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Feeling Guilty When You

Feeling Guilty When You’re Unemployed

There’s a certain funny feeling in my gut (no pun intended) I’ve had lately that has made me feel ill at times. The real irony is that it isn’t my fault, but I can’t help but feel like it is.

When you’re sick and suddenly find yourself unemployed, there is a mad dash of things you have to get in order.

How will you cover your housing? What will you have to do in order to pay for all of your needs? You boil your life down to the minute and hour of odd jobs you’ve been doing while wondering how in the world your body will hold up trying to do part time jobs when you couldn’t manage a life of full-time work.

You begin to feel unworthy, unsuccessful and you find yourself critiquing every minuscule characteristic about yourself. When you apply for jobs you know you’re qualified, or even over-qualified for, yet you hear no response, you feel even worse about yourself.

Am I worthless because of my disability?

Has my disability made me this worthless or is it me?

Many times, filing for disability has come across my mind, but every time, it’s negated with thoughts that I wouldn’t be supported by friends and family to do so. Because they might think I’m “too healthy”. There’s been guilt even contemplating filing for disability. How is that even fair?!

I’ve taken a lot of part-time work lately for little money, because I know the gigs that are only a few days or even only a day are much easier than committing to something full-time, as I’m not certain I feel healthy enough to be doing full-time work. Starting my new medication soon, hopefully I will get my life back, but there will always be worry of “what if this doesn’t work?” or “what if it doesn’t work and I have to have my big surgery?

How will I even pay for all of this?

Job searching with chronic illness is the most anxious, nauseating and terrifying thing I’ve yet to do with this disease and I’ve been through a lot. Putting one foot in front of the other and consistently trying to apply to places that I know I would serve best and would fit my condition is what gives me hope.

How about you? Have you ever felt this anxiety when unemployed? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section! 

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • 2 years ago

    Thank you all for your honesty! I am 52, diagnosed with Crohn’s in 2000, also have Hashimoto’s and Fibromyalgia, I worked FT as long as could. I tried a work day reduction for 6 months, went out on FMLA and finally became courageous enough to listen to my body and filed for SS Disability in 2013. It was a humbling, process. It took about 2 years, denials, appeals, but I was finally granted a favorable decision. My advice is to document EVERYTHING and try to be organized. I requested letters from my physicians validating the severity of my illnesses, and my intolerance to the meds. I still feel defeated sometimes, but I try not to feed the negative thoughts. I asked for guidance from a therapist and that helped enormously. Having Crohn’s has changed my life, but I’m alive and grateful for everyday. Having limitations in life, and owning that fact, can be empowering. My attorney for my SSD case, gave me the best piece of advice ever, “Be kind to your body.”
    Wishing you all peace, strength and good health.

  • Sickforever
    2 years ago

    I hope someone can answer a question for me please. Have any of you had trouble with vision ? I am having a horrible time with losing my sight, I can’t keep up with buying glasses because my sight keeps getting worse. My eye doctor said that it is from my crohns diease. Has anyone else been told this ????

  • Sickforever
    2 years ago

    I apologize. I posted this in the wrong section !!!!

  • Sickforever
    2 years ago

    I have decided to apply for disability, I can’t work either. Every day is different for me but the extreme fatigue never ends and my anxiety is through the roof ! I hear I am going to be in for a fight to get disability but I am going to fight hard to get it, I deserve it.

  • RayR.
    2 years ago

    Being unemployed while dealing with IBD (in my case, Crohn’s) was easily one of the most frustrating things I dealt with. I can definitely relate to taking short-term employment because of uncertainty about your disease; it’s how I primarily supported myself from 1993-2002. What changed in 2002? I started Remicade and actually went into remission. While the remission didn’t last long (only about a year), by that point I had proven myself to my employer and they were willing to work with me through my bouts of illness, including several hospitalizations. But when the company was bought out in 2009, I once again found my self unemployed – and in the middle of a flare. I was able to find employment, but after only a few weeks I wound up back in the hospital, for an extended stay.
    What I can tell you is this: if you truly think your disease has progressed to the point that holding down full-time employment is no longer feasible, you need to discuss it with your doctor. After that last episode, my doctor actually broached the subject with me. It was a fight (friends and family aren’t the only ones who think IBD is “all in your head,” the government will drive you crazy, too), but my being officially disabled is something I probably should have done sooner. My quality of life has noticeably improved, enough that I am able to do some of the things I thought I had to give up forever. I cannot speak for other countries, but here in the US being on disability does carry a social stigma, as well as a negative financial impact. But if you’re suffering to the point that working is making your disease worse, you should not let either prevent you from doing what you need to do.

  • Sickforever
    2 years ago

    Ray, I agree 100 % with what you said. My doctors also told me I need to apply for disability.

  • SusanHU
    2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this @rayr! This is incredibly helpful advice and I love your perspective on the topic! A lot of the things you write about are common topics here in our community and I know they will be valuable for people to see.

    If you don’t mind, I’d also love to have you write some of your personal experiences in our stories section ( We find stories to be really important for others on the site – especially those who are newly diagnosed or struggling.

    Susan ( Team Member)

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