TO: JLH PLEASE READ...

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by trinity3, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. trinity3

    trinity3 New Member

    i recently made a thread about starting my new job and having a flare up... feeling as if i wasnt going to be able to do it, that i would lose the job...

    of all of the responses, yours caught me the most... you asked me not to be angry at you for your 'tell it like it is' manner.. well, i must say this... i am not angry per se... but it did disturb me...

    your post had very same overtone that i have gotten so many times from so many people who didnt understand... which confused me because you HAVE this illness... it seems as if you wear your '30 years of working despite this disease' as some sort of badge of honor or something... it seems that you bring it up in other threads as well..

    that you were able to "just do it and get to work even if it meant your family didnt get any dinner" may seem like an accomplishment to you... but there are those of us that DO try as hard as we can and still cannot do it... it is not just a matter of convincing myself to "just do it" or do my employers a favor and stop wasting their time...

    i have been a nurse for 14 years and worked my ass off despite being sick... maybe it is no 30 years... but i did everything in my power to hold on to hope and go day by day getting up everyday willing to climb that mountain again..

    and now i have come to a point in which i might have to accept that i truly HAVE to stop working... this is not easy for any of us!! we have all been faced with losses that truly grieve us..

    after i read your post i sat there and cried and had the same feeling as i have always had when faced with the misunderstanding/judgemental attitudes i have faces so many times with family/friends... it got to the point where i actually told my fiance that i was going to go into work tomorrow morning even if it killed me...as if i had to prove that i really was trying hard enough...

    luckily for me my fiance DOES understand... and made me realize that just because someone made me FEEL as if i wasnt up to par... that it didnt make it true.. that it came from someone who is actually sick with this dd doesnt make it any more acceptable..

    i am not saying that you should not speak your mind... but i think its possible to do it without sounding so judgemental.. i am glad you are so proud of your ability to 'stick it out for 30 years'... but if the rest of us cant do it, it doesnt mean we didnt try as hard as you...

    i am sure you didnt INTEND on hurting my feelings... but i think you were aware of the nature of your words, since you asked that i not get angry at you for 'telling it like it is'... well as i said i am not angry... but remember you are only 'telling it like it seems to you' not necessarily 'like it is'...
    [This Message was Edited on 10/02/2005]
  2. trinity3

    trinity3 New Member

  3. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I'm really sorry that my post upset you.

    At the time, I must have read it like you seemed to need more of a "OK, girl, you can do it--now get up and go and show 'em" speech rather that baby'ing you with the "now we all feel bad, so let's just not go in for the orientation if we don't feel like it" routine.

    I didn't mean to come off with "that undertone". I'm really a nice person, even though you're laughing at that statement now and can't possibly believe me right now! I'm used to supervising people all my life and working for the top brass who never think before they yell at you! That's how I've been talked to all my working career.

    Do you know have many times I have been told the same thing? I had a lot of absenteeism due to my health--and if you read my bio, you will see that I have quite a few health problems. I've been given that speech numerous times each year, for 30 friggin' years...... That they hired people to work because they needed them to work, etc.... That if I didn't want to work, there's the door and the highway, and there will be a line a mile long of people waiting to replace me the next morning.

    That's why I said if you're not able to go for 3 days of orientation, maybe you should think about filing for disability--that you are not physically able to work. I was not judging you as a person. I KNOW how it is to work with multiple painful conditions--it's not easy. It's a killer, you cry all the way home after work because you hurt so badly that you can't put one foot in front of the other. But, for me, I wanted to work, and did it, just one day at a time.

    Yes, I am proud that I worked for 30 years. That is a HUGE accomplishment for me--someone who lived far away from my job, had a family, was sick my entire life, was always having surgeries or in the hospital, had to take my vacation days sometimes to be sick so I didn't get in trouble, had to put up with coworkers' snide comments about "always having to cover for me because I was out sick", having men in 3-pc. suits cussing you out 1-inch from your face because you weren't a good example on attendance for the people who reported to you, yada yada yada.

    We also needed the money and I HAD TO WORK (so my husband could farm), there was just no question about it--my husband didn't understand how I felt, even when I came in the door crying. But I also WANTED to work real badly. I liked my job, loved being out around other people, and wanted to be financially independent in case I ever had a need to support my children by myself. And, yes I do repeat it often on the board because we have so many newcomers that want to know "if it is possible to work with fibro"--so yes, I have to tell them that "yes, it is possible--not fun, but possible." And, if you catch me at the wrong time, I might think that some people just don't try hard enough, and end up saying it instead of just thinking it. Then, at 4 am later that night while I am lying in bed wide awake, I think about I am feel badly about having written it. So, I guess I just can't win.

    I asked you not to get angry because you can not type enough here to get someone to realize how you're coming off in print, why you are saying what you are, and that you're not meaning it like it sounds, etc. People here are in pain and when they are tired and in pain, they are touchy. I know that I am!! And, sometimes it doesn't sound the best when you, or I, and typing it at 1:00 am in the morning, like I am now. This is probably not coming off right either. It's 1:32 am this minute and I can't hardly keep my thoughts straight because I am so tired and in so much pain, and have so much brain fog-- I have been out of town all day paying bills for my mother, and running errands for her because she is not able but doesn't have anyone else who will help her, and even though I have a pinched nerve in my back and feel worse than crap, I had to do it. I just got on the board when I came home to see what was going on. So I know my thinking is off, not in the right order, etc.

    But I really did not have any ill will, any bad intent, absolutely did not want to make you cry, -- I guess I am used to my husband talking to me this way, too (he's the top boss over his company) and he is not understanding and supporting like your finance is--you are lucky to have him.

    I would like to offer my sincere apology for sounding so judgemental. I did not mean to. I got on the soapbox too much remembering all the lectures that I got when I was in your situation. I know how it is to be on the receiving end and evidently I was just too tired and felt too bad for that to even sink in. Please accept my apology.

    Respectfully,
    Janet


    [This Message was Edited on 10/04/2005]
  4. WoodstocksMusic

    WoodstocksMusic New Member

    I always love reading your posts and enjoy seeing your point of view.

    I can also understand how easily it is to be misunderstood.

    And I am also guilty of misunderstanding others myself.

    I hope both you and trinity learn something from this misunderstanding and grow because of it.

    I know that I have learned a valuable lesson from both of you through this misunderstanding and crossed wires... I just pray that you both can now put this behind and not worry over what was said because of a simple misunderstanding of a few typed words.

    Hugs to you both.
  5. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I was just checking to see if you went to your orientation and how you did.

    Hugs,
    Janet
  6. trinity3

    trinity3 New Member

    of course i accept your apology! and i know that you werent trying to make me cry... i have seen other posts of yours where you are kind and helpful!!

    but there were a couple of people who also said they 'read' your post the way i had... so i dont feel too bad for having read it that way... but as you said, you were feeling ill and in pain and you 'said' outloud what you probably would have just 'thought to yourself' in other circumstances...

    also, i can be very sensitive and vulnerable at times, because i have ((as many do)) had very bad experiences with loved ones saying mean and cruel things to me about being ill.. my mother at one point was even kicking me on the floor of the bathroom one night because i was vomiting and was too sick to go to work...

    i guess when i posted that thread, i wasnt really expecting anyone to tell me "oh go ahead and stay home" nor "you have no choice but to go" either... i guess i just wanted to hear that we all go through this and that i wasnt alone... which i did get from alot of replies..

    so, i hope that we can just be friends.. i know you are not a bad person! as i said, i have seen many kind and helpful posts that you have made...

    *hug*
    gina
  7. trinity3

    trinity3 New Member

    i made a thread updating the situation...

    basically i was able to re-schedule the orientation...so i still do have the job... i have a few weeks till then to recover from this episode... once the orientation is over, i will only be working 4 shifts per month... with the option to add on shifts when/if i am feeling up to it... so i know that its something i can handle. i always knew i could handle the job, i was just a little caught off guard when they told me that the orientation would be a full-time week...

    so i will rest and do everything i can to build myself up for orientation in a couple of weeks...
  8. orachel

    orachel New Member

    JLH...

    ive always loved your posts and your can-do attitude. I remember my first week here, I think, eading your profile and just being ASTOUNDED by the strength and sheer force of will it must have taken you to accomplish all that you managed to in the face of such horrible pain and fatigue. You really are an inspiration.

    On the flip side, as amazing and inspirational as your story is (and don't you ever let anyone demean or take away your pride in your AMAZING accomplishments...its a huge badge of honor that you did all you could!!!)I couldn't help but feeling a bit more 'weak and pitiful' because I was simply unable to "hang in there". I know that's nothing but my own human failings and foibles at work, but I'm still very new to the illness and haven't quite "accepted fully" the fact that my professional life, at least for the near future, cannot be a huge part of my self esteem or the way I define myself as it has been for the vast majority of my life. If I keep defining myself in light of the accomplishments of my professional life, that leaves me no choice but to see myself as a failure overall...and I just refuse to feel that way. Last thing I need in my life is to lay that huge personal guilt trip on myself! LOL

    There really is an adjustment period for many of us as we attempt to go back to work, are unable to, repeat many times, etc....that is just an enormous blow, psychologically and financially.

    I finally stopped being able to work because I just flat out wasn't able to give my employer or my clients (desire to truly give my clients "my all" is why I've always worked so hard!) what they needed and had come to expect from me professionally. I found myself literally hiding in the ladies room crying in agony througout the day. My employer was in no way shape or form understanding of my situation at all...my manager at the time even gave me much more "physical tasks" than he'd ever given me before...clearly, they were really just trying to get rid of me, as my "best" wasn't 10% of what it had been only a few months before. Plus, add in some issues with safety such as being so "foggy" unable to drive without driving thru red lights and causing enormous danger to myself and others....I just couldn't in good conscience continue for many reasons...safety, professional pride in being the best advocate for my clients I could be, excellent record of coming early and staying late...none of those things were possible anymore.

    And like you, I just couldn't justify giving a "small portion" of what I used to offer to my clients and my employer...and that's on the very very few days I'd even be able to get there in the first place. I took a few steps "down" in my career a few years ago when I got married (long before I became ill) because a position with lower responsibilities and less hours allowed me the time I needed to spend more time with my new family. But, I used to manage a staff of upwards of 20 in one position, and was co-owner of another corporation as well.

    What you speak of in terms of very very reasonable expectations of managers and employers is absolutely true. There is nothing more frustrating than constant absenteeism or failure to accomplish professional goals when your entire company and bottom line depends on "people power". I used to KNOW that...that was my experience as well. Just somehow reading it from one of us was kind of an emotional "EEK!!!! Fox in the henhouse!!!!" kind of a response! Silly, I know, but that's almost what it felt like to me to see the 100% accurate corporate line written here, as it was just totally unexpected on my end. Isn't that bizarre? I'm so imperfect in so many ways, but on the positive side, as least I know it! LOL...just wanted to explain where I personally was coming from in misreading your intention (based on your explanation). So, I apologize to you, bigtime!

    So, I guess what I'm saying here is that I'm sure the vast majority of the people on this board who are unable to work for whatever reason would love to have had the strength and ability you had to perservere and be so incredibly successful in your career....I'd give just about anything I posess other than my family and what little "health" I have left to be able to be back in the professional forum. My family flat out cannot afford for me to be out of work, especially with doctors bills, etc...but there is simply no other option for me right now.

    Its great that you understand how hard it is to read something like that if you're coming from my point of view...Ie: still beating yourself up about not being able to work (and for a while I was where trinity 3 is....still doing everything possible to keep on trucking!) if you've been unable to maintain your professional life through a number of circumstances caused by this DD. I have no doubt whatsoever that you intended ABSOLUTELY no hard feelings. I've known and loved your posts and advice for a while now, and know that's just not indicative of your personality.

    But perception is mostly subjective, and sometimes its hard to read of someone elses enormous accomplishments in the face of adversity (especially when the circumstances are never "exactly" the same) when you've (in this case, I've! LOL) been unable to maintain that aspect of professional (ie: fiscally productive) life. It just hurts, you know?

    I have no doubt that going to work every day and keeping up with your familial responsibilities was tremendously hard for you and caused you enormous physical and mental anguish....But on the flip side, flat out not being able to do those things (and even coming to terms with the possibility that you may have to give up professional life in the near future) can cause tremendous emotional hurt and anguish as well. Whatever each of our decisions on this issue, we all seem to suffer in some way over our careers/jobs, or lack thereof.

    Bottom line is that as different as we all are, we are all the same in so many ways, which is why this is such an incredible network of support for me!

    I'm just thrilled that you and Trinity 3 were able to come to a better understanding of each of your "true intentions". It is so very difficult, as you wrote, to explain yourself fully in a written forum...especially when feeling bigtime pain and "foggy". That's why I write "book length" posts so often (as often as my hands allow, anyway). I think its my misguided often unsuccessful attempt to explain myself as completely as I'm able....I know its hysterical much of the time as I just become Mrs. Redundant!! LOL Misunderstandings and miscommunications are bound to occur in this type of forum.

    It's just so terrific to see 2 members that I dig so much reach a wonderfully adult understanding about what was essentially a misunderstanding built of differences in personal experience. And also, thank you so so much for taking the time to explain your true intentions. That obviously took tremendous strength and courage, and really clarified your position to me and helped me to feel a bit less "pitiful" (which was my problem, and so clearly not your intended result!). So, thanks again!!

    Hugs,
    Rachel




    And finally....TRINITY 3....I'm so flat out THRILLED that your employer was more understanding and flexible with your health situation! You must have done an incredible job of explaining the circumstances...or else you're working for a bunch of near saints! Either way, great for you!!

    Congrats, in a big way!! Your situation personally gives me a bit of hope that once I can nail down a treatment protocol that has some benefit to me, I can eliminate some of the bigger "safety" issues with me working again...and hopefully, if I'm very very lucky, I'll find a position that understands my limitations but recognizes that the contribution that I can still make is mucho valuable...even if it isn't overly consistant. I so seldom hear of an employer behaving like that...it really gives me a bit of "light at the end of the tunnel". I'm so thrilled for you, and thought of you many many times on Monday, hoping good things were going your way. Keep me updated on your progress, OK? What an amazing blessing, and how terrific they were to recoginze the contribution you had to offer!

    I'll hunt up your other post with full details about your compromise with your new employers (yeah!!!). I didn't see that thread, so I'll make sure to read all about it. Give yourself a big pat on the back! You deserve it!!

    Congrats, again and wishing you all the best in your new job!!!
    Hugs,
    Rachel