I'm thinking about my lost job too much.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Malcolm82, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Malcolm82

    Malcolm82 New Member

    As I had reported in earlier posts, I got an out-of-the blue termination notice from by job of 17 plus years because of my "extended absence". I've been on disability leave since 8/27/08 because of CFIDS.

    I had originally had the frame of mind, after the initial shock and anger, that I wasn't going to obsess over it: I have to concentrate on getting better and that's not the only job in the world.

    But I haven't been able to get out of the rut. Whenever I stop thinking about something else my mind goes right back to it. It has assumed the "default" subject that my thoughts always end up on.

    I want to get past it, but I am feeling a profound sense of tremendous loss. I find myself wishing for all kinds of terrible things to happen to them so they will feel my pain.

    This is not at all like me. I have never been a vindictive person. I am very slow to come to negative conclusions about people, and when I do I just figure it's their problem and not worth my time worrying about it. In my personal and professional life I have always tried to stay above the fray and not get down in the mud. In the business I was in I always figured it may have saved me from several heart attacks.

    Now I feel like I am mentally down in the mud. I don't want to be there and am really trying to get out but I seem to be stuck there.

    Maybe not enough time has passed. My dad, who is a very practical man and my greatest example in life, says it is completely normal for me to feel this way right now. I just didn't think it would last this long.

    So I'm asking for some advice from those of you who have been through this same thing about how to deal with it. I'm not suicidal or anything like that-I just can't move on yet.

    Thanks for everything.
  2. jasminetee

    jasminetee Member

    Hi Malcolm,

    I just read your bio. You've led a very interesting life and I can see why losing a job like that would be devastating.

    I think losing your job is harder on men. Also, the way you were let go sucks so it's no wonder that you have a lot of anger and feel horrible about it. Anyone would feel like you do.

    I had to quit teaching in 2000 but in my case I was able to make it to the end of the school year so it wasn't as traumatic for me and I was ready for a career change and change of location as well at that time.

    However, to my surprise, I ended up bedridden with these DDs (dang diseases) instead. I went through years of mourning. Probably 5 or 6 years, mourning not just the loss of my job but the ability to be able to do anything.

    It's not just our jobs we lose when we become disabled. It's so much more and then we have these horrible diseases where we look just fine to others but we're not at all so we often get treated badly and we find out how much other people don't care that we thought did.

    It's a very difficult process and personally, I have wanted to pack it in many times, sometimes every day for days on end, but I know I can't. I found my relationship with God strengthened during this time and that has helped me a lot. I often chant to myself Let Go and Let God.

    The other thing that's helped me is allowing myself to be very angry and just sitting with it. Mindful Meditation helps me with that. I believe it's healthy to let yourself feel your emotions and all your bad thoughts. Then, within a few years I was ready to forgive people in my life who have upset me. Like you, my mind kept going right back into the groove of who I'm mad at and why which was making me feel much worse emotionally.

    I think these DDs do that to our minds. I think some of that is from the disease process itself but there's no doubt that this is very traumatic situation to be in. Finally, after a few years like I was saying, I started learning how to forgive people in my life. I read about it online and in books and I find that my anger at them goes away quickly now.

    When I think a bad thought about someone and feel my anger escalating, I say to myself, "I forgive him" 3 times and I notice that my body calms down, my adrenaline slows down and I stop gritting my teeth I just keep doing this as often as it takes and pretty soon I'm thinking about what I can do, like participating here or studying or something.

    I hope this helps you. It's a very difficult road we're on but we'll get through it and we all understand each other here. :)
  3. Malcolm82

    Malcolm82 New Member

    I think I'm probably in the middle of it.

    I guess I thought I could skip it-didn't work.

    There are other ways to make a living that I have thought about wanting to try over the years, but didn't want to give up the security of my job. Besides, most of the time I really enjoyed it. It got really hard while I was getting sick, though. I used to thrive on doing tasks at work at maximum speed. Everyone used to just watch in awe, especially the younger employees, while I moved, literally, at a speed that far surpassed everyone else. When I started to get sick it slowed me down a lot,which I had a very hard time dealing with. I think before I went out on disability, I was being regarded as the "sick old man". Now I'm the "sick old man that's out".

    I guess now is the time to look into those possibilities, some of which I can do from home, which if I get just a little better I could start very gradually at first and increase if I get to feeling better.

    If I start working on a plan, maybe that would be the best therapy. I'm going to look into the book mentioned above. Sounds like it might be just what I need.

  4. Janalynn

    Janalynn New Member

    What you're feeling is totally normal. There are a couple of things that I remind myself of that might help you.

    You can't change your feelings - they are what they are. However, you can change your thoughts, which is where your feelings come from. Once you do that, your feelings will change.

    Another is "the darkest clouds bring the best rain". Maybe there is an opportunity around the corner that would not have been there otherwise. It may not be a job - it may be a place in your life that is a wonderful place to 'land'.

    You are dealing with a lot more than just losing your job. I'm sure your ego is hurting, your sense of pride, self-worth etc. Of course, anger is part of the process as well. My husband just lost his job - totally out of the blue two weeks ago. I would say that we loved his boss, the company owner, but naturally our feelings have changed. They shouldn't, because it was a financial decision made, but it's normal when you find yourself in a place that you didn't ask to be, to be angry at the person or persons who put you there.

    When you decide what your next steps will be and start walking them, your feelings may lessen and not consume your thoughts so much.

    Remember, change your thoughts, your feelings will change.

    And..you're right, maybe enough time hasn't passed. There isn't a rulebook on how long you should feel what you're feeling - however, it sounds like it's really troubling you, so while you give yourself some slack for enduring something extremely stressful and depressing, TRY to move forward a little bit each day.

    Good Luck to you - I know it's not easy, we're dealing with it in our house right now. Talk about stressful!!
  5. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Like the other wise and kind people here, I identify with what you're going through. I lost a career that meant everything to me. I hesitated when typing "everything" because no career should mean everything to anyone but mine did.

    I sense that you are generally a guy who puts a good spin on things and just gets on with it. I'm kinda like that myself. I think it's a great way to be. But, you know, before we find the silver lining (there is one) and buck up once again we need to feel the pain. We need to feel it in order to understand that we really can face it and we don't have to run away from it. We felt it, we healed and now we're fine. That takes time. It doesn't take forever, it just takes time.

    Teejkay spoke about Mindfulness meditation. I, too, used Mindfulness practice to learn to sit with pain and not flee. Teejkay said a lot of smart stuff as did everyone else. There is a wealth of wisdom here.

    You're a young man. (Now, don't argue, you'll just make me feel older :~) You haven't been sick very long (by ME/CFS/FM standards) and there is every reason to believe you will recover -- why not. Let yourself grieve in the knowledge that it is preparation for the next phase.

    What made you so good in your work was who you are as a person. If you live your life with the same enthusiasm with which you described the way you worked in your bio, it is that enthusiasm that inspires. I would guess that you are someone who will be made even better by this trial.

    True strength is not the absence of pain just as true courage is not the absence of fear. I do hope you let yourself grieve, you talk to people you can trust, you reach out for help when you need it and you take the time you need to feel steady again. No matter how resilient you are this is a big knock.

    It's been years since I lost the career that meant "everything". I am better for it -- all of it. Who knew.

    Take care of yourself,

    [This Message was Edited on 08/09/2008]
  6. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    You wrote:

    "My job was my life and when that went away I had to find out who I was and I didn't like all I found."

    Me too. Being shaken off my old life gave me an opportunity to change some of that stuff I didn't/don't like. I never would have faced it otherwise.

    Peace out,

  7. Iam1ShadyLady

    Iam1ShadyLady New Member

    Reading your post about how fast you were at work made me think of you as a male version of myself before this illness hit me. I was in restaurant management and was literally known as the queen of S.O.S (speed of service). I could do six jobs at once and much faster than any of my younger staff. I literally ran circles around them. I had my DAO drop by at times just to watch me work. My district supervisor brought a manager that was opening a new store by just to watch me. He told her just to stand back and watch and not get in my way. My resume is 17 pages thick with letters of recommendations and emails about my speed of service and the A plus cleanliness of my stores. In fast food, that is almost unheard of these days.

    I think almost all of us in our past lives were type A overachievers. I think it is part of what makes us get sick. We run ourselves into the ground. The very thing that we thrive on ends up turning us into what we are now. What we have to do is pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and figure out a way to go on. I ended up learning how to drive a big rig. It was something that I had wanted to do since I was 12 years old. I had tried to change careers when my dad was still alive and start driving a truck and he pitched a fit and got my husband all tore up with horror stories of what could happen to me out on the road. So I ended up going into a different restaurant management job and after he died I got hurt at work and then along came FMS and CFS and MPS. After a year off from work I went to trucking school and I drove for almost 3 years. My company that I was with closed down due to the fuel prices and I was left again without a job. I knew it was almost over though before they closed down cause it was getting harder and harder for me to deal with the fatigue and pain. So God stopped me. If he hadn't I would still be out there pushing myself into the ground, going out of my mind from the pain.

    Now I have applied for my disability. I have wrestled with this because I am still a type A personality in my mind. My body just won't keep up. And of course the brain fog comes in and the type A totally and completely disappears. I have also wrestled with looking at this as giving up. It is not the end for me though, just a different chapter in my life. I still don't know what the future holds but I know that life is more important than a job. And yes, I lost my management career to FM, just so you know. I had moved to retail, trying to find something that I could do. I made it a year before they let me go because I missed too much work even though I was out on long term disability. It was a hard pill to swallow for someone who had once been a superstar. But life goes on. And no matter how important it seems, it is just a job.

    You are a strong person and you will get through this. Focus what energy you have on the future, not the past.

    Good Luck,

  8. angelscutoo

    angelscutoo New Member

    I was forced, by my doctor, to retire this year at age 55. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I had worked for the same agency for 28 years. I was a supervisor and like many was a type A personality that was the star worker and was used as an example to others.

    I was even chosen as a person to present training to upper management in our state regarding how to treat staff and how to provide non-monitary rewards and coach staff to become the best they could be.

    That said, I had been sick with fibro for many years but I managed to make my job the first thing in my life. Not a healthy sttitude but my work ethic came first. After years of worsening health and many new health problems I was told by my doctor to retire or face losing my foot.

    I retired thru many tears. Since then I have been more depressed and I miss my job, my staff, and the fact that I was needed by so many. However, my health is a little better already and I just retired May 1st. I am finding I am having to reinvent myself. All of me was involved and revolved around being a Social Services Supervisor.

    I am a new grandmother so I am concentrating on family and rebuilding relationships that came second to my career for years. I live alone so there are many hours I must fill with new activities. I have become more politically involved which was something I was not permitted to do as a state employee. I have applied for SSD amd focused on getting additional income so I can do some other activities that require money.

    As someone else said I have relied on God to get me thru this time in my life. When I feel sad I say a prayer asking for strength to make it thru each day. As a woman used to being in charge I have had to adjust my "bossy attitude" that made me a good supervisor but not a good mom. grandmother, or friend.

    The stages of grief do apply here as you lost control over a life, yours. As managers it is hard to let anyone have control over us yet we had bosses also in our jobs. But because we were good workers we required little supervision and we followed the rules which is what made us such good workers. With these illnesses there are no rules and we have no control. Very unfair it seems but we have to adjust as everyone around us and life will not adjust for us. Depression is anger turned inward so you must let the anger go. It hurts no one but you. It is hard to accept but all of us are replacable.

    So to you I send a challenge to make your days useful and to look at each day as a gift from God. I suggest each day you focus on adding something new or renewing something in your life. It does not have to be physically challenging. It can be as simple as a thought or doing an unrequested act of kindness for someone else. Good luck my friend!!!
  9. Malcolm82

    Malcolm82 New Member

    By gum, you've hit the nail right on the head!

    Everything you described about you is me EXACTLY! I was just like that at work.

    I was also struck by something else you said: "God stopped me."

    I had been going at top speed ever since I got my first job as a technician while I was still in college in 1983.

    About 8 years ago, I remember this one instance very clearly. I was parts manager then and it was springtime, the busiest time of year at a John Deere dealership. I was going at my usual 90 mph pace like I always did when taking care of a counter full of customers. For some reason while I was pulling parts for a customer's order I suddenly thought to myself "I wonder how long I'm going to be able to keep this up?" I think what brought it on was watching the younger people I had working with me going at about half my speed, and asking me a constant barrage of questions (which was fine) the whole time. Then the thought left my mind and didn't come back until I started getting sick.

    Towards the end when it was getting so hard to get through the day, I kept asking to myself "what is happening to me?" and "why is this happening to me?" Eventually, God stopped me too, before I killed myself trying to keep going. I had never known any other way.

    So,Shell, thanks for opening my eyes to that. It helps.

    And also a big Thanks to everyone else who has answered this post. It all helps!

    [This Message was Edited on 08/10/2008]
  10. justmestephd

    justmestephd New Member

    I totally understand how you are feeling. I lost 2 jobs due to illness and when I got fired from my first job (I did sue them becuase I was allowed 12 weeks off work and I wasn't) but anyway after I got myself back together and pushed to get another job I didn't know how to tell my new employer that I had been fired. It was the first time in my working years I got fired. It really hurt me. I was out on leave for of all things appenxititis and that was after two weeks of being back from my lung problems and while I was off the 2 weeks I got a certified letter I was let go. That was about 2 months after my first husband told me to leave. That is a whole other story

    What I am trying to say I guess is it is like a giant loss and you do have to grieve. When I lost the 2nd job due to illness I was so beside myself. I just couldn't bounce back again. So here I am 3 years later still grieving my old life. The phyciatrist tells me I need to let that go and think of all the positive in my new life. Last time I went to her I told her I was having another bout of depression from it being summer and that I found out I was going to be a grandmom. My son and his wife are expecting in Feb 09 and that scares me that I won't be able to be the kind of grandmom I so want to be.

    I still keep thinking that time will help me to get past all the negative and think positive but sometimes its just so hard. I still wish I could work instead of living 3 years with NO money of my own. Three years of just letting go of the me I used to know. Three years of holding on to the hope that one day I will return!

    So I know how you feel!
  11. Honora88

    Honora88 Member

    My job used to define me. However, after getting sick I realized that my job should not be my life and that there is something missing about that. When I die, my employers and co workers aren't going to cry about me.

    It created the space to fill my life with things that were more a truer expression of myself. Now I read literature, watch world news, get involved in energy work, etc. things that I put off doing before.

    It will take a while, but I hope you can get to a place of filling in what was lost with something possibly even better or more meaningful.
  12. Malcolm82

    Malcolm82 New Member

    You mentioned how you didn't know how to tell your perspective employer during your job interview that you had been fired.

    I've been trying to figure out how I'm going to explain that, when and if I can ever be healthy enough to get back to work. Like you, I had never been fired before until now, and I was very, very proud of that.

    How did you do it and still get hired?

    PLEEEEASE tell me your secret!!!!!
  13. jvrealty

    jvrealty New Member

    Hi Malcolm:
    Saw this post and i had to respond. I lost my job too, as a result of cfs, fibro, and severe hand pain...i was a claims professional and worked for my employer since 1986 and once i got a diagnosis of cfg/fibro, they sent me a term letter too. You will get severance package, which a lot of it will be eaten up by taxes, unless you speak with a tax advisor who may advise that severage pay is not taxable (i don't know about this)....

    became ill in 2002, lost job 2004. you need to FILE FOR SSD asap because the process does take a while and insurance prems will be high...you need medicare to pick up this tab for you, unless you are covered under your wife....file SSD ASAP.

    My condition was job related and i filed a worker's comp claim, which just settled in june 08....once the case settled, all of my anger against the employer ended......

    Having anger is NORMAL..you have to completely go through the GREIVING process and allow the psychiatrist to help you...this is the only way to get over the loss....

    Since you defined yourself by your job, this is why the loss is so great...this is what i did...without my job, i felt hopeless and useless.....

    Stop, think about what i am saying and began therapy with your therapist and consider going to a support group fo chronic pain and chronic fatigue....this saved my life....

    i am now 48 years old and i began getting ill at 42 and now i come to realise that this is my life, and i have to deal with it, the best way that i can...get help for yourself and your wife, she will thank you for it. she does not understand, because she can't so don't put this pressure on her....get into a support group and talk therapy asap...this will save your life and your marriage.....

    i am praying for you right now, in the Name of Jesus, that He give you comfort, as you read this and direct you in the right way......if you are not a praying man, become one and spend time, sorting out what is really important in life......you need a break from that job and if you want to began a new career, you can.....get yourself an attorney help you with the SSD PROCESS and decide what you want to do because once you are approved, SSD will rehab you if you want to work in another field...

    I am free now from the anger and guilt of loosing my job and i am happy.


    p.s..if you want to write me back, do so and i will try to answer all of your questions..loosing your job is no joke, i earned $70,000 annually, now I receive about $30,000 in benefits....i have a 12 year old

    have a blessed day, in JESUS name.
  14. Malcolm82

    Malcolm82 New Member

    I think I'm past the worst of it, at least I hope so.

    I'm getting my health insurance lined up and formulating some other plans, among them getting my SSDI claim filed.

    Before getting let go from my job, my single minded obsession was on getting better so I could get back to my job. Whenever someone asked if I had applied for SSDI, I would just say I would be recovered and back to work soon so I didn't need to.

    After getting the "axe", my perspective has changed from wishful thinking to realistic thinking.

    There is no cure for CFIDS, no sure fire "magic pill". I very well may recover completely, or never recover, or anything in between. So my philosophy has changed to "preparing for the worst while hoping for the best".

    If I can get just a little better, I may start a small home based business of my own utilizing some special skills I have from my previous career that would allow me to work when I'm up to it with no set schedule and very little pressure, since I know I can't function with much. I've always enjoyed repairing small components from antique tractors, and I enjoyed it so much I would do it for some of my customers from work at my home, and then bill it through my company so the company would get the money. I never made a dime from it. I could still do that and make the money myself. My disability insurance allows you to make a small amount of income without dumping you. I believe it is the same with SSDI. If I recover completely, I might be able to expand on that business, adding other services that aren't provided by many other businesses that I really enjoy. I have a lot of contacts among the "antiquers' and I think if the word got out I was doing this, I would get some business.

    I am lucky to have a very supportive wife. She completely understands. I think she was more devastated than even I was when I was fired, because of all the sacrificing we both had done for that company, and having sunshine blown up my you- know-what by the president of the company about only wanting me to get better and come back to work, right up until the week before I got canned by mail. (There was silence that week because he was "out of town".)

    Well, anyway, I'm formulating plans, and I think that is the best thing for me to do.

    Thanks again!
  15. justmestephd

    justmestephd New Member


    You asked what my secret was there was none. I just thought a lot about it and thought that honesty was best. I thought if they called my last employer they would find out some how. I sued that employer and won.

    So I said to my new possibly new employer that I was fired due to health reasons that have since been resolved. She was very thankful for me telling them and asked how I felt now and I simply explained to her that I was feeling 100 % now and willing to take the chance again if they would allow me to. I got a second call back and they hired me. I worked there 3 years and low and behold here I was again in the same situation of not being able to work

    If it were to happen again and I have to go back to work someday I would do it all over again and be honest even though being fired 2x surely won't look good.

    Good luck to you
  16. willruthie1965

    willruthie1965 New Member

    You should get social security,My hubby got fired also when he was 36 from fibro. IT was horrible for him but at the same time he realized that it was the illness.You get so tight with people who you work with.Then for all the people to see you getting sick ,especially since you was the leader.

    I get the same way like if I feel rejected or my kids feel rejected I get mean thoughts in my head. YOu probbably wish the whole place will fall apart without you there.The world can be cruel and thats why we have family and friends to lean on. Does this help in anyway? My hubby was a design engineer when he lost his job.I didn't even work most of our marriage. It's hard for anyone to feel rejected. Tell yourself that you know that the company is hurting by not having you there.It's the truth.
  17. jinlee

    jinlee Member

    I am sorry you had to go through that job loss.

    I had to quit a job I really loved and was good at three years ago. I went through the stages of grief, just as though I had lost a loved one.

    What stopped my grieving was probably the fact that the office, which was med transcription for a major hospital's clinics, got their work outsourced so our office was closed down. So, if I had still been there, I would have had to find new work anyway.

    I feel loss though. I had the best advice from my SIL who is in the process of early retirement from nursing because of health issues. She said to think of our life in boxes.

    Now the old box has been finished and we are starting a new box, a new set of goals, etc. This advice has helped me gain a perspective and not so useless. It is a new box I have to figure out how best to fill.

    But yes, I could not move on for the last three years and just now I am able to see a future, at least a glimmer of a future without working at an outside job.

    You have to admit, a person's selfworth is so tied up in whether they can bring in a certain amount of money to live on. But if we have DDs, it is the same as if we had cancer. If we can't work, we can't and that does not change our worthiness.

    I have found in the last two weeks there are things I can do to help others and feel a selfworth that I had not realized before. I had to get outside of myself and focus on others.

    Again, it is a grieving process and everyone goes through it differently. Grieving classes are available through most health centers or hospitals and I found the grief counseling helped not only for the grief of death but loss of jobs, loss of marriages, etc.

    People with loss of limbs go through the same grief, a loss of what is "normal" to themselves and society.

    Take care and hang in there. It will get better. Don't feel you are weak if you seek counseling. I know it is easy to say these things and doing them is the hard part. I understand.