Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Article Link ~ 5 Tough Choices You Make When Chronically Ill or In Pain
I mostly skimmed this article (link here) so far, but the categories are good ones. Sick people can relate, and healthy people who are interested can get a good glimpse into some of the challenges sick people face.
There is no way to describe illness to people adequately, and there is no way to make people interested if they aren't. The choices we make regarding sharing of symptoms are important ones, and balance takes a very long time to find. And the balance changes constantly, with our symptoms impacting our ability to find each new balance a lot of the time.
These choices apply much differently at work. It is not your coworkers job to empathize, but if your
employer is accommodating your illness or disability, it is their job to understand enough to know what they should or can expect from you and what they can expect to be different. Otherwise they replace the actual situation with their own ideas of your health and abilities (based on what they see, what they believe, and their personal biases), which can be dangerous to your health if not corrected.
That's the hardest part at work---showing people who don't understand or don't believe you what you are capable of without ignoring your limitations. Even identifying the goal when you attempt to communicate about it becomes a challenge. It is not empathy or a full understanding of what your illness is like that you should expect from them; but they do need to at least acknowledge that you have a condition that your employer has chosen to or is required to work with; it is not up to them whether that should be respected on a day to day, task by task basis. They may need help from a supervisor comparing the actual impact to their work day with what they percieve it to be.