Sleep and Appearances

First the good news – I slept last night!!! I slept uninterrupted for a full 7 hours and it felt glorious. Granted, I hadn’t slept properly in at least 9 days, and that probably contributed to the level of tiredness. Still, I slept through the night without any daunting dreams that I can recall. The general tiredness has not left me but I know catching up on lost sleep is going to take some time. So, for now, I’ll celebrate the fact that I slept soundly and hope my body is adjusting to the medication. Fingers crossed. Knock on wood. Here’s hoping.

The other day, my manager told me I look more chipper than I had in a while. All she knows is that I’m experiencing some health issues or personal problems, as she puts it. Of course, she doesn’t know that I’ve checked myself and made sure I’m smiling before I enter her office. She doesn’t know that at that very moment, I’m holding back tears, as I seem to do 75% of my work day. Most days at work, I try hard to not appear out of sorts. If I’ve been crying at my desk, I check the mirror to make sure I look okay before I step into the hallway.  If I come across someone, I say hello as always, not knowing what my facial expression is saying.

But her comment made me wonder how I’m supposed to look with what to her are undefined health issues. Other than maybe looking sad, there may not be any outward physical signs of not being mentally healthy or of having depression. Her comment felt insensitive and set an expectation that I have to appear a certain way. If I don’t appear sick, I must be okay. I’m sure that was not her intention, especially since she does not know what my health issues are. She was just trying to be nice.

One thing for sure though is that this whole thing is definitely making me more aware of how I’m coming at people. Maybe that co-worker who gets on my nerves is experiencing some personal challenge that he’s trying to manage outside of work. It’s a good reminder for me to be more compassionate with those around me, and not judge people on how they appear.

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