*In Rihanna* Work work work work work

As if starting two new neurological treatments in August and September weren’t enough what else is back? You guessed it! We are back to school in full swing for nearly 10 weeks now. Lots of quality instructional time with my favorite lil gremlins. What a joy. Truly.

Can you sense the sarcasm?

No, no, no I kid…Mostly. I do very much love my job, (for my principal: if you’re reading this please never make me leave I love our school so much), but man the transition is always tough. Transitions in general are challenging, then add all kinds of other obstacles, and damn it’s like how did I manage to even get here?

I had been kind of dreading returning to work this fall and building it up in my head since like May. I probably mentioned before but this spring I had a real rough go of things and had to take medical leave from work. Much of which left me with some procedures and ongoing treatments that will have me out throughout the fall and winter. Although I am legally protected in all this and understand I need to take care of me and blah blah blah, it’s still something I manage to feel HUGELY guilty and self conscious about. Even now as I need to take time for ongoing treatments I feel guilty, which is objectively nonsensical. Why on earth should I be the one feeling bad when I am also the one getting 32 needles to the head? It’s just such an irrational complex that for whatever reason I haven’t been able to shake.

I think those feelings go hand in hand for a lot of people with invisible illnesses and disabilities, or chronic illnesses in general. It’s like this “it’s not that bad” complex. Between worrying what everyone else thought about my medical leave and wondering if I really was going to be well enough by this arbitrary end of summer deadline and how the new treatments would go, the anxiety was nice and high, right where I like it. I hear it’s good for my other conditions? I wanna channel my inner Rihanna and just not give a fuck, but it’s inevitable to be confronted with so many little decisions throughout the day that you have to think, hmm well how will my illness impact everyone else in this situation?

Working with a disability especially of the invisible variety is to put it plainly challenging as fuck. Things simply are not designed with this community in mind. Leave policies, building structures, hours, even shit that is supposed to be celebratory like bruh, I have never been able to eat any staff birthday cake or complimentary breakfast spread without some kind of allergic reaction or serious gastrointestinal distress. My primary care doc always gets on my case about my job, like is it really the best environment? I mean sure a Title I, Urban DC school might not be the best place for someone who is not only immunocompromised but also incredibly sensitive to environmental triggers and stress. Like ok whatever, but my teachers union insurance is duh bomb and I love the kids so what do you want from me?

It’s so weird being in this limbo between healthy enough to work without a shitload of issues, and so disabled to not work at all. I feel myself drifting between these poles and it is beyond impossible to 1) explain this to your HR department and 2) really know what’s the best foot forward for myself most of the time. I also have this creeping feeling that decision will get made for me pretty swiftly once my symptoms reach a certain point, and well I kind of want to squeeze the most out of this time I can.

For any other spoonies, out there trying to keep working holla at me. How do you cope? What works for you? I have literally zero idea how comments work on here, but will try! And am always responsive on Instagram @the_illest_blog ✌🏻🌺💛

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