Why is it that we define ourselves by our work or lack of?

Why is this I ponder?  I am an able bodied woman in her forties who can’t work due to my condition schizoaffective disorder.  People look at me and don’t understand why I don’t work but I find most people are polite and don’t get into it and I am thankful for that.  But there is always that awkward silence when being introduced, when the question comes up, what do you do?  Right now I am able to answer that I am a stay at home mom who helps her elderly parents.  I don’t mention my vast education that is unused at this point in my life, nor my former work as a therapist intern which I worked at for 4 years after earning my Master’s degree in psychology.

That seems so long ago but it was only last year.  I have learned much in the time I have been off.  I have learned to be more present for my family and friends and that I love to entertain.  Getting the house and lately the gardens in order gives me a sense of purpose and excitement for the upcoming event.  Gardening has become my new passion and the class I am taking currently helps me to do it right.  I have some days when I spend the whole day looking after the yard and my gardens and at the end of the day I am tired but satisfied to play with the earth.  Spring right now is beautiful with all the flowers and greenery surrounding us where we live in California despite the drought.

My dogs also are my constant companions at other times of the day.  They lay next to my feet and are much happier now that I don’t work.  House cleaning hasn’t been as much as a painful chore and I like the days when I get to cross off my google keep list another chore done!

I go to my AA meetings too and get inspiration to keep going without using drugs and alcohol to deal with stress although I don’t have much these days except now and then.  I read and watch my shows throughout the day and even joined a book club which is stimulating for the mind.  Right now I am reading Stephen Hawking: the unfettered mind.  In all his disabilities he kept going and really left his imprint on this world.  I am really enjoying reading about his life although the science is over my head for the most part.

So back to my original question.  Why do we feel defined by working or not?  I don’t anymore but others may not feel the same way.  The only reason now why I would try to work again is because we really need the money but at what cost would that take place if I end up in the hospital again with another hefty bill?  I am going to try to write a book like Stephen Hawking did and solve all my financial woes although right now I am actually doing ok with the finances but that is because I am still receiving disability.  I am going to write a book about fulfillment outside of working I think.  Something to do anyway with some of the free time I have left!

Some of the brief benefits are easy to notice as I have shared on here.

Have a great day everyone, I am going to start my book and see where it takes me!  If anyone has any ideas on how to get published will you let me know?  I self published through Create Space and didn’t sell very many copies.  I would like to reach more readers not just through Amazon.

Pax

Victoria

Lack of motivation is my current main symptom

 

I see my pdoc tomorrow and am thinking about what I want to talk to him about and after a conversation with one of my two sounding boards I have come to the conclusion that my main problem is that there are days when I am totally unmotivated to do even simple things like put something away or send a text.  This is one of the negative symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder which I have written about before at length (see June 2014 for more about the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia).

Other days I am unstoppable like today.  I deep cleaned part of my house and was very motivated to keep going until 6pm when my husband got home.  It’s weird because sometimes I am more motivated when my family is here with me especially if they are working on projects or other days like today I was motivated by myself with only my son stopping by on his way to work.  There is no rhyme or reason to my moods to get things done.  It is pretty awesome though that I exercise 6 out of 7 days a week very regularly, walking for many miles when the weather is nice or jumping on my mini trampoline or gardening when the mood strikes me which lately has been more often than not.

The one thing that my pdoc highly recommended with me being off work permanently is to keep my mind engaged and he suggested learning Spanish.  Well tomorrow I get to tell him that I am not only learning Spanish (I actually already know some) but that I am taking a gardening class which is mainly in Spanish.  The teacher is a white girl like me and it is pretty cool that she teaches the class to us in Spanish.  The class is predominately Hispanic so I get to hear her proper grammar and a lot of slang.  I’d say my pdoc will be pleased as I am learning a lot about gardening terms in Spanish.

The class itself is pretty interesting and I am applying the knowledge I am learning to my own personal gardens which are coming along.  I have weeded, put down weed block, compost and will add mulch around my plants as soon as I buy some which should be tomorrow hopefully.  It is a great hobby I highly recommend.  That and walking are my main sources of entertainment and my show I am obsessed with Person of Interest which I am watching for the second time but slower so it will last.

I spend most of my days alone with my dogs and a mix of going to either an AA meeting, a walk with a friend/dogs or to coffee with someone.  Of course I go to the store but some days like today I just stay home and work on the house.  It is amazing how much dirt one can find when one looks for it.  I also enjoy taking a drive along the coast with my husband or alone.  Nights are spent reading mainly and blogging or writing in my journal.

And yet I wonder if there is more to life than this?  I still wonder if I should work again but if I did it would be gardening or working at the library or something chill like that.

I am currently awaiting my hearing to get on permanent disability or rather should say I am waiting for them to schedule it which may take a year!  I have till August of this year till my state disability benefits run out so that gives me time to figure out what I need to do.  I am able to pay off my debt right now a little at a time and finally finished paying off the last hospital stay.  I think that is what I will tell the people at the hearing that I can’t work because I will just end up in the hospital again if I work as history has repeated.

I have been clean and sober for seventeen months which is how long it has been since my last hospital stay.  I still use nicotine regularly via lozenges which really helps with the stress, ha what stress?  Yes I am still stressed out even though I am not working just getting through each day but it is minimal compared to when I work.  Sometimes I stress about a difficult day meeting various social engagements which are rare because I choose it that way for the most part.  I have family over for dinner sometimes and enjoy that very much.

Well that is about all that is going on with me.  Feel free to write in anytime as I answer all my legit email at:. victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com

Pax

Victoria