanna4550

    nanna4550 New Member

    I was a self employed Architectural Designer since 1987 when I developed FM after a car accident in 2000. I thought that if I worked for someone else the stress would be less and it is but...
    working for someone else still has deadlines and the nature of this detailed work causes stress too (just trying to keep the drawing consistant and remember everything. I also work on a computer in a dimly lit room with no windows. I have been forcing myself to get out of there and go outside periodically during the day, but it causes guilt (because of the deadlines). I am going to have to do something else, but don't know what else I can do at age 53. I have thought of real estate but it is so competitive (stress). Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  20. pepper

    pepper New Member

    I had a new job as a Special Education teacher (very important job in that school because there were so many kids with problems) and I had to do a lot of speaking to groups. I hate that more than anything. I so wanted to do well at the job because I enjoyed it so much.

    Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines with all the Special Ed paper work.

    I was also in charge of the computer lab at the school and I really was just learning about computers. On top of that I had to teach a double Grade 1/2 class for 1/4 of the day and was in charge of special programs for them as well.

    On top of that, my husband worked long hours so I had most of the responsibility of parenting my two boys, getting them to the sitters' and home, dealing with their teachers, getting them to their sports and other events, grocery shopping, cooking all the meals, doing all the laundry and housework and entertaining. How did I ever do it?

    In addition I took a university course at night and had homework to do for that besides my school work and I taught aerobics to the teachers and did an aerobics class three nights a week. I was also an avid skiier. And I taught Arts and Crafts in my spare time.

    At the time I just enjoyed being so busy. A (very wise) friend had given me a book called "Out of Apples". I never did have time to read it but the idea was that you cannot keep giving apples away if you are out of apples. So you have to learn to hang on to some apples for yourself. I obviously didn't.

    Looking back at it now, it was a very stupid lifestyle. I wish I had learned to take time for myself and perhaps I would not be as sick as I am today.

    When I got sick 12 yrs ago, I was told that a lot of teachers, nurses and flight attendants come down with CFS. There is such a mixed bag on this board that I think that is no longer the case. I wonder.


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