Disability Narratives

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Video clip: Susannah explains how she struggled to voice her needs during an office move and her relief when her manager took the lead.

It's like little things like when, when we moved offices and I was - you know - working out where people were going to sit. And I was very keen that I have a desk with natural light, because I know that one of my triggers is prolonged exposure to artificial light without any natural light. And I've had to move desks in the past, because I had too - I didn't have any natural light. And that was triggering migraines. And so I was quite keen that I had a desk near a window. But there weren't many desks near windows. And of course everybody wants a desk near a window, you know, it's natural. You know, there were windows - everybody wants a desk near a window. And I was thinking how can I possibly - you know - everybody in the group, everybody's sitting there - who wants which desk? And I was thinking how can I possibly say "I want a desk near a window. And it's not just because I want a desk near a window like everybody else does, it's because I'm going to be ill if I don't have one." And I kind of tried to express - I said "Oh, I'd really like a desk near a window." And I was kind of thinking I really don't want to - I think this is really not the, the situation where I want to stand up and say "Hey, so - I have an invisible disability, and this is what it is, and let me tell you all about it." And I was just like how do I even start to navigate this? And I mean, luckily my manager just jumped straight in. Obviously noticed that I was going through this kind of like 'oh shit, I have no idea - I do not know how to deal with this'. And he jumped in and said "I think maybe people should express their preferences and then we should discuss this offline, because there might be people with particular medical needs or things like that we need to take into account, and obviously they won't be able to say that openly." And I was just like, I was just sat there and I was thinking 'I could hug you right now, I could really hug you right now', [laughing] because that is just - I was just thinking. And I did end up in a situation where I've got natural light, and I didn't have to just stand up. And it's not that the people in my group aren't aware of, that I have migraines, because like - you know - like you mention, like obviously when I have them, I'm sitting at my desk in November with sunglasses on. Which is, you know - indoors, which is not a normal thing for anybody to be doing unless they're a rapper or something.

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