There’s a girl who just started here at work with a very severe peanut allergy. She has to make constant requests of her co-workers to please not eat peanuts in the public areas. Behind her back, everyone makes fun of her. People make jokes about sprinkling peanuts in her food or on her desk. They joke about the fact that she makes these requests at all. She didn’t ask for this.
In August, I went to the ER with a particularly severe migraine and had to return the next day because the intravenous medicine did not work. My ER doctor was not sympathetic to migraines and suggested I must just have an anxiety problem. She gave me a cocktail of injections to which I had a severe allergic reaction. I was unable to move my limbs or speak and I required an oxygen tank for a period of time. I had to take a week off of work just to garner the strength to walk from my bed to the door on my own.
Ultimately, I decided to leave my job at the law firm, partially because of migraines & the August hospitalization. Subsequently, an associate told some co-workers she didn’t see the big deal over “a couple of headaches” and figured I “just couldn’t handle the stress.” (To put this in perspective, she is notorious for taking a day or two off when she has the luxury of having a hangover; I will likely never be able to have alcohol again in my life.)
Why are we so insensitive to each other? More specifically, why are people so insensitive to people with disabilities or conditions different from their own? What can we do about it?