Broken, Depression & Discrimination

   This week has been one of those weeks that could not end fast enough.  I am still slowly recovering from my flare and the longer it takes me to get over it, the more the depression sets in.  I put on a good front around people but when I am alone and at home, I feel as though my insides are ripping apart.  To not fell well for so long and continuously, and to be able to do so little is extremely difficult for me and I find myself having to double up on the Prozac during these times.

I feel like I’m a broken person, just a shell of the woman I once was and even after all of these years I still grieve for that woman, for that time of my life where I felt like I could accomplish anything.  Now I feel like everything I want to accomplish has a “what if” in front of it because of the CFS, Fibromyalgia and Interstitial Cystitis. 

I am a confessed control freak and when you have chronic illnesses, you have anything but control and that has been one of the hardest lessons to learn during this journey.  With CFS & Fibromyalgia, it doesn’t matter what we do, the flares keep coming.  There isn’t any rhyme or reasoning sometimes to what will set our illnesses off and we have absolutely no control over our day to day activities. 

I feel like I followed all the rules:  I worked hard (still do work hard the hours I’m able to work); always paid my bills on time; busted my butt to save money; went the extra mile at work and for others; worked my way into management different times – and it all backfired on me.  It’s a hard pill to swallow and when I have my flares and am not feeling well, like this week, I still have issues dealing with all of this.

Today the depression became even worse when I wanted to apply for a position at work and the manager of that department pretty much shot me down immediately because he just assumed that I would not be able to handle the stress of the job because of my health.  He was very nice about it and said that he loves my personality and would love to have someone like me working in that department, but fears that I wouldn’t be able to handle it.  It’s like I’m not even given a chance.  If he had doubts or worries about my abillities, he should have at least talked to the manager of my department – not just ASSUME that I can’t do the job.  For the past 2 1/2 years, I’ve worked in the busiest, most stressful part of the store and I’m still there. 

I felt degraded, like I was nothing.  I started to tear up but I held strong when he was telling me this because I am just so tired of all of these roadblocks.  It’s not fair to not give someone a chance, especially someone who WANTS to work, someone who WANTS to learn new things.  When I told my husband he told me I should just go ahead and apply for the position anyway.  Workplace discrimination for the disabled is common and I felt totally discriminated against today.  It was a big blow to me, especially when I was so excited about possibly getting to learn something new at work.

This is the very reason why I do not tell anyone about my illnesses at work until I have been there for a while and have had a chance to prove myself.  As soon as someone hears “disabled”, or finds out about all of my health problems, they make assumptions about what I can and can’t do, or that I’m lazy, or whatever other false assumptions people make about us.

I haven’t been this depressed in a long time and today just put me over the edge completely.  It’s like everytime I keep trying to take two steps forward, I end up taking 5 steps back.  I can’t win.

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  1. Bill is right. You should apply for the position you want anyway. They can’t deny you a position because of your disability. I would politely remind your manager of that and tell him or her what this person said.

  2. Sandy – I’m so sorry that your are having such a bad day. It is unfair and it definitely sucks.

    As a ‘almost-former’ control freak, I am learning that I can’t force FMS and ME into the box I want because in the end it hurts me and no one else.

    So I have had to figure out how FMS and ME fits within my 4Walls if you will. Perhaps (even though you would love to learn something new) the job you are in is a good fit for you in the sense that it seems to be working within your 4Walls without causing you any further undue distress.

    Perhaps doing more isn’t what it should be about but doing you best at what your are currently doing (which it sounds like you are) and then being proud of that accomplishment.

    I’m really finding in my life, doing less and doing it well, while being able to embrace that as huge because I do it with two severely challenging illnesses, is paramounts to someone who is healthy getting a huge promotion or a new job.

    I can’t do what they do, but they can’t do what I do either.

    Anyway, sorry for the ramble. Sending you lots and lots of hugs!

  3. Fighting Fatigue, I have been in a terrible depression for a year. My husband of 30 years has been my rock and for 14 months the roles should have reversed and I have. not been able to handle the emotional side and the guilt has eaten me alive. I am a registered nurse….so our doctors and families think I am NOW able. I have not been able to work for 18 years. I also feel like I am inadequate and have ask for a divorce. My husband deserves an equal partner. I have an application in to my local college and fear of failure has left me frozen and confined to my home. Uncertainty and loss of MY control have created such inner turmoil that I am just existing…And somehow Fibro has the upper hand. IF ONLY I could….it is like your what if’s. I have also hunted my old bubbly perfect professional in control self and greive that loss as well.
    Sometimes misery doesn’t want company but your words were dejavu…I read them to my husband and he said “You could have written that,” Wishing you well~SuzQz

  4. Fast paced lifestyle and competitive ways can surely set for depression. There must be a positive and healthy change in one’s daily routine to bring about a deep seated redirection with one’s depression.

  5. laura Haines says:

    Sandy; I so understand what you are going through.I have the same feelings you do.I feel worthless,to my family and myself.I am on pain medicine,but it barely helps the fibro,and the depression is out of control,My Doctor raised my dosage of Cymbalta to 120 mg a day,I sure hope it helps.I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Hi Laura – I am on really strong pain meds and I am still in misery all of the time. The pain keeps getting worse the older I get and nothing seems to help: exercise, therapy, water therapy, medication – nothing.

  6. I read that you take Prozac for the depression and sometimes have to double up. Prozac was the first anti-depressant I was on and it worked for a few years, but just like some other meds, after awhile they just don’t work as well. It seems that if your depression were controlled with the Prozac, situational things wouldn’t cause such awful down moods. It may be time to talk to your doctor about a change in depression meds. It took me years to find the right combination (I take Savella and Klonopin) for the anxiety and depression. Do you take anti-anxiety meds? FMS causes a whole host of mental issues and anxiety and depression go hand in hand. All that said…I think it was terrible that the manager didn’t even ask you if you thought you could handle the job, nor did he offer you a trial in the position to see you in action. That wasn’t fair and you could likely readdress the issue with those suggestions and possibly a better outcome.
    Blessings to you.

    • Hi Kelly, No, I am not on any anti-anxiety medication and I never have been but I probably should be. I have been on Prozac for a long time so I am probably immune to it now.

  7. I’m so sorry!! It often seems that people like you (and me) are the ones who suffer the most. The ones with the “go get it!” attitude! And it’s OK to feel sad, mad, down, upset, cheated, betrayed…!!! But just don’t stay there. Turn it around into something positive. You’ve heard the saying “When God closes one door…” well, it’s true. And there may be something about that job that He was protecting you from. But I agree…you should apply anyway!! And if you’re anything like me, you feel that the only people who truly “get” you are people out in cyber space that you don’t even know!! But I’m so glad we have the ability to share with each other. It would be very lonely without the support!! Hang in there, and don’t let closed doors defeat you! The PERSON inside you is and always will be still there. Your abilities have changed. I grieved for a long time about what I could no longer do. Then I started trying to focus on what I COULD do. We are still important people with a LOT to contribute!! gentle (((( ))))

  8. Sandy, your words rippled through me with strong familiarity. When I was working full time, before a lay off in 2008, I experienced similar discrimination and struggles with FM and CFS during my 30 year career in health care and medical device industry. When I was laid off I had been in that position for 13 years and it fit my life and health very well. Since the lay off I have had to turn down at least 3 very good job offers because they were positions that during the interview process I thought I could handle but when push came to shove I knew I could not. So 3 years later I am still searching for a position that fits my body, mind and spirit. In the meantime, I am coming to accept that living with and helping my 81 yr old mother is where I am meant to be for now. I am sorry for your “loss” and appreciate your sharing.

  9. I am so sorry to hear what you are going through. I too crashed this past weekend after a stressful week last week. I feel your pain and my heart breaks for you. I agree, you should apply for the position, you know what you can handle and what your abilities are. I am a stay at home Mom with a jewelry business and I was unable to do anything with my jewelry, not even think of doing it. The thought of doing anything made me feel overwhelmed. Thank you for sharing your story and your journey. I love it when people open up and can be authentic. You described several feelings in a beautiful way, matter of fact, some words I will use with my therapist because you said things that I have been feeling. “Grieving the woman I used to be.”


  10. I think what Dominique said was VERY wise (besides the ramble, hehe). Realizing just what our limitations are and flourishing where you are. Why take on more stress? I grieve daily over losing my old confident “get it all” self. But I also realize that if I am to have ANY happiness for the “rest” of my life, I have to learn to live within my 4 walls as Dominque said. Even with pain, I have learned to be happy there. The old me has left and will never be back. I get to redefine the NEW me. Am I going to give in to the pain, depression, sadness or is the NEW me going to look for reasons to smile and be happy and do ALL(even though it may be little)that I can to help my quality of life. Chin up, girlie. Keep chuggin’!

  11. Maribeth says:

    I so feel for you today. Have walked so much of what you describe.

    Just a fyi- I found a supplement that was created for fibro people by a Mayo Clinic researcher and it’s really helped me in all the areas you’ve mentioned: reduced fatigue, improved good quality sleep, much lower – almost non-existant pain, very few flare-ups and the depression is basically gone as long as I keep taking the supplements.

    If you’re interested, let me know. I’ve had fibro for 35 years and finally found something that works… drugs deplete nutrients from our bodies and they make mine gain weight to store the toxins in fat so am thrilled to finally have something that is enabling me to have more of a life!

    Good luck to you,

  12. Maribeth says:

    Hmm- don’t know if you can link to me- you can message me on fb at Maribeth Wright Curry

  13. Melissa Williams says:

    I am so glad to hear the comments I just read, I thought I was the only one that felt they were discriminated against at work because of my Fibro. I had total knee replacement November 30, returned to work on January 26, I am on a lot of different meds and my doctor has been trying different combinations of pain meds, so one day I am ok and the next, I may look over dosed. My supervisor had the gall to call me to her office and wanted to know if I was taking too much pain meds and wanted to know what I was on, that other workers had mentioned that I looked like I was strung out, could not walk straight etc. I was so pissed off, I do my work like I am supposed to and never have any complaints, why am I looked at like this. She requested that I think about applying for disability. I am 49, have 26 years of service and only have to work 4 more to retire early, I do not want to go on disability

  14. Plastic Surgery says:

    The Tao of nurturing life requires that one keep oneself as fluid and flexible as possible. One should not stay still for too long, nor should one exhaust oneself by trying to perform impossible tasks.

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