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.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

back of woman standing on snowy field

How to Get Through Christmas When You Don't Have Any Holiday Spirit

Somewhere buried in a box, there is a photo of me on Christmas Day when I was 9 years old. I’m slumped on the sofa, my new art box on my lap full of paints and pencils. There is a smile vaguely on my chapped lips, lost amongst the pale, sunken face and dark, hollow eyes. [...]
dad holding baby

A Letter to My 3-Year-Old With Nemaline Myopathy

Photo above by Living in the Light. Ethan, I still can’t believe that three years ago, I became your mother. I’ve watched you grow from this tiny, beautiful and fragile little baby to this larger-than-life little boy. I remember holding your tiny little body, not even 24 hours old, on my chest and feeling overwhelmed [...]
painting of a woman's face with colorful flowers and a white butterfly around her cheek

The Everyday Frustrations of 'Fibro Fog'

I was treated for multiple sclerosis (MS) for three years by the chief neurologist of a hospital in Toronto, only to be told I don’t have MS. When I asked him what he thought I might have, he said, “I have no idea, but you can get a second opinion and maybe they can teach [...]

12 Tips for Getting Through College With an Ostomy

If you have an ostomy and are either in college, like myself, or getting ready to go off to college, chances are you’ve thought about how you’re going to deal with everyday college life and your ostomy. This won’t be the only article I write in this series, but I thought I’d compile a handy [...]