Holy Education Batman…Barney is just not batty.

After a meeting of the SEIU 503 Civil Rights Committee, I decided it is time to educate everyone on hidden disabilities.  I am not talking about asthma you can hear them wheeze and/or they as you to not to wear scents.  I am talking about that area housed in people brains.  Mental illness and mental disabilities.

PTSD is becoming more and more common.  However there is a misconception that only soldiers and rape victims have PTSD.  Anyone who has experienced a severely traumatic event-especially one that involves life or death.  I personally have it from finding my father dead of heart of attack in the front yard when I was 9 years old.  Signs of PTSD can be re-experiencing the event, avoidance behaviors,  and they being easily startled or jumpy.

Everyone jokes about OCD Olivia.  The person in the office who has to have everything just so. Well, 1 out of every 40 people is clinically diagnosed with OCD. People with the disorder literally have a compulsion to have things just so and to check and recheck things.  They feel that if they do not do theses things, something bad will happen. It is not funny to them and should not be made fun of.

One thing I often hear is so-and-so is bi-polar so moody.  Bi-polar moods take time to switch it is not instant.  In borderline-personality disorder, the change could be instant.  So when you throw around terms like bi-polar referring to a moody co-worker, you could be insulting Stable Sally who you have never seen  be moody at work, but had bi-polar disorder that is controlled by medication.

For more information on mental illness, please go to http://www.nami.org

There are brain disorders that have nothing to do with mental illness.  A coworker could have a cognitive disorder like semantic dementia,  That means they lose semantic memory (knowledge of understandings, concept based knowledge  and general world knowledge).  They would show symptoms of dyslexia, reading impairments, and an atypical spelling-t0-sound correspondence.  So Sam may not be lazy and stupid, there may be other things going on in his head.

Finally, I want to talk about Alzheimer’s in the workplace. People are no longer retiring in there 50’s and 60’s.  Because of the economy, we are working older to make ends meet.  As sad as this sounds, we spend more time with our coworkers then their families.  We need to know the signs of what to watch for, so we can let them know.  I know of a case where the co-workers covered for someone so long, that by the time the family found out, it was almost too late to have any quality time left.  The following is taken from the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org):

Signs of Alzheimer’s

Typical age-related changes

Poor judgment and decision making Making a bad decision once in a while
Inability to manage a budget Missing a monthly payment
Losing track of the date or the season Forgetting which day it is and remembering later
Difficulty having a conversation Sometimes forgetting which word to use
Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them Losing things from time to time

If you find that your coworkers are having these kinds of symptoms at work, you owe it to their family to let them know.

This end the end of my educational post.  Just remember, you coworkers are one of your circles and you need to be aware of them  just like your other circles.