During my first year of graduate school, I did a fairly good job of concealing what was going on with my health. I pretty much told people on a need-to-know basis. And luckily, except for the very end of first semester, things never got quite bad enough to alert the masses.
However, now I am sort of in a quandary. While I am feeling much better than I was before, I am quite easily tired. When I put in full days or several full days in a row, it definitely catches up with me. And lately, it takes me forever to get started. And I do still have other symptoms, even though they aren’t as bad as they used to be.
So, I start an internship in a couple of weeks and I wonder what, if any, information should be disclosed to the program director and my mentor about my illness.
You know, it all goes back to the fact that if my disease was wrapped up in one nice little package, it would be easy to tell people, “Okay, I have this. And therefore, I might act or feel this way.” However, things still aren’t quite as simple as that and truth be told, may never be.
Similarly, I’m going to start GSIing (teaching) in the fall. And I wonder what information I need to provide to the professor I’ll be teaching for. So much of this is based on what ifs. What if I flare up again? What if I get sick from my medication? What if I can’t plan doctor’s appointments around class?
It’s hard to know what to tell people and what not to, especially given how insensitive some people have been about my situation thus far.
And I guess I also don’t want to be one of those people who is accused to using their illness to their advantage. Although I think that thus far, I’ve done just the opposite and have worked through it, probably to the point of doing myself more harm than good. And I guess, ultimately, there will always be those people who simply don’t understand and never will, and say negative things about me, just to make themselves feel better.