Looking at my diagnosis in a positive light doesn’t come naturally to me. I usually view my health as a disadvantage, and I used to expect others to do the same.
I think this expectation stemmed from the many times I was unable to do something well or to the best of my ability due to my health, whether it’s because of a painful crisis or a lack of energy. These situations often resulted in feelings of embarrassment and disappointment in myself.
Consequently, I developed a habit of apologizing for my health in advance, even before anything had happened. It was an attempt to manage people’s expectations of me so they wouldn’t be regretful, disappointed, or embarrassed. I felt as if I always had to assume the worst in people.
On the flip side of my assumptions, I found that whenever an opportunity arose that I desperately wanted, I always did my best to hide the fact that I have sickle cell disease. I assumed others would think less of me and automatically discount me without giving me a chance to prove myself. So, in those cases, I chose to hide it.
I was reminded of these habits a couple of weeks ago during a job interview. The people interviewing me were lovely and open about what they needed, but I was secretive about my health. I didn’t want to mention sickle cell until I received a job offer.
To my surprise, the employers already knew I had sickle cell before they called me to arrange an interview. After talking about all of the job’s technical requirements, they spoke to me about my health and the adjustments they would need to make to accommodate me.
This line of questioning caught me off guard. Initially, I thought they would disapprove that I didn’t disclose my health situation beforehand, and that I wasn’t completely forthcoming. But this wasn’t the case, as they wanted to make the working environment as comfortable as possible. Then, they offered me the position!
They also reassured me that they didn’t believe sickle cell would affect my capability to manage the role. This is something I also believe, but it was refreshing to hear it from someone else. It reminded me that there are good people in the world who don’t assume the worst and give others a chance to prove themselves.
This encounter taught me to stop assuming the worst in myself and in others. I learned that having sickle cell doesn’t mean I automatically am denied opportunities, or that I have to apologize when something doesn’t go to plan.
Can you relate? Do you find yourself assuming the worst in people? Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by the way someone treated you when hearing about your diagnosis? Please share in the comments below.
Note: Sickle Cell Anemia 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 Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.
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