There is nothing normal about stigma

There’s her and then there’s me. We work in the same department. She’s an outcast like me and we are both talked about behind our backs for different reasons.

The facts

In June I fell. A side effect from bipolar meds – loss of balance. I was alone. No one to help me. The pain? I sucked it up. I had to. I’m alone. What else must I do? I went for physio and endured this pain for 2 months without anyone giving a shit. They were intolerant, annoyed with me. I presume a lot of eye rolling. After no improvement 2 months later, I was put into hospital. I drove myself there and I drove myself home. Despite the pain. I was in hospital for 5 days. No one from work messaged me, phone or visited. No one gave a shit. Diagnosis – a herniated disc and sciatica. Treatment – drugs, physio, and an epidural. None of the treatments worked and I was sent home in exactly the same pain with no information on pain management for sciatica. I did this alone and have no one at home to help me with everyday tasks.

She also fell. Granted a far more dramatic fall than mine – she fell down some stairs. But there are parallels in our injuries because both have resulted in pain. Her – a broken rib and a compressed vertebrae. The difference? She has a husband and a teenage son. They helped her, phoned an ambulance. Everyone one of us at work was more than concerned. The people I work with had a busy day, sending text messages and phone calls to her, to family members and involved themselves in her crisis. Concern was expressed, we talked amongst ourselves with compassion. No judgement or criticism; sending good wishes, getting updates. There was no eye rolling involved. They’re all going to visit her over the weekend.

The difference

As far as our ‘work friends’, in her crisis, she mattered. In my crisis, I didn’t. The difference? I have bipolar. She doesn’t. I was long ago labelled ‘drama queen’, over sensitive, too emotional. So everyone rolls their eyes and I am dismissed, overlooked and invisible. No one believes me. Fuck, I feel so alienated. This does not feel normal. I’ve tried to find the normal in this but realised stigma is not normal. At least, it shouldn’t be.

Ignorance is not a good look. Don’t they realise how ugly it makes them. I am also going to visit her this weekend because I know how important it is to have visitors when you’re in hospital. I’m going because I genuinely care, not because I’m just fucking curious.

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6 comments

  1. It sucks that people can be judgemental, because I am bipolar, no one seems to believe my fibromyalisa is real. It happens all the time to us. I am glad you are not like the others and going to see about your coworker, it is not fun being in the hospital. Youvare the only one there who has a good heart and care about her. You matter to us, that is what counts they aren’t good friends to do you wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Eesh people are so insensitive. It’s very very nice of you to go visit her out of genuine concern and care. And even with all the mental shit, there you were, doing more and taking more pain then anyone else could. It’s shitty that coworkers only care because they’re a bunch of gossips. I hope you are feeling better pain wise, and that your coworker is ok. {Hugs}

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Sass. Some people are just assholes. Unfortunately she was discharged before I got to see her. But its good she’s on the road to recovery. Working in an office full of women is not always easy ((hugs)) to you too 🙂

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  3. I was sitting here trying to remember if I ever visited a co-worker in the hospital… I don’t think so. That’s like part of people’s personal life. I mean, if someone needed my help with something, sure. But most people have some kind of family to help them. If it was me up in that hospital bed, I wouldn’t want my co-workers seeing me in that condition, looking like crap. Only friends get to see me look like crap. 🙂

    All the cliques at work reminded me of high school. I don’t like becoming part of a clique. I take people one-on-one, not as part of a group. I don’t do well in groups. Either I sit there and don’t bother to say anything, or I talk too much. Communication is a lot easier when it’s one-on-one. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Good point. I’ve not seen it from that perspective before. I suppose it is a bit intrusive. She’s been discharged and is at home and I would never visit her at home because we’re not THAT close. The same would apply in hospital, where you are even more vulnerable. I think if I’m in that position again, I’ll phone the person, see if they need something or some company and then take it from their cue.

      I’ve nicknamed the ‘ringleader’ of the work clique “Mean Girl”. Generally I never talk at work. Staying silent keeps me out of trouble; less ammunition for the Mean Girl, and less eye rolling. Instead I’ve found people come to me with their private stuff. I think because they know I don’t talk. Ooooo, the thinks I could tell…. ;P

      Liked by 2 people

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