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When My Health Prevents Me From Contributing Financially

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I had a busy week, which was full of doctor appointments, planning, and a short trip to the mountains. My sweet roommate helped me roll around a lake in the mountains, and we saw so many pretty sights. I even got to see my first moose!

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I tried a new treatment recently, and I am starting a new medication for my heart today. Thinking about the potential benefits that the new medication may provide me got me thinking about my goals for the future. One of my top goals is to work again, and I have been questioning why it is so important to me.

I’ve always been an over-achiever, and I can’t stand not being productive in some way. Losing the ability to contribute to a household is really frustrating to me, and it saddens me to think about getting married soon and not being able to help out financially. I don’t want to frustrate my future husband or make him feel like he has to do it all himself, and I really don’t want to feel like I have a caretaker. I want it to be a partnership, and I don’t like the idea of not being able to help.

A picture of a moose eating grass.

I’ve talked with my counselor about it quite a bit since it has been bothering me so much, and she helped me realize something important.

Relationships with people are much more important and valuable than financial or physical contribution.

If working would take all of my energy and leave none for my friends and family, then it wouldn’t be as helpful as I think.

With no energy left for my husband, he’d come home to a jumbled mess of a girl unable to hold a proper conversation about anything. Our weekends would consist of me sleeping and moving from the couch to the bed and back, in order to be rested enough to go back to work on Monday. I would be contributing financially, but there would be no relationship. That would hurt much more than just feeling “lazy.”

Staying home instead of working may be hard on my ego, but being able to listen attentively and hold conversations with my husband when he gets off work will mean much more to us than money. We will spend weekends together and make memories other than watching Netflix on the couch, and I might actually feel like a normal wife for a little while. I can cook for us and help keep the house clean for both of us instead of being unable to even wash my own dishes.

It stinks that I have to decide between contributing financially and contributing relationally, but because of how much relationships mean to me, I choose the latter.

Thankfully, everyone most important to me seems to agree.

A lot of us in the chronic illness community are unable to work due to our health, and I know many feel the same way about not being able to contribute. I am still going to feel guilty and embarrassed, but I hope the more I remind myself that I am putting my relationships first, the more confident I will feel in my situation.

If you are on the opposite side of this and are the working one of the family, I think it’d be great for you to remember this as well. We may seem smiling and healthy when you come home, but we wouldn’t be that way if we worked normal hours. Staying home instead of working allows us to fully support you the way we should.

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope my writing helps you find comfort and peace in your situation. If it does, please feel free to let me know below or on my contact page. I love hearing about your experiences.

Getty Image by Rostislav_Sedlacek

Originally published: June 21, 2018
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