Earlier in the week, somebody asked me what it was like to be judged all the time for having a disability.
My response was that it was okay because people find it difficult to understand epilepsy.
Immediately the person I was talking to became upset with me. Upset with ME. Upset with ME??!!!
My defence was that I was used to it now.
Their response was: “So? That doesn’t make it okay does it?”
And that person was right.
The following day, I was told by somebody else that I should quit my job because of my epilepsy. This person is senior to me in our workplace, and has never really asked me anything about my condition, other than why it causes me to have so many days off sick. This person throughout the conversation continued to ‘advise’ me to quit my job and furthermore inferred that I was not normal by saying that “normal people have only two days off sick a year, whereas you’ve had loads more than that.” I was also told that I am a burden to other members of staff. And this is not the first time that I have been told this by senior members of staff in a workplace.
When I become overcome with this condition, I begin to lose sight of why I’m fighting for awareness and why I should be using the little strength that I have to do so. I know that some see this blog as an attention-seeking purpose and nothing more, and on Monday when I was asked what it was like to be constantly judged, I realised that I’d never been asked that before. I also realised that I’d grown tired of fighting.
But that’s not me.
One of my many post-it not slogans on my desk is:
“be the person you needed when you were little.”
There’s still a little girl inside of me who needs somebody to speak up for her when nobody else would; when nobody was willing to stand up and make people listen.
It infuriates me to tears, that hidden disabilities are not recognised or not given the same amount of respect by the public – nor in fact, even our friends and families – as visible disabilities. Of course I recognise that discrimination comes in all shapes and sizes, however I have been bullied by the majority of my employers because of my disability. And there is very little help out there.
26th March will be Purple Day which is the International day for Epilepsy and unfortunately; I STILL don’t know what I’ll be doing for it yet. Due to all of the crap that’s been going on at work, I haven’t been able to do as much work so far on raising awareness… yet… but there’s still time.