Photo by essygie / Creative Commons
Mum, Dad, I have something to tell you: I’ve got PSC.
I hang around on a PSC forum which is hosted by the PSC Support UK group (my username is ‘nufkin’ if anyone is interested). Recently they have been having a discussion about What to tell work
When I read threads like this I can’t help but feel a huge sense of déjà vu. To me, this is just the same as the types of conversations I’ve had about coming out as gay.
Both being gay and having PSC are elements that I cannot control. Both have a fairly major impact on my life. And both have the possibility of changing the way in which people think about me.
There are basically two sides to the argument:
- Tell people as this is just a part of who you are.
- Keep it a secret as you never know how people will react.
With being gay this leads to children keeping it to themselves and lying to those they love. I cannot begin to describe how this feels. To have to keep track on what you have said, to whom and when, just to make sure that you don’t let something slip.
A box is created between your head and your mouth. It’s sole job is to scan everything you want to say and then filter out anything that may lead to people realising you are gay.
This all eventually comes to a head at some point where you ‘come out’. << That sentence really makes it sound like a easy thing. It isn’t. It was and I think will always remain the most difficult and terrifying thing I have ever done. And remember, this isn’t something that just happens once. Coming out is a multiple event. Once to one friend to test the water. Then to a group of friends to test the wider impact. Then to someone in the family. Then to your parents. Then at work. Part of the horror of this is that you are basically admitting to these people that the person they have known for 5, 10, 15 years is a lie.
However, once you have told everyone you ever lied to, you never have to do this again. A lot of gay people get accused of introducing themselves as gay.
Hi, nice to meet you. My name is Mark and I am gay.
Let’s just get this straight now (ha): This is not ‘rubbing it in your face’. This is not ‘defining the most important part of me as gay’. This is to ensure that we never have to come out again. If new people know from the start then there is no need to go through coming out.
Of course there are more elegant ways to do this than the above, which is what – I hope – people eventually realise. When you ask about my girlfriend I will correct you. I may, shock horror, even talk about him without prompting when he has done something I am proud of. Just like you would when your other half does something good. This is my way of not lying to you and avoiding the dreaded coming out.
So why should it be any different with my illness?
As you can see, from the whole of this blog, I am not ashamed to admit that I have PSC. My name is in the header and the URL. My picture is at the top of the page.
But. And this is a big but. I am currently applying for jobs. I work as a webby person so I would expect any potential employer to google my name to see what comes up. They have full access to this blog and I would hope that they see this and think, ‘Oh cool. He has a blog. He knows about this web 2.0 stuff. He is the man we need.’
Rather than: ‘Oh cool. He has a blog. What is it about? Oh, he’s ill. What is PSC? Oh. Crap. Well, let’s not employ him.’
But I guess I will just wait and see what happens.
Read Full Post »