One of the harder things about having Chronic Fatigue is knowing where it came from. See when I was eighteen I had Glandular Fever and then it kept coming back – despite various doctors telling me that this didn’t happen and I just had a bad cold. Or, memorably that I had glandular fever right then (as I was positive for Epstein-Barr) but must never have had it before. The first time I had it I was doing my a-levels and I had already taken about a year off to help produce The Crucible with The Chemistry Teacher, at some point I ended up in hospital for over a week, though whether that was upper or lower sixth I can’t remember, what I should have done was taken time to rest and recover, what I did and what I was encouraged to do was catch up as soon as possible.
I kept on doing that, pushing through illness until it got bad enough to no longer be post viral fatigue but to be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I pushed my body to breaking point far too often and it broke. if I hadn’t done that it is likely I would not have chronic fatigue now.
So now I’m looking at the fact that I am fragile, that my mental and emotional self is raw as fuck. Because I have been stressed for years, to the extent that happiness, peace, joy feel like selfish pleasures. I essentially have done the same thing to my mind as I did to my body. I’m not happy about this.
I need to stop being a support worker. My job is variable pay from some hours at minimum wage to some hours at slightly above that. But one thing I’ve said throughout is that the skills that my job uses are those that I learnt whilst doing my PGCE, I’m drawing on SENCO stuff and problem solving through information presentation variation that I learnt for a professional career. The thing is there’s no job security, I learnt these skills and anticipated using them in a position where I would know I had enough work to pay mortgage, bills, food and such on time and regularly. Well that’s not the case, there’s no guaranteed hours. There’s no colleagues to talk to about stressful situations and when I say stressful situations I mean people dying, I mean violence between others and directed at me but without my ability to go and buy myself a massage after that or decompress properly.
I can’t keep doing this because it’s actually destroying my ability to think, my ability to be me. It’s too much and there’s no respite or recompense. I’m doing this and standing still and because of the way I’m employed there’s no support other than some from my union. Sure it’s interesting work but I just spent a big chunk of two years thinking I might die and there were no alternatives and eventually my ability to process information literally broke. It’s exactly the same as Chronic Fatigue – I don’t know if I get to come back from this? Am I always going to be bursting into tears if things get hard now? What I do need to do is change my job, it’s not viable for me to keep doing this.