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Disability Narratives

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Interview excerpt: The reaction of some colleagues to Mary’s condition has caused her worry and made her feel guilty.


Image representing Mary

It was troubling to me, that I kept having to explain why. And you feel embarrassed. And you feel you're not pulling your weight. So I found that very difficult, yeah.

And it wasn't sufficient to say, "Well I've been given an exemption."

They'd normally come back and say, "Well could you do this number?" [Laugh].

[Laugh] Right as an opening bargaining sort of –

Yeah, so - yeah, exactly. So I always felt I was being pushed into a position of being unhelpful, when I didn't - I want to be helpful. And I think because I felt so bad that I wasn't doing the examining, it made it kind of worse, you know.

So the general trajectory after the first eighteen months [the pain] stopped getting worse, I suppose, after the first eighteen months - has been upwards. But so incrementally, that it's probably not always apparent to other people. And yes, there is that thing of people seeing you doing something one day, and then the next - pouring water at lunch is the classic. That leaning over and doing that, is a difficult thing. And so I am always worried that people will you know, think that I should be able to do it every day, if I can do it one day. So I do feel like just stupid, because - you know - I know what I can do and can't do. So I don't know why I'm worried about what they think. But it's human nature I suppose, isn't it, to worry about those things. Particularly if you're not - if you're worried that you're not doing as much work as you should, or something like that.

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