Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day 18: Take it back: Words are powerful and have consequences. WEGO 30 posts in 30 days.

Write about a time that you lashed out at someone close to you because of
frustration/fear/anger resulting from your health condition and you wish you could take it back.Forgive yourself and let it go.
 
I don't lash out. I internalize. If someone says something insensitive or hurtful I try not to take it personally. When a doctor does not comprehend my pain or fails to help me... I just take it. I try to be polite. I try to be calm. I try to keep my cool. I try to be stoic. Like any of these things matter. Like any of them get me anywhere. I'm too far on the other side of the spectrum... some lashing out might have been a good idea sometimes.
 
write about a time that someone said something to you that they wished they could take back. Did you forgive them? Why or why not?
 
 
 
I think sometimes people forget words have consequences.  I had a boss who said many things to me while I was working a job that made me feel so bad. So guilty about being chronically ill. Like I was failing myself and my employer and my co-worker but at the same time no matter how much I tried to resolve that... by pushing through the pain it was never sufficient. I never blamed her and I always forgave her. It was always directed at my illness and none of it made her a bad person, it just means like many people she did not get the chronic pain or how to talk to someone with it.... because she was my boss it added an extra layer to the stigma. I think maybe I should have stood up for myself actually. I think I was too forgiving. That the guilt made me feel too bad. These comments happened over a span of seven years and they took a toll on me for sure. They all had consequences but you have to remember I was fighting a chronic pain battle. A war that I endured as best I could but when it was at its worse I I was struggling very hard to survive... well when others do not think about their words or the battle someone else is going through they should understand there are serious consequences.

My work situation is so annoying and fustrating is a post I wrote July 21/2010 which goes like this: 
We were short staffed the last two weeks, so I've been covering for a few people. Making sure I came in even though it was a week of violent migraines, along with violent storms. I was glad to do it, my co-workers help me and I am more than willing to help them back with whatever they need. My boss says to me now you know how they feel when your gone, because I was quite busy, but I liked that, more of a pain distraction. And I thought to myself, not the same. They would cover my work for sure and that would be that. I covered for two people, while having nasty migraines. So not the same. That irked me a bit.
But then the bosslady comes in for a chat, cause she has heard form above the ladder. They have decided in their brilliance that I cannot miss any more work. And if I do then my 'role' is not 'appropriate' for me... so being the kindhearted people they are they will then demote me to the role I did before, which would actually make things worse. What can I say to that? So the idea is I suffer and you have me here everyday? Win for you, lose for me? Until I can't take it any more and quit? Until I have a nervous breakdown? I don't know if it is just that they do not comprehend my disability, don't care, or want to get rid of me by being more inflexible. It pissed me off because clearly they do not want to do a damn thing. And they will not do a damn thing unless forced to. So I will continue to go in every day, as best I can and do what needs to be done until my neuro appointment in Sept. And so far it has been torture.
Plus they chronically complain about my audit scores, my files coming back with discrepancies. I know already. I am doing what I can do to double check my migraine ridden brain, recheck my work thrice over to ensure it does not happen. But I am very annoyed that they both expect me to present and accounted for every day, but also function like a normal person? Do they understand the word disability?
They make me feel like I am completely useless, but the fact is, despite my absences and even my three week neuro treatment absence, my numbers and sales are doing just as well as anyone's.
I made the conversation sound more pleasant than it was. It was a conversation that changed everything... changed my life... almost ended it. Pretty important and powerful. And it was how it was said, what was said... and the fact this person had said such things many times before. They were never pleasant conversations. This was after I suggested some compromises that were shot down. So I was put into a situation where I could no longer miss work or be demoted. I wish she could have taken that back. That whole conversation, including the flippant remark about now I understand my co-workers when I miss work and they have to take on my workload. The threat of demotion was bad enough but the fact that it was tied to this miss No more work was not good at all. Because then I had to try you see... I had to try and not miss any work so I would not make things worse for myself. I had to try and push through the pain no matter what and Be there, and then when I was there I had to be Perfect because my errors on my audit scores were high due to not being able to think through the pain and the way the migraines bugger up the thinking. It is impossible to maintain. I tried, it was horrific, I became sleep deprived due to being unable to sleep with the increase in pain. A month later I tried to kill myself. Because I could not do it and I all my compromises were turned down and short term leaves never made things better and I just could not live through it getting worse again. So that conversation sticks out in my mind because of the consequences. There had been many times when she said things that were hurtful or made me feels so utterly guilty... this time the consequences were far more severe. Work was the only factor that led to my suicide attempt... it was the only thing on my mind at the time. However, I cannot blame one person for that. I blame the insanity of pain for that and partly I blame Cymbalta side effects. And working with the insanity of pain.

All those conversations combined had a huge impact. Words have such power and some of the things she said have stuck with me for years. I wish she thought about what she said before she said it. That there could have been so many better ways to handle someone with a disability... or to acknowledge I had a disability first of all. Like that she should never have said to me that I was 'letting myself down, letting my customers down and letting my co-workers down'... so many times she made me feel guilty and when she flat out said I Should feel guilty? That sticks with me. It is painful to remember those conversations and to know the impact they had on my mental health and my ability to cope. However, I have always understood how difficult it was from her side having a person with a chronic pain condition as an employee where the accommodation isn't apparent and they don't train you on how to handle the situation. Did she handle it poorly? Yes. Was it influenced by her boss and other factors? More than likely. It was not her intent to cause me emotional pain. I think she believed for whatever reason I called in sick more than I should have... that I was not really incapacitated that much. I think she believed threats would fix the 'problem'. I believe she was very frustrated by my illness... but not by me, when I was at my best she liked me as a person and an employee and she did not like my illness and did not like that it was a problem that could not be fixed and that I was not doing enough to fix it. And I let her affect me. And I did not know how to make the situation better either. Each time I tried to fit the mold as well so each time I made it worse by believing I could 'will' myself better.

Lets gp back in time for some previous blog posts... some tidbits I mentions and many more I did not. ...

--I said I did not think the company effectively manages disabled employees and she repied they do, just 'physically disabled'... and that made me realize she does not understand the scope of my condition because I have an 'invisible' disability. 

--I called in sick. My manager called me back and the conversation was pretty much all on her side, since I could say nothing.

1) I have missed 13 days this year, which is likely true so I can't argue with that. It is three times as many as any other two employees combined... can't argue with that, cause unless they have an unmanaged chronic condition there would be no valid reason to miss that many days.

2) My customers depend on me... I sure to some extent they do.

3) My collegues depend on me and take over my work load when I am not there... yeah, as if I did not feel guilty enough about that.

4) She can't keep defending me... she's defending me? Sounds more like threats and ultimatums.

5) I can't miss more days... I know... tell my brain.

6) I need to make lifestyle changes... sure, cause my lifestyle is the reason why I have migraines. Cause it's my fault then, if I don't change.


Ergo, therefore, thusly... I went in. I went in extremely upset and in loads of pain. That is just how I want my coworkers to see me... so upset I can't stop weeping but can't talk about it or I will just start crying a river. That was just awesome. One by one all my coworkers told me to go home, that I could not work like that, that management could not make me. I said I had no choice, which is what it felt like. Finally one coworker insisted I call HR and talk to them, on the record and ask them. It was nice to have the HR lady tell me flat out I cannot be fired for sick days, that there are no adverse consequences to taking them, needing them or getting accommodation for an illness.

--I had a chat with the boss this morning, which in hindsight I should have saved for the end of the day... since ruined my whole day and, of course, upset me. Boss lady had been talking to a fellow at HR about the problem, the problem being me and how they can be rid of me legally. I guess he is 'looking' into this and asked her to ask me why I am late ten minutes in the morning or why I dared missed a day when boss lady had made me sign a sheet saying what my responsibilities were and that missing one day a month would be better. I explained the situation as clearly as I could. I asked, yet again, that they accommodate me by decreasing the hours in the day, even just by one hour. I explained how much medication I was taking just to get there and that by decreasing my hours I would not burn myself out and potentially get rebound headaches every week. She said it was a full time position that needed full time person's to operate it, even though what I am asking for would mean I would be there for open business hours. She said she would 'ask' the HR fellow about it.  Anyway, she wants me to quit, and quite openly suggested I look for something else. 

--So my employer has explicitly told me if I miss one more day I will be either fired or I offer my resignation. She says she would not like to fire me and by doing so it would affect me unemployment insurance. One of my co-workers suggested that I seriously consider another work leave, as then I can keep my job and my place in this chosen career field and hopefully find a resolution

--Shortly after getting to work I was called into the managers office where I was informed I had to attend every day of work, have the ER phone if I was incapable of showing, as missing work as I have been (and the numbers don't lie there) is reasons for dismissal. So I can't go on leave and I can't miss work. It is a perfectly reasonable judgement on my bosses part, but it is also reasonable that it would affect me emotionally. Maybe that is what amped up the pain. So I had to take one of those anti-inflammartores and choke back my emotions. But the pill did not work and it was just a steady increase in pain. I could not even manage a facade of well being, which at least prevents people from looking at me funny. So I let the river flow at lunch time, for some cathartic release and pushed through to the end of the day. .
 
 
 

Post a Comment