After publishing this blog for over a year, I finally decided to take a Blogging 101 course to see what I'm doing right - and what I'm doing wrong. Actually, from what I'm learning, it is a surprise that I have any readers which means that I am very grateful for each one of you who takes the time to click on this poor old bear's blog - and read it.
What possessed you to click on this URL, to look at this blog? What intrigued you? Was it the title? Was it one of the key words? What are you looking for in your reading pleasure in a blog?
Was it the word “deranged” which made you think of a psychotic blogger; one who rambles on without rhyme or reason? Or was it a totally different reason - like you already know me and have been involved in a part of my journey - even vicariously.
What is a deranged mind anyway? Perhaps it is different things to different people. My mind has always been independent. Marching to its own drummer. Going its own direction. Sometimes switching focus on a dime. People sometimes hard to follow my conversations, as I don't always say what they expect. Or think in a conventional way. I am different. Proudly so. Therefore, I don't always fit in. During this journey, I've learned to live with that.
This blog has changed direction - or perhaps more accurately gained focus - within the year and a bit that its been in existence.
When I started in January 2012, I simply wanted a forum for my writing style and technique. As time went on, I became more and more away of the damage workplace abuse had wrecked in my life. It was six months after the fact when the symptoms of severe stress started wrecking havoc in my life. Altering the landscape of my existence beyond recognition. Like Cologne during WWII completely destroyed during an Allied blitz attack. Rebuilt. But never to be the same as before.
Before the abuse started and continuing while it escalated, I was already involved in therapy with an amazing therapist. Thus began the most amazing adventure of my life. An adventure that didn't follow any logical progress, but leaped all over the map from one place to another ... and then back again. Learning to value myself. Learning to value others. Discovering who was important in my life - and who was not. Admitting that to those who should have been important ... and had not been. Forgiveness. Trauma. Confronting long term fears.
Even during the abusive situation, life was fun. I was having a great time. Reinventing relationships with Papa Bear, the cubs, sibling bear. Seizing the moment for all it was worth.
Even when I was completely isolated by my co-workers, I continued to seize the moment and learn more about myself and how to handle these situations. I learned that I did not need others to know my self-worth. I learned that I enjoyed myself and didn't need others to affirm me. When my co-workers refused to talk to me and excluded me from office chat, I would simply talk to others in other departments. I found ways to cope. Time after time. I worked things out in therapy, read books, analyzed the situation, attended conferences.
And I grew - emotionally.
For the first time in my life, I was truly a happy camper. Even in the midst of on-going, escalating trauma, I was happy.
Shortly before the end came, a worker from a different department said "What are you on? You're always smiling. No one can be that happy." I grinned. I tried to frown - but it just wouldn't happen. Everyone (everyone not in my department that is) who was in the vicinity was laughing with me. A splash of happiness in the cesspool of life (title of a book by Barbara Johnson).
And then the opposing faction raised the heat and began going to management and HR accusing me of things. Even the union became involved - on their side. Every small mistake was reported. Small incidents which should have been kept between two people became fodder for office gossip after being reported to management.
Called into the office repeatedly. Having to explain myself. Phone calls at home.
Finally, I had two back-to-back stress breakdowns. While I was "recovering" from the second one, out of the office, on short-term disability, the opposing faction wrong up a petition and submitted it to management and HR. I never did walk back into the building again. I was not allowed to. Too ill to even think, devastated, crying uncontrollably, I signed away all my rights in a local donut shop with only the union representative present.
Since then, my journey has changed. My landscape is filled with craters, darkness, fear of people, fatigue. Even affects that resemble brain injury.
And yet, it's not all gloom and doom. Never has been; never will be.
I continue the journey. The journey of recovery.
I invite you, old reader and new reader alike, to join with me in my journey.
To rejoice when I rejoice; to weep when I weep.
I also invite you if you're new to this blog to peruse my old posts and visit the places I've already been.
Thank you for joining me in the journey.
Looking forward to see what's around the next bend in the journey.