A little more than a year ago, I was a victim of workplace bullying. The bullies got me fired from two jobs and as a result, I had a mental breakdown. It wasn’t pretty.
I’ve worked in one specific field for the last ten years, but I promised myself I would never go back to it because they had ruined it for me. I let my certification lapse. I gave up. If it weren’t for the love I got from The Band, I don’t know how I would have survived.
Today I am going back to work.
Not just any work, either. I’m going back into my chosen profession and I’m excited about it. I love my job and always have, even when it was stressful and exhausting, so going back to it is a wonderful feeling.
My dose of happy is my new job and the knowledge that the bullies may have hurt me, but they didn’t win. I won’t let them!
What's your Happy?
Don't think you have one? Look harder. Something will make you smile today.
We want to know!
Share it with the world on your blog and then link up below, tweet it out (hashtag #DOHMonday #WithTheBand) or share it on Facebook. Whatever you want to do, do it. Just find a bit of happy in this Monday!
Most of us, well, we've been through some garbage in our lives - and we've given power to a lot of people who simply don't deserve it.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We here at Band Back Together are shining the spotlight on ALL survivors. Depression, Abuse, Trauma.
It's time to take back the power. Tell us how YOU have taken the power back in your life!
Bullying doesn't just happen to kids, you know.
My last job seemed so great at first. I worked for a non-profit in my field of ten years and I believed in the work we were doing. The new coworkers seemed great, the atmosphere was relaxed, and I felt like I was making a difference in my community.
Then it all changed.
It all started so simply. One of my coworkers liked to make jokes at the expense of the rest of us, sometimes sexual ones. I didn't think much of it because in a high-stress job people tend to band together, and what was a little inappropriate humor between friends? There was only one guy on our team and he didn't seem to mind.
Slowly, it became apparent to me that this coworker was the queen bee of my workplace and that most of the others were careful not to upset her. It was as if she could do no wrong. She would sit back and watch the rest of us work hard, saying flat out that she hated dealing with clients so she avoided them. She was constantly absent or left early - something that would have earned the rest of us demerits – and yet she was never disciplined, meaning that even management was on her side.
I don't know how, but after a while I ended up as the butt of all her jokes. Not just that, but every day she would tell me how useless I was, that if it was up to her I never would have been hired. She told me I was fat, ugly, stupid and slow. Since she was the queen bee, everyone laughed with her and joined in. Work became a miserable place to be, so I started looking for another job.
A week or so after I got the new job, the queen bee found out I had been talking to my friends online about her through one of her friends who had been stalking me without my knowledge. Even though the management acknowledged I had done nothing wrong, they gave me the option of leaving or being fired. I left, knowing I had a new job lined up.
Two weeks after that, she called my new job and whatever she said to them got me fired.
To put it nicely, I had a breakdown.
Everything I'd worked for in my ten years in the field had been taken from me because one person decided she didn't like me. My bipolar and panic disorders crashed into each other spectacularly and I became agoraphobic. I spent days sleeping, just to stop the hallucinations. I took medication like candy. This lasted almost a year.
I swore that no matter what, I would never go back to my profession.
At the end of last year, my doctor changed my medication and my mind started working the way it used to again. As terrifying as it was, I started making changes to my life. I started going to the gym again, started driving myself around, and started taking care of my house again. Slowly I was taking back my life, but there was one thing left to do.
I'm going to get a job.
Not just any job, either. A job that's in my profession. It's going to take time and money to get my accreditation back but I'm going to do it because I'm not going to give her any more power over me. I'm not going to let her ruin everything I've worked for because I'm stronger than that.
Stronger than her.
I'm taking back my life now, thank you very much.
Extreme self-loathing can distort a person's body image and lead to depression and isolation.
This is her story.
I have no idea how and why I am consumed with self-hatred.
Every day seem so exhausting and painful. I am truly disgusted by myself. Mostly, my body. My hair, arms, legs, and anything on my body is so unattractive. Some days I feel so ugly and unwanted that I lay in bed for hours and cry. I spend a lot of money on makeup so that I will look nice.
Most days I am late for work or class, because I am so insecure about myself that I stare in the mirror for too long or I try over and over and over again to fix the "elements of ugly." My makeup takes almost an hour to do, because I want to hide what I hate.
No matter what, I am truly disgusted by myself.
I really hate my fat body. I always say, "I am a skinny chick living in a fat chick's body." I believe that it is true. I have a theory. My theory is that I am in the wrong body. Everything else is great about me. I am a great friend and lover, really smart, and I have a great personality, but I look like a monster. I hate it.
When I am walking somewhere, I feel so cautious. I feel like everyone is looking at how fat and out-of-breath I am. It exhausts me to write this, it is almost too hard to write. When I am walking or out somewhere, if someones laughs I get paranoid because I think they are possibly talking about me and laughing at how ugly and fat I am.
Every since I was a small child, I remembered being bullied about my image. I also noticed how fat I was, how I was larger than all the other children.
I cannot live my life or be happy in this skin. It is so gross.
Everything bad that happens, I blame myself and I always say that if I was beautiful and thin, my life would be better. I would feel good about myself. I could wear beautiful clothes. I would have more friends. I could shop wherever and find clothes in my size. I could walk in confidence knowing that most people admire my thinness and beauty. I could be the loud, funny, smart and desirable girl that everyone would like to say "hello" to.
But instead I am this fat, short, chubby, ugly, gross monster that is always alone. I am gross. In the mirror, my reflection sickens me. I just want to be beautiful. That is all I want.
It is hard to live in skin that you hate.
I graduated with my Bachelors of Psychology in December 2011 and in June, 2012, I got what I thought was my dream job, although, has nothing to do with my degree. In fact, I don't need the degree for the job.
The job offers good pay, good insurance, and has very little contact with the public - which I thought was a good thing, considering I have generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. As these conditions are exacerbated when dealing with large amounts of people or stress, this was a good thing, or so I thought.
I work in a small department - only nine people - coding insurance claims for a local medical company. All of us are women.
There were many red flags, which, in hindsight, I realize I shouldn't have ignored.
During my interview, my soon-to-be boss told me that the girl who I was replacing was leaving thanks to a horrible rumor about her husband that another girl (who'd been fired) started. I couldn't understand why she was leaving as the girl responsible had been fired, but I chose not worry about it.
I was a little surprised that The Boss was sharing this during the interview, but she said she wanted me to be aware of the environment I'd be entering. She wanted me to know that no one else started rumors; that she considered it an awful thing to do. I agreed with her; if you have a problem with someone, you should talk to the other and work it out, rather than talking behind their back, allowing rumors and half-truths to be spread.
She also said during the interview was that the two women had gone to HR and The Boss's boss to complain about her, which she was deeply offended by. She explained that if you have a problem with her, you should come to her first to discuss it. Another flag, but I figured that she was right; it was professional courtesy to take it to her first.
It wasn't long before The Boss asked me how I was enjoying my work. I assured her it was wonderful and during our conversation she began complaining about several of my coworkers.
I was shocked.
She'd been clear during the interview that she didn't like talking about others behind their back. Plus, she's The Boss - The Boss isn't supposed to complain about employees to other employees; it causes huge problems. Backstabbing from the top leads people to believe they're better than everyone else, and it makes the more paranoid among us wonder what she's saying about us behind our backs.
After that, I started avoiding conversations with her. I wanted to avoid hearing her complain about other employees so I wouldn't see them differently. Plus, I didn't want to give her ammunition to complain about me.
Soon, I got comfortable enough with one of my coworkers that I started talking about my problem: sometimes I wished we didn't have so much overtime, because it made my new husband upset that I didn't have as much time for him.
Shortly after that conversation, we learned that our department might be outsourced. I told the same coworker that I'd be updating my resume in case we didn't have jobs much longer.
Then, The Boss stopped talking to me entirely. The other girl who did my job began ignoring me when I said anything, gave me sideways looks, and started keeping her headphones on. Several times a day, she'd go into the back and whispering with The Boss.
To cope, I started listening to music - I figured it was okay as my coworker did it.
At the beginning on January, The Boss asked me aside for a talk.
She proceeded to tell me that everyone in the office hated me - no one wanted to work with me, because all I did was listen to music. They thought I was a snob. I'd made my primary coworker cry as she thought I wouldn't work any more overtime; she felt she was doing more work than me (not true). That I'd said to her The Boss was "ruining my marriage," and "I hated my job so much I was revamping my resume."
Everything I'd said to my primary coworker was repeated, and twisted to The Boss to make me sound awful. I was sobbing.
The Boss continued - she realized that I was introverted, and while I'm good at my job, and she felt I was highly intelligent, if she'd known, I was introverted, she wouldn't have hired me, as the position required an extrovert. Which is silly, because half the people in the office are quiet introverts.
Finally, she named the people who hadn't said anything about me; that she was guessing how they felt. I learned that the only person who has a problem with me is my primary coworker whose lies The Boss believes, as they're friends.
After that, I tried to change. I quit listening to music. I made an effort to talk more, even though my work suffered. I worked more overtime, and began working on some of my primary coworkers work to help her.
It hasn't been enough.
For a week, The Boss and coder coworker seemed to like me more, and now things at work are just like they were before I was taken aside by The Boss. What's worse, I absolutely hate my job. I have horrible stress headaches that radiate into my teeth. I can't sleep because I'm so sick with worry about the next work day. I get physically sick to my stomach at work. I can't eat. I'm having daily panic attacks. I cry all of the time.
I can't take it anymore.
My husband might have a job that may allow me to quit, but that might take awhile. We're likely moving in the next couple months, either for his possible job or to be near family.
In the meantime, I have bills to pay. I can't just quit my job. He makes enough now that we'd still make our bills, but the credit cards we stupidly got in college would go unpaid. I would feel awful. And, frankly, I don't want to try to find another job to have to quit in a month or two.
I just don't know what to do.
I just know I can't continue working there.
I don't like writing.
I can fill in a form alright, even make out a cheque, but I'm not so good at thoughts and feelings. It's not for lack of ability. I’m told that I am quite intelligent, I.Q. tests put me at 155, yet I barely made it out of high school.
My parents separated when I was 2. Daddy moved in and out of the house depending on the availability of other women. He was a pilot and at the time I was convinced that he was busy flying around the world. He finally left the country when I was 8, sold the house, kept the money, and raped my mother on the way out the door.
I was an only child living in the house on the hill and going to private school. That changed, and we rented a room in a large house. The family there was nice; five kids and my new baby brother. We eventually got our own place but it was not very nice and to cover the cost we had boarders all the time. My new public school was quite a shock. The kids were really nice but the teachers hit us regularly, and with great creativity.
Daddy kept in contact, sent pictures of the new house, wife, kids, and all their travels. Depression had a pretty good hold on me by now. I had already been to therapy, but I didn't let them get too far with me. I was sure that I wouldn’t live that long anyway, not suicidal yet, just a short life expectancy.
High school was not as bad as it could have been.
I made it into the best public school. I was one of the smallest kids in my class and not one for fighting back, which meant that anyone else who wanted to hit someone without getting hit back could just come find me. My guidance counselor helped me survive, kept me in school, and got me through it.
The next ten years were filled with sporadic employment, failed relationships, and lots of liquor to dull the pain. I finally trusted a friend enough to tell them about my problems. Sharing didn't seem to help at the time; my perspective was probably skewed by the bottle of scotch. I lost my fight with depression that day, November 10th, 2001.
I woke up the next day in the emergency room with a decision to either live or die.
I chose to live.
Life definitely changed after that, though not a story book ending. I have some wonderful friends, some of my closest I made after that day. I found a job within a week and have only been unemployed for two days since then. Depression still pops up regularly, and I still pointlessly use scotch to try and stop it.
I’m comfortable with the friends I have, but we are all grown up and they have families and busy lives. Some live in other countries. Six months ago a seven year relationship ended. My personality and my job keep me fairly isolated, I now realize how connected she kept me. I have shut myself off for the past few months, and it's time to rejoin the world.
Women I am attracted to terrify me. I have never asked a woman out on a date, I’m too scared. I have always dated strong, aggressive women who have made the first move. I want to date again but I want to do the asking this time. When I see the beautiful redhead in the parking lot tomorrow morning I want to be able to get out more than a mumbled "hi."
But I’m scared, so I don’t, then I get depressed because I didn’t.
I just want to say "you're pretty."
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