After a year and a half, I left my Canary Wharf office (the mysterious looking one lurking in the background of this pic) for the last time today. Work, and the fact that I have felt challenged by it, has continued to be extremely important for me since I was diagnosed in September 2013.
Ever since I found writing a news-style task in primary school frustratingly difficult, journalism intrigued me. When I realised that my desire to go to art school because I liked to draw and paint was shortsighted, I knew I would become a journalist (nobody warned me about the pay).
Working my way up from writing for our school newsletter to university newspaper contributor, from trainee features writer to senior reporter, I’ve learnt an incredible amount in the last 6 and a half years. The trying parts of the job have always been more than compensated by the more rewarding aspects – not least getting to speak to people from all walks of life and getting to write creatively. Ok, and I’ve had a few decent press trips too.
When I found out about my MG, I’m not ashamed to admit that being fit to do my job was one of my first concerns.
I remember the first conversation I had with my editor of the time about the condition vividly. I was terrified about the consequences of admitting it – feeling guilty that I’d let him, and everyone else, down. And I felt embarrassed. Like I was admitting some kind of defeat.
Thankfully, I found myself working with a rather lovely bunch of people. They were quietly supportive without ever making it an issue and, best of all, they helped me make light of it. Flexible working was encouraged anyway, but, I’m glad to say, it hasn’t stopped me from doing my job. In fact, the last year has been one of my best career-wise – my confidence has flourished due to the support of my team and my drive to continually improve.
People have told me I’m a workaholic and my job shouldn’t be a priority any more. To them I say: having myasthenia doesn’t change the fact that I’m ambitious and I intend to have a fulfilling career. There may be some who would say that I’ve been lucky to be able to continue working, but I’ve done as much as I can to keep myself as mentally and physically fit as I can. With the winning combination of a bit of luck and a lot of determination, I hope to look back on my career and feel satisfied that I never stopped trying to be better.