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Coping with the Symptoms of Fibromyalgia Whilst Working

Be Open—Talk with Your Employer
Before you have your meeting with your employer it’s important to have your “facts at hand”. You need to have documentation if possible. Perhaps being able to show appointment dates with your doctor, a written statement of diagnosis, or perhaps a journal that you keep with your symptoms in it will be what you use to do this. You don’t have to share all of your personal details, just something to substantiate your condition as real and on-going.

Admit that you have Fibromyalgia and that you have symptoms that you can neither control nor predict, and that it is a very real condition.  Talk to the people in Human Resources first.  There’s a chance your employer may not be supportive, but pluck up the courage and go ahead. You have to risk having an honest and heartfelt discussion with your employer regarding the truth about your condition. There is a chance that your employer may be more supportive of you than you thought and your work condition could actually improve by “clearing the air”.

Without all that hiding and pressure, your work production and quality may actually improve and help you achieve a much healthier and happy existence. Plus, your employer may be able to help you understand with the help of Human Resources, the laws and regulations regarding workplace discrimination against those who have very real and verifiable health conditions. Don’t neglect doing a little research first! Find out for yourself what the guidelines are, and what you have to have in order to show documentation of your condition. Arm yourself

It’s important to talk about what you are able to do.  You want to assure your employer that you are still a valuable employee and that there are many things you are able to do in order to contribute to the company. Remind them about things you’ve accomplished in the past while they were not aware that you were dealing with your Fibro symptoms.

The next step is to lay out what you have to have or do in order to deal with days when your symptoms are insurmountable and how you need to deal with it. This shows initiative, it shows a position of strength, it shows responsibility and it shows that you are not falling back on excuses but actively taking control of your condition.

Before your meeting write things down and if possible print them out so you have something they can look at and also keep in your employee file. Tell them what you will be using as tools to help you deal with your condition at work so it doesn’t come as surprise when they see it. You need a plan of action in place before you go in for your meeting.

Perhaps your employer may have access to other things that can help you as well. Ergonomic tools and furniture to help you or other things that they know about that perhaps you don’t. Be open to suggestions and work together to come up with a plan.

A lot of employers are more than willing to work with you to keep you because they don’t want to spend the money to interview, employ, and train a whole new employee for your position.

The relief gained from finally coming out with it and then taking control of a plan of action can benefit you in so many ways. Again, like that rock thrown into the pond, the ripple effects can go on and on both professionally and personally.

You have the potential of learning new ways to cope, new ways to increase your value at work, and most of all you gain the knowledge that you are not alone and you have the backing of your employer and co workers

It is a good idea to list the symptoms which are causing the most problems for you in the workplace. Then discuss with your employer what can be done about making modifications to make coping with the symptoms easier for you.

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