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.


baldsue said...

I'm awarding you a gold star for this post.

deborah said...

Well I give you the stars just for being able to show up! I haven't been able TO work in a few years; and have actually been blessed to be home with my children for the past 15, raising my children. In the times I have been deciding to seek employment, that is when the monster strikes, only reminding me that, perhaps, work just isn't for me. It's just amazing how superficial some people can be. Gold stars. Those High School days never really go away, do they.

Megan Oltman said...

Honey you get a gold star from me every day you get your achy self in to work, and another (special low-glare) gold star every day you stay home and take care of yourself!

Christy said...

I used to work in an environment like that. I hated it. I don't see how you can stand it. Anyway, your actual (meaningful) work is obviously your writing, your blog, your comics, your photos, etc. etc. I like the idea of invisible stars. I hope everybody with invisible chronic illness has the fortitude to award themselves some invisible stars this week.

Parin Stormlaughter said...

Rats on a stick! Everybody beat me to the 'here is a gold star' comments!

So, I'll put my gold star on a stick so you can wave it at people to remind them that many people with chronic illnesses have to do more before they get to their desks than others have to do all day long.

Connie said...

Man, they beat me too! So think of how many GOLD stars you're getting here!

You amaze me with what you're able to do. I'm the kind of person who can't move after throwing up or with a migraine. Yet you drive and work. You definitely rock!

And this post should be on II blog too.