When I have a bad day, being told that it could have it worse and that I should be thankful isn’t very helpful. I never said I wasn’t thankful. I am grateful I can still walk, I just wish every step wasn’t excruciating pain.
I am quite aware that many have it worse than me. It’s doesn’t mean that my pain isn’t difficult to live with. Your struggle doesn’t negate from someone else’s and vice versa.
When you start expecting to wake up with the pain every day. It’s bad enough. When you regularly have so much pain that you cannot function or walk. That’s bad. Telling me that someone has it worse, it’s solving my issue or making it better.
I write about apologizing too much a lot because I struggle with it. I now know that I don’t need to apologize for everything. Yet, I’m constantly apologizing to my loved ones when something goes wrong and someone is not feeling well as if it was my fault. I also keep apologizing for my chronic illness, even if I know very well that I shouldn’t.
Apologising for everything can become dangerous. When you say “I’m sorry”, you accept the blame for whatever transgression was perceived. Slowly, the constant “I’m sorry” begins to play on the back of your mind. You start feeling like you constantly did something wrong and start feeling inadequate, which is bound to make any person depressed in the long run.
Have you ever apologized for someone else?Have you ever apologized for being you? Sometimes it feels like women apologize for even existing. We need to stop.
One thing I hear a lot is ‘you look like you’re hurting really bad today.’
Yes, I am. I’m in pain every day. If you are seeing the pain it’s because it’s really bad and I don’t have the energy to hide it. I am still trying. I’m still working. I’m still pushing through and trying to ignore the pain.
Having several people at work tell me how bad I look just reminds me of the intensity of the pain.
It is sometimes difficult to take a break or vacation for many people, especially in this society that puts performance at the expense of health. A guilt can tip the tip of the nose at the slightest stop, which often creates the feeling of being weak and not doing enough.
Yet, taking time for yourself is not a sign of weakness, whether it is to rest, to see loved ones, to travel, to do activities, to seek care or to do nothing at all.
There is no shame in having to stop. Putting yourself in the foreground is important, and a person’s level of productivity does not define their value at all.
Unfortunately for the last 2 years all of my vacation and sick days have been used because of flare-ups and none of it has been used to rest, see loved ones, to travel or do activities. That also takes a toll on one’s mental well-being.
Yesterday, I met with my general doctor. She confirmed that I was in the middle of a major depressive episode. She asked that I see a psychologist on top of upping my current depression and anxiety meds. She also strongly recommended that I take a month off work to concentrate on getting better.
In a perfect world, I would jump at the opportunity to stay home and concentrate on my health and getting better. I feel like I could sleep for a month straight. The problem is that the world isn’t perfect. I can’t afford to stay at home even with short-term medical leave insurance. We have bills to pay. Plus, I’m terrified of what it will do to my career. Even if they cannot legally fire me for a month-long sick leave, it can still affect my path within these walls. We already have 3 people on sick leave in the office and 2 others with chronic illnesses (not counting me). The doctor got mad when I told her that. She said that my workplace should be questioning themselves on why there are so many people on sick leave and not be complaining about the people who take it.
I need to speak to my boss this morning. I am so anxious that I was physically ill last evening and during the night. I am at the office right now, trying to keep myself together. I had a meeting scheduled with my boss early this morning about upcoming tasks, but he just emailed to say that due to traffic he would be working from home until traffic clear. The additional wait time isn’t helping my stomach or my state of mind.
I know that my husband is rooting for me to get better and not have to take time off due to our finances. I don’t want to let him down, even if he assures me that I can’t no matter what happens.
I need to get better for everyone’s sake and my own.
Spoke to my boss. He immediately dismissed my worries about work and career stating that my health is more important. That’s a wonderful response and a weight off my shoulders. I did explain that I couldn’t afford to be home without pay for 2 weeks before the short-term sick leave kicks in and pays for the last 2 weeks. He’s in a meeting now with the human resources manager to see if there are any options. My anxiety is through the rough and I’m shaking at my desk.
This day is full of emotional ups and downs. The Human Resources Manager came to speak with me. I only have 2 vacation days left for the entire year so it can’t cover the 2 unpaid weeks. That being said, they don’t want me to stay at work and it takes longer for me to recover. We are meeting at the end of the afternoon to discuss options. She did mention that if it was okay with my doctor (and only if it’s okay with the doctor) they may be open to having me work from home, full time or part-time. It’s not perfect, but this would let me sleep in longer in the morning and be less rushed. I would be able to pass more time with the kids in the morning. It’s also a much more relaxing/quiet environment at home than at work. So it’s something to think about.
I have always been the reliable one both in my private and professional life. I take pride in my work and go the extra mile to make sure all is done and everyone gets what they want. I’m not a pushover, but I never say: “This isn’t my problem.”
The problem with being reliable is that people quickly get used to having someone they can count on to the point where they completely stop trying to handle dilemmas themselves.
“It’s okay “Reliable One” will take care of it.”
What happens when that person gets a chronic illness? What happens when each day becomes a struggle? What happens when she starts having to take more time off for medical appointments, tests and sick days. What happens when this person is no longer able to physically make it to the office 5 days a week?
Our receptionist is going on medical leave for a minimum of 6 months. She was diagnosed with cancer and has to go through chemo. All of this happened very suddenly and took everyone by surprise.
In a perfect world, people would pull together to fill the whole, but why should day? Doesn’t the “reliable one” take care of everything? Afterall, she only has an incurable chronic illness, not cancer.
The reception team used to be composed of one main receptionist and four backups. The first backup is now taking over the reception duties until we hire a temporary replacement. The managers of the biggest department suddenly decided that the 2nd backup is no longer doing reception duties stating that she is needed elsewhere. That means we are down 2 people. The manager of the smallest department refuses that we used his admin as the 1st backup (she used to be 3rd) and annoyed at the entire situation, decided we weren’t to use her at all. So now we are down 3 people. The only one left is the supervisor of reception, which happens to be the “reliable one.” whose only supposed to do reception back up duties when all else fails.
“It’s okay “Reliable One” will take care of it.”
So in the next 2 weeks, the “Reliable One” is expected to interview candidates for the temporary replacement job at reception, hire and train said temporary receptionist, revamp the phone system tree to make reception easier, created new scripts and have them recorded, and take care of all reception backup. She is expected to manage a huge database update and multiple staff training on various systems, which is her responsibility as the IT/Computer support employee and, take care of her regular tasks, as well as general support to the staff in 2 different office locations.
Everyone seems to have suddenly forgotten that the “Reliable One” needs to work from home once a week just to get through the week. That she is dealing with multiple chronic illnesses that make it physically and mentally difficult to get through each day. It’s as if everyone suddenly assumed she can put all that stuff away for the time being and step up while everyone else says: “It’s not my problem.”
No one seems to understand that for someone with a chronic illness, pushing through the pain only makes it worse. Forcing her to do more work and make it at the office every day, will only make her even sicker. Instead of managing her illness to offer her employer the best productivity, she is forced to run a marathon, that will send her to the hospital and they will lose the “Reliable One” completely. Then what?
If you have a chronic illness or an invisible illness, you have probably tried to explain what you are going through to people only to find out that they are unable to relate. You can read hundreds of post and online comments that will all say the same thing. People have a difficult time understanding what they have never experienced.
Exulansis is the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it.
Sometimes I just don’t have the energy to explain. Sometimes it the proper words that are missing. It’s not always easy to explain the type of pain I am experiencing.
There are no difficult children. The problem is that children are growing up in a world where people are tired, busy, lacking patience and pressed for time.
As a mother and a stepmother with a full-time job and chronic illness, I related to this. I am constantly wishing I had more time to dedicate to child raising. I often feel overwhelmed due to being exhausted and juggling too many different responsibilities. I am pretty confident that most parents feel the same way.
Realising that you are in this rush pattern helps us take a step back, take a breath and attempt to slow down. Unfortunately, slowing down one’s lifestyle is often a luxury most of us can’t afford.
Starting or even completing house chores can be cumbersome when chronic fatigue or pain strikes. Standing and moving around for too long can easily take its toll on you. By using a chair or a stool as an aide, it will help you to not overexert yourself. I now have a seat in the shower and one in the laundry room. I have been able to do more, by sitting down.
Having a stool available nearby also saved me to have a seat when a flare hit and I needed to take the time to apply makeup as I had to go pay my drivers licence regardless of how much pain and how much inflammation I had. Sitting down while I did my hair or makeup, taking my time, made it possible to look human and move forward.