If you haven’t read my blog before I will give you a brief overview of the past few years. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in my first year of teaching and it didn’t really have much of an impact on my work life as I was working part time and not far from home. The following year I worked full time and I was pretty much flare free, I managed to work and enjoy a reduced social life but most of all I was pretty happy. Me and my now husband bought and moved into our first home and started planning our wedding. The following academic year I reduced my hours down to part time again as my maternity cover had finished and I was offered a job share. This was great! I felt so much better and ended up increasing my hours from two and a half days to 4 days. It then started to go down hill. I developed severe anxiety and my doctor switched up my medication to help but it didn’t. It sent me into my first major flare in over 12 months and as well as this I was told my job wasn’t secure for the next academic year and the head was in full support of me moving if I found a permanent job. So whilst lay in bed I applied for a new job, it was perfect. Working with pupils with special educational needs and leading art. I went back to work and went for the interview and amazingly I got the job. I still don’t know why , as I had no experience of teaching in an SEN school but I was grateful for the fantastic opportunity to develop my career. The only downside was it was full time. After discussing it with my husband we decided that we would give it a go and any way after our wedding we were going to start trying for a baby so maybe I wouldn’t be in a full time position that long.
Fast forward two years to Christmas; a diagnosis of PCOS, a failed 6 rounds of clomid and I am exhausted and broken. I started thinking about resigning from my full time job at Christmas but I was so desperate to stay in my current position I kept on going. I ended up being ill again, not nine weeks like the previous major flare but I was off for around three to four week and at this point I knew I couldn’t go on. I requested to reduce my hours which was refused due to the nature of my work and I still mulled over the idea of leaving and finding a more flexible option. At this point I was even considering leaving teaching altogether. So after having my resignation letter in my bag multiple times, I finally got up the courage to do the right thing and quit. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make as I didn’t want to leave, but deep down I knew it was right for me and I finally gained some control back into my life.
So now it is the second week of the summer holidays and it feels so strange. I would normally have a list a mile long that needs to be completed before September to get ready for my new class but this year I don’t. Instead I have a list a mile long that is helping me regain control in my life. I am anxious about what my future holds, but excited to try my hand at supply teaching. It will be different and probably a challenge to start with but at least I will have more control over when and where I work, I wont have to feel guilt if I am too ill to work and I may finally be able to accomplish the challenge of pacing myself.
Making big decisions is hard, especially when they are decisions you feel you have been forced into because of your health. If I didn’t have fibro then I would probably still be happily working in a job the I had always dreamed of. But I have chosen to look at this in a positive way, I am putting myself first. I am happier and healthier because of it and although it was the hardest thing to say goodbye to the amazing colleagues I worked with it was the right thing to do.
Try not to look at what fibro is taking away from you but what it is giving you. It has given me the opportunity to talk to new people, developed my confidence as I raise awareness of the condition, allowed me to look at my life priorities and finally allowed me to put myself first and say no.
Let me know about the big life decisions you’ve had to make, whether related to fibro or not, how you came to those decisions and whether they had a positive or negative impact on your life. I will update you in the next few months on how going on supply helped or didn’t help my condition.