I wanted to discuss the relationship between chronic illness and work. I have Graves’ Disease. I had hyperthyroidism, then after treatment, I had hypothyroidism and according to my last blood test, I’m now stable(ish). I have depression and anxiety disorder, for which I am taking medication. I am waiting to pass the test for sleep apnea and am being followed by a Rheumatologist because it seems that I have another undiagnosed autoimmune illness. So far, chronic pain or fibromyalgia is in the forefront. Hopefully, things will become clearer soon.
I’m nowhere near as energetic, motivated, and efficient as I used to be at work. I see myself falling apart and I hate it.
Too often, I’m just sitting, staring at a screen and figuring out what I’m supposed to be doing. My mind won’t focus despite me really trying. Everything I accomplish takes so much energy out of me. I don’t have enough to last a full day.
I’m also forgetting certain words and it’s happening more and more often, so I use a lot of “thingy” and “that thing,” when expressing myself. I get frustrated when I can’t put together the pieces of a sentence. Often my boss will only stare at me not understanding a word I just said and I have to start over trying to find close enough terms that will get my point across. It makes me feel and look like an idiot.
Because of this, I’ve obviously lost some confidence in myself. I worry about job security. I worry my boss will get fed up and replace me with someone more efficient. Someone who is closer to who I used to be before my health took a tumble.
I know that all of this can make me seem like I don’t care about my job which is not true. I have lots to do and feel accomplished each time I tick one off, so that drives me. I wish I could do more.
On top of the mental fog, I swing in and out of anxiety and depression, too. I’ve sat at my desk crying more than once or hid in the bathroom until I could breathe normally again.
According to my endocrinologist, a well-managed and treated thyroid condition shouldn’t really leave me with many symptoms. The truth is, managing it can be difficult as there are good and bad days, flare-ups and bumps in the road.
I feel the need to reassure colleagues and managers that I am intelligent and can be efficient at my job. The problem is that I can’t find the energy and the clarity I need to be the amazing and model employee I used to be.