Trying to Balance Work and Life with RA Is Exhausting
I recently accepted a part-time position as a patient advocate at the Hospital for Special Surgery. And by part-time, I mean 9 am to 5 pm, four days a week. The day I don’t work, I have school.
This means that I am commuting via public transportation every day, which is exhausting in and of itself.
Don’t get me wrong, I am so grateful for this job opportunity. I work with amazing people and am doing what I love. But I’ve learned first-hand that it is really hard to manage work and life and RA.
Work and life balance with rheumatoid arthritis
Like really hard. I’m lucky if I get home, eat dinner, and then fall asleep on the couch. Some nights, I want to go to bed right when I get home.
And because of other commitments, three days a week, I get home around 6 pm and the other two nights at or later than 8 pm.
How do people do it?
I really don’t know how people do it. And because I have been a student for so long, I have been lucky that, until I moved from Michigan to New York in August 2013, I have had a pretty flexible schedule, where the majority of my time hasn’t explicitly been spoken for.
Completely wiped out by RA fatigue
And now all I have are the weekends, which means cramming in school work and trying to relax a little before it is back to reality on Monday.
So needless to say, if fatigue from RA wasn’t enough, I am now completely wiped out all the time.
I’m sort of ashamed to say that last week I fell asleep at my desk at work.
Mondays and Fridays seem to be the hardest.
I wondered the impact of RA symptoms on careers choices
I have sort of always wondered since I got sick what life would look like for me in terms of working. I made the decision to forgo a career in academia for a lot of reasons, but the main ones were that I didn’t want to spend my limited time and energy doing something that I wasn’t fully committed to, and I found it difficult to imagine what having to go through tenure review would be like, given my illnesses.
I always knew that this would be a difficult and challenging aspect of being chronically ill, of really wanting to be the best I can be at something, while still admitting the limitations that I have to work through.
Adapting to the changes of RA
I’m trying to give myself time to acclimate to this new schedule and lifestyle. However, it is really putting a damper on things. I don’t really have the time or energy to exercise, go grocery shopping, or really anything else.
I would love tips from anyone who has found a way to successfully balance work, life, and RA.
Did you have difficulty receiving a RA diagnosis?