Reading that title probably gave a lot of you instant feelings of guilt and anxiety. Trust me, I absolutely understand.
After spending the last two years getting to know hundreds of Cushing’s patients through my Crush Cushing’s Facebook page, I’ve noticed that the guilt of having to put ourselves first, and putting our foot down to get people to respect us and our intense needs, is a quality many of us share.
For those of us who have been that way since we were little, it’s a huge learning curve to get over. For those of you who haven’t ever really been worried about putting your needs above others, you may continue doing so. Or maybe, you’ll be like many others I’ve encountered who have expressed that they have developed guilt about letting people down, and can’t seem to find a way to let friends, family members, and colleagues know they’re struggling.
Those who have a new-found fear of putting their health first find that they have been feeling that way because, before their diagnosis, they may have had a quick “need” — a day off, a half-day off, some cold medication, and so on. Now being so sick, they need weeks off at a time, because a simple cold takes two to three times longer to recover from.
A lot of our fear of putting ourselves first is that people will think we are exaggerating and taking advantage of their understanding and that friends will lose patience with us.
You want to know what I’ve learned to say to that fear?
Putting yourself first means taking care of your health and surrounding yourself with supportive people, who won’t make you feel worse for feeling the way you do. One of the best things that happened to me while I was sick was losing people I thought cared about me. I realized that they never really did.
It sounds terrible. It sounds scary. The reality is it is scary and terrible, but it’s worth it for the peace of mind you get once you realize you have fewer people you have to “prove” yourself to. Trust me — you will be so much better off without those types of people.
You may be wondering where the heck is the part about standing up for yourself in the workplace, but that is a whole other beast to tackle.
Stay tuned for next week’s post when I discuss what you can do to help yourself at work.
Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s disease.