What kind of jobs are being held by you all?

I I'm having a bit of an anxiety attack... actually more like very bad flare in the midst of attending a professional career institute to train to become a COTA ( Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant)

It sounded great when I enrolled and I'm a year into it. I was feeling MUCH better back then ; but I had a life that I could ad just to my illness and now its the other way around. But I HAVE to get trained in something that will bring in about $40K a year at LEAST. My $$ is dwindling down and it won't last for more than a few more years.

This program was easy to get into but it's harder than I thought. I took one medical leave already so I don't want to do that again. I'm only taking two classes too.. but they are 2 days in a row .. 6 hours long and with travel time in and out of town.. it's an all day process for me. I also have a huge test each time I go in.. papers, mock clinics, practicals too. Grading is very strict and at the end of the class you have a mock clinic that you get ONE chance to get an 80% or above. Less than that you fail the entire class and have to repeat/pay again. Two practicals the same thing.. but you have two chances to get 80%

oh.. and no online anything and the credits I"ve taken already do not transfer to any other schools. It's horrible ! I don't understand why.. but no one takes Kaplan credits.. Probl. why it's so easy to get into.

So... alot of pressure I never had in college when I got my BA in Psychology. It's purely my health that's getting in the way. I have alot of A's already... but this flaring is EXTREME right now.

I am single.. one daughter in college and one at home ( 15). I guess I'm looking for some support and advice.

Wondering how single women make it out there? how do you make $$ to live? ( men too!)

Thanks for listening to me... ( I recently gave advise to someone with the same problem but I guess I'm also curious as to how other people make ends meet and how people cope with working while feeling so horrible!)

Hi Yin, that’s a million dollar question ? Everyone’s financial struggles are similar so it seems, I can tell you for me I was able to work 4 / 10 hr days last year, this year I could only work 3, and by May I was so exhausted and sick I had to go on short term disability, I lost my full time position, and thought after being off for a while I could go part time, NOT, however I worked in a very busy surgical services area and was on my feet some days 12 hrs, I would drive home in tears, for me it seems fibro is progressive, I am now applying for LTD it’s scary because if they turn me down, well I literally have 2 months savings, I am a nurse and I payed into this LTD for 22 years, but I’m sure they will give me a hard time, I’m praying not. How much schooling do you have left ? I went back to school 4 years ago, and working full time, and going to school, being a single mom, I think all did me in. Please tread carefully, if I could go back, I would have slowed down before the fibro forced me to slow down. I’m sorry I don’t have better advise, but I’m just learning how to make the dollar stretch, Iv always been able to work and support myself and my kids, this is a new road for me , but this site helps me not feel so alone.
Hugs and blessings

I work in retail. It doesn't pay much, but it's money. I only work 24 hours a week, 3 days. So I work 3 days and only have 2 days of classes. Plus having a rather mindless job keeps my stress level down. Don't get me wrong, retail does have it's major stresses and pressures. If you've ever worked retail you KNOW what I'm talking about. It CAN be hell. But it comes with less expectation than a lot of other jobs. I think it's a different kind of stress. I have had bad experiences, but the one I'm in now is pretty amazing. I get treated well and get paid above minimum. Before I came back to school they always gave me 32-40 hours and were understanding on the days I needed to take it easy. If you're in pain and can't do your job safely, it could cost them a lot more money in comp. It's not a glorious job, but like I said, it's a job. But it's not for everyone physically.

I'm trying to think of other thing but I'm a little drained right now! Sorry!


This illness has a way of setting our lives up on end, arse over tea kettle, so to speak. It's a shame that you enrolled into something that is now very hard to manage due to your illness. I had considered studying for similar fields but was afraid they might be too physical for me (prior to knowing why I had so much pain.)

I really don't like asking this question but I will because I'm seeing a red flag when you said that no other colleges will accept Kaplan's credits. My question is this: will the facilities you're applying to recognize and accept these credits if colleges do not? The facilities may have certain federal or state standards that have to be met and are provided by courses given through the colleges that don't accept Kaplan credits. Again, I do hate to ask but are Kaplan credits the equivalent of wooden nickels? I am sorry if this is a stressful thing to bring up but I think it's worthwhile to find out (by asking colleges other than Kaplan or at facilities that you wish to apply at) before you invest any more of your money. If all is honkey dory, then you will have to focus on the question of whether or not this program and job is for you.

I can completely understand how and why you are stressed - 8 hours of classes/travel a day is unthinkable to me in my current state, let alone a curriculum that's tough.

I guess what you're asking for is coping advice. Taking PLENTY of down time to rest and recover. Can you nap during the day you have classes or are you tied up for the entire 6 hours of classes? Maybe you need to go back to your doctor and see if he/she can up your pain meds to help you feel better. Unfortunately, STRESS seems to be a big bringer of flares (sorry, can't think of the right word other than 'bringer'.) Try making your other days easier by getting pre-made meals (that really helps.) Rest, rest, rest.

I agree that I think fibro is progressive. I started an Activities Director job with very serious back pain but I was able to cope with the job. One year later I was a virtual zombie from the pain in my back, joints and fingers. I ached everywhere. I had no energy to do anything. I didn't care if I lived or not.

I'm now only working 3 hours per day but need to try to do a few more. I'm fortunate in that I live with my sister, who takes care of the bills (I did pay in a substantial amount of the house we're living in.) I want to apply for long-term disability but can't at the present time. That may change as I've worsened since my last rheumy visit.

I haven't answered your question about how to cope while working towards a $40K job because I honestly don't know. Been there, done that and ended up in this situation.

Maybe if you can get more pain meds, they'll help get you thru this recent mega-flare.

Gentle hugs,


I agree that a low stress job really helps with the fibro. I deliver meals to the elderly and disabled. No stress. I love it for that reason. I had a cool retail job too that would have led to me learning to train dogs but my fibro went nuts from standing up in one place for so long. You're lucky that you can do it! That does leave avenues open to you. Retail may not be for everyone, but there's a lot to be said for low stress jobs when you're so bombarded with pain.

Dee, you are so right, slowing down and treading carefully are essential when one has fibro because it seems that those of us who overdid it in our jobs ended up worsening our fibro substantially.

Stretching a dollar is essential: the Family Dollar is a GREAT store for that. It has all kinds of items at bargain basement prices. Curtains, some bedding, some bathroom stuff, cleaning stuff, paper goods, some pet food and human food, shampoos, deodorants...you name it. Just a GREAT resource for cheap stuff.

Big Lots is another place to find lower priced items. We just got a new couch from there for $300 plus delivery. It's the same brand as a couch sold in a major furniture store in my area and is mega comfy.

Consignment stores sometimes have wonderful purses, clothes and jewelery in them for low prices. A good way to get work clothes on a budget.

Sorry, I just felt the need to add these budget stretchers to this thread, as it seems appropriate.

Some great advice, Petunia and lots of questions that may help with determining if this is really something to continue with. It seems like a great profession, but is it something that you can physically do or do when the fog is at its best?

I think you should be proud that you already have a degree and two great kids and you are trying to do everything on your own and you have to suffer through the pain. You were stressing me out describing all the testing and the length of time you have to spend in class and travel!

I work fulltime, but am struggling with it daily and have started seeing a therapist to get over the guilt I feel that I'm not doing everything that I did before, and that on those terrible days I should just call in sick...but I just can't. I think you may be doing what I'm doing - you are seeking to keep your life afloat and want to do what is best for your family and you just keep doing it, even though it would be so much easier to just crawl up in a corner. I too have a psychology degree and I believe we overthink everything - am I right?

Take a look at some of the discussions - they will give you some really great ideas that will help you during the good and bad times.

Dee - I hope that you will fight for the long term disability that you deserve. I so agree with you when you said "this site helps me not feel so alone."

Thanks Petunia those are all great suggestions for making the dollar stretch ! My daughter keeps telling me to go to the dollar store, & I have to check out big lots, Consignment stores, wow great idea, was just thinking today what the heck am I going to do for Christmas well you just gave me three great ideas !

Thanks Sandi, I hope I don’t have to fight for it, I will know by November, I agree with you I was feeling stressed just reading everything that Yin has to do, wow, seems Iv been there and boy do I wish i could see how I was trying to do everything and be everything for everyone. My dad would ask me all the time when are you going to slow down? The last year of his life I was busy, working full time, going to school full time and being a single mom, I never had the time to sit down and just visit with him, I sure wish I would have put my health first ! We can’t just keep burning ourselves out with out paying for it. So fibro has forced me to slow down, but my dad is gone… Was it worth it to be able to buy my son a new computer when he needed one , or advance my nursing degree, .? Not at all !


The Family Dollar has stuff that's not just a dollar but it has lots of things at super prices. When I was at my sickest and still working, I used to go there to shop for groceries for the week because I just didn't have the energy to get to the real food store. Not a great selection by far but it worked. Great place to go when you're broke!

Local thrift stores usually have much better prices than the big name ones on coats and such, if you need them.

Drug stores usually have the best prices on paper towels and toilet paper. Waaay cheaper than grocery stores.


I'm new to this site but share your concern about work, money and school. I also have a BA in Psych. I've tried to go back to school twice for my masters - one online program and one weekend program. I couldn't handle the stress and my health went down fast. I can't imagine going back to school while working.

I work in social servoices . I started as a case manager and have worked my way up very slowly into being a director over two programs. I've been with my agency for 13 years and have watched people come in after me and shoot right past me in their careers. I knew I couldn't do that. The nice side of social services in Seattle anyway, is that there is a lot of flexibility in hours. Even as a case manager I went to work from 9- 11 a.m. Since I have been in so much pain lately I've been going in around noon. I can also work from home which is nice. I have always said if it wasn't for my agency and job, I'm sure I would have been fired long ago...not because I'm not good at what I do, but due to my need for flexible hours, missed days and time off.

I make a fairly good living, but so much of it is getting sucked up in medical bills. I've been thinking a lot about my future and how to advance my career without making myself sick. I've wanted to make some changes but it takes time and some careful planning on my part. Thankful I have a job and I can still do it. Although I'm on FMLA right now with a reduced scheduled until the end of Oct. due to my health. Ideally, I need to be working less, financially can't do it yet.

I'm sure you'll figure out your way as you go along. If one way doesn't work try another.


Hi Dee,

You're very kind and thank you for your reply! You really went full blast in your earlier days... full time everything !? No wonder you got "done in!" You' have good advise for sure !

I guess there are no easy answers.. esp. when I feel that I AM going as slow as I can. Two classes and not even working a part-time job .. you'd think I could handle it !

For me.. it's more about saying NO to all the other demands of life. I know I need to put my school as a bigger priority. I tend to slip back into the role of "mom" and home-maker, girlfriend when I should let alot of that go and focus on school work.

I will pray for your LTD to go thru... it certainly seems that you are a great candidate but I am told it is hard to get. That you need an attorney and they always turn everyone down at first. Still - as someone who clearly had high goals - that pushed yourself beyond your limits.. sounds like you truly deserve that ( and more !)

thanks again for replying.. it really means alot! ( I have to get back to school work now) huge deadline looming ahead for me on Monday.

Enjoy the day ! as much as you can !

Peace & Blessings,


Hi Petunia,

Thanks so much for replying to me ! It really means alot... wasn't sure how far I could "whine" on here !! I'm usually a very strong person.. but as you know... as the days of intense flaring added up.. I felt like a little child in a heap on the floor... hoping some one would come by and tell me it would all be better !!

And then You replied.. so Bless you for that! I hope you're having a good day today... weather is gorgeous outside and that seems to help me. Although I woke up at 3:00 a.m . with a horrible Migraine. More torture !!

Better now.. thank God !

So.. so nice for your concern about my school. Yes, Kaplan IS accredited by ACOTE etc. If that's what you're asking. I did check that out. I will be qualitifed to take my cert. boards when I"m done. But I had NO idea that other colleges ( even community colleges) would not take their credits. no one knows... ( at Kaplan... of course!) Never occured to me to ask since they ( Kaplan) took all of my credits from my undergrad in Psychology from 1981!! So... it's crappy.. but by the time I found out.. here I am... already half way thru.. and don't want to change direction now. ( unless I physically can NOT go on anymore)

I think if I can just follow all the commen sense advice that everyone has given me ( and I already know it to be true) I just might eek by Yes. rest rest.... as much as anyone can do with a house, teenage daughter, one in college who needs picked up every other week, dog and a life ! but... sorry.. too much whining again !! . As you know.. when we're in the midst of flaring.. EVERYTHING seems so difficult.. then I have a good day I try to make up for the bad ones.

it's hard to get that balance..- right?

So nice you live with your sister! I hope she's supportive.. and I'll bet it's nice for her to have your company and help, too. I wish I had someone to help me here. I do have great parents but .. God Bless them.. they are getting up there ( late 70's).. and in iffy health. I should be helping THEM more!

I can sympathize with trying to push yourself and then getting set back. I think that is SO Common!... It's commendable to find your limits though.. but we never know how long it will take to recover and then do we have to push so hard as to get SO Sick to finally quality for Disability benefits? What kind of system is that?

I don't feel like I'm THAT bad.. but I wish there was some kind of assistance to help us so we can get training for a job that would be suitable.. and then to get whatever assistance ( $$) to make ends meet.

So.. thanks again for the advice... and for the increase in Pain Meds.. VERY hard to do.. never has she said ok. I actually stepped down to half of what I was taking about 18 months ago... ( MY idea actually).... good story there for later on.

But she just says to modify my life... and will give me script for warm water swimming which is great if I can find time to drive 30 min and do it. But one never knows... can try!

Have as good of day as you can !! it's beautiful outside today .. so enjoy if possible..

God Bless you !!


Hi Bridgette,

Thahks so much for your reply... it's so cool to know a little about you.. and to not feel so alone. I am so glad for this website and that you took time to share a piece of your story.

I HAVE to get going with my school work right now..( tend to procrastinate too when I have a huge task that seems so hard)...

BUT.. I can empathise with your career path and how you have seem people "pass you up". Isn't that the way of our lives? We CANT use "normal" measures for our self-esteem. For us... even doing the every day things that others take for granted is a huge Successful DAY !

I used to be better at that..and I need to get back to knowing my self-worth ( especially as a Christian). But the ways of the world are hard to ignore.. and so are grades, deadlilnes and having to pass classes to get a degree !

So nice you have a flexible job! Count that as a huge blessing!! Sorry you have so many med. bills. What is FMLA? I'll bet your a wonderful case manger.. full of empathy for your clients. I will pray for your situation.. to increase your $$ / or lesson your bills.. Ideally both !

Please keep in touch !

Shelly ( Yin Yan)

Dear Sandy,

You are so VERY kind and your comments REALLY help me to feel better! ( Just what I needed.. yes, from ONe Psych. major to another)... Def. a thinker.. and a Bit neurotic... ( I say better than being psychotic!)...

Funny how we can give others such great words of wisdom - yet are so hard on ourselves. You pointed my successes and you don't even know me! Yet - that was something that really touched my heart so THANK YOU so much !

What are you feeling guilty may I ask? ( My turn to give support !)... Is it because you can't give 100% to everying at the same time? Even 80 or 75%? If you're like me.. whatever you take on.. . it must be RIGHT and to the best of your ability. which makes Balance a Tough thing!

There's NEVER enough of us to give all we want to give. For me... and probl. for you maybe our goal should be to have the goal of a better balance upper most in our minds. See the big picture so when we're in the midst of trying to keep a beautiful home, look good ( boy have "I" had to lower my standards! lol!) do well is school and have a social /romantic life ) it's ALOT..

Well,, I've GOT to get to my school work but had to say Thanks so much !!

Don't waste your precious energy on Guilt please! ( i know easier to say.. so glad you're seeking support)

Hope we can exchange more in the coming days/weeks/months etc...

Peace & Blessings,

Shelly ( YinYan)

Hope you had a good day at school! I worked but left early for a session with a very compassionate, kind and knowledgeable therapist. We set some goals today - getting some good sleep, learning to slow down and not feeling guilty about doing so (I need to do things at a pace that won’t leave me in agony the next day), it’s OK to take a day off if I get no sleep and know its going to be a foggy day and I’ll only make mistakes anyway, to stand up for myself and take control over my medical needs ( I can fire a doctor or physical therapist if they aren’t meeting my needs), and to bring my husband to a session so that he can see what a great actress I can be - he will get to see the cranky, depressed, aching wife that I really am. He is going to learn about Fibro and what support I need!

I was telling her about how much I have relied on this site and the wonderful people who suffer daily and how you were just talking about balance and being tough. She told me I don’t have to always be tough and we will work on balancing my job, my home and my health. Think that’s a start - didn’t even cry too much! Brought her all my medical records - she thought it would help so she could map the progression and possibly the main trigger of when it first showed its ugly self!!! Now that’s what I call a professional - just hope she doesn’t think in a nut case and have me committed. Today I’m feeling optimistic and wish everyone good medical help!

I can hold myself! Lol! No job.