Tigger: Hi haven't been on for a while . But I have... - LUPUS UK


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Hi haven't been on for a while . But I have a quick question / or dilemma how do I deal with a work colleague which turned around and asked me why I was so brown and tired all the time I said I have lupus and starting to list all the other things she turned round and said that she thinks I was a hypochondriac and there was no such thing and was very rude and abrupt . I do know there is Lot of ignorance about lupus but just didn't know how to react by the way she is a bit of a know it all Carnt be told anything always right . It has upset me a little even tho I am quite thick skinned . X

11 Replies

What a horrible unsupportive colleague. That must have made you feel awful. Sometimes waste of time even trying to get someone so ignorant to understand. However there are some nice little guides on lupus that you could drop on her desk...or hit her round the head with...

So sorry someone has made you feel like that, I think that would have made any of us feel upset. Sending hugs to you

How upsetting for you. If it were me I would like to think that I could approach her and say that I had had time to think and reflect on our conversation and ask her why she bothered to ask me a question if she wasnt going to believe my response. I would also like to think that I could tell her how that made me "feel" because only you can own that. And then I would tell her that I was so concerned about her ignorance that I had written off to Lupus UK for some leaflets (every one ever published), hand them to her and ask her to come and find me if she has any further questions about me being a hypochondriac.

But I'm me and you're you and you might like to do something different. But know this, what she did was a horrid thing and at least is undignified in the workplace. I would make a note of when it happened and what was said. Possibly think about taking it to HR if it becomes a workplace bullying issue. Last thing you need is any stress.

This person is an ignoramus. Has she ever heard of maple syrup urine syndrome, no? Neither had I, doesnt mean it doesnt exist!!

Let us know how you get on .

Good luck x

Hidden in reply to happytulip

Both Roly and Happy 🌷 are right - and I think 🌷 suggestion is spot on if you feel this would be manageable? She sounds an awful bully to me and bullies need to be brought up sharp! X

I have strayed in from the RA site & I used to get remarks like that....now I regard people like your colleague with contempt.....they are just downright rude & nasty.

Don't be upset & don't bother even trying to explain to somebody like her who is obviously not a very pleasant person.

I used to embroider my answer (ie I make it up )... That's if I bothered to reply at all....a withering smile shuts most people up!

You could try telling her you have a very rare auto immune disease, & you would explain but it's very complicated so (with a withering look) she wouldn't understand & you don't want to worry her with it!

Please don't let rude people like her upset you.......I expect she is not a popular person in your work place!.....no decent person would be so unkind.

So put on your favourite outfit for work tomorrow & close your ears to this really horrid person.

Take care!


Everyone so far has had great responses and I agree. An info pamphlet would be great. Or there was a article written about famous people who have lupus. Google it.. Selena Gomez. Leave that info for her. I would definitely get HR involved so you can be sure that she understands that it hurt your feelings and that any further comments would not be welcome or tolerated.

For the future... When people ask me questions that I'm uncomfortable answering for any reason at all, I usually respond by saying. "I really don't like to discuss my personal medical problems with anyone other than my Dr." That one usually gets people to not delve any further. :)

As for your hurt feelings, acknowledge that this person is simply a co worker and that you will probably have to continue working with her, hopefully with education on her part, she will at least apologize and you both can have a non hostile working environment.

Good luck!

Just wanted to add my support for you.

Your colleagues behaviour is unacceptable & you have a right to be upset about it.

A simple reply to her like -" well that just demonstrates your ignorance" said in a cool, calm, non confrontational manner is all that is needed. Let her stew on that!

I always think of these things after the event! Its the shock of it. I think we all need some stock answers when these things are said. How about-"Not all disabilities are visible" & more aggressively when needed "Not only is it real but it's listed in the Equality act. Would you normally comment on someone's disability?"

I wonder what others say?

Sarah x

Great replies from everyone! I do think it's important to maintain the moral high ground much a I'd like to personally give her a big slap in the face on your behalf! Definitely think it's a good idea to try & educate her perhaps starting with a leaflet & see how she reacts to that. If there are staff information boards and/or on-line equivalent it might be a good idea to ask boss/HR permission to display some info (having explained that you are upset about unpleasant comments) - I'm sure lupusUK have a suitable poster. Also useful info is 'the spoon theory' which explains what it is like to have this type of disease & a link could be posted on a work e-forum/notice board etc. good luck!

Ignore the ignorant cow. Don't let her upset you and cause a flare. If she says anything again use the equality act against her or just say that she should regard herself lucky that she doesn't have to struggle as we do to keep going. I have a work colleague who tries to use my illnesses against me and make me look inadequate to management by telling me what I should and shouldn't do. I know it sounds like I'm being ungrateful but I know what i am capable of and don't need someone else telling me I can't. I am a stubborn cow and the stress of her constantly undermining made me more determined and more tired and caused a flare. Those of us who battle invisible illnesses also feel like we have to justify ourselves when quite frankly we shouldn't. Just because she can't see your disability doesn't mean she shouldn't treat you with the same respect and support as say a wheelchair bound person. Keep your chin up xx

Thankyou so much for all your replays it so nice to know not on your own xx

Sadly I used to get this at work and behind my back, one of the top bosses was the worst offender. Try to ignore them, they are beneath you x

I only disclose any health issues on a need to know basis, especially to anyone at work who might try to use it against you or gossip.

I would be cautious about handing out any kind of pamphlet at work to someone you already know is unsympathetic and rude.. you need to have your work environment focused on work and not your personal health or health issues or that might be used against you.

So you encounter someone like this you just avoid them and definitely do not discuss anything private with them like your health. You do not want to be accused of stirring up drama in the workplace, so it is better to just keep those issues to those you know you can trust or your direct supervisor on a need to know basis.

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