One in four people keep their headaches a secret to avoid discrimination at work, according to findings of a study released yesterday. Headache UK, an alliance of five headache nonprofits in the UK, conducted a survey of more than 3,000 people who work and have debilitating headaches. Additional results include that 53% of respondents believe that their careers have been hindered by headache and 9% had been disciplined for missing work when they had headaches.
When I was working, my headaches weren’t a secret (I can’t keep anything a secret), but I did downplay how significant the pain was. I took out an overdraft on goodwill from my boss and stayed at that job longer than I should have. And I wonder how many people believed how debilitating my headaches truly were.
Is there a happy medium between laying it all out and being secretive? Is it possible to be a effective employee when you have severe pain? How can we keep ourselves financially afloat when we can barely get out of bed?