Individual working with chronic illnesses’ guilt is a multidimensional burden. You feel guilty working and pushing the boundaries of what you are capable to do and still not be an ideal employee in the eyes of manager. You feel guilty about not being fully present at your job, or taking time off work because your illness.
I know that I’ve felt like everyone at work is judging me and it’s such bullshit, because of course our health should come first and any employer worth their salt should understand that, but that doesn’t mean co-workers and management always do.
Too many job environment aren’t truly accepting of disabilities, especially when they aren’t visible to the naked eye. Incentive like no absence bonuses is discriminatory for individuals who have no choice to use all their sick and vacation day because of their illness. It’s not just the flu. It will not disappear in a week, a month or a year. It’s incurable.
Refusing to give raises or even cutting people’s salaries because they have incurable diseases should be legal either.
Unfortunately, chronic illness sufferers are often seen as “trouble employees” deserving of “written warnings” and behavior correcting punishments.
Trust me most individual living with chronic illnesses don’t want to leave again. They know how it looks and if they leave, it’s because they have no other choice.
But here’s the thing… What else are working chronic illness patients supposed to do?
Anyone who rolls their eyes and thinks we’re cutting out of work to go home and leisurely loaf around is either a.) never been truly sick or b.) an ignorant asshole.
We don’t like missing work. We know how it looks to those who may not understand. We also feel every iota of the anxiety that comes along with falling behind at our jobs. Add a pain, inflammation, migraines, memory issues, depression on top of it and honestly, we feel like we just can’t win.