Judgments We Can Face With Lupus
I had to give up my career in the travel industry 15 years ago which was an incredibly difficult time in my life, I absolutely loved my job and I was only 26-years-old.
My lupus was undiagnosed at the time but I knew there was something terribly wrong as I was so unwell.
Leaving work because of lupus
It might sound ridiculous but I remember feeling like I was a failure and perhaps people thought I was being a drama queen for having to take so much time off due to the countless sick days and hospital appointments I had taken before I had to leave.
In the weeks after, I felt like I was going through a grief process because I missed my job and my work friends so much and unbelievably I still felt guilty that I couldn’t stay.
Self-confidence with lupus
My relationship at the time with my partner became rather difficult and I felt like he was judging me because financially we had gone from having 2 salaries down to 1 and he was constantly reminding me of this. I felt like I must be a failure because I couldn’t be independent and be the same person that he met 5 years before.
I would feel so awkward when meeting people because they would ask me what I did for a living and I’d have to say that I could no longer work. I would always worry that they would think I was just a lazy person. In hindsight, most people probably wouldn’t think like that but sadly I have had people including a family member make sarcastic remarks about it.
I’ve always been quite a driven person and very independent so I think perhaps this was a sensitive issue that I was dealing with. My self-confidence had certainly taken a nosedive!
What I have learned since my lupus diagnosis
During the first 10 years of my illness, I would always feel on edge about the judgments people might be making about me because I would get frequent comments such as, "but you look really well, you’ve got nice rosy cheeks," or one particular person would often ask if I was better yet?!
I’ve learned to realize that some people just need education about lupus as they simply don’t understand it. I can deal with that. I feel like I have been on a journey that has been turbulent but I’m a much stronger person and I’m now much less concerned about what people think of me.
I’ve discovered my worth and that is so much more important than any material aspect such as what career I have and how much money I earn.
I look at what lupus has taught me and it has been a great teacher! I have so much empathy for others, I ended my relationship as I was always feeling judged and I’ve made some great friendships.
Don’t let anyone make you think you’re any less of a person because you are sick. I believe everything happens for a reason and out of the ashes we can create a new life with lupus, perhaps not one that we would have intentionally chosen but a new journey begins and we can end up making new friendships, relationships, and maybe even new opportunities will come knocking along the way.
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