This is a true event that took place in my life a few years ago. One would hope that by the time you are out of college and in an office the bullying would stop. It didn't for me. Lesson here, don't put up with that crap.
I always tried to be nice. To smile. To shrug off your comments.
I did that, mainly because I never knew how to handle your comments. This wasn’t the school play yard, this was an office. I once told you to “shut up.” Instead of the company being on my side, HR gave me a talkin’ to.
Just because you can’t see epilepsy 24/7 doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I thought I proved that when I crashed my car on the side of the highway driving home from work. I had to tearfully explain that I had had a seizure, but you laughed.
I could have died.
The economy was rough and I was scared about what my next step would be. Should I quit and find another job closer to me? Should I stick it out? Maybe they’ll work with me to help keep my job?
I didn’t know what would happen.
Scared I wouldn’t be able to find a job I could easily commute to by bus, I decided to take up the offer to work from home. Despite my old company's offer, I still tried to come in once or twice a week. Luckily there was someone nice who worked there. Someone with a soul. She chose to come pick me up even though she lived nowhere near me. I thought that might show you human kindness and compassion.
You laughed every time I came in. You told me, “Ha! At least I don’t have to ride the short bus!”
So now you weren’t just poking fun at my epilepsy. Now you decided to use an urban term aimed to make fun of anyone with a disability.
I tried to tell you to be quiet and neither you or HR listened. Maybe one day you will.
Thinking back to it now the only thing I would do differently, would be to quit.
All I can say is that if you are at a company where you are being bullied or harassed because of a disorder or disability, please quit. There are other opportunities out there and companies that will hire you despite a health issue that is out of your control.
Also, take a stand by not giving in. I thought it would feel good to tell my coworker to zip it. I learned mean people just flat out don’t care. They are mean for a reason and the best course of action would be to walk away. Allow them to see how childish it is to be making fun of someone in the workplace.
To my co-worker… You were heartless and I pray that you won’t ever have to live with something as frustrating and invisible as epilepsy. I pray that you will never have to deal with a health issue that would put you under that nasty umbrella you call “the short bus.”
I pray that someday you’ll change.
An epileptic with uncontrolled seizures