Identity and Work (Permanent labor force non-participation)

When I was diagnosed with RA I was working part time in a bank as a customer service representative. The friendships with people I had known for years and with fellow workers were important to me. But with RA fatigue and bad feet it became difficult to do that job as RA progressed. It was a gradual change but continuous and unwelcome. A TD Bank in New York. Surprised to see familiar company elsewhere. I started working part time in market research at that point and found a sit down job on the phone was far more possible for me. When the company owner found true love (and busted up two marriages in the process) two of us there decided that we could do the job so we made a deal to buy the company. It is so much easier to be the boss. Management accommodates your every need. I had a great collection of suns and garage sale art and really enjoyed talking to our clients and solving their problems. There was some friction. My partner at one point said that if she had known the extent to which RA would affect me she never would have gone ahead with the partnership. [...] continue the story

Acceptance

By Michelle Lemme

Approaching the one year anniversary of my “descent into hell”; and where am I today?  I am pleased to say that I am healthy and, for the most part, happy.   I’ve learned enough to mostly manage (live with) my troublesome anxiety and obsessive/compulsive behaviors.  Frankly I can’t really wrap my head around how my “OCD behaviors” are linked to my depression, having said that, I do find that doing the behavior is soothing, I guess because the act of performing certain behaviors consumes all of my focus and attention, which is sometimes a huge relief.   My compulsive cleaning is under control (most of the time), but, I simply cannot leave my face alone, touching, picking and making a mess of my skin – who wouldn’t pick at their face if they were always peering into a 15X magnifying mirror!!  Obviously, I still struggle and know that I still have things to work on, which is why I continue to see my therapist.

I continue to struggle with the whole “not working” thing, which I was thrust into when I got sick.  If I am honest, I know that I have allowed myself to believe that my “value” is and [...] continue the story