Working Flexibility and Telecommuting

When the main symptom of your condition is just “pain,” doing things like getting up and on to work feels impossible on bad days. Today is a bad day for me. The only way I am getting any relief from the pain in my legs is my reclining under my weighted blanket, and I am unsteady on my feet.

I am incredibly lucky to have a supportive work environment and supervisors who allow me to work from home when needed. I filed the necessary paperwork to receive ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accommodations, which include a set number of hours where I am allowed to work from home, but sometimes I need to call in for my regularly scheduled office time.

Having a supportive work environment makes all the difference. I have shown them that I will get my work done even when I am not feeling well, but I also work in a place which values taking care of yourself and not burning out due to work. I am scared that once my contract is over, I will not have such understanding supervisors.

I can do work. I can do good work. But if my worth is measured in how well I can conform to sitting in an office for set hours, as the majority of work situations are set up, I just cannot perform. I take the moments of clarity when they come, and I can meet all deadlines, but I must do it my way.

Of blurry beginnings

Today, I can’t wear my glasses.

The pressure of the frames on my ears and my skull is too much, and so they are sitting on the desk in front of me. I am squinting hard at the computer screen to make out the words I am typing, as my eyesight is… not good. I need those glasses. Yet putting them on causes me so much pain that any tenuous thought I could otherwise grab on to just escapes me.
Hello, my name is Rachel and I have fibromyalgia. On good days it just feels like I didn’t sleep enough and maybe overdid it slightly at the gym. On bad days I can’t even think and the pain makes it impossible to move. Despite all this, I am determined to finish my Ph.D. in anthropology at Arizona¬†State University while still maintaining a good life balance with my friends and significant other, Marc.
I will be using this blog to chronicle what it’s like as an academic with fibromyalgia. While academia is the primary focus of my life currently, fibromyalgia of course affects all aspects of my life, so this will be mirrored here as well.