Monday, December 15, 2014

Recovery Post Workplace Abuse: Loss and Laughter

Yesterday was a mixed up, topsy turvy day for me emotionally.  I was on a roller coaster of emotions.  Belly laughter at several points; feelings of loss at others.

What brought on this extreme mixture of conflicting emotions?

I went to my grandchildren's Sunday morning church service for their Christmas pageant.  One grandson was Joseph; the other a shepherd.

No problem with that, is there?

No, there's not.  It was the location.  A church.

A little over a year ago after struggling with my church for more than a year regarding my need for help and support during an extremely difficult time: the death of my mom plus the on-going "altered abilities" caused by the psychiatric injury I suffered in the workplace, the pastor finally asked me to leave.  In his own way.  In a way, he could deny.  He told me that if I found a church that met all my needs, I was free to go there.

His words hurt me to the quick.  I left in tears.  Before I left, someone who had been mentoring me since shortly after I started attending that church had come past the conversation and asked me if I was OK.  I blurted out:  "He's just asked me to leave the church!"  My poor mentor/friend scurried off.  Yet, the pastor knew from my words (if he was listening with both his ears and his heart) that that was how I'd taken his words.

The assembled nativity - angels, shepherds, Mary, a turkey.  What?  A turkey?!?
 I've been in a few church services since that time, but not regularly.  I just can't do it.  Not again.  I can't spent six or seven years of my life building up relationships, tithing, supporting, praying for others, etc. only to have it end drastically - again.  Because. People. i.e. Pastor People. Just. Don't. Get. It.  They understand cancer.  They more or less understand grief.  But they don't understand trauma.  It's invisible.  Unless you spend time learning about it or walking with someone who has it, the normal person is not going to understand how it affects the person.

So, as I drove to my daughter's church for this pageant, I felt a great heaviness.  At that point, I didn't really understand it.  But it kept getting worse.  By the time, I was seated with my daughter in a pew and the carols had begun, I was so down-hearted that I couldn't focus - or sing (and I love to sing even if it's off key.)

Eventually I realized that I was feeling the loss of my former church.  The loss of community most of all.  All around me were people who knew who other, greeting friends.  My eyes kept playing tricks on me and I kept seeing resemblances of the faces around me to people I knew in my previous church.  I felt so very much alone in that pew.  Even though my son in law was on one side of me and my daughter on the other.  Even though she kept touching me to reassure me.

Fortunately, my daughter loves me.  And understands.  And I had my camera with me.  So I did what I always do - the one thing that helps keep me focused and in the moment:  I took pictures.

My daughter stayed with me like glue, reassuring me.  At one point, a man came towards us and I started to panic, fearing that he was going to tell me I was doing something wrong - like taking pictures.  But he walked past us with a smile.  My daughter kept saying "Hey!  This is (the name of the church).  It's Ok to be different.  It's OK not to be perfect.  We have needy people here.  People with diagnosed mental diseases who talk to themselves.  And look! we have a turkey in the pageant!  Because this little guy wanted to dress up like a turkey instead of a sheep - and that was OK.  It was OK to have a turkey in the pageant along with the sheep, angels, shepherds, kings, Mary and Joseph.  It's OK to march to your own drummer.  It's OK.  (One year they even had a polar bear among the sheep - my youngest grandson - and until yesterday they were still talking about the time they had a polar bear in the pageant).  It's more important to them that people be there and be comfortable than that they fit a certain image.

And that is where the hilarity started.

It's hard for two year olds to stay still.  They're inquisitive little people.  And this little one in his turkey outfit was very inquisitive.  He wasn't content to stay with the sheep.  I guess he's not a follower.

He was there at the birth of Jesus.

He was there rolling on the floor when the angels visited the shepherds.

He was fascinated with the baby in the manger.  So fascinated that he actually stole the baby and carried him proudly to the front where he joined the other children in a song.

 He was there when the Star led the Kings to the manager.

 And walked away with the star.

At that point, he not only stole the star, but he stole the show.  The congregation erupted with laughter.  Even me.  Standing at the back.  Letting go with a belly laugh.

It was a strange feeling, to be able to laugh like that, so hard that I almost cried, while feeling this acute sense of loss.

Recovery at times is a mixture of paradoxes.  Laughter and loss.  Both strong feelings.  Both co-existing in the same place at the same time.

Later yesterday, when I was starting to be able to think through things, I realized that it's time to start looking forward, not back.  The term looking forward entails anticipation.  Looking for something to happen.

Perhaps like the Jewish people were anticipating the birth of a saviour all those centuries ago ....

Until tomorrow.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Surviving Workplace Bullying: The week in review

This week has been an insightful week in many ways.  I've been working on "letting go" of holding on emotionally to past events, past losses, past bad memories, etc.  Exactly what I've been blogging about.  (Yes, I do live what I blog - or in other words - I walk the talk.)

However, this week has also been a week of reliving memories, good memories, through my photos.

It all started accidentally, when I received a coupon via email for 60% off all products on a certain day from the company I've had my business cards made from.

I've been thinking of making calendars - to sell.  However, with this coupon I decided to make a sample or two just for me to see what they look like.  Are they professional looking enough for people to want to buy calendars of my photos at ... say ... a craft sale?

So me, being me, I thought of my best friend who also happens to be my cousin and decided to make her a special calendar - just for her - one of pictures I'd taken when we were together - which isn't often as she lives in the southern US and I live in Canada.

Back in 2011, when I was still very much in the acute phase of the psychiatric injury from my workplace experience, I flew to see her for ten days.  At that point, I couldn't even navigate the airport without assistance.  I stuttered badly.  Etc.  I was in pretty bad shape.

But I went, believing that something really good would happen during those ten days.
And it did.

It became a memory lane trip of old memories plus added on, new memories.

We went into the downtown area of Winston Salem, an area I had walked many times as a young child when visiting the grandparents, and found what was left of the area where they used to cure the tobacco (first picture).  Both of us even smelled a faint whiff of tobacco!  Just being there, even though it was now deserted, a shell of yesterday, uninhabited, brought back memories of another era.  The 50s.

Several years prior, my cousin had pointed out the Reynolds Building which is a much smaller prototype of the famous Empire State building (2nd photo).

During her "guided tour" of the area, she showed me what "real" magnolias look like as the flowering trees we call a magnolia here in Canada are much smaller and pink.  I think they called them tulip trees in North Carolina. (3rd picture)

And then a huge bonding experience for both of us.  She took me to what used to be the Reynolds family mansion and estate, Reynolda, now open to the public, and we saw the little house, built to 3/4 scale for the Reynolds children to play in called the Playhouse or the Dollhouse, which my mother lived in for a year in the 1930s when her family got a job on the estate for some renovation.  It took us a week and several visits, but we were eventually able to connect with the correct people and be allowed to go inside and see what it looks like inside.

And then there's the old family home which and graveyard (4th and 5th pictures), both of which played a huge part in my early life as we would go there every chance my father's work allowed to see the grandparents.  In those post-WWII days, there were almost always another set - or two, or three - of cousins visiting.

The place is now just a shell of what it was in those days of the 50s and 60s when the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. were alive and visiting yet the memories of family are still strong.

These are only a fraction of the pictures - and the memories - I have from this trip, yet in a sense they are the most personal.  They bring me back, not only to happier times, but also to my roots.  Family roots.

For now, I will stop the reminiscing and continue to work on the present task:  that of letting go of the bad stuff.

Until Monday....

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Cornerstone of Recovery from Workplace Bullying: Power and Control

Power and control is the cornerstone - both in the bullying episode and in the journey towards recovery.

Bullying is all about power and control.  In fact, it's been described as a form of workplace violence because it is about power and control.

Ironically, power and control is what both parties in the conflict want.  The target wants power and control over her own life, etc.  The bullies want power and control over other people specifically the target but also the workplace if possible.

I haven't written a blog posting on that part of it yet; however, I've touched on it a few times. At this point, it's way too personal and I've still got so many aspects of that part of the issue to sort out as I progress on the road to recovery ... to wholeness.

By the time I'd left the workplace, I was thoroughly cowed.  Nothing I tried worked.  Every time I followed the "correct course of action" as defined by research, therapy, etc., it turned out wrong.  The bullies turned it against me and others - HR, management, the union, the other employees - all blindly followed suit. (Note to self: perhaps write a future blog post on the necessity of all parties being on the "same" page.)

I felt powerless, faceless, voiceless.

Which is exactly where the bullies wanted me to be.

However, I'm out of there now.  I don't have to continue to be cowed by them - or by anyone else.

All victims need to find a way to regain the power that was seized from them and to find a way to express the voice that was silenced.

Therefore, a large part of my recovery process is regaining power and control over my present:  where I am now.  And that is especially evident in the recovery process.

I need to figure things out for myself - in my own time and in my own way.  My recovery works best when I am allowed to take control over it.  Those who have been faithfully supporting me have realized this.  That the best way they can help me is to support and encourage me - and give me the grace to figure things out for myself.

One of my encouragers long ago gave me the priceless "gift" of allowing me to be in control of the process.  It happened gradually when I day I was visiting her and asked her to simply read passages from the Bible to me.  Any would do.  I had no preference.  At that time, I couldn't read for myself, but I could hear - and hope that something sunk in.  I knew this person was perfect for this as she loves God, loves to read the Bible, and loves to share these things.  That was the beginning of what has become a profound relationship for (hopefully) both of us.  She started coming over every couple of weeks for a Bible "study" but she always let me have control of it.  If I wanted to talk, we talked. We walked together.  We prayed together.  We sang together.  We read pieces of her devotional together.  Whatever.  She let me call the shots.  And it worked.

The reason "traditional" therapy has worked so well for me is that my therapist has allowed me to take power and control over my healing.  She has listened to me.  Supported me.  Encouraged me.  Offered me insight when needed.  But she has never once told me that I have to do this or that.  She may have suggested a few things - especially as healing and our relationship progressed but she has never demanded anything.  She has always been gentle with me.  She has never once condemned me for what I've done or am doing or am thinking.

She has allowed me to take control of my recovery process.

The more I can do that, rely on my innate instincts and see them work, the more I am empowered for the next obstacle on the journey.

Years ago, when I was nearing the end of workplace bullying experience number 1, I tried something called Celebrate Recovery.  It turned out to be a disaster for me.


There was a rule, that if followed would have allowed me to continue, that when one member shared the others were to listen and not offer advice.  Unfortunately, the co-facilitator disregarded that rule in my instance.  What she said made sense to her.  It had worked for her.  But in my situation, it was not going to work.  Her advice was useless.  Worse.  It made me feel disrespected, devalued.  I no longer felt safe in the group and never returned.

Years later, I figured out why that rule was in place and should have been respected:  it empowers the person in recovery to have the power and control over their own situation.  You've probably heard the saying:  "if it's free, it's advice; if you pay for it, it's counselling; if either works, it's a miracle"?

That, in a nutshell, is the point I'm trying to make here.  In order for recovery, real recovery, to happen, it needs to come from inside.

Those well-intentioned people I've mentioned in earlier posts who listened for a short period of time and then pronounced their decision i.e. "let go" or "move on", and then walked away, did both of us a disservice.  It wasn't that letting go or moving on was not needed at some point in the recovery process.  It was that I wasn't ready for that ... at that time.  There were more important things for me to work on in the earliest stages of recovery:  re-connecting my relationship with God, re-learning how to pray; discovering what was wrong with my existing relationships - especially my family - and learning to value them; learning how to communicate effectively with my family.  So many things.  I can't remember all of them.  But each one, came from some part inside of me.  Each one has lasted all this time.  Because it came from inside me.


This post has been a difficult one to write and has taken two days.  Which explains why there was no blog post yesterday.

If you're walking with someone who has been desperately hurt by bullying of any kind - work, school, in the neighbourhood, etc. - I urge you to gently help the person rediscover themselves and give them power and control over their recovery.

Each person works things out in their own way depending on their strengths, weaknesses, talents, personality type, etc.  No two people are the same.  Therefore, no one path is going to work for everyone.  There are similarities on the journey, Yes.  But there are also differences.

Recovery from trauma, PTSD, bullying is not - and never has been - a "one size fits all".

Until tomorrow....

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Post Workplace Bullying: "Moving On"

After yesterday's posting about moving on, I think I need to clarify a few things, because frankly I HATE that phrase ... passionately.  It ... and the twin phrase "letting go" ... raise my hackles and defences.

Early on, in between my two encounters with workplace bullying, when I was still very much stuck, hurting badly, not understanding what had happened to me and, more importantly, why, I would try to tell my story to others.  My story wouldn't let go of me.  I needed to talk, to verbalize about what had happened to me ... the unfairness, the injustice, etc.  I was trying desperately to make sense of something that didn't make sense.  That couldn't make sense.

I've learned since that what I was attempting to do is part of the recovery process.  According to my therapists, there are three components to the process of recovery from PTSD/Trauma:  telling the story, support, and justice.

At that point, for eighteen long months, I never got beyond the telling the story part.  Mostly because no one wanted to listen ... and listen ... and listen.  Ad nauseum.  In fact, most people only wanted to listen for about five minutes and then it was like 'time's up', you need to move on, let go, whatever.  Good bye.  I'm done.  I'm outta here.

Then they would leave, and we'd never talk again.

They totally didn't get it.

At that point, moving on or letting go were not options.  I wasn't there yet.

Some nine years after the first incident ended and three plus years after the second, I am just now getting to the place where internally I'm ready to "let go".  I still really have no clear idea of what they looks like or how to do it.  I just know that it's time to begin seriously looking into and attempting to apply the process.

Letting go is not forgiveness as I've been working on that concept since both incidents happened - with varying success.

Letting go appears to be something else entirely.

It's easier to apply if we have a clear concept of what something is and how to get there from here, but I confess I don't.

I can tell you the first time that this concept has come to me in recent weeks and that has been with the ongoing postie situation i.e. stoppage of home mail delivery.  We now have a community mailbox - which is better than nothing.  It means a forced lifestyle change though as I can no longer bend outside my front door and reach over to the mailbox to retrieve its contents.  I now how to fully equip myself and dress myself to get my mail:  socks, shoes, coat, hat, mitts, scarf and key.  Don't ever forget the key.

In one way, it has positive aspects as it forces me to go outside my house and take a short walk to the corner every day.  I get fresh air - whether I want it or not.  In other ways, it has negative aspects as I keep remembering why I am forced to do this.  Because in my mind, the postie is another person like one of the major bullies in my last experience who simply doesn't want to do her job.  Who is incompetent.  Etc.

Eventually, it came to me that I have to let go of my anger, my resentment, even my feelings about this woman I've never met - and have no desire to either.

In order to move on, I have to let go of all these negative feelings.  I have to force myself to realize that although I have taken this personally, it is not personal.  She doesn't know me - or the other residents.  It has nothing to do with me.  It is all about her.

This has not been easy as I do tend to personalize things.  Another thing I have to learn not to do.  Another part of the healing process.

No, it's not fair that one woman has all the power.  And no, it's still not easy as this person makes daily encursions into my neighbourhood five days a week to do her job.

But it's necessary.

I think this processing is what helped me to deal as quickly and as positively as I did with the bully on the bus situation.  To let go, move on, get on the bus again and have positive experiences.

The most important thing I want to convey on the twin topics of "letting go" and "moving on" is that it is necessary for the survivor to initiate the process.  Telling me too early that I "have" to do this - without giving me support and instructions - doesn't work.  A lot of the process of recovery has to do with power and control - which I expect is a topic for another posting sometime in the future.

I need to figure things out for myself - in my own time and in my own way.  My recovery works best when I am allowed to take control over it.  Those who have been faithfully supporting me have realized this.  That the best way they can help me is to support and encourage me - and give me the grace to figure things out for myself.

Those well-meaning folk who demanded I let go and move on too early, didn't realize that.  And, for that reason, they moved on and left me.  Subsequently, they're are not here to see the victories come.  They're not here to listen to the good stories.  To laugh with me.  They have no idea what they're missing out on.

Today, I stop here.

Until tomorrow....

Monday, December 8, 2014

Surviving Workplace Abuse: Moving On

I've written about a bad experience I had on a local bus recently in a posting entitled Workplace Abuse:  Learning through experiences on the road to recovery.  It was horrendous when it was happening.  Afterwards, I had strong mixed feelings.  Feelings mostly of guilt at first which slowly began to be overtaken by other, more positive feelings.  With the help of others, I began to see the experience in a different light.  I finally, for the first time, realized the impact of one lie I had internalized from both workplace bullying situations:  that being loud was wrong.  It made people "uncomfortable" and that was more important than anything else.  Believe me, I was loud on the bus that day and I'm sure the people around us felt uncomfortable.  However, I was feeling very uncomfortable as well.  In that seat.  With that man glaring at me, shoving me, judging me, condemning me.

I learned that day, that situations like that are not comfortable for anyone involved.  Neither the instigator, the target or the bystander.

That one experience has since become a pivotal experience on my road to recovery as I processed and analyzed the experience in the light of things I'm learning currently and have already learned on the journey.

For one thing, I realized that this was one experience in a life time of experiences.  One experience in a lifetime that spans six decades of riding buses.

This concept is from Jan Silvious's book Look at it This Way, which is a resource I've used on the road to recovery (and is included in my bibiography - another posting).

Silvious urges the reader to look at experiences - both good and bad - in a more realistic light:  the light that this is just one experience in a lifetime of experiences.  This one experience does not define our lives - or our value.  It does not define who we are.

While I am admittedly still struggling with applying and internalizing this concept to my experience in the workplace - especially the second workplace which lasted for four years, I am starting to realize how I can apply this concept to other, shorter incidents.  Like the one on the bus.

Taking one small step at a time on this path to fully recovery.

Concurrently, my therapist has told me that I have a tendency to personalize things that might not be meant personally - which gave me a lot to think about.  It's hard not to take the workplace incidents personally - as they were meant personally.


But, the bus incident is in no way personal.  The man's behaviour in reality had nothing to do with me.  Who I am.  My value.  My worth.  He didn't know me.  I believe that his behaviour would have been the same for anyone in that seat - particularly if that person was a woman.  It does not define me.

Which makes this incident easier to look at from the light of being "one incident in a lifetime of experiences".

Another thing I realized almost immediately was the importance of not hibernating in my "safe" room.  That I needed to get up and go out again.  As soon as possible.  Two days after the incident, I got on the bus again - and have ridden it several times since then.

Nothing bad has happened.  In fact, I see the opposite occurring.

On one occasion, I got on a bus which was starting already to get crowded at the downtown terminal and slid into a window seat.  I put my purse beside me between the window and my body leaving the aisle seat open.  I felt a body slide into the seat beside me.  Not looking over, I moved my purse onto my lap and slid over.  Then I looked at the person, smiled, and said "this should give us more room".  It was an older man.  And yes, I did check.  No hearing aids.  It was not the same man as before.  He gave me the most beautiful smile.  Had I not gotten right back on the bus, had I let my fears metastasize and grow, had I not immediately endeavoured to let go and move on from that one bad experience. this heartwarming experience would not have happened.  I still smile thinking of it.

The same day, I got on a bus that was again already filling up at my transfer point.  There was some confusion as a person with a service dog was getting on in front of me and couldn't decide where to sit.  So I waited patiently.  A woman I assumed to be much older than myself was sitting there and I asked politely if I could sit beside her.  She gave me a warm smile and we started a conversation which lasted until her stop.  She had a rich Scottish accent. I thoroughly enjoyed just listening to the cadence of her speech.  Another good experience which would not have happened had I not decided to let go and move on.

Lastly, saving the best for last of course....

Last week, I was getting on the bus to go home.  I rarely notice who the driver is, but recently I've noticed I've had this one driver several times.  He started to automatically reach for a transfer, looked at me and then said: "You're going home, you don't need ones of these!" I asked him if he recognized me by my face, my colourful coat or my smile.  He bantered back, saying: "all three". Then he added for good measure, "You're always smiling." I had to ask him after that comment what he would do if on the rare occurrence I wasn't smiling. Quick as a wink he said: "Then I wouldn't recognize you."

I don't think I've laughed so hard in weeks.

It was a good experience.  Something positive.

Until tomorrow ....

Friday, December 5, 2014

Surviving Workplace Abuse: More Lies

I've written earlier about the place of "lies" - those things we, the targets, internalize - in both our experience in the workplace and also in our recovery.  Or rather in retarding our recovery.

I wrote earlier this eyar about the biggest lie I internalized - "perceptions" and "assumption" - and how it took a long time and a lot of work to realize those two words for what they were - lies - and then to work through them so that I no longer believed that the very way I was wired i.e. the way I thought and perceived life, was wrong.

Since I wrote that post, other lies have come up.  I mentioned one briefly in the story about the bullying (elderly) passenger on the bus the other week.  The man who demanded a seat by glaring and then started pushing and shoving me into the wall because he felt I didn't give him enough room.  No words were spoken, initially, but when it got to the pushing and shoving stage, believe me, words were spoken.  Loudly.

It was through the subsequent processing of that experience that I realized another lie I'd internalized from both of my workplace bullying experiences:  the lie that being loud is wrong.  Another lie is that standing my ground is automatically "confrontative" and, therefore, also very wrong.  In that incident, I'd done both and was condemning myself because of the lies I'd internalized.

In that post, I wrote about the power of affirmation in realizing those two lies and putting them where they belonged - in the trash - after talking with both a friend and someone at the regional transit centre.  Both felt I'd handled the situation well - even though it did become a verbal confrontation.  The transit representative took it a bit further and said that she was glad that I hadn't given in to this bully and gotten up and given him the entire seat - which was probably what he wanted.  We're guessing that he had probably gotten his way before by using these tactics.  About the verbal confrontation, she didn't seem to see it as a problem and commented that it wasn't a physical confrontation which would have been a problem.

This man was one experience in a lifetime of experiences.  One encounter, one time on one bus in a lifetime of riding buses.  (concept taken from Jan Silvious's book Look At It This Way.)

Because it is one experience in a lifetime of experiences - and a brief one at that, it is easier to put this one to rest - and get on with not only my life, but my journey towards recovery.  Even using it as a piece of the recovery.

Over the past summer another lie which I've internalized over the years raised its ugly head.  The lie that I'm. Not. Good. Enough.

The question:  Not good enough for what?

The answer:  not good enough for whoever the person is in the given situation.

And then I realized that that person is often myself.  I'm not good enough for me.

I struggle with self esteem - and have from an early age.  Even though there's been a significant amount of recovery in the journey over the years, my self-esteem seems to be as shaky as unset jello.  I seem to need constant affirmation that I am OK.  That I am worthwhile.  That I do have value.  That I am good enough.

This is a very hard lie to shake.  And one, frankly, that I am still working on because it is a deep-rooted lie based on self-esteem.

This lie rears it's ugly head many times, in many ways, as I walk through my normal routine of daily living.  It's only been recently that I've begun to recognize it for what it is.  Now to work on the why and how to get rid of it.

This lie shows up in everything I do:  my writing, knitting, crocheting, cooking, photography.  You name it, it's there.  Especially if I make a mistake - or fail to reach someone's marker.  I feel like no matter how good I am at what I do there's always someone better.

But then is that a liability?  If there's someone better, I can perhaps get advice/mentoring from them.

The reverse is also true:  there's usually someone who looks up to me as really skilled at the things I do and comes to me for advice.  On knitting and crocheting.  Etc.

I think the big problem is not that others are setting the banner too high for me but that I am setting the banner too high for myself.

I want everything I do to be perfect - and it's not.

You may have heard that when the artisans make a Persian rug, they purposefully put in a mistake because only God is perfect.  Well, I don't have to purposefully put in a mistake.  It happens naturally with me.  And it causes me to realize that I'm not perfect.  Only God is perfect.  And then it becomes OK.


You're probably wondering what the two pictures above, one of a crocheted stocking in progress and one of the chart I'm attempting to follow, have to do with this post about the lie of not being good enough.

Yet, I'm so tough on myself that this is a good example.  I've had a lot of trouble reading the chart probably because of the ongoing problems with my cognitive skills.  I've crocheted, counted, ripped out, crocheted again, counted again, ripped out again sometimes once, sometimes twice before I finally figure out where the mistake is.  I've put it down a good many times, rested my poor brain (and my eyes), and then picked it up again.  Because one thing I'm not is a quitter.  That's one lie I don't have in my subconscious.

Because I set the banner so high - as in nothing less than perfection will do,  I see - and magnify in my mind - all the imperfections I see:  for one the design lists to the left.  But in the scheme of things will the seven/eight month old who receives it really care?  As he grows older, will he notice the imperfections or look at it as a treasured part of his Christmas tradition beginning at his first Christmas ever?

I choose to believe the latter.  Therefore, as soon as I publish this post, I will pick up the hook and the stocking and restart again.

Until tomorrow....

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Recovery Post Workplace Abuse: This Blog

Add caption

Why do I write this blog?  Especially when it brings me back to a bad time and place?  A place I am still recovering from.  

My blog, which mirrors my recovery, is all over the map.  Not only is it irregular in topic, jumping from one topic to another, then back again, before going on to something else entirely different. Or stopping suddenly, just when it's getting interesting, and not going back? It is also irregular in posting.  For a period of time, the posts will come regularly, like clockwork, around 9 a.m. Monday to Friday.  And then suddenly miss a day - or two - or three.  Or even stop?

This is not the way to build up a regular readership.  I know that.

Yet, this blog is about recovery from workplace bullying.

Specifically, it is about my recovery from workplace bullying.

While I'm currently very much in the process of recovery.

Which is the reason it tends to be irregular at times - in both content and posting.

For me, recovery is a long-term process.  Like my counselling has been.  Especially if you realize that  for me recovery and counselling are very much intertwined.  I can't have one without the other.

My counselling allows me a chance to "debrief" what I've processed on the road to recovery.  For years, it was every two weeks.  Then earlier this year, we transitioned to every four weeks and now to every two weeks.

That in itself is a significant step on the road to recovery.  It means that I'm more and more able to handle whatever is happening in my life and need less "debriefing".  Yet, it also means that I'm processing more life incidents in between debriefings or sessions.

Which seems to mean I get tired easily.  I either take long naps in the afternoon ... or I end up going to bed early, very early, like at a time when the evening is just getting started for most people..

The processing in and of itself seems to bog me down periodically.  Lethargy ensues for periods of time.  Listlessness.

I know I'm in trouble when I don't feel like creating.

Speaking of creating, though, writing is another form of creating.  Just like the knitting and crocheting.  Except my materials are the computer, words, this blog.  

My motivation when I first started this blog was to have samples of my writing style to show prospective editors.  Which is why it's called Ramblings of a Deranged Mind.  I simply wanted something catching.  In fact, I'd had the idea of starting a blog years before I ever put one finger to keyboard.  I'd even gotten it set up on Blogger, but had never posted anything.  This was before I realized that recovery, for me, is very much a long-term work.  It seems to always be a work in progress.

As time went on, and I took a blogging course, I realized that I did indeed have a platform - and that platform, that main focus, is twofold:  workplace bullying and recovery from workplace bullying.  My blog, therefore, became more focussed.

I also realized that many people have been - and are still being - bullied in the workplace.  I'm not the only one.

I may be one of the few who is willing to be open and transparent about what happened, but I'm not the only one.

As I open myself up, others have opened themselves up to me about their various experiences of bullying:  at work, on the school bus, in the neighbourhood, at church.  Bullying knows no boundaries.  It crosses all lines.

The biggest sameness about the stories is the damage, frustration and confusion it causes those who became entrapped in its grips along with the silence.  Those stories, those hurts stay hidden in the subconscious.  Untreated they don't go away, they just lie buried like the dust bunnies under the bed.

Having said all that, the reason this blog has its irregularities is because it mirrors life:  my life specifically.

My progress on the road to recovery.  A path that is not charted.  I have no workbooks, no guidelines.  It's all a "do it yourself" kind of thing - with help, of course, from my therapist, my doctor, and a few long-suffering friends and family members.

It's a trial and error kind of thing.  Back and forth.

So when I find that a topic is becoming too much for me, i.e. the recent one on serial bullying where my research is so uncannily similar to what I experienced that it would be easier to copy and paste the entire article and redact out the pieces that don't fit, then to write about what does fit - which is most of the article.

I had to stop that theme, probably temporarily, so I can process those things - come to terms with them - and eventually let them go.  

So the times you don't hear from me are the times I'm down for the count.  Lethargic.  Listless.  The processing times.  The times when I feel like I am slogging through a very muddy field which is sucking my boots down at each step requiring more energy than I have to make it through that field to the other, dryer end.  The times that come before the victory.

Yet I am convinced that recovery, complete recovery, is coming.  It may not look like what I envisioned at the start.  But it will come.  My body may never soar gliding the currents in the wind like the above picture of a seagull, but I firmly believe that my soul will glide again.

Until tomorrow....