The Paradox of North Carolina Workers' Compensation: Can Calling Yourself Ill or Hurt Make You More Likely To Stay That Way?

May 1, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The whole point of North Carolina workers’ compensation and other similar entitlement systems is to provide resources for hurt/injured workers, so that they can reboot their lives, treat medical conditions and reenter the work force.

For most people, these entitlements are stop gap measures.

Unfortunately, hurt and injured workers may come to depend on their benefits not only for essentials such as grocery and rent money but also for psychological reasons. And this dependence can be hugely problematic – not only for the employers, insurance companies, and taxpayers who foot the bill, but also for the hurt and injured workers themselves.

So, how can we deal better with these psychological hang ups?

First of all, it’s easy to grow dependent on any source of income – whether you’re earning six figures as an investment banker or you’re scraping by on the (unfortunately) low salary of a public school teacher. You start to think of your incoming sources of money as “your own” and you adjust your life style accordingly. This happens to everybody, irrespective of “will power,” class, or history. Trying to think about life without this income stream is frustrating and scary.

But a deeper and perhaps more problematic issue is that, when you are hurt and sick, you may start to think of yourself as “a hurt/sick person.” In other words, you may actually revise your internal self concept to think that you will never get to go back to work. This kind of thinking can, unfortunately, take on a reality of its own. If you think this way, there’s a very real possibility that you will accidentally manifest this reality.

Don’t get mixed up here, however: The idea that negative (or positive, for that matter) thinking can influence your real world destiny in no way suggests that the pain you feel is “all in your head” or anything like that. Indeed, one of the terrible (and ultimately illogical) criticisms leveled against people on workers comp is that they “want” to be “on the dole.” If you actually talk to people who use these benefits programs, it’s clear that nothing could be farther from the truth. People want to be motivated, independent. They want to work. They really do. There has nothing to do with will power or psychological constitution. Indeed, it takes tremendous courage and strength to recover from an illness and try to rebound and get your old life back.

The takeaway is simple: fixing the way you think can potentially have profound, positive effects.

But you likely need good help as you progress with your recovery. A North Carolina workers’ compensation law firm, for instance, can help you fight back against insurance companies, employers, and others who needlessly and unfairly block you from getting the benefits you need to get back on your feet.

More Web Resources:

You Are What You Focus On

Calling Yourself “Sick” Makes You Sick? – Power of Language