Why are people with IBD drawn to stressful jobs?
It’s true, in all my years in and out of hospital I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone who has a chronic condition (and is in work) who has a job which doesn’t go hand in hand with massive amounts of stress.
I’m a political reporter – enough said.
While everyone who has Crohn’s or Colitis has different triggers for their illness, the most common exasperator seems to be stress, but we seem to be drawn to jobs that have the highest levels of pressure possible.
I have always found I’m in a catch 22 when it comes to working with my illness: I’m a total work-a-holic and I both thrive under pressure and crumble.
Over the years I’ve pushed myself to the limit when it comes to my job, it’s almost been like I’ve been trying to make up for the fact that I’ve been so ill – like I think I’ve got something to prove.
I’ve filed copy from hospital beds and taken my work to the toilet when things have got bad – and I’ve worked all night when the pain has made it impossible to sleep.
The fatigue is crippling and that’s what hits you the most.
But I’ve had my days where work has been impossible, and I now realise that my point proving was hugely detrimental to both my health, probably making me iller than ever, and ultimatly my sanity.
Now as someone who is pretty much well all the time (thanks to my operation) I look back on how I was with horror.
Working around the clock was my way of trying to block out my illness, it was in a way a distraction. But in reality every day I worked until 1am, or stayed up reading reports all night pushed me closer towards the surgeons knife.
It is easy to look back and think I was stupid, but at the end of the day I also have to admit that I love being a journalist, and that’s not an easy job to do when you’re rushing to the loo all the time and in crohnic pain.
I have the upmost respect and admiration for anyone who can hold down a job while living in chronic pain – and I also get why people can’t work.
I was only ever off sick when I simply couldn’t move: when things got really bad my editor sent me home for falling asleep at my desk.
Sometimes I wish I’d slowed down a bit and realised it was ok to ring up work, give in and have a sick day – but I guess I was too stubborn for that.