Sunday, June 11, 2017

Would you rather be you?

I wonder if it seems incongruent that I should be busting with empathy for the young people I work with, the ones who struggle with depression, anxiety, and all sorts of other mental illnesses and disturbances.  And yet, I can muster no such compassion for my coworker.  It seems unfair that I should have so little room for empathizing with her, and it makes me wonder why I feel this way.  This list is a compilation of reasons I cannot empathize with M:

- she says she is allergic to everything, but she frequently eats things she says she can't eat
- she doesn't answer her work email for weeks at at a time, but will respond immediately if something free is being given away
- she jingles when she walks because she wears a lot of jewellery
- she lisps when she talks because she is lying (that's patently ridiculous)
- she always applies to go to professional development opportunities that will get her out of being at work
- she does not respond to students' requests for appointments
- she claims to care very much about her career in spite of being terrible at it
- she claims to care very much about being part of a "team" although she does not contribute
- she takes credit for other people's work
- she brings in student counsellors to take on her work
- she does not supervise her student counsellors 
- she complains about being very busy all the time although she spends her whole day with her door shut, not seeing students
- she leaves her paperwork for others to do when she falls behind and then calls in sick
- she seems very very very very happy and seems to have no idea how much she sucks

That's not a comprehensive list by an means but it covers the most important things.  When I look at the list I realize it's largely the last item that makes me unable to care about her apparent mental illness.  It's her apparent lack of awareness that her actions impact others.  The way she seems so pleased with herself and seems to think she's quite wonderful.  It really rankles.  Why?

Maybe it's because I ask myself at least a hundred times a day if I'm doing a good enough job.  Maybe it's because I am oversensitive to how my actions impact other people.  It's something to do with these facts, absolutely.

I'm too irritated to feel sorry for her, even though obviously something is wrong with her.  And that's the problem with invisible illnesses; maybe the more "normal" a person appears to be, the less room there is to tolerate something less.  Maybe that's it.

Or maybe it's the lisping and jingling.  I really hate that.


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