May 24, 2016
Today I am feeling anxious, as I wait for an appointment with a new supervisor. I feel shame and inadequate and emotional as I plan out different dialogues in my mind. It is hard to be different, and to feel less than, and to have a brain and body that don’t work how I wish them to be. I have fibromyalgia and post concussion syndrome, these effect my memory, my emotions, my ability to process and hold a lot of information in my head, my energy level, and I have chronic pain.
I often have felt like a failure in the workplace, as I have worked at many different places over the years. In the earlier days, I believe part of it was because I was restless, and my goal was focused on navigating college and what would help me get there. I also struggled at times with coworkers or bosses, and processing through the criticisms that could often arise in the work environment. Without a real sense of my own value, it was easy to feel shattered or angry when others seemed to be against me. After having children, and becoming effected by fibromyalgia, work took on additional challenges. Having little energy seemed to aggravate my weaknesses for lack of detail, and focus, and sometimes had less tolerance for rude behaviors. Adding a mild traumatic brain injury to the mix, increases these difficulties even more as my brain struggles with memory, processing, and focusing. In many ways these has brought more tolerance for others, yet it can be more difficult to hide my emotions.
As I write about my perceived failures, it brings a sense of sadness to my suffering. Regardless of the circumstances, or my part in it, the pain of these experiences caused me to doubt myself as a person, and doubt my self worth. Regardless of where my next job leads me, this part isn’t true. My value and my success aren’t dependent upon outside circumstances, but of who I am as a person.
I pray that when I go into my meeting today, that I remember the strengths that have been brought to me through my processes. I have a variety of skills in the jobs I have done, as well as some attributes that have come out of my illnesses. I am more creative in finding what works, and much more present in my body and spirit. My acceptance, understanding and kindness towards others grows, as I find a small level of this towards myself. I know what it is like to feel overwhelmed, helpless and without hope, yet also know what it is like to see and feel love, to find support that empowers, and to believe in taking the next step towards my dreams. We are all on a journey, and I am grateful that each day brings me the opportunity to grow and be more of the person I desire to be.
Leave a Comment » | Chronic Pain, Daily Living, Disclosure, Employment, Work | Tagged: chronic illness, chronic pain, disability, employment, failure, fibromyalgia, post concussion syndrome, traumatic brain injury | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T
April 22, 2013
I had a job interview today for a legal assistant position. In many ways it was a spur of the moment application, looking through jobs and finding one that seemed interesting. I have always wanted to be a legal assistant, and this looked like a great fit for me: close by, few areas, and my areas of interest and strengths. I really enjoyed meeting the attorney and other legal assistant – wow, great people.
When I came home, I wanted the job more. I love the idea of a new challenge and being able to make some extra money. Did I mention the people were great? Very kind and easy to be with. The job sounds challenging and stimulating. The interview went well – it lasted a few hours. I really believe I can do the job (well most of the time).
Then the fear creeps in – should I have disclosed about my chronic pain? Last time disclosure was a disaster, and ended up being more problematic. I think it is something better to manage on my own. Lots of coffee in the early days to help with the fatigue, and move around as needed. I may have to limit my evening activities. I felt confident in my decision not to share.
As the evening approaches, I decide to see if they looked me up on Facebook or LinkedIn. Not sure about facebook, but linkedin shows that someone from a law firm looked at my profile today – oh no, what is on there? Overall professional, with lots of connection to disability groups and pain groups. Then I saw the part about fibromyalgia – did they read this? Oh shit, not what I wanted. I didn’t want the interview process to be mixed up with the fibromyalgia. Looks like they may have known before they interviewed me. The good part is, we still talked for hours. The challenge is whether they were hoping I would disclose or not. Since no-one read my chronicpain journals today, I am confident they didn’t read about my disclosure series :).
Well I should know in a few days whether I got the job. I am feeling sad and fearful. Sad that I have to worry about this thing called fibromyalgia and fearful that it will be a shadow that follows me every time I step into the light. I am one of 5 people who were interviewed, and clearly we connected. I pray that regardless of what they learned, they can be open to seeing my strengths and find who is the best one for the job, whether that is me, or another person they interviewed. I also pray that I can accept whatever comes my way. I don’t feel compelled to take the fibromyalgia off of my linked at this point, but might be something I do in the future if I continue to look for work.
2 Comments | Chronic Pain, Disclosure, Employment, Work | Tagged: chronic pain, disabilities, employment, fibromyalgia, interview, work | Permalink
Posted by Elissa T