Epilepsy and Financial Independence: Struggling with Work

Epilepsy and Financial Independence: Struggling with Work

I remember in middle school exactly what my vision of the future was after college. I was an excellent student at the time. I remember seeing myself working for a large company and I was going to earn enough money that I would never be financially dependent on anyone. Whether it was my parents or the person I married, I always wanted to be able to support myself.

A Few Curve Balls

It’s interesting that the path I envisioned for my life was so straight, because the one I ended up taking has been nothing but straight. I imagine that is true for quite a few people. I don’t think I could sit down with anyone my age who could say “I’m exactly the person my middle school-self thought I would be as an adult.” So maybe interesting is the wrong word and sensible is more appropriate.

But one such curve has been quite difficult to take in the years since. That independence did not come to pass. I couldn’t see the significance at the time, but that particular curve came only a few months after I graduated from middle school with my first seizure.

(Not) Working

I’ve held various retail jobs over the years. The longest I’ve been able to stay at the same place was four years. My boss at that job was incredibly understanding of my epilepsy, and no matter how sick I got she always let me come back. I am forever grateful and deeply indebted to her for that. Four years is a lifetime when I look at the rest of my work history. I spent well under a year at all of the other jobs I’ve held, none of which paid the bills.

However, it is not working at all that is really damaging. My worst battles with depression have, not surprisingly, lined up with times when I am not working. When independence is the ultimate goal, it is fair to assume that unemployment would not be ideal.

Coping

There are things that I have not learned to deal with in a healthy way. This, unfortunately, is one of them. Struggling for financial independence at 32 is a hard pill to swallow, despite all of the articles I read about millennials having similar problems. I have more hope than ever, but I think this is going to continue to be an issue that I will have to actively work on.

 

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