And so it begins….


I have had my old employer and their dastardly deeds in my life consistently over the last two days. I received notice in the mail that there are some investigations into the company going on.

I have had anxiety consistently over the last two days. Dizziness, feelings of fainting and the dreaded thumps bumps and skids of my physiology are in full swing.

Picture a carnival setting up. The Ferris Wheel is erected and starts to turn. It is usually the visual clue that a carnival is taking place because it sits so high, spins so slowly and lights up the evening sky. It is like a beacon telling patrons that the fun is just getting started. That is my dizziness or disequilibrium. It is the first thing to show up. It gets the other rides moving. I find it anything but fun.

The next thing to set up is the mini roller coaster. It is unfolded and bolted in. Test runs are conducted and deemed “safe”. It whirs and grinds along. It whizzes around and around. The slow tick tick tick as the cars climb the incline followed by the brief pause at the top before the cars rocket to the bottom, twisting and turning, thumping and skidding around corners before it comes to a slow crawl. That is my heart and its “safe” skips and extra beats. It is the driving force to this carnival and a clear indication that my world is getting ready to be set on its side.

Once the Ferris Wheel and roller coaster are operating the High Striker shows up. This is the midway game that patrons use a hammer to hit a plate sending a puck to the top where a bell is located. *DING!* “WE HAVE A WINNER FOLKS!” This is my blood pressure rising and falling every few minutes. When I stand, as I sit, if I move…I feel the fluctuations with emphasis on the low pressure. Standing too quickly makes my world go spotty and gray. It is also apparently “safe” as I haven’t passed out and fallen down stairs or wrecked my car…yet. “CLOSE but no cigar!” It is called Orthostatic Hypotension and I hate it. It makes movement and life close to impossible. You feel it in the car, walking, sitting or even laying down. It is prevalent with  my anxiety and was dominate when I had panic attacks. It grinds and wears on me throughout the day rendering me nearly useless.

As these symptoms whiz and whirl around me, I have to push forward living my life. Searching for a new job yields extra pressure as I fear I wont be able to control the carnival in a new environment. Suffering from PTSD from my previous employer makes it a difficult when thinking about facing a new job, culture and bosses. The worry over being damaged unemployable goods walks with me daily. My last employer made sure I felt that way each and every moment. Leaving employment hasn’t resolved it. I talked with Senior in great length about it. Another mistake in my attempts to remove their treatment. I assumed that if I let her know how deeply their treatment affected me, she might back off. I had no idea it was a death match because I did my job well. My worst day was better than several of my co-workers best days.

When people collectively conspire to beat you down, you lose a part of yourself. I’ve never had it happen so I have no idea if you ever get your self-worth and confidence back or not. I highly doubt you are ever the same. I feel weakened and I know they take a lot of pride and joy in that fact.

I review my life there and other than the fact that I had (key word there is HAD. They beat any self-confidence out of me) a strong personality. I haven’t any idea what their problem was with me.

I was told once by Senior Director that I scared them because they never knew what I was going to say. They didn’t feel that they could include me in their team because a lot of things were discussed and if I didn’t agree with some of them, I might do something about it.

She was right. If they were to talk about sabotaging an employee, I would say something. When Director made the statement that she didn’t want people with disabilities to work for them because she wanted “good workers” – I would have said something. When they collectively said that hourly workers hold no value other than being warm bodies and were “a dime a dozen” – I would have said something. So yes, your concerns were valid because those things are not acceptable and just because you hold a position of “authority” doesn’t mean you get to say and do those things.

When Senior told me that she didn’t think I would “have their back” – she was right if they were acting in the wrong and there my friends lies the crux of the issue. If you don’t do unethical things – why worry who has your back?

When I said I would have their backs if they were operating for the greater good but would be the first to stand up if they weren’t, that was the final nail in my coffin. Well, that and taking 12 weeks of FMLA for a condition they caused.

So, as we move forward through the process I am clinging to the walls. I don’t want to go. I don’t want to have to deal with it. I hate the chaos and inevitable symbolic blood bath that is about to unfold. I don’t want to have to relive the details of what they did to me. I don’t want others to have to relive their trauma either. It is something I do not look forward to and do not relish because you see, unlike them, I am not someone who relishes on the pain and misfortune of others. I don’t seek to destroy someone because they upset me once five years ago or even two minutes ago. I prefer harmony and peace. I prefer teamwork and helping.

So this path that we are all headed down is totally opposite from my natural inclinations.

In the end, I hope they each learn some valuable life lessons and the company makes changes to prevent those things from happening to another person.

 

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It’s like a divorce


You begin living your life. You start to settle in. You begin to breathe again when someone brings “them” up….

Your former bosses who tormented you and we’re the catalyst for your needed recovery.

You try to be polite and diplomatic and then they tell you things that have been said about you, your departure or things that were done you were kit aware if while employed in their regime.

The room shifts and you’re set back to zero.

I don’t engage in bashing…as much as I would love to. I try to take the high road and say things like “Well, just remember there are two sides to every story…”

I would love to let them know the truth behind the lies but its a no win situation if I do that.

It riles me up and makes me feel bad all over again.

I return to zero in my recovery from the PTSD Senior, Director, old boss and minion caused and it makes me angry. Also a sign I am at day zero.

My goal is to rise above them, their ignorance and conceit. To recover and do better than I could have ever done under their reign of terror.

I’m not a hateful person by nature but I do fight the urge to wish ill will on them. I let it go knowing God will take care of any things He sees as poor behavior or unethical. I rely on Him to judge and address them. It’s not my place but I am human and do need to fight the natural instincts to wish against them.

In the grand scheme of things they each are less than nothing and when I remember that, they disappear back to the past where they’ve placed themselves.

It’s a work in progress and I pray God allows me the ability to have a conversation where they may be brought up and dismiss it as quickly as their “importance” was dismissed the moment I left them.

Some people belong in the past for a reason – they’re not worthy of a moment of your present or future. Let them fade to the distance where less than nothing moments belong.

Employer PTSD


On a day filled with friends and support, my previous employer came up in conversation.

Within a few minutes my anxiety started to climb higher and higher. By the end of the gathering my anxiety was swimming freely about along with my disequilibrium, pounding heart, difficulty breathing and trouble walking. I spent time fearing a medical event.

It’s funny how days are improving to the point that I CAN have a gathering but not funny how talk about my previous employer can wreck me almost completely.

I wonder if there will be a time that they can come up in discussion and I am unphased.

It’s not that I spew venom when someone mentions the company. I am upset that they have lied and done very unethical things but being that angry only hurts the person that is mad. I don’t engage in bashing because they know what they’ve done and my circle of friends is well aware if how this company and their leadership behaves.

But

That doesn’t change how my mind and body react to the discussions about them.

It doesn’t change the near panic levels that my anxiety boosts to because of them.

Had I not learned how to deal with panic, I would be in a different frame of mind but my system sure likes to push that envelope when its given fuel.

So in the wake of a lovely pre-fall day filled with laughter and friends, my employer once again rises up to destroy any ground I can gain.

It’s a form of employer induced PTSD that I would be willing to bet others have experienced. There is no way I am the only one.

My hope is that one day I will cross paths with Senior, Director, Old Boss and Minion. That I will be polite and humane to each when I know they are not capable. My desire is to be respectful and neutral when I know they don’t deserve it.

I will spend the next few hours or even days putting myself back together again but my worst day away from them far outweighs my best day with them. That pretty much sums up who they are and that’s a shame.

Legal Chest Pains


I have been worried about my heart the last few days.

Having PVC & PAC activity is always disturbing but it seems a little different lately. More episodes, stronger extra beats or like this morning, two quick episodes of sharp pain with them.

I am sure I have had pain in the past. A faint memory is lying there but I can’t wrap my full attention around it.

When you have sharp chest pains and you are someone with “health anxiety” (the polite term for hypochondriac) then it sets off all sorts of warning alarms that I have mentioned in past posts.

For those not familiar, it goes a little something like this:

Minding my own business

Pain or dizziness – something out of the norm – could be a twitch or twinge

All systems stop in their tracks while the mind and body “listen” for anything else to happen. If it does, that occurrence is analyzed fully and completely.

Analyzing an occurrence goes like this:

What was THAT?

It was a…..<insert symptom here>

I wonder if that is a problem!

<Insert symptom here>

There it is again!

Okay, it was a sharp pain. It was in the center of my chest.

OH MY GOD ITS A HEART ATTACK

~ Launch all systems GO evaluation~

Blood pressure cuff – on and inflating (please be normal, please be normal….)

PulseOx meter attached (DON’T look at it for 10 seconds because it is always off while it calculates. DON’T LOOK YET)

Blood pressure results – within normal ranges (Thank goodness….)

PulseOx within normal limits (Thank goodness)

Pause……

“I wonder if I did them right.”

Relaunch check of symptoms

Within normal ranges

“Oh thank God! But…what is that pain? I’ll just look it up on the Internet….”

FAIL

As someone with health anxiety (don’t be rude, that is what we are calling it. YOU can be a hypochondriac…I am NOT!) searching the Internet for what ails you is the kiss of….well…..anxiety or panic…we CAN’T say the other word or it provokes nervousness.

If you are not in a full-blown attack then, you will be within a few minutes of clicking and sifting through the best terrorizing medical information the web has to offer.

The thing is? We KNOW this yet…we do it again and again.

I did it this morning after my bout of chest pain. “I can’t go to the doctor so I almost HAVE to rely on the Internet, don’t I?”

Um, no but that doesn’t stop me.

I sit down on the edge of my bed facing the window. This is where I go when I start having anxiety. That SHOULD be my first clue but it never is.

I bring up the search engine. “Tell me what my death sentence is Dr. Google” I almost say as I begin my sifting.

One thing I have learned is to stay away from WebMD as it will ALWAYS tell me absolute death is impending. Paper cut? Can become infected leading to death. Hang nail? Seek emergency medical attention as you may die.

We stay away from WebMD but Mayo Clinic is my golden child of the “What am I dying of today” world.

Mayo Clinic tells me the facts but almost leans toward not telling me enough. They always throw in when to seek medical attention but it doesn’t seem as ominous as WebMd does.

So far it could be spasms in my digestive track, PVC/PAC activity just causing pain or…brace yourself, it could be anxiety.

So, I launch another round of vital checks and determine that if I am going to die today, I need to accomplish something worthwhile.

Instead, I start writing.

What I have learned over the last year of my life is that I have become a VERY anxious person. I was always a Type A personality before but never full of twists and turns like I have now.

My previous employer shares much of the blame of the creation of the mess we all see before our eyes.

Years of being treated poorly and differently than my peers took its toll but nothing like the last and final month of my employment after returning from FMLA. The torment elevated to amazing new heights as they clearly felt the need to retaliate for my absence and then plotted my departure.

I have YEARS of excellent service to that company and needed time off to put Humpty Dumpty back together again because I was torn down from all of your games and demands and you couldn’t get past the time off I needed so you termed me? Makes total sense.

I am being told that my life will be better without my involvement in that company, in that department and certainly in that toxic environment but while I wait for that “bliss” to hit, I am left worrying about medical insurance, life insurance and of course, the almighty dollar to pay my bills when I did everything you asked me to do.

One of the things about the culture I worked in was that they pushed “We will provide you with all of the tools you need to do your job effectively” yet when I reminded them that I don’t have the tools, I was written up. When I didn’t quit as they thought I would, they fired me.

 

As your employee you promised me that you would lead me with all stops removed, to the type of manager you wanted me to be. I did as asked, when asked and usually much better than I was asked to do it, and then you let me go?

That just doesn’t seem ethical. Considering the source, that isn’t a shock.

So today I am fighting my way through the worry that the after effects of your poor and tortuous treatment of me have caused permanent damage.

I pray. I hope and I know that God will take care of me but I also hope that I don’t “go” before I have something important to leave behind. I am not ready and hope God allows me the chance to do something of value for Him, and me.

 

 

 

 

Unanticipated Mourning


It approaches the afternoon on a weekend. I am not normally home now but since I was let go, I am home a lot.

Job searching is slow and yields very little response. Faceless electronic submissions, you don’t see people any more, they also don’t see you which can be good or bad depending on your look I guess.

One interview went well until we established that the company has solid dealings with my last employer. Everything turned to ice within a day. Can’t imagine why!

Home is comforting and I am grateful for it. Life being in a total upheaval is not the norm and not something I particularly enjoy.

I find myself missing my dog quite a bit. Each day it sinks deeper into realization just how much he provided comfort for me. The others are my love as well but there was something different about him. He just knew…..

He knew when I was sad and would come over and push his face against mine. I never let a dog lick my face before and I didn’t with him, he stuck them in quickly but it made me laugh each and every time…for years.

When I was having anxiety he would come over and sit by  me making sure his arm or a part of him was touching a part of me. His presence provided me comfort when nothing else could.

When I was having panic attacks he would place himself in front of me, staring into my eyes and hoist himself to eye level, balancing on the front of my chair with his two front paws. He would star intently into my eyes and I would just hug him. He stayed as long as I needed him to. I needed him to – a lot.

When I was sick, he would lay next to me. He would occasionally place his head on my chest or lap and just lay there. Having him near me made me feel better.

When I was burdened by my job he would do silly things to make me laugh. If I cried he would sit close and sneak a forceful lick of my face in to make me forget and start laughing.
He made silly faces and seemed to know when was the best comic timing for many of the things he did.

One of the things I miss is letting him in from being outside, having him run though the house – bound up the stairs, across the floor and pounce on his favorite toy, shaking the house during the entire process. He was my rock and my joy. I am struggling to learn how to deal with this new life without him.

Before panic and anxiety I would have a difficult time anyway. Post those afflictions, it feels too new, too big and too overwhelming.

Those with a special relationship with their pets understand.

We don’t all have to be the types to call them our “kids” or dress them up. There are plenty of us that love them as deeply as they love us without the oddities that this world has become.

Spouse and I were talking this morning about the very large vacancy that his death has caused in all of our lives. None of us realized just how present he was in each of our own individual lives as well as the household as a whole.

My other dogs are lost as well. We are all in a new environment trying to forge a life without one of our family members. It isn’t easy.

So today I am a bit off. Not quite anxiety, maybe little blurbs of what want to become panic but mostly it is a sense of being overwhelmed and a bigger sense of loss.

That terrible place with those terrible people I was employed with just exaggerated the issue. Not unlike them and I am sure they would take immense joy in knowing that I am struggling. That is the type of sad human beings they are. Negative and totally enthralled with gossip – unless it is about one of them of course.

My struggle today has nothing to do with them and everything to do with my missing friend.

Today is a mourning day and I sure didn’t see it coming.

 

 

Sadness


My skipped and extra heart beats (PVC, PAC) are back today. I hate them. Life is stressful enough – I sure don’t need these too.

It’s been a week since I was fired. I don’t miss them, that’s for sure. They are ridiculous people with a skewed image on how to conduct business. Popularity contests never proved to be great for business over the long run.

Today my heart is ping ponging around my chest upsetting me more and more. Some chest pains and some left arm numbness. It’s scary but I’ve been told as late as April that my heart checks out just fine. 4 months ago. I just have to keep reminding myself that its okay.

I received some legal papers in the mail. It’s just exacerbated the symptoms further.

It’s too bad life gets this way. It shouldn’t have to be do hard.

 

Well, there it is


I was let go today. The Director made good on her promise. I reminded HR Lady as I gathered my things.

Senior was shaking like a leaf. I found it silly. You’ve wanted this so much and you appear to be terrified. Get your game face straight man. You sound scared which is distracting.

Harassment is over (well, the kind I’ll know about. I’m sure libel will continue).

Bullying is done. They can kick at dirt and fondly recall their hate of me.

Discrimination is complete. They got away with it….

Or did they.

Places like that are toxic and its only a matter of time before they are discovered and forced to make sweeping changes.

I can only hope that my departure will bring about a forced change in the way they are allowed to run rampant and lie.

“I know I am being ethical!”

If you truly know it….you don’t have to say it out loud. If you know you’re not or you doubt it….you repeat it because that is who you are.

Keep saying it because hopefully you will be that way some day…maybe you will actually BE ethical. Because right now? You’re fodder for the company. They snicker and whisper when you walk by because your department runs like a high school. You and the others are a clique of girls that were ignored or tormented in school…so you think you’re “popular” now.

Except….

You are the butt of jokes. I used to feel bad for all of you. Then I realized that you cultivated this atmosphere. You created this ugly culture and your employees despise you.

Karma

Karma will take care of you and them. Karma knows no mercy and when it’s ready, you’ll have to deal with the lies and deeds you’ve done.

After you’ve learned the lessons Karma tends to teach, maybe THEN you will be ethical.

But I doubt it. Bad people don’t change very often and you all are a step above the worst society has to offer. Ah, who am I kidding, you’re right there with them!