Monday, May 25, 2015
When People Don't Believe...
A few months back, I posted about my amazing work family and how my 12-18 hour a week shifts were slowly getting easier and everyone was super supportive...
DIDN'T LAST VERY LONG...
As most people with chronic illness will tell you, having an illness, especially an INVISIBLE illness, is extremely isolating.
Within a few weeks of returning to work, I went back to my usual tasks (attending to my station, washing dishes, helping others with their stations) with minimal complaint. I always understated about how I felt on bad days, but I rarely called off work, always came in on time, and always got my job done no matter how bad I felt.
So I thought things were going pretty well...
FAST FORWARD TO ABOUT A MONTH AGO.
I WAS TOLD THE MOST HURTFUL THING YOU COULD SAY TO SOMEONE WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS.
"YOU'RE USING YOUR MEDICAL ISSUES AS AN EXCUSE NOT TO WORK AS HARD."
I could not believe my manager, who I had once respected and who had been so supportive in the beginning had said this to me.
Not ONCE did I ever pull the sick card to get out of a task and this particular manager rarely worked with me to see exactly how much I did.
Weeks later, this comment still bothers me. It still HURTS that she would say something so heartless.
She made me feel like all the hard work, going home at the end of the night in intense pain, and juggling all of my other responsibilities was MEANINGLESS. I was so proud of making it through each shift without falling on my face and she took that pride and SPIT ON IT without hesitation.
This manager had NO IDEA what I went through on a daily basis and how hard I was working NOT to hear those types of comments. And I doubt she knew how DAMAGING the remark was. But she still said it. And it still hurt.
Then I started noticing that some of my coworkers seemed to think that my health issues were all in my head because a) I look fine (invisible illness). b) They don't understand how I can be okay one minute and then sick the next. and c) They haven't bothered to educate themselves or ask me honest questions.
Not all of my coworkers are like this. There ARE a few good ones. And I am blessed to have the support that I do.
MY POINT HERE:
If you have chronic illness, there ARE going to be people who either don't believe you or get tired of you always being sick (because apparently if you're in constant pain it is somehow more of an inconvenience to THEM than it is to YOU, the person who actually has to LIVE WITH IT.)
I think the best method to dealing with people like this is to educate them as best you can so they don't make the same comments in the future and make someone else feel worthless. And if you can't do that, its important to know that there ARE people you can talk to (online support groups, friends, etc.).
We work EVERYDAY to overcome our illnesses, stay positive, and get through the day.
24 hours. 7 days a week.
AND IF OUR ILLNESS IS SOMEHOW AN INCONVENIENCE TO YOU OR YOU THINK WE EXAGGERATE OUR ILLNESS, THEN YOU DONT NEED TO BE IN OUR LIVES. Because odds are, you know nothing.
END OF STORY.