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Why aren´t you working?


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Since I got ill, I haven´t been able to work for many years.

 

If you had to explain a healthy person why you haven´t worked, what would you say?

WHICH ARE THE EXACT SYMPTOMS THAT DON´T ALLOW YOU TO WORK???

 

(I am trying to explain to a relative the reasons why I am not able to work. This person doesn´t understand, since he says, he has a mentally ill friend who leads a highly functional life). I want to explain in detail, the symptoms that prevent me from working.

Edited by CookieN
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I'm probably getting closer to be able to work again. Basically whenever I've been significantly depressed, as I have been lately, I just cannot work/go to school. As much as I want to and as hard as I try, getting out of bed on time and getting there is too hard. Also at time when I'm down, I have pretty bad psychomotor retardation and that prevents me from being able to move around quickly and get things done on time, if that's necessary. Also I get kinda of socially anxious/agoraphobic when I'm depressed and am too afraid to leave the house for extended periods. At my lowest, I just can't accomplish simple tasks like brushing my teeth, showering, sometimes eating. Trying to work when I'm functioning at that level would be a bit hopeful.

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This is a loaded question, IMO.  But if I had to answer I would say something to the effect of, "just because one person with a mental illness is able to work doesn't mean that everyone with a MI is able to do so.  There are varying degrees of illness and each person is affected differently".  But I agree with the other posters.  I don't think this person really wants an answer.

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Guest Vapourware

I agree with the others, you don't owe an explanation re: why you can't work. If someone can't grasp the idea that you can be unwell enough to work, for whatever reason, then it's likely any form of explanation will be met with ignorance. 

 

If you really want to try and explain, then you need to look at your personal symptoms that prevent you from working. That differs for everyone. Is it depression, mood fluctuations, anxiety? 

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Why would your relative want to know the exact reasons you can't work?  So they can debate it with you?  No good can come of answering this person.  I hope they are not controlling.  Not one of my family members have asked me why I can't work.  If they did, I would tell them that I live off their taxes quite comfortably.  Then never speak to them again.  Maybe that's just me. 

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Chances are that no matter what reasons you give, this person is going to continue to compare you to their higher-functioning friend. Rather than explaining yourself to them, I think a better discussion to have with them would be why they can't and shouldn't compare illnesses (or severity of). Ask them if they would compare the functionality of breast cancer patients to prostate cancer patients (if they answer yes to that question, they're not a family member worth keeping around).

Edited by discomposed
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(... This person doesn´t understand, since he says, he has a mentally ill friend who leads a highly functional life). 

 

My knee-jerk reaction would be to say that he's either an idiot or he's being malicious on purpose. Does he really think that all mentally ill people have the same illness, the same degrees of duration and severity? Of course, he doesn't. He doesn't have to be a psychiatric expert to know all that, he just has to have some common sense--there is no conglomerate of crazy.

I'm so sorry you're being asked to justify why you don't work. I agree with others who've suggested that you don't owe him an explanation and a simple "I'm not well enough to work without damaging my health" should suffice.

That said, I don't know your relation to this person. If you really want to help him empathize and understand why you can't work, then only you know which of your symptoms are most debilitating; those are the ones you'll want to describe in detail.

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Thank you all for your responses. They are very helpful. I summarized the things that I liked the most on your answers. These are the quotes I liked the most (see below).

 

 

Luna Rufina: “I know what is best and appropriate for me”.

 

Phoenix_Rising: "just because one person with a mental illness is able to work doesn't mean that
everyone with a MI is able to do so. There are varying degrees of illness and
each person is affected differently".

 

Vapourware: “If  you really want to try and explain, then you need to look at your personal
symptoms that prevent you from working. That differs for everyone. Is it
depression, mood fluctuations, anxiety”

 

Discomposed: “Chances are that no matter what reasons you give, this person is going to continue to
compare you to their higher-functioning friend”

 

A208B:   "I'm not well enough to work without damaging my health”



 

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I'm probably getting closer to be able to work again. Basically whenever I've been significantly depressed, as I have been lately, I just cannot work/go to school. As much as I want to and as hard as I try, getting out of bed on time and getting there is too hard. Also at time when I'm down, I have pretty bad psychomotor retardation and that prevents me from being able to move around quickly and get things done on time, if that's necessary. Also I get kinda of socially anxious/agoraphobic when I'm depressed and am too afraid to leave the house for extended periods. At my lowest, I just can't accomplish simple tasks like brushing my teeth, showering, sometimes eating. Trying to work when I'm functioning at that level would be a bit hopeful.

 

That is exactly what I feel prevents me from working. It is still very hard to wake up in the mornings, I get very anxious in social situations, and sometimes even bathing is hard.

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Any "explaination" is all too likely to become fuel for future attacks. I would keep it very simple. My doctor and I agree that I should not be working at this time, have a nice day.

 

The thing is my doctor also pushes me to work even though I still have symptoms.

It is worth pointing out that huge numnbers of the workforce leave the job market for reasons like:

 

Illness

Career break

Pregnancy

Child rearing

Caring for relatives

Retirement

Being made redundant/fired

 

So why is being in the workforce being held up as some kind of norm? Yes, people without a disability do struggle to see visibile signs that someone is incapacitated, but the idea that all people must work at all times or be morally flawed is ridiculous. The better question is, why is your not working for a time such a big deal given the above?

 

Family are people you are unfortuanet enough to be genetically linked to, they owe you the same respect you would expect from anyone else not related to you. if they cannot do that, quietly disengage. His perception of you is not the truth about you. You get to decide what you feel about it.

 

I liked what you said about "His perception of you is not the truth about you". I totally agree. Maybe my relative, keeps on having the image of the "old me" (healthy, workoholic, sociable, productive), but I am no longer that person.

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My lack of attention to detail mainly. I'm the biggest airhead. Oh, and I'm super disorganized. I work hard at work, I just forget things...And I do lose my temper with fellow employee's who think they can treat me like garbage because I seem kind of dumnb...I'm sorry, I'll choke the fucker out if I have to;  I get really pised when someone tries to bully me (my days of being bullied are long since over)....I'm a bit of a wolf in sheeps cholthing (I have to be).  

 

But Man, my focus is the problem; it's so bad, and my impusivity to a leser extent...I also swear like a fucking sailor which rubs a lot of people the  wrong way...I also speak the truth, i don't suguarcoat or bullshut...if you are an anasshole, then I'll eventually let you know if you keep pushing me., oh and I'm pretty irritable; i like to be left alone.

Edited by tomcat13
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