I Don't Have a Paying Job But I Still Have a Life


I am 23 years old. I graduated high school in 2012. I got a job soon after. But that’s when severe anxiety and panic attacks entered my life so I had to quit. And through the years, things only got worse, even after trying more jobs. One that I worked 70 hours a week.

To the world, a job is what makes one successful. People everywhere struggle, but they find a way to make do with what they have. And with what they need. The hard-working person tries to make ends meet, too.

My point is, I am a girl who doesn’t have a paying job but I still have a life, too.

I have postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), thyroid disease/autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue syndrome (it is more than just tiredness!), chronic pain, and some mental illnesses.

Many people think those don’t necessarily disqualify me from working.

My jobs are trying to fall asleep before 6 a.m., trying to clean the house and do the dishes, meanwhile trying to give myself permission to take a breath or do my own laundry or even shower.

Some days, even opening my eyes is hard. Some days even standing is hard because my chronic illnesses can flare at similar times, not to mention the weird/unexpected/unexplainable “normal people sickness” my body catches, like colds, sinus infections, the flu, allergies.

My job is myself. My job is my family. My job is health, acceptance, joy, sanity, energy, remembering to take medication and vitamins. Heck, remembering to drink water!

You think I just get to sit around all the time? That I get to watch Netflix all day? I get to sleep all day? I don’t have to worry about anything? I don’t have a reason to be so tired? I don’t have a reason to not work? You think I don’t deserve to go have coffee with a friend? You think, “Well, why do you need coffee? You ain’t got nothing to do!”

I have lots to do. Loads.

I have a life, even if my job isn’t at a store or restaurant or gas station.

Chronic illnesses/mental illnesses and pain are my life.

I get that some people have it worse or have worse things. But to me, my stuff is real. No person is always the same with these things. And just in general, everybody is different.

It doesn’t make me weak. It doesn’t make me lazy. It doesn’t make me selfish.

I have things to see, things to do that I love, people to meet with, church to attend, cleaning, showering, caring for myself.

I am a girl without a paying job, but really, I do get paid. Not with paper. With finding joy in small, simple things. With gratefulness. With discovering. With life.

But I have a life, too.

Just because you work doesn’t mean I don’t have things to get done, or things to go through, or my “simple job” should be easy for me.

Go look up the symptoms of thyroid disease, or POTS, or depression, or any of what I listed, and if you say “nah,” then please don’t give an opinion about how someone going through it should feel or live.

I have a life, too.

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