How do I get my confidence back?

Hello to this wonderful and supportive group! Everything I read here is always so warm and accepting, and I try to offer my support and insight (although I don't know that I have a lot as I was only officially diagnosed in July of 2012) when I can.

I have seen/read a number of posts from people in various 'stages' - for lack of a better word - of struggles with work. Some of us are unemployed, some are struggling with getting to work every day, some are on disability, etc. My situation is that I was employed for 12 years by the same agency/county as a social worker. As my health got worse starting about three or four years ago, so did my job performance. No surprise there. Eventually I was fired because I just couldn't keep up with all the documentation requirements. I was still managing to see my clients and do what needed to get done, I just never did my notes. So as far as my superiors were concerned, it never happened.

Over the last year in particular I was treated very badly by my Supervisor, to the extent that I now have Anxiety with PTSD symptoms when I even begin to think about a full-time job again. I'm working with a good therapist, but a lot of the time I just don't feel like I'll ever have the strength and confidence to feel competent enough to hold a job. My doctor has told me that I shouldn't even consider going back to social work, it's way too stressful for someone with my health issues. I agree with him on that, but then what? Do I work at the mall, the grocery store, Burger King? Please don't think I'm trying to say that I am above those tyes of jobs because I am not - I've done them - it's just that I am frightened by the idea of doing ANY job!

My Fibro is relatively well controlled on a daily basis. I don't have too many flares unless I overdo it around the house or have a really long day volunteering or something like that. The weather of course plays a role. But what if I start a job and get overwhelmed right away?

I've talked with a couple of close friends about this and one very kind and well meaning friend sent me a book about Women's Confidence. Other people remind me that I am still smart and capable - I know they don't mean it to be but it comes across rather patronizing or placating. You could spend hours and hours telling me that I'm smart and capable and whatever but that's not going to make me believe it!

So my million dollar question for our loving community is to ask whether or not other people have had this same struggle, and if so, what did you do to get your confidence back? I need a job! I do think I may eventually apply for disability but I would still have to work part-time to pay all my bills.

Thank you for listening and for any advice you may offer!

littlejld - aka Judy

i feel the same as you....i have hardly worked the 35 yrs i've had fibro...i've had 50 different jobs....i have no problem getting the's keeping the my confidence is literally gone...i haven't even worked enough to have the work credits to get disability, or yes i do's just a shame that our doctors understand but the rest of the world don't share that understanding...good luck to you

First i want to say this...shame on your doctor for not writing letter to stop the harassment from your supervisor and he should have cc it to his boss!! My Doctor did this asap and my husband...after being told i originally has some terminal cancer, so i had called in sick after that doctor appt and my boss gave me hard thing i heard was my husband yelling at my boss..what the F---k was his problem. I thought oh great now i lost my job....oh well i figured and went out and kissed him for supporting me. Well my boss...was wuss of guy and called me next day said how he and my husband came to understanding that i was very sick and he understood it. lol!

Also..Kaiser had class just on that issue...i recalled it answering your post....about what to do if your job picks on you etc. and how to document it, what your doctor can do for you and other places to go for assistance within state and feds. It was really excellent

First of all, i think you have a great chance here with your degree to use it in many different areas that may no be as stressful. So if you want to stay in social work, even in this market there is huge number of jobs you can do. BUT just having a degree, great work record since you were employed a long time there stands for something. Everyone knows that kind of social work it sounds like you were doing is extremely stressful...worse kind. So you have no reason to feel bad about fact, i really feel it was your doctor's fault you lost your job...not yours!

You should first of all speak with your doctor or patient's advocate group about what are your rights during interview and on our resume about having chronic illness. That way you are up on all the current laws.

...fact you are volunteering and not sitting home feeling sorry for yourself is excellent!! say all more positive attitude you have ...that you just do not roll over and say okay i am giving up. That speaks more about how positive you are as a person so a great assist to any job.

If i was you...what kind of job would you love to do? Or maybe dreamed about? Now is your time to turn it around to make your dream come true!! I really think that you do not need to make your self esteem better you have great self esteem!

now i would just follow your dream! I wish you the best of luck.....never once feel bad about losing your job...was stressful one and most likely depressing...creep of supervisor and again...YOUR Doctor messed up by not writing letters to tell supervisor what your work limitations where...or that his harassment was making you sick!

So you are wonderful! So if you get sick....soon enough the new job is going to find out...but that is why you need to speak to patient's advocate group...or your doctor.If your doctor does not know they should have at least resources where you can get this information. But all my doctors did know my rights and did write letters...with out me ever asking.

Rednose.....i do not know who told you about you cannot get SSDI unless you have so many credits. The guy who handled my case...use to work for SSDI and that is whom everyone should hire...he got you disability on average in less than 6 months! He still is...but back to you.....he had young woman about 19, never worked due to her auto immune disease...only job i could possibly think she could do was voice computer so nothing really. she had not ever worked.....her bones were like rubber at times including fingers and feet...bend opposite at joints. I saw some one had it on one of these sites. Well he got disability for her!

Now only exception if you had worked for a State who has their own disability but than you should qualify for it. Think about housewives whom have not worked or only worked a few years before having kids....they get disability. So I would check again with SSDI all your doctors must agree you should be on it.

Part of reason it was so hard in past years was fibro was not on approved list of diseases for disability. But it was added on last year.

GOOD LUCK TO you Both! ....

Okay this is coming from a girl who has never actually worked a solid job, so I've always been in this boat really. The things you need to consider are this; what do you love? What are you interested in? And how could you do that from home? A lot of people don't consider working from home because it almost seems too good to be true but trust me you CAN do it! For instance if you love dogs, open an at home doggy daycare, if you like to write, work for an online magazine company or even a hard copy, I see that you are into social work, that can branch off into SO many things, you could work with children, teenagers, you need to just look around and use your imagination. I have so many at home business ideas wanting to come out but I can't do them just yet haha. Another thing you could do is before you even get a job is look at the places you are interested in and talk to all the people. Make sure they know your story, you need compassionate people around you, people who can understand. Also this is kinda lame but since I can't work I find the one thing that makes me feel super confident is when I get all dressed up, do my make up and just look super sexy. This could help you feel more confident in job interviews too.

*hugs* to what you went through with ur job. It's really terrible how the support just isn't there for invisible illness.

I understand the confidence thing. I struggle to do the simplest tasks, all my hopes and dreams are pretty much ruined (never finished highschool or my jewelers course). I barely do the 'hobbies' i have. Such as writing fanfiction (would love to be a novelist but hahaha) and vidding.

Ppl tell me I give so much that i got talent, but I don't feel its enough.. maybe in their eyes I have worth but in my own I don't feel it. I feel useless and pointless and I can't stand it.

I hope you find your confidence, I wish I had amazing advice to give you.

Oh JUdy,

This is something I struggle with daily . I just finished short term sick benefits and now they are not paying me cause its an insurance co. and then think they will have to pay me forever so it is a big hassle now. I also know I cannot do my job physically and this just makes me sick. I am at a real crossroads in my life at 55 and what am I gonna do now... So you are definately not alone with this challenge and it scares the crap out of me as well.. Hope someone has some good answers for us... Thanks for the post Lisa

I want to be a successful writer as well, WE CAN DO IT! Its not like we have stubs as arms, and no legs or eyes or a mouth. We can. And you should get back into jewelry making! Its a great way to let out stress and you just have to remember to pace yourself. I'm in the same boat as you and we are NOT useless, or pointless, we are amazing okay? Remember that! <3

my hands cant do the jewelry work.

and I am trying too. :)

Thanks for the post. I had to resign. Then once I had finally recovered from a flare up that required me to take FMLA leave I began to second guess myself. What am I going to do? If I go on disability my next employer may be unwilling to hire me. I am only 56.

Lisa, I was on STD for 6 months and the disability company that supplemented my income through my employer, has approved me for LTD, it was a fight, but I won, so it was extremely stressful… Not knowing if I would get approved, but they are now paying me 60% of my salary … Thank God, because had they turned me down… I literally did not know what I was going to do. There only requirement is that I apply for SSDI within 3 months of approval, and I’m praying it holds up till I get approval for SSDI , I’m only 48, and everyone says your to young to not be able to work… Ya ok, tell fibro that …
So look into that ins. Company they may have a LTD policy, that you may be under.
Hugs & blessings


I am on SSDI and work part time at an online site called (it includes All of us that work there are on disability. The President is very nice and a great "boss". You might want to apply for a job with us as what we do is help members who sign up for free on the website get hooked up with a representative to help them get disability. We also help them with info. about housing, medical care, prescription cards and all kinds of info. I write the monthly articles on Fibromyalgia. I think you'd love working with us.

Let me know if you're interested and I can help you apply. We're always looking for one or two people.

Dr. Simone Ravicz


Hi Judy, I just wanted to say… I completely understand what you are saying, I was somewhat forced out of my job… After 24 years of great service, I didn’t fight for my job, because after being out sick, I just couldn’t see myself being able to go back full time, I could have fought for part time, but I knew I was struggling with even part time. One thing led to another and with my symptoms i couldn’t fight anymore. sheer exhaustion has landed me far worse than I thought could be possible. I did also suffer much anxiety, about not going to work… Iv always worked, I would wake up in a panic, at the time I always got up for work, and feel so uneasy… What am I doing, I want to work, but my body won’t let me, it’s an ongoing battle, although now that I was approved for my LTD, I am trying to accept that my job is gone and its time to start a new chapter… Easier said than done, at this point… I have accepted that working full time, won’t happen, & part time … Well … I take on day & one thing at a time, 2013 is to try and get as healthy as I can…
If you feel like you can work some, only you can try, and like my dr. Says if after a 6 month trial if it don’t work, move on. I often wondered if it was the job I was doing that made it so difficult, perhaps there is something less stressful, you would enjoy ?
Your discussion has hit the nail on the head… And as far as confidence, I look back at what I was doing and I know I did the best job I could do… No one can take that confidence away from me… Not even fibro
Hang in there… Answers come as time goes on
Hugs & blessings

I was wondering the same about a state job. I was in the hospital more than I taught my last year there. My dr always stood with me, but so did my principal. I got temp disability going ASAP and then permanent state.

After that, I worked on SS. I could have never returned to teaching and my psychiatrist agreed. I was under entirely too much stress. littlejld social services left you. You didn’t leave it. You still have that caseworker in you. You just didn’t get to leave on your own terms. That makes a difference.

Now, you need to make your own terms at whatever it is and make peace with it. We can’t all make peace with the same things. I’ve made peace with my health and my relationships. Everything else will fall into place.

Btw, I worked at social services during the summers to help pay my way through college.