Have you ever had to call in sick at work, and felt gripped by that feeling of fear and dread of having ‘the talk’ with your employer? I have. You feel obliged to put on some fake raspish voice and give the impression of a week lamb struggling to stand upright on its newborn legs. It’s quite pathetic really. 

There are of course some people who will feign illness, and in trying to disassociate yourself from those people you tend to over compensate. However many times I tell myself “this is the 21st century, you’re not well and you have the right to declare this to your employer and get better” by the time I lift the phone to dial, I revert to the nervous wreck.

And the worst bit? Will an allergy, it is often completely unclear to anybody looking or listening that you are unwell. You can’t see a headache, you can’t hear the sinuses and you cannot detect exhaustion. Not all the time anyway.

If this sounds familiar, you will know how demoralising it can to be in this position. With family, friends and colleagues struggling to understand why you’re avoiding that party or just want to spend the day in bed.

Well my answer is simple. You have to prioritise your own health. It’s your own personal commitment. Some people have an elaborate hairstyle or an exotic pet that takes up a lot of their time. For you, with a chronic allergy, you’ve got to elevate the level of importance you place on your health. For example! 

I suffer with hangovers. Like, horrifically. Probably the most hungover man who has ever lived. If i drink heavily my sinuses go out of control and I probably won’t feel right for a week. I’m not even exaggerating. So I simply can’t drink to excess like my friends do. I have to make that decision, rather than roll in ti work on Monday looking ok, but trying to explain to my boss that I’m dying inside from a toxic combination of alcohol and allergies. 

And what if your allergies are too severe to work? You simply have to find the courage to prioritise your health, abd take the time off from work.  

Know your rights, and be sensible. If you know deep down you need the time off, call up confidently, and be prepared to bat away any questions that come your way. Answer openly and honestly, you have a condition that on this occasion has run you down, and you’re not coming in. Don’t take a backwards step and agree to come in for the afternoon for a bit. That just sounds like you weren’t really ill after all. 

State confidently why you’re no coming in, and leave the ball in their court. If they’re a good employer they will understand. If not, call their bluff and dare them to make an issue of it with a clear conscience that you aren’t lying.

And then prioritise your health. Get the sleep you need. Clean properly. Avoid alcohol. Give your body a half decent chance of recovery. Then you stand a chance of winning the battle, rather than constantly explaining to people what your mystery illness is! 

Good luck.