It’s a work day morning prior to our annual office holiday lunch. Last night I went shopping for holiday gifts (it a rare night where we don’t have the kids), we did three stores before I became too exhausted to continue. I don’t have a lot of energy after a full day at work. This morning, I’m paying for my holiday efforts, by being in a lot of physical pain. I’m still at work. I’m still doing my job. I’m not complaining to anyone, but anyone who looks can see the pain on my face and by the way I am walking. I’m doing my best.
A manager comes by my cubicle and asks me how I’m doing. I give her a honest answer. The management team is aware that I have Graves Disease, Hyperthyroidism and that I’m currently having issues with my heart. Her response is can’t you just take a pill for that? I tell her that I did take pain pills, but I’m still in a lot of pain. It’s just a bad day. It happens. Some days pain pills aren’t enough. She shakes her head and says she doesn’t get it and walks away.
This response is very frustrating for many reasons. It feels dismissive, as if a pill should be magically fixing all my issues. It also makes me feel like it’s somehow my fault I’m in pain, like I’m not doing everything I can to heal. It also makes me feel like I have to push even more through the pain (which usually means the pain will be even worst the next day) so that I can join the festivities. I feel like people think I’m using my illnesses has an excuse. I didn’t even mention the party. I’m just not jumping of joy today.
How do you deal with people’s misunderstand, presumption or judgement?