In my previous post, "When Your Mind has a Mind of it's Own", I was swimming in some rather dark emotional waters. Much like my physical state, this status can change frequently and without warning. At times these moods appear out of nowhere like a dark cloud looming over a previously sunny day, but if I sit with those clouds long enough I discover that there is usually a weather front somewhere that formed the clouds in the first place. After spending a week moping around and doing my usual reading and research I've come to realize that this whole "after treatment" mystery is probably a little more pressure I had realized; and not just for the reasons you'd think. I mean there are the obvious concerns: "what if go through all this and don't clear the virus?" and "what if I never really get back to the way I was before treatment?". Then there are the vocational issues as addressed so candidly by my peer blogger Ian Quill in his recent blog post (see link below). Many of us Hep C survivors (and survivors in general) are exploring and creating our own solutions to the question of vocation. Many of us have been able to appreciate the gift of time and self reflection this disease has provided, enabling us to redefine our values and goals and that is a wonderful gift.
I've never been this kind of person in the first place, I chose a career that is extremely underpaid and undervalued because it is what I love to do and because I believe that service to others is one of the greatest gifts we have to offer. No matter what our work history the way we make a living, the fact that we dedicate ourselves to work, to being accountable and receiving a paycheck is a significant part of our sense of self. As with so many other areas of our lives, the bits and pieces that make us "who we are" are often disrupted by this disease. It is one more area where the rug is pulled from underneath our established footing leaving us wondering how and if we will walk again.
For myself, I am able carry on in a similar role as in the past, only perhaps with less direct service. Writing and organizing is a way for me to continue my role as an Advocate and I can hope that someday, in some way it, will help bring in some money. I have no desire to be rich and famous, or even upper middle class. I prefer a simple life...but I'd like to be able to get through the month without running out of money halfway through. I'd like to know that if my dog eats a garbage bag I can take him to the vet and get it extracted. Although loss of income may be an inconvenient side effect, it is the need for a sense of purpose is far more essential to one's well being.
I encourage anyone whose vocation has been limited or lost entirely due to this disease to take the opportunity to find something to dedicate your energy to; a cause, a hobby or maybe a spiritual focus. Think of all the things you wanted to do if you had more time and pick one or two that you are able to work on. We all need to feel productive and useful. One way to accomplish this is by using our experience with Hepatitis to add to the efforts to tame this dragon. It has been my observation that many individuals who are disabled or limited by an illness, injury or other condition find great satisfaction in mentoring others, educating the general public or taking political action. We often feel that our disease has taken control of our lives, robbing us of our power, we feel victimized. However, if we can make the choice to be active in education, support and prevention efforts we find ourselves stepping out from under the cloak of "Victimization" and into the light of purpose and empowerment.
Not sure where to start? Here's a link for suggestions!
© 2010 Jennifer Hazard
Hello and thank you for visiting.
I no longer actively post to this blog but have kept the page available in the hope you will explore the archives and find some bit of information, support or encouragement. I do periodically check comments so do feel free to comment on anything you read here.
Nowadays, I can be found blogging at nanakoosasplace.blogspot.com
Peace, Health and Blessings!