Monday, February 4, 2008

Sometimes it's just frustrating. . .

In my personal life, I have no problem talking about my anxiety disorder. It's been a great learning source for me as I have learned about faith and how it isn't about anything I have done but instead it is all about what God has done. I just wish it had been that easy in my professional life. Unfortunately, people seem to paint any mental disorder with the "insane" brush. Anyone seen as having a mental disorder of any kind is feared. People begin to question qualifications, abilities, and talents. Suddenly, every mistake made has more to do with the disorder. People see the disorder, not the person. Someone who might just be stressed out from the job is suddenly faced with the accusation that it's not the stress of the job, it's them. It's their disorder that's causing this and in reality, the situation is normal.

This might be a way people think they are trying to help or it might be the discrimination that people with physical disabilities have been fighting for years in the court system. Currently, I am facing such discrimination at my job. Instead of seeing me for me, they have discovered my anxiety disorder and now they need a doctor's note to say that I am sane enough to work. First of all, I believe the choice to talk to my doctor is mine. If I don't ask for protection under the EEOC, I should be treated like any other employee. If I ask for protection, then the only time my disorder should come up is in the event I need an accomodation. Unfortunately, this is not the case. My boss is treating me much differently, now. In casual conversation, she can't seem to get beyond the fact that I don't need advice on every aspect of my life because of my "special circumstances". I am good at what I do. Requesting time off for doctor's appointments are met with the "knowing eye" of *which* doctor I am going to see. I understand that I am working with ignorance and if these people took time to look passed my disorder, they would see me. But, I guess their minds are made up. My name becomes "Generalized Anxiety Disorder" with Tina merely off to the side.

I thank my God that He doesn't see me that way, but sees me through our Lord Jesus Christ. So if God doesn't define me by my disorder, why should anyone else?