I’m unreliable. I know it. I hate this about myself, but it’s something I often don’t have control over.
I used to be reliable. Punctual, trustworthy; if I said I’d be somewhere I got there, and on time. I’ve always been a hyper-organised Virgo, and that hasn’t changed; these days I write everything (everything!) down in a pink Filofax planner, to be later transferred to my laptop and wall calendars, because a combination of my painkillers and my pain have converted my brain into something strongly resembling a sieve. So I know where I’m supposed to be, but more often than not I can’t get there.
My pain and mobility vary wildly, even in the course of one day. I have good patches and bad patches. When I hit ‘attending’ on a Facebook event that’s a few days (or weeks) into the future, I have no way of anticipating how I will be when it arrives. So often, I flake out. I say ‘maybe’ a lot, and then never turn up. One of my friends, who also deals with chronic pain and illness, understands this completely. The rest get mildly to very annoyed with me after a while, because it seems to them like I can never commit, like I don’t care enough to try. Most of my friends don’t see me when I’m bad (I go to ground like a wounded animal and embrace my inner hermit) so they have trouble understanding.
Being unreliable is one of my biggest concerns about being able to work in my profession once I finish studying. I can’t imagine many employers would be sympathetic to the fact that, on any given day, I might not be able to turn up. Or if I do, I might not be able to do anything. Some of my uni lecturers seem to find it irritating enough, and they’re not paying me.
Of all the identity shifts that have occurred for me since being sick, this is one of the most painful. I tend to overshare about my condition so people don’t just assume I’m flaky because I’m lazy and I don’t care. I do care, so much; my body just isn’t good at showing it.