Advice on high stress job

Hi all, I’d really appreciate some advice from the long termers (and I’m sorry, but I don’t mean it hasnt been quite right for a while - I mean the “I have days where it’s ok, others where I take opioids and pretend it is, and others where it’s really not but I pretend I have gastro if I’m at work, or ask the family to be gentle if I’m at home, or it’s been 20 years, and I fought that wheelchair until yesterday”

So, the deal is I’ve just been given a big promotion (god knows how - I guess I looked better than the other option). But in reality, I’ve only had this silly disease for 6 months, I’m still feeling very fragile emotionally as well ( I always had to be good at stuff. To do everything. I havent come to terms yet with the fact that I no longer can)

So I just don’t really know how to approach it. I have very, reasonable concerns I’m actually not physically capable, both from a work and a stress perspective.

But if I don’t keep this job, we’ll have to sell our house, and it’s probably worth close to 100k less than the loan. (so in Aus, you end up with nothing, and still have to pay the remains of the loan)

But if I battle it out, I can probably scrimp enough for a biologic ( biologics in Australia are subsidised by Medicare, and ironically it’s unlikely I’ll qualify while I manage to keep a Job in order to pay taxes, and while I can still brush my hair).

So, do I take the high stress job, scrimp and just pay for the biologics (hoping like hell they work), or should I seriously consider just giving up and losing the house, and everything?

What has the longest term impact, for those of you who have experienced both? (mental health being as important as physical)

Well, honestly, stress plays a big role in how our bodies react to things, especially those of us with PSA. So, for what it's worth, not being in your shoes, this is what I would suggest:

The job, while stressful, pays the bills, and ultimately removes the greater stress of trying to figure out where your family will live, paying money on a house you don't have, etc. So keeping the job, and the house, I think are ultimately in your best interest. Again, I'm not you, so please make sure you're making the best decision for your family, based on all the information you have. This is just what I would do.

Keeping the job & house, while putting the least financial strain on you, means you will have to compensate for the stress of the job in other ways. My suggestions, and these may not work for you, would be to get regular massages, take walks after dinner as you're able (with the family, if possible), warm baths with a book a couple times a week (the warm water is great for your joints and your stress), and make sure you're having a glass of red wine with dinner. Australians bottle some great reds! You might also want to talk to your rheum about whether physical therapy can benefit you, and how he/she feels about hot stone massage, or accupressure/accupuncture. Do your best to eat right, without stressing over it; wheat actually can cause inflammation, so eliminating that from your diet might provide relief. Get some sort of exercise, as that will not only strengthen the muscles & ligaments around your joints, but increase circulation to them, and as a bonus release endorphins that will help you feel better emotionally; swimming is a great one, as it uses resistance without impacting your joints.

Also, maybe talk to your boss about ways to reduce the stress on the job, such as being able to pick your team, or choose your own meeting times and/or metrics that you care about, whatever your job entails.

So, that is simply Emily 101, what I would do if it were me. Since I am not you, I hope that you and your family can find something that works for your situation, and that you can find ways to reduce stress in your life. Good luck! Let us know how you do! Congrats on the promotion, you've obviously earned it!

Thanks so much for your advice Emily, it’s so great to get a balanced perspective from others. I do find this disease very isolating at times - not too many friends are going to cope with me whinging about a promotion in this economic environment - so its great to have this forum.

And yes, I’m happy to say us Australians do make some great reds :slight_smile:

Your Reds may be good by that fosters stuff......

Okay don't know the job, but I'll assume its in the business world (not much different anywhere else) It has always seemed strange that there is an unwritten rule if you DON'T taker a promotion your career is over. I deal with mangers on a daily basis. The new ones all have the same thing in common. Its like they are on their first day on the job. The amount of stress is unbelievable if you think back. Moving up yo now have the stress of likley pleasing a new supervisor BUT making the right impression on your team and down-lines. It and of itself is a HUGE stress.

Here's the thing the economy is in the toilet - Everywhere. Even Bill collectors and foreclosure teams are being laid off. The economy in any environment is a huge stress.

You were promoted. There is only two reasons for that. You can contribute to the company in your new position or you contributed to the company in your old position and they do not want to lose you. PERIOD. It costs a company thousands to promote an employee (I can show you how to calculate it.) It costs thousands MORE to replace an employee. But these (I hope you aren't in the bean counting department) are never booked expenses rather they are considered an investment. Some investments pay off BIG some don't. BUT no investment pays off without working with it. You need to remember most companies (if they are successful) will work their investments meaning they will work with you.

In this business environment no one will progress unless they are "driven" If think you are stressed NOW, I'm not sure a hook ladder truck could get you out of the pit of depression if you threw in the towel..... your personality would not allow it. (think about it) So you could create a whole bunch MORE sttress

I'm a businessman (among other things) In the last 40 years or so, my life and my "wealth" has either been "eating chicken or feathers" There has never been a time when I wasn't worried about paying the bills. They are always Proportionate to income........ That stress will NEVER go away.

Now the disease. You had it befor you were Dx'd right? Somehow you got by with little or no treatment (I mean you got a promotion right? so something had to be working) Now you are going to get treatment. (it might not need biologics) One of three things will happen You will get better. (Most likley anyway 85% do) (you will stay the same) or you will get worse)

There is no need to make a peremptory decision. The stress will either stay the same or get better as you settle in. It will DEFINITELY get worse if you throw in the towel. As far as your disease goes IT will make the decision. If it gets better, no decision necessary (remember 85 out of a hundred times this is what will happen) if it stays the same, no decision. if it gets worse again no decision (it will be made for you.

In the meantime NO ONE CAN DO what they used to. (Getting older is a real B***) The only difference is fast you can do less. So instead of taking a walking tour of some amazing place, you do a travelogue, Instead of going surfing for the weekend, you watch nascar (or whatever mindless thing they do in OZ), so what it gives more time to enjoy those reds and find a replacement for that fosters stuff. \

I'm not making light of what you are going through, but you will survive. You'll notice none of us old farts are homeless (I don't thinK) and so destitute we don't even have internet. And if you do have to start over, you start over.

As far as being upside down in your home. It may reverse slower than it went down. (We lost 30% in our area) It does reverse. Statistically at a rate of 1/4 the time it took to drop. You might start to look fior ways to build some equity: landscapeing, updates painting etc. Have a good real estate stager take a look. Thats really not a lot of money to recoup if you are average to the numbers I've been reading for OZ.

Bets of luck and stay in touch, please......

Hi Jen. In the early stages ofmy diagnosis I lived in Adelaide and after having short term help from mtx and arava I asked the rmy about enbrel and was told I wouldn't be eligible and he didn't apply for me to have it. I moved to Sydney and a new RMY who took one look at me and immediately started the application process for enbrel. with success.

so is it your rmy who will not start the process for you? the Health Commissions approval is not based on whether you have a job or not. It seems that many rmy's are still very conservative in using bdmards. Maybe a second opinion might change things. I also found a pyschologist helped me greatly in developing behaviours to deal with both stress and pain. I strongly recommend you try other ways before giving up your work which will have all the problems you mentioned plus more mental stress.

good luck, Allan

fwiw - I was offered and accepted a promotion just over a year ago. The decision really came down to whether I was going to control my own destiny or let someone else control it. Has it been stressful? -- you bet. I make a real effort to recognize when the stress level is becoming a health issue and take measures to bring it back to where it should be. There are days that I wonder if I made the right choice but they are few. You are qualified for your position or you wouldn't be there. Your superiors believe that you can do it.

There were some unexpected benefits from the promotion beside income. My confidence grew and I learned how not to sweat the small stuff. My hope is that you will find the same in your new position. Good luck!

I know exactly how you feel and drive myself to the brink of exhaustion constantly! All I can say is that there. r some days better than others and I was getting pretty depressed . I went to my family dr. And discussed this and he started me on buspirone which is a sort of anti anxiety med that he said has an amazing fast effect of giving energy and a better overall feeling. It’s worked well. I also take Aleve and aspirin when needed. I am 50 and work closely with a 30 year old who has the same disease! Hers affects hands, feet, legs, while mine is legs and feet. Both of us take Humaira and no one can tell we have any issues. Neither of us have ever had issues with any coldsor flu due to decreased immune system. In fact we r two of the most healthy in the office during flu and cold season. HumaIra has made the biggest difference for us. She had a delay in getting her prescription For five days and was miserable. So the difference is there. She is also active with her two boys and they travel a ton and are constantly on the go. She is involved in church, cub scouts etc. I think if we deal with the pain and exhaustion the best we can, stay away from dwelling on every pain and move forward it will help take our mind off this illness. I have had many weekend in bed before where I collapse, and morning when getting ready for work Was daunting
. Once that elevator door opens, I put a smile on my face and “am on” for the next 8 hours. Spoil yourself a little- warm Epsom salt baths, ome nice anti inflam fruits like cherries and blueberries. We just got back from Chicago where I took my family from all the bonuses I have been getting from my work performances. Wanted to make it an extra special trip and it gave me something to look forward too for several months.both of my inlays have althzeimers and we have had to take care of them. My 15 year old Bassett was diagnosed with dementia as well! It was redressing to get away and I think getting away helps us come back recharged. Well off to work I go. Now if I coul just find some nice work shoes that feel as comply as my slippers! Hmmm… Now that’s an idea! " the corporate slipper",

Thankyou all so much for your advice.

TNT, I must ruefully admit you are right - my personality type is not going to cope well with not having a job at all :).

I take your point on the 85%, I think I’d actually be classed among them, because a mix of MTX, plaquenil and pred is getting me to work every day, and without them there’s not a snowflakes chance in hell I could be productive. I’m very thankful for that, but I am only just hanging on by my fingernails - I sleep most of Saturday to recover, and really miss spending time with my husband and little girl. A night of her not sleeping properly in the middle of the week near kills me.

My bosses know about the PsA, because I had this job at onset which was about 9 months ago (November 12), and after 5 weeks I had to explain to them why I wasn’t there half the time etc, and reassure them it would get better. They stayed with me until it did, which took about 2 months, so maybe I should give them some more credit for their capacity to be understanding when I do have a flare (at the moment I take codeine, try to stay away from face-to-face contact because people can see the pain in my face, and try not to make any big decisions).

By the way, no Australian actually drinks Fosters, you can’t even buy it in pubs and bars here!

Allan, I have been thinking about a counsellor or psychologist for a while. I could do with some better coping behaviours, and whilst my husband is incredibly supportive, he is really the only person I can talk to (I’m just too damn lucky to possibly have hard stuff in my life according to my friends - they won’t listen to it -my sister literally walked away when I said there might be some hard things ahead because of the promotion). In the long term, I don’t want the disease to start defining our relationship, so best I find someone else to whinge at occasionally!

You are also right that I’ve got a conservative Rheumy who won’t start the process. I never look sick, so getting a second opinion may not change that, but your comments have made me decide to try.

Hopeful, so pleased it worked well for you, and thanks for the words of support. I figure I’ll just have to pretend the confidence until it arrives - or perhaps I’ll think of it as “practicing” :slight_smile:

JMT, thanks for your story, hopefully I’ll be writing something similar in the future. I actually went and had a warm bath with bath salts straight after reading it! And I love the corporate slippers! Reckon once you get those sorted out, you can start on steel caps for arthritic feet? :slight_smile:

I had a stressful job not so long ago so understand how you feel. I found that by going to bed really really early twice a week and getting 12 hours sleep worked well and meant I could cope. Also, I found prednisone (steroids) worked well for me and controlled the PsA, have you tried it?

Gwenneth, I am on steroids and couldn’t get by without them. I do have a “ceiling” of sorts though, in terms that I can’t just can’t take above a certain level and remain rational. I try to get as much sleep as I can, and my husband is amazing to help me with that.

Thank Goodness, You have restored a little bit of my faith..........

Keep at it........

BTW, a good employee/manager who is committed even half time because of illness is worth more than someone full time who is "just doing the job"

JenAus said:

By the way, no Australian actually drinks Fosters, you can't even buy it in pubs and bars here!

Keep me posted - After a few months sabbatical, I have just accepted a job offer for a potentially stressful job. I’m just hoping that now I am more aware of my PsA I should be able to manage it better. I may be borrowing any coping techniques you have!

I could have took a promotion if i put in for it. But im not as strong as i used to be and my back is fragile now. Im a welder and i love my job. Im good at it too. I have to stand for at least 8 hours and lift a few things. But the promotional job consist of lifting alot more and climbing a ladder on and off all day. Plus paperwork out the u know wat. Id rather be happy doing wat i like then just a little more money. Plus less stress. They know i like my job and they know im good at it. Thats why they work with me when i have bad days. I have fmla. And its great. Job security. And my job place is like family. I love it there. Sometimes u have to think wats best for u long term. Thats wat i did. And im vey happy.

JenAus, I know, it's a tough decision. Stressful job, yes, but don't underestimate the stresses of not working! And the stresses of being unemployed are of the kind that can't be controlled by you. When there's no income, what can you do? At least with the job, you can delegate (maybe?) and negotiate accommodations with your employer, and you will at least be in a position to make some decisions about where your income goes.

You said your employers know about your condition. And they offered you the promotion anyway. What does that tell you?

I'm not you, but if I were, I'd be taking the promotion and hoping that the biologics work. Down the road, you can always reconsider.

Wishing you all the best with this!


Hi everyone, just a quick note to say thanks again, your support and words of advice have made a huge difference.

I’m doing my best in the new job, and we’ll see how it goes. I realized there’s not much point in throwing the job in now, just because I fear failure (now that’s one sure way to avoid success!).

Thanks again :slight_smile:

Very wise JenAus! Keep us posted on progress...

i prefer fosters when i was a drinking man.
Jen said:

Thanks so much for your advice Emily, it's so great to get a balanced perspective from others. I do find this disease very isolating at times - not too many friends are going to cope with me whinging about a promotion in this economic environment - so its great to have this forum.

And yes, I'm happy to say us Australians do make some great reds :)

If it was me, I think I'd try the biologic. The biologics can be night and day. I would rather be broke and healthy than crippled (and also broke). If it doesn't work you can quit your job. Look into Remicade and Stelara as they might be handled differently. There are also various helps available, start with the drug companies themselves, then go to the rheumatology association for Australia, arthritis foundation, etc. Better yet, look for a drug study so you can get your biologic for free. Here's a list of drugs in the research pipeline updated last August:

There's injectables and pills being studied.

And yes, after reading your post, I think the Aussie medical system is awful. That doesn't mean you can't fight for qualification though. Get a copy of the conditions for going on a biologic and then see if you tell your story in such a way that you can meet the requirements.

James, I am so sorry. Fosters is an abomination Australia never should have unleashed on the world, I hope you are ok.

Andrew, thanks so much for your post. Since I posted that original dilemma, I shelled out full price for Enbrel, which worked close to a miracle for me. I also read the qualification more carefully, as you suggest is a good idea, and my Rhuemy suddenly became much more cooperative once he realised that a) cost of medication wasn’t going to prevent me taking it and b) it made a huge difference to me that was worth the risk.

So I ended up qualifying under Medicare (seronegative RA - easier than PsA) for the biologics. And good thing too, because not long after I started Enbrel I developed Crohns (no link between the two, I believe), and getting on biologics for that in Australia is even harder than RA…

So now Humira is my very special friend!