It isn't public knowledge, in my department, why I've gone part-time. But sometimes people delicately ask.
And it's amazing how, a big chunk of the time, they grok.
They know. Sometimes they directly know someone with epilepsy. This sysadmin's brother-in-law. This professor's former grad student.
One professor astutely asked, "Is it the epilepsy that's keeping you part-time, or is it the medication?"
One friend-of-an-LJ-friend, when she found out, instantly nodded, comprehension clearly dawning - "Those medications take a lot out of you."
It means a lot to know that I'm not alone. Even if I don't know anyone in meatspace with my disorder, anyone else who's fighting this fight - I'm not alone. Prof. W.'s student spent years fighting the brainfog to write a thesis. The sysadmin's brother-in-law is managing, after several medication trials, to hold down a job.
But it's hard.
I'm not the only one it's hard for. Not alone. And there are people who know.