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Working (as in getting a paycheck) through withdrawal

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Christian   
Christian

I'm so lucky I work from home. But I will have to travel soon and the thought of being on an airplane with this anxiety and inability to concentrate properly scares me. If this doesn't clear up soon I might have to look into disability. 6 weeks into WD plus reinstating again! Luckily I can sleep again after two weeks of insomnia.

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Mort81   
Mort81

Work has been a very stressful topic for me. At first during withdrawal I was in acute pain and discomfort. Somehow I managed to work 2 or 3 days a week for 5 months. It was hell. I think only because of the severe pain. My body was going into shock from my taper. Ive been almost off work for a full year and although I'm improving I need to get much stronger before I can have any kind of schedule. My family sees how difficult this is because Im not doing any of the my leisure activities either like sports and exercise that ive loved my whole life. Honestly if I were strong enough to exercise and work withdrawal wouldn't be so tough for me. My symptoms are still way too strong. Not making any money or collecting disability has been the roughest part. Even when i gently push myself it backfires, I end up in bed for a week. Hopefully this year the strength comes back.

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Rockingchaircat   
Rockingchaircat

I've been going through both benzo and antidepressant withdrawal, all the while staying on a full time job.  I have a VERY UNDERSTANDING boss.  It wasn't easy in the least. But I kept going, because my family needed me to provide. I seem to be through the worst of it, and have been enjoying a significant improvement in my symptoms due to a lightbox.

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Christian   
Christian

Just curious if anyone out there filed for work disability. Its one thing sucking it up and going to work with the anxiety. But my brain is like 70% now not to mention the insomnia. My Psych today said she can type up a work disability request. But she isn't saying I have WD of course. It's GAD. Does that fly with employers ?

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Songbird   
Songbird

I think it depends on the symptoms you are having, and their severity.  Some people find having to work helps them by taking their mind of their symptoms, while for others it is impossible.  When I crashed I had to take time off work, and then went back part-time at first, for just a few hours a day, which I found very difficult, as I had akathisia and anxiety, so it was almost impossible to sit at my desk and concentrate. 

 

For years I worked in a high pressure IT job, and over the years the stress and pressure got worse and worse - stress from this job was how I ended up stuck on an AD.  After my crash when I had updosed and stabilised and started tapering again, it dawned on me that I was never going to be able to get off the drug as long as I stayed in that job.

 

I now work part time in a completely different job, and I'm sure there is no way I could do my old job now.  I have so much fatigue, I don't think I could manage working full time.  If I work a full day now, I tend to be exhausted the next day and need to rest and recover.  While in IT I had to be really sharp to manage multiple projects and complex technical designs, but I couldn't do anything like that these days with my memory problems and cognitive fog.  I now have the stress of trying to survive on hardly any income, but I have less stress in other ways, and the hope of being able to get off the drug eventually.

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Mort81   
Mort81

I am in the midst of filing my papers. My pychologist is the one who diagnosed this as WD and labeled it SSRI discontinuation Syndrome. HE also sent a letter to my new GP , the old one I fired who got me into this mess, than denied it and treated me awful.  But he sent the letter to the new GP with Evidence and Scientific Articles backing it up. The GP is the one filling out the forms and I dont know If insurance will allow it anyway.  Im not sure if GAD and Depression could fly with insurance companies but Im pretty sure any WD related issues are just as easily dismissed.  One of the harder things we have to deal with during WD is the lack of medical and financial support. In this regard we really do get the short end of the stick.  Its possible its best for a doctor to put Chronic Fatigue or something better understood . Maybe GAD will be good enough . Let us know 

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Christian   
Christian

I have read insomnia might work online. I would think the WD diagnosis might work better than GAD. Though hard to get I am going to try and see a Dr that was posted on this site that can help treat WD. My work disability plan explanation has a stipulation that you cant be awarded benefits for mental illness if it can be treated with SSRIs and/or therapy. A GAD filing wont work then but WD might.

 

Anyone else out there have any experience with filing for work disability?  It seems based on the little response folks either toughed it out and worked or had to quit work and live from savings, credit cards or perhaps friends and relatives.     

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Junglechicken   
Junglechicken

I haven't worked since June 2015, and since our relocation back to the UK am now in the process of finding temp admin work until I can get permanent/contract work in my field.

 

This is scary (definitely).  I'm not concerned about temp admin work, but I am about returning to my regular work which is highly stressful.

 

I agree that going to work is a great and productive distraction from the constant health anxiety ruminating; which like a lot of others on this website; I am the first to admit I do.

 

Wondering how my body will react to being back in the office environment.  Will I be dealing with even more aches and pains in the months to come????

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ppppp9   
ppppp9

From the time I started my taper to 2 weeks go, I've had no w/d symptoms.  It's just with my last drop that I've experienced some symptoms but nothing significant.   Work is crucial so it's important for me to taper very, very slowly and in small fractions each time. My job isn't very stressful and I have been coping well but I find the w/d symptoms a distraction which I don't like.    I'll know better how I feel with the next taper which I won't do for another 2-2-1/2 months.  I plan on microtapering with 2-3 months holds in between to stabilize and feel strong and good again.  I don't feel anxious about getting off meds fast.  Hopefully, this works.

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lavendertealatte   
lavendertealatte

This is a question I'm am asking now, because I will be beginning work training soon. It seems like it will be a good distraction based on your experiences.  I fear though because I remember the days when I was depressed and couldn't make it to work.  Withdrawal symptoms have been different though, and so far not severe like a full blown depressive episode.  But still.  Somewhat traumatized from the early experience.  This time around, I have a husband supporting me but I hardly want to bum around all day while these symptoms go on.  Like others have said, I too tend to ruminate.

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Cheryl   
Cheryl

Hi everyone...

 

I am still working in community mental health and made a choice to leave. The added stress of this field is way too much for me.

I have been at a couple interviews and may be taking a position in a hospital.

This job will be working with a team in children's O.R. My people contact would be with staff and not patient contact. More of a working with "things" job as opposed to "emotional people".

 

My question for anyone is this: This will be an afternoon shift. Is there a possibility that I may function better because of morning cortisol spikes?

Also, would the time of my cortisol spike change due to a different sleep schedule?

 

Any information or feedback would be greatly appreciated,

Cheryl

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Anerros   
Anerros

Hi I finished tapering my meds recently I am working as a computer programmer. Feel as if the cognition fog has damaged my self confidence a bit i'm worried about whether or not I have brain damage,

and if I am going to have the same learning abilities I have had before. Part of it may be anxiety because of my illness which made me take these poisons in the first place. 

 

Definitely a big challenge dealing with all the w/d symptoms as well as the relapse of old emotions/obsessions/thoughts. 

Came very close to quitting my job because of it a couple of times.

Trying to remind myself this is only temporary and will probably get better as time goes on.

In short mainly trying to survive by forcing positive thoughts through such as the above another example would be that even if 

I have some sort of damage it is something that probably can be repaired.

But it's definitely hard.

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elbee   
elbee

Work (and specifically, not working) is probably what I stress about the most. The crazy part is right now I have savings and I'm fine for a while. But I can feel my anxiety build whenever I start thinking about work (even volunteering). I think my fear is of failing and/or not being able to function at the capacity I have previously. i created and owned a company for 15 years. It did well for a while, then ultimately I had to shut it down. I partly attribute the failure to my decreased capacities (my meds "pooping out,"). There is no way I could operate in the way now that I did then. Confidence? Clear decision making? Leadership? Strategy? Negotiations? I can barely decide how much green there should be in the bananas I buy!

 

I'm just SO scared to be in a position where people are counting on me, because I don't know "which me" will show up day to day, hour to hour. I've found a way to "push through" (both acedemically and professionally) since I first started having panic attacks in college. Maybe the meds worked better before? I "self medicated" with alcohol as a supplement but I quit drinking 2 years ago and I keep that off the table, but perhaps historically that "helped?" I was younger? IDK. I just feel like I don't have the push in me anymore. And I am definitely much more limited mentally and much more emotionally raw / volitile than I was.

 

Is some of this a male / man (U.S.?) thing? My ego keeps saying I need to just suck it up and pull my sh*t together. I see people all around me with who knows what problems and they are working. And my gosh, how some of you push through and do what you do with the symptoms you're experiencing!?!? Again, that inner voice starts shouting that there is SOME type of work I could do, even if it's the type of labor I'm not accustomed to . . . my pride is getting in the way.

 

I've gone on way too long. I'm hoping to get this thread active and hear more from others on how you have dealt with this. Thanks to those of you who have commented previously.

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Junglechicken   
Junglechicken

I will likely start working beginning of August all things going to plan, lol.

 

It's been a year since I last worked in a high pressure environment which is the nature of the work I do.

 

I will need 'ramp up' time to get up to speed and performing at the level I was previously. However, I really don't know what to expect in terms of how my mind/body will react to deadlines and pressure again.

 

I have just had a week of interviews which I found very stressful.

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manymoretodays   
manymoretodays

elbee, 

 

"Is some of this a man/male(U.S. thing?)?"

 

No, I don't think it is just a male trait anymore........this need to work for money.  For me........I know it defined me........or I let it define me as someone better somehow.......someone with these great skills and natural talents.  Someone who could multitask and do it all.    Easy for people like me to do......and others with low self esteems to begin with.........that "what you do is who you are" type thinking.  "Disability" is tough as well.......I mean continuing to get the payments as my main means of having the money to live.  So many stigmas around it.  It certainly isn't the first thing I share about myself with others.  And hey, is it okay to try and take a vacation every now and then and receive disability??  I mean........judgements around it maybe instead of stigmas.    Sure hope I can find that mostly "funnish" job to help make ends meet before 2016 is over.  It would sure give me less time to think........LOL.  As far as big time earnings(even a livable wage) and career type work for someone like me.........now...........I remain skeptical..........maybe that will change with healing and neuroregenesis.

 

Junglechicken, best of luck!

 

Hope and healing to us all,

 

mmt

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Junglechicken   
Junglechicken

Thanks MMTD! x

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elbee   
elbee

Ya good luck Junglechicken!

 

MMTD thanks for sharing your take on this. I was raised with the idea that work defines who I am and it's really hard to shake that. I know I can't perform right now in the ways that I have before, and, well I'll just say it even though it's ugly, my ego kicks in when I think about taking a "lesser" job. I also feel like SOME type of work, even part time or volunteer to start might be good for me ... a "lesser" job that perhaps allows me to build confidence and perhaps even a sense of community in a work environment. Info try to keep my eyes and ears open for something to cross my path that "feels right" but perhaps I need to be more proactive. But like today, I started thinking about the idea of work and I could feel my anxiety rising almost to the level of panic. I swear it's like a phobia. Or perhaps my eventually "losing" my business I experienced as a trauma I haven't fully dealt with? It built a very successful business, brought in the wrong business partner in the wrong way (and I think I was in a functional decline too) and then it was gone. Omg even with all the successes it had, in the end I feel like a failure. I think in terrified to feel that again. I really don't know what to do.

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manymoretodays   
manymoretodays

Yup, same kind of deal for me.  The anxiety.......then to nearly paralyzing panic used to occur with every new career/job start about the time the orientation period was over and when I was left on my own. 

 

This after my last career job loss........which was quite awhile ago, more due to a merger and me not bringing in enough for them financially, with me "practicing" the way I did, in the hours I worked(having a young child at home and having worked out a schedule with my preceptor that fit to allow me to get him off to preschool......then school .......and rush on home on time to be there when he arrived home)..........also not having worked out with the new reception area people just what type of ?clients I liked to deal with.......had confidence dealing with, etc.  I also had a boss/preceptor who seemed to think I should stay home with my child more often or create a larger family.........lol.........something like that. 

 

Oh.......I had respectfully(thank you employers) lost another position prior to the one where I got laid off for "financial" reasons........given a really good lay off package deal including pay for a couple of months on that one......the one above.   A fine reference letter too.

 

The other job loss involved the "paralysis" effect as well.  I just didn't show up for a mandatory training after getting constructively criticized for a work situation where I should have performed more professionally, not as some artist/creative type........lol again.  And not being totally aware of my words used and the "whole of the situation" that I was in.     .........  I didn't show up for a dog/cat lab........that was held really just for me.......I mean seriously.......I messed up......I didn't cause a death or anything and did do the right thing in calling someone in to the scene I was at, but it reflected poorly on my employers and the boss, etc.  Anyway........this lab I missed........involved putting the cats and dogs we practiced on out of their misery when we were done.  :(  That was their final straw with me.........after close to a decade of employing me in that role.

 

So much for employers really valuing employees in those days.......but I did play my role as well in these career jobs' losses......not one I wish to repeat or am particularly proud of.

 

Hey, at least I can laugh.  I'm just not all that marketable like I used to be after so many years.  In my old career of choice.  Time for something new???  I don't know yet.  I haven't been windowing along for very long this time........I do have time.

 

But yah.......I know the terror and panic pretty darn well that goes with working in an area where I feel like I really and truly failed.  Failed myself.  Failed being perfect?  I don't know.  And it crosses over, with me, to even any job where I start to feel overwhelmed somehow.  Just prior to approval for disability.........I started and left about 10 different jobs in a 4 year period!!!!!!!

 

Yup.......I can volunteer again for a trial of my new self or do the not "lesser" but perhaps "better fit" for me now job that pays.  That "better fit" for me now job?????  Going to have to chance it and trust the universe a bit if something comes up or I find something.  For now...........well, in the near future..........I think getting my papers and such in order..........getting/being "ready to go" with references and such and previewing answers to those infernal interview questions.

 

We'll get there my friend.  Wherever there may be.

 

Thanks.  Good discussion.  Relief.  Breathe in again..... :)

 

Hope, health, and healing,

 

mmt

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elbee   
elbee

Thanks for sharing about the challenges you faced manymoretodays. For me, I think the root issue has to do with my self esteem issues. I think that take explains a lot for me (lack of confidence, fear of failure). I guess the confidence I used to exude must have had some holes behind it? Perhaps I can learn to better love myself and that will have positive effects is a number of areas. That's my hope :)

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Prohealer   
Prohealer

I had to leave College in about February/March this year due to a cold turkey from two Psych drugs (details in my signature), and I've recently just started College again.

 

I'll be honest, it's a huge struggle for me, Iv'e been coming home most days with really bad TD, Parethesia, bad Histamine Intolerance symptoms (High Pollen atm) etc.​ I feel as though could have waited a little longer to recover at home and this really stresses me out but I find that staying indoors nearly every day without a reason to get out was makes me quite pessimistic and makes me focus on my situation more than I needed to, so there's a good side to everything.

 

Plus the college have been so kind and supportive by putting various things in place for me and I get to see my friends who I haven't seen in a while, that in itself makes me feel brighter during the day.

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PluckyPony   
PluckyPony

Currently working and attending school in the midst of a very slow taper.  I spent a significant amount of time unemployed and have gaps in my work history, some due to work related stress and hospitalizations. During that period, my pdocs placed me on high doses of various drugs, which intensified my angry/rage feelings. Now that I am on a much lower dose of Abilify, I am able to tolerated setbacks and focus somewhat on difficult materials.  I still struggle with reading comprehension at times, but not to the point where I cannot function at school or work. Focusing on positive outcomes and possibilities keeps me grounded in the work place, although I have days when I get very hard on myself for making mistakes that I (erroneously?) believe I wouldn't make if I didn't take Abilify. 

 

Pluck :D and luck worked the most for me during my job search.  I shared my complete story with someone and the person referred me to my current employer. That referral changed the direction of my career trajectory, all while titrating from absolute poison and dealing with itinerant sleep issues.

 

Surviving and perhaps even thriving in the world of work during withdrawal can happen, while others must do everything possible to focus on the slow taper and the adaptation process. If you feel inclined to work during this process and fear that gaps will hinder your efforts to find meaningful work, I found that authentically sharing one's enthusiasm for working yields results.

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Junglechicken   
Junglechicken

Lasted a month in a stressful job then quit.

 

What really didn't help was that the management attitude was to let new recruits "sink or swim".

 

Will have to find something slow and steady next time round.

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rapunzel2   
rapunzel2

I may have to quit my job and get one project based work that allows me to work at home, is more stressfree and less workload. also it means a lot less money, my boyfriend will have to support me. this decision is really tough :( has anyone had to do something similar? do you think having less stress would make recovery easier?

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Squeak   
Squeak

I'd like to revive this thread, not sure I see it addressed elsewhere. I have been "working" very sporadically the last three years after a breakdown of sorts at a very high-stress job. I got some long-term disability pay from that, but my application for Social Security Disability is stuck in the appeal stage, which can take 1 1/2 years?

 

Meanwhile, I have done some art designs and sold them online, but I can hardly count on feeling stable enough to keep up with orders if it got busier. I leave myself a few days to get things done. I don't have a regular schedule at all. I have thought about a part-time job but I feel safer at home and would rather cultivate more profits from my online sales.

 

I have used most of my savings but not my personal IRA. Financial stress and self-esteem issues from not earning a living are certainly a detriment to healing and feeling whole. This is one of the most difficult parts of the process for me. Does anybody else share these issues or have ideas about it?

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manymoretodays   
manymoretodays

Hi Squeak,

 

Yes, kind of......I think I do share some of these issues.  I feel like I have been already retired at an early age and am getting close to finally ending that phase......I hope.

 

I am on disability.......the "good" kind as I, when I applied for it, had all the work credits paid into social security, and the years worked in my recent past.  I never, ever expected it to be anything but temporary help........so I am kind of wowed about how it has gone......  I also applied and then reapplied and then got it after my final appeal.  It was based on a psych label as my diagnosis.  I hope I can change that.......maybe someday........the label.......on paper and all because I no longer believe in it at all.......which IS ironic but trust me........I was real sick and unable to hold down any job for a long time.......I tried and tried too.......  The effects of the drugs on my psych and some of my other other life conditions(marriage, relationships including in the workforce, then finally divorce) got me way worse than I think I ever naturally would have been.  Very low stress tolerance as a result of treatment with drugs too.......easily overwhelmed.  Improving but still not par.....

 

Robert Whittaker talks about this.....in his book "Anatomy of an Epidemic".  When I read that book I felt like his poster child......and even though at the time I could barely cognate.........I sent him an e-mail and he answered!!!!  He basically said that I, and the many like me, were the reason he did all his research and wrote!!!

 

Oddly now......or maybe not so much....the oddly.......I am okay with it all........after all it's been and is my special journey and I am glad I had/am having it.

 

I did get close to 20 years in my chosen career and worked really from the time I was about 14 or 15 at this or that.........so, I just sometimes have to convince myself I am not a deadbeat sloth.........but no, I also can't expect to go full bananas on another career at my age, unless I want to give something else up, or find someone to run my home and other aspects of life for me.......not likely.

 

I also have more recently cashed in a teeny bit of my IRA and transferred another pension from an employer into that account as well.  Luckily or unluckily.........I think luckily.........I am now officially 59 and 1/2 and I believe there are some rules as to SSretirement payouts from SSdisability that save on some of the penalty payments for early withdrawal.  I think I have a great fund manager who is knowledgeable along these lines........so that is great.

 

I also, more recently, got some financial help from some family members.....something I was always way too proud to do for a long, long time.

 

I don't know if this is what you were looking for........I hope it helps.

 

I do expect/hope to work for $$$ again and maybe until I am 70 or something.......if I get my way.......one never knows.  I don't expect I will work 90 hour weeks though or make huge sums but I really do feel like I have got it left in me to contribute somewhere.  I do what I can, without pay.........when I can as well............as far as work goes.

 

Anyway........I think one of the big things I have learned through all this is.........that none of us can do this alone.........I mean apart(in isolation) from having some helpful, kind, giving relationships and possibly somewhere to get some financial/living assistance. 

 

It does appear that work can be a blessing for some, an actual stress reducer, as well, during the period of acute W/D so there is that too.........the possibility of doing something outside your "career" scope if you have one, for awhile........  something funnish but that pays or that suits for a time and helps pay the bills.

 

Best to you,

 

mmt

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nicolantana   
nicolantana

Hey guys,

 

maybe there is a topic about this already. I'm reading alot of stories good bad and ugly...and quite a few people seem to be working....

Are a lot of you working? This sounds crazy to me, if you have any of the withdrawal symptoms surely it's near impossible to function?

 

And with Anhedonia?? That's my situation and with Anhedonia, I struggle to DO ANYTHING, never mind work....

 

just throwing it out there...thoughts?

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keepinghope   
keepinghope

I've worked full-time throughout my withdrawal, apart from 3 months when I was signed off because I herniated a disc. I look back now and wonder how the hell I managed it that first year... It was hard. It still is very hard sometimes and I struggle to motivate myself, get up in the morning (especially after a bad night's sleep) and concentrate all day.

 

On the other hand, it gives me something to focus on other than myself, and it forces me to get out of the house and interact with people. And no matter how much I want to stay at home alone with the curtains drawn, I usually do feel better for having been out. That said, my main reason for working through withdrawal is necessity, bills won't pay themselves. If I had a bit of money to fall back on I think I might have saved myself a lot of stress during withdrawal by not working, and maybe healed quicker, but who knows, maybe pushing myself helped.

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IHadPassion   
IHadPassion

I've continued to work part time but only because I've had a very understanding boss and very fortunate work situation.  If it weren't for the flexibility my boss has allowed me I would not have been able to maintain employment. 

 

Whether or not it has been good for me to work or not work is another issue.  I've taken up to a month straight off and found that I did better overall just being able to control my environment and not have any stress.  If I had the financial means, I would not have forced myself to work during this period.

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nicolantana   
nicolantana

Interesting.....I guess I should state that I'm from Ireland...which quite a generous welfare system (rightly or wrongly)..

 

I do get out daily and attempt to engage in a variety of activities...I have severe anhedonia so I think it just about makes work impossible, for now anyway

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Dez   
Dez

Hello everyone.

 

So glad I found this. I've read through this entire post and found it very interesting with how many people are different in this. I haven't been off everything for long and I keep getting pushed to get a job. So Monday was my first interview and I did well. If I get this job I'll be working in a pet supplies store working part time, possibly get trained as a groomer. The scary thing is that the store is brand new and I'll have to help set up. This sounds like a LOT of physical work but going to at least try. There's so much to gain from this.

 

I'd like to say that the knowledge of having an interview drove me crazy. I felt so anxious and feared a panic attack was going to pop up during the interview. Panic attacks haven't happened for awhile but I heard they can come back? But it had to be done, plans were already made and canceling was out of the question. So I picked an outfit that gave me some confidence and went, heart throbbing, sweating a little, feeling light headed. I did surprisingly well, even remembered important dates! I left feeling happy and proud!

 

Then night came. Currently lying here in bed with my eyes burning from an out of nowhere crying spell, really bad chest pain, horrible DR, feeling sick and out of it. These are symptoms I normally have but they are so much worse now! I had hardly any during and after the interview. Beginning to wonder if I'll be able to handle the job but I have to try! Maybe, like some of you, it'll help me focus my attention elsewhere. I'm unsure if I got the job or not but trying is all I'm good at. And you never know until you try, right?

 

Lord, help me.

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Madeleine   
Madeleine

Hang in there. I think you can do it. The job sounds pleasant. People who have pets are often nice. The Lord will help you!

 

I am volunteering now. It's not for pay but it's still a commitment. I was a bit anxious at first but am enjoying it

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Dez   
Dez

I got a call today and got the job. As much as I should be happy, I'm rather terrified on how I'm going to handle helping to set up a store. Lord be with everyone who goes into work while going through this. Praying for everyone who is also considering going into work during withdrawals. Wish me luck and prayers!

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powerback   
powerback

Good for you Dez well done ,you have  the strength for this horrible  withdrawal so that's experience in its self  ,don't doubt yourself .have patience with yourself  .best of look

PB 

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Dez   
Dez

Thank you Madeleine and PB. It's always great to find such support here. It keeps so many people going.

 

Madeleine, what kind of volunteer work do you do? How has it affected you or helped you? Thanks in advance!

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