Monday, September 8, 2008
Blogging for Invisible Illness!
Here is my post for National Invisible Illness Week.
Gold Star Envy
One of the hardest places for me having an invisible illness with my chronic daily migraines is the workplace. I work in a highly monitored environment that is the call center where they score everything you do from how long it takes you to complete a phone call to how long you were away from the phone to go the bathroom on an unscheduled break.
It is a lot like being graded in school and just like in school, good grades are rewarded, even with gold stars. They actually hang paper gold stars over employee’s cubicles.
I have never gotten a gold star at work and it is because of my invisible illness. I want to excel at my job, but I cannot because of the difficulties of my migraines. Some days, I’m barely making expectations, which is being a “C” student.
I would have to say at least 90% of my huge office isn’t aware of my migraines, and even those who know about them don’t have any idea about the struggle that I face every day at work just to get through it.
Who knows what my co-workers think about me. I’m sure they think I’m some sort of slacker, but they don’t know my frequent trips to the bathroom aren’t because I’m goofing off. It’s because I’m throwing up. I’m not closing my eyes at my desk because I’m sleeping or lazy. I’m closing them because the light is killing my eyes. My frequent days off work aren’t because I’m going shopping. I’m home sick, trapped in my bedroom in the dark, wondering if this is going to be my last day on earth because the pain is so bad.
So how do I combat this gold-star envy? I have to tell myself to put it into some perspective. In the end, how much of this stuff really matters. Do I even remember who the valedictorian was in my high school class? No. I don’t have a clue. My work scores aren’t going to go on my tombstone either. It’s not going to read, “Migraine Chick got a 77% on her last score.”
I just have to tell myself I’m working on a different playing field. Could any one else even work with my migraines? In addition, if I didn’t have my migraines, I’m sure I would have gold stars galore.
It is hard to hear co-workers being recognized all the time for a job well done at work, but I’m going to give myself an invisible star for managing so far to keep my job with an invisible illness.