Friday, 14 March 2008


One of the workbooks I have has an exercise concerning my rights.
I have agreed with my CMHN that I will focus on one each day and look out for it.
Today's was the first on the list:
"I have the right to be treated with dignity, respect and compassion."

Did it happen at work today?

Did it heck!

And the reason?

Not the pupils. No, they were respectful to me (as I was to them).
It was other colleagues who ignored me, stopped talking when I walked in, and showed no concern for my wellbeing. Given the state I was (visibly) in during most of today, that was quite a shock. Given the amount of support I try to provide to others, doubly so.
The exceptions were notable. The teaching assistants and some members of teams in which I work.
But the people I thought I had a relationship with? The people I let see how distressed I was yesterday? Most of them didn't even speak to me all day.

"I have the right to be treated with dignity, respect and compassion."

Well, today didn't really prove that one for me.


mandy lifeboats appeal said...

You do have the right to be respected and treated properly...the problem is people (who don't have MH fact any real disabilities) get empathy weary.

They can give compassion, even genuinely feel it for a while but it kind of ebbs away. I found that at work. Not with everyone. Some people were loyal, understanding and supportive to the end with me but most got sick of me being sick.

Now, i am not advocating that everyone has to bend over backwards to accommodate illness. In fact, for me, being away from work suits all concerned (mostly me)but humans are intolerant in the main. They bore easy...they need to get on a do...and in busy, stressful and demanding situations, well showing support for others is not easy.

Employment can be quite cut throat...I know working in the college was. Every one at a certain level or above, and/or climbing the ladder certainly, were out for themselves.

But everyone ill or not needs to remember that none of us are infallable. We are all in flux and when we get ill or need support is comforting to know others will care. Or at least live with some hope that they do.

I am so sorry that your colleagues did not give you the due respect you deserved but I am not surprised.

people are fickle, pre-occupied with targets and sadly they hunt, or huddle, in packs. The survival of the clonest (if that is a term..well, it is now).

Am fightin on with my own bonkers way.

And i respect and admire you for working and doing the very best you can.


Disillusioned said...

It's interesting for me to compare my experience with that of a colleague who was recently off work for an extended period.
The length of time we were off was similar.
She got cards, phonecalls, delighted welcomes when she came in to school to visit, empathy, sympathy, confidentiallity.
I didn't.

The difference - I had a mental health issue, she had cancer. Fortunately it was very treatable and with a high "cure" rate.
Now, I wouldn't wish cancer on anyone. I'm not disputing it was terrible for her. But there's a massive contrast in our experiences of being ill at our work place. She has been back at work (part time) for several weeks, and people are still looking out for her.

I have a friend who was off work recently with depression. I called her regularly> I was horrified by the lack of support and sympathy some members of staff displayed. I heard them say that she "didn't want" to be well. Nobody ever said that about my colleague with cancer. Why would they? But it was seen as OK to say it about someone with depression?
I don't get it. And I am hurt by the contrast.

mandy lifeboats appeal said...

the thing with cancer is that 1 in 3 people are going to get it..or that is what the statistics say.

People see their worst fears of themselves in the colleague who had cancer. Well, that is how I see it and I may be deluded in that view but it is about how people relate to each other. What they see of themselves in each other.

People cannot relate to mental illness...unless they have experienced it or have seen it in people closer to them. And people who haven't had mental illness really don't think they can get it. They have immunity...or maybe they are just so plain scared of it..more scared of it than getting cancer. Not sure on that one..but there is the leper element of mental illness still in society's pscyhe. We are the outsiders. Even when we are right in the thick of it.

Actually, I don't think we are ever really allowed in.

Wow. Suki (my cat) just jumped on my lap. And sat with me, whilst at my pc. She has never done that before.

Perhaps she is trying to say something to me...not just "Hey, mum gissa fuss" but that she is accepting. Animals don't have the prejudices that humans do. Hmm..ponders..

Anyway, back to the main plot. My years of SU involvement have taught me that people with mental illness are tolerated to a point, but when it gets to a point where there is dissent, that challenging of party lines, the person is 'side lined', 'over-ridden' and ignored.

And what you then get is the compliant mentally ill being involved and the rest are ignored. And let us not forget those who cannot be involved in 'mainstream' (due to the severity of their illness) and nearly all SU arenas are mainstream then they are excluded without a second thought.

It is a heavily biased society against the mentally ill. You are incredible for holding down your job (which is about as mainstream as anyone can get), doing it well and whilst maintaining your morals. That takes some doing.

Be proud of yourself. I am proud of you. Not that that counts for much but I am.


Rainbow dreams said...

sorry you had such a bad day, we do all have that right - am sending love and hugs.. xx

Fiona said...

We DO indeed all have that right, but the workplace can be such a competitive environment that people don't always manage to give each other respect in it. Your post has made me think about some of my reactions at work yesterday - could do better, is probably what my report should say. Thanks for reminding me.

Disillusioned said...

Thank you all.