Working with migraine: discrimination

Headache migraine people - Doctor woman stressed. Woman Nurse /

 

I know in the past my workplace has been downright illegal when dealing with me and my disability, which was obviously compounding stress for me and a real drag that they could not compromise and did not want to help motivate me in different methods of coping with a disability in the workplace.  They did threaten to fire me, told me to resign, had me sign documents promising I would not miss work regardless of my heath, threatened to demote me (and did a few times) and had me fearing they would lay me off using some other random reason.

For most people who find themselves in this situation I would obviously tell them to report it, go to there human resources or over their mangers head… something.  But in reality I feared repercussions of doing so because I know how easy it is to lay people off for some other reason and make it look legit… but more so us chronic pain sufferers have this bizarre guilt that suggests we are at fault in some way for being sick (maybe because we do face all this blame that we think in part it must be true and we feel like we are failing so many people) and then there is the sense that we are not strong enough to cope with it.  That is all bullshit.  But powerful nonetheless.

People frequently told me my job was not worth jeopardizing my health but that overpowering guilt of not being able to work and being a burden on others made me grip keeping my job, not matter what they told me, even when clearly I was having troubles with pain… but I always assumed those troubles would be fleeting and would not last forever and once my medication kicked in it would all be better.  Lies like that help me get out of bed in the morning.  Nonetheless all that harassment I received was never reported, no changes were made, no behaviors tweaked… and it made me feel embarrassed or even responsible for what I considered a failure.  Keep in mind I am even more disillusioned now that I am aware no matter what things will stay the same and someday I suppose when push comes to shove I might be incapable of proceeding but I damned well will try.  it has left me with a bit of resentment and bitterness because I know I am disposable and my company does not have my best interests at heart, which makes things more difficult than they need to be, but that’s life.

So, yes, in the past there was some blatant discrimination.  Even such comments that there could be no accommodation because I am not visibly physically disabled and that my role was a face to face one that did not allow for at home work or less hours… there they were just being bitchy.  Maybe because they realized when they threatened my livelihood and made me feel so useless while my doctor was tweaking my medication and I was at those peak pain periods that by adding those stressors and threats my doctors immediately put me on short term leaves, partly because of the stress work was adding and partially because they did not want my job threatened.  Probably a good thing they did or I would have cracked years ago.  So now that I am forcing myself to comply to other peoples demands, including work, and anybody else for that matter, simply because there is no flexibility so I assume I am expected to, and take way more medication than I am comfortable to do so, but at least someone wins in the whole situation.  Easier not to fight because losing costs me a lot over time.  Or I just can’t muster up the energy to fight right now.  Survival mode had gotten me through years before, without any reflection, just moment by moment existing; works real well till you start thinking about it.

But you would think with me just giving in that the discrimination would cease, since past experience tells me my employer is pleased with my performance in all ways, except when I am in too much pain to function and can’t come to work.  Sure they are unpleasant when I first return from a leave of absence and sometimes downright rude in that so common attempt of make me miserable so I quit and saves them coming up with an excuse method, which by the way, worked very well with other staff members but not so well for me when I have a hell of a time holding onto a job and no other job would be better, if they were insane enough to hire me.  But then they settle down and think because I have less migraines that surely I must be cured.

So when I was recently promoted I thought it was nice to be back on track, after being demonted, promoted, demoted and promoted.  I thought I would get the raise that comes with the position.  But nope.  They made my promotion conditioned on finishing training.  So I went to that training thing, which was not pleasant physically for me, but I did it.

Then nope, not until I do some other training that will be some indeterminate time in the future. What the actual hell?

Now, they have hired people from outside of the company for this specific role, and paid them that wage to learn for over a year.

We have one on staff right now that I have more actual qualifications, as in more of the necessary training, who is getting paid at the proper rate and has the roll instead of finishing everything a couple years later and then getting promoted.  So it is a double standard.

For me they will wait for the last possible moment to pay me properly me, because they think I am at higher risk of going on disability, short term or not.  Isn’t that discrimination?  I mean I was actually promoted to this roll years ago, then when on leave, and was demoted down to the beginning again…  so at one time they were willing to give me the roll and then get the training as it came up and they are certainly willing to do it for other people… but not me anymore.  For a moment this irked me and then came that damned shame, guilt, embarrassment that made me say to myself that I got why they were doing that, that they were hedging their bets with me because I am not dependable.  But I am dependable when I am able to work and I do my job well, they admit to that, and my chronic pain is not a character flaw… so it is not like I am not responsible enough, lazy or not hard working.  So they are basing this solely on my disability.  That doesn’t seem right and when you add in all their past behavior, well, it just makes me wish they didn’t trash my self-worth over everything.  It’s just mean to ruin someone’s confidence like that.

But whatever, not like I can do anything about it, or at least not without fearing their would be some serious negative consequences.  This has been a rough migraine week.  Since I got back from that trip I just have not been able to kick this streak of acute migraines.

 

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