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Disability and hidden impairments - a staff story

Disability and hidden impairments - a staff story
04 December 2021

18 November to 18 December is Disability History Month and one of the themes is ‘Disability and hidden impairments’.

Lucy Pearson works as Diagnostic Imaging Assistant in our Radiology Team and has a number of hidden disabilities.

Lucy has shared her personal story of how she has recently been supported to return to work and how she wants to encourage others who have a disability and may be struggling to reach out and get the support they need.

“It has just been over a year since I returned to work having been off sick for 2 months with stress and significant anxiety. Along with the challenges that come with home life I was struggling at work after years of frustration, trying to work with ‘hidden disabilities’ and feeling like I wasn’t understood.

“I have ME also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, psoriatic arthritis and numerous other auto immune diseases, greedy some might say, and it is fair to say that just getting out of bed every morning felt like I was trying to climb a mountain. I was often off sick when I had flare ups and as a result I always felt like I was threatened with HR and Occupational health referrals every time even though it was out of my control.

“It was a lonely place to be. As a clinical member of staff I could always sympathise with my patients pain and frustration and having spent my 14 years at the Trust I could use my experience to help others.

“I was referred to Occupational Health where I then decided to ring the Human Resources Team for some help. I am truly overwhelmed with the support I received from HR and Occupational Health. The team took the time to listen to me and I felt like I was being taken seriously which meant so much.

“The Trust also has a Disability Equality Network and I cannot say thank you enough to the support you have given me to help me navigate through this challenging time. It is so important to have these networks and it is refreshing to be able to talk things through and be comforted by the fact you are not alone.

“Through the time my colleagues have given me, I have been taught resilience and feel encouraged, which has ultimately helped me to have a better quality of life. I cannot say thank you enough to my colleagues who have supported me.

“To also have the support of wider hospital friends and my immediate team has opened my eyes and world up at work and what a wonderful team we have and how far we’ve come.

“As a result of working with HR and Occupational Health I have such a good relationship with my manager. Since January I have been able to work 45 extra shifts and have only taken 1 day off sick which was unrelated to my health conditions. 

“I would encourage anyone who may be struggling or just needs someone to chat to reach out to Occupational Health and HR colleagues and to join the Disability Equality Staff Network. They are all there to support you.”

Thank you #TeamIOWNHS

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