I have been feeling a bit coy every time I mention this, but… I have a job. The first job I’ve had for over a decade. In fact, it’s the ideal job for me at the moment: it’s a writing job (CVs and cover letters), it’s freelance, the hours are flexible and I work from home. If all continues to go well over the next few weeks, I will be able to stop claiming ESA — which is one of my main goals for this year.
Yet, despite all of these advantages, I have been struggling with the transition. I am stressing out a lot because I really want this job to work out; because it would be devastating to fail when I am so close to achieving my goal. Part of me can’t believe that I have been given this opportunity, so I’m expecting it to be taken away at any monent. Getting into a routine has been difficult, too. I tend to either procrastinate or work nonstop for hours on end, neither of which is very healthy.
The whole experience is reminding me of the importance of transitions. Sometimes diving in head first is the right choice, but most transitions — especially if you have mental health problems — require slow, gradual changes. I’m trying to pace myself and build up the number of hours I work with each week, so that by the time I stop claiming benefits I will be earning enough to comfortably cover my expenses. In fact, that is the whole point of doing permitted work — to slowly reintroduce people with long-term illnesses or disabilities to work.
Part of me fights against this idea — I want to dive in and work as hard as I can for as many hours as I can — but I know that doing so would put my health at risk. It’s equivalent to a non-runner trying to run 10 miles every day. Stupid and counterproductive.
Instead, I am learning to be (even more) compassionate towards myself. I will not beat myself up for working too slowly or not working full time hours. I am not being stupid or lazy — I am in training for my future.