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Help needed

nicnic Posts: 3
I have recently been diagnosed with PA. I am 25 and I am in alot of pain with my joints and struggle to walk some days. I'm currently unemployed due to being on a short term contract. I recently became a fully qualified teacher, however within my last job I had many sick days due to being in alot of pain and also suffering from severe depression. I am really anxious about what I should do next. I am not too sure what job would be suitable for me. I know that being on my feet all day and rushing around teaching is not for me. I am worried that I will rush into another job and be in the same situation of causing concern about my health and attendence, whilst I am also very nervous that I will have an unsupportive workplace again. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.


  • Steph88Steph88 Posts: 29
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00

    I'm 22 and just qualified as an NQT. I've got RA and have had for about 10 years.

    I have just finished my PGCE year and during that time I had a change in medication. As you know, the training year is stressful and I was worried about the condition while teaching.

    Both schools that I was at were really supportive, saying that my health always comes first. The sooner anything was done about my condition the less time was needed off school. As it worked out for me I seemed to get ill during holidays!!

    Schools are really supportive of the condition, do a full occupational health check, provide lift keys and room changes when needed. They made sure there was seating in each room for me and ensured they checked on my health from time to time to. The school have to support you and you have the full support of a union if you feel they mis treat you in any way.

    I've had my condition for a long time and i know the first couple of years are often the worst while you are coming to terms with the condition and finding the right medication and EVERY employer has to understand that. I know that's an ideal world but you have rights and no employer can get away with discriminating against you and your condition. You also have a right to time off with illness and you can try and arrange appointments around work. I know my doctor is doing all she can to see me out of term time.

    Maybe this is irrelevant if you really don't want to teach any more but if you do, don't like the condition stop you. Maybe try and find a part time contract for a while and see if there is any other money support you could be entitled to if you need it? Definitely join a union and talk to them about your condition.

    If you don't want to do teaching, talk to your doctor about career paths that fit with your condition. Do you want to work with children? Maybe social care or something?

    Hope this helps in some way...
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Nic, it's nice to meet you but I am sorry you have had to find us. I too have PA, I am in my fifteenth year of it, with multiple-affected joints, but only diagnosed for five. You name the drug, I have probably tried it and nothing has worked - well, not in my definition of working! I am also struggling with depression at the moment, having being diagnosed with quite bad OA in my PA-affected knees. Life ain't fun.

    Working with any form of this dross is not easy. We are not by any means reliable employees - we may be good at our jobs when we are there but it's more common for us not to be there. That's the reality. It's not our fault, we cannot help it, and employers do (and have) run out of patience. Understandably so - well to me it is.

    I am fortunate in that I have a very good employer. She is remarkably understanding of the condition, happily accepts that there are times I cannot work, is always pleased to see me back - we get on very well because that employer is me. I began my own specialised tuition business for dyslexics (I am a qualified teacher) back in January 1995, the arthritis began in April 1997, and over the years it has not only eroded me it has eroded my business. C'est la vie. I am down to just six clients now, the summer is proving to be remarkably quiet as they all keep going away - rotters! :smile:

    I think the following could be a plan for you. Firstly, stop fretting about employment (I am presuming that you are able to support yourself, or be supported, without a job - least I hope that is the case). Take that pressure off yourself and concentrate on getting better from the depression. I am taking Citalopram and they are helping a great deal. Once that is improved, then start thinking about the opportunities there could be. If you want to stay in the education world then there may be part-time opportunities, perhaps go into adult education (we are at the bottom of the heap in terms of adult literacy) and courses are administered at various times of the day (well they are where I live). You could even possibly be an on-line tutor. The first thing, however, is definitely to get yourself into a better place mentally, that will give you the resource that you need to cope better with the difficulties that life is now presenting. I wish you well. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • nicnic Posts: 3
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    That is really lovely advice, thank you. I've just felt very overwhelmed by everything and not quite sure which direction to turn. It's nice to feel I'm not alone and there is hope at the end of the tunnel! Your career advice is very helpful and it is something I will definately look into.
  • dreamdaisydreamdaisy Posts: 31,567 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Of course you feel overwhelmed, that is why you need some time to 'get your head straight' - or as straight as it can be given this new challenge you are facing. Life with arthritis ain't that much fun, but it still does have its good points but they can be harder to spot.

    I hope you have also had a look at some of the other forums on here - LWA is the place to post any questions about meds, treatments, appointments etc, ChitChat is an arthritis-free zone and more lighthearted but everyone on here knows what it is like, trying to cope with life and arthritis, and people will always offer support and encouragement - or a boot up the backside if one is required! You take care now and do keep in touch. I wish you well. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Steph88Steph88 Posts: 29
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I hope that you feel better soon :)

    Best of luck with everything!!!
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