Friday, July 12, 2013

Immediately after Workplace Abuse - The Wasteland

Have you ever noticed how the same scene viewed from two different positions can look totally different?  On our first canoe camping trip, we got lost on our way back from the campsite to the outfitters.  Why?  Because we were travelling in the opposite direction and nothing looked familiar.  Not to mention, that on an interior lake in Algonquin Provincial Park, there are no sign posts sticking out of the water telling you which way to go.  (There are also no canoe through Tim Hortons.)   The canoeist is totally on their own.  Yes, they have a map, but maps can get turned around.  We found out the hard way that two people in the same canoe with the exact same map in front of them can read it totally differently.

Such is the situation I found myself suddenly thrust into when I was deposited on the back steps of that workplace that long ago day in 2005.  The door shut behind me with finality.  A door I was dimly aware through my confusion and tears that I could never re-enter.

The only path before me was "forward" in the sense of walking in the direction my feet were planted towards the car - and from there home - away from the workplace.

If I only knew then what I know now.

But I didn't.  I was walking, unwillingly to be sure, through totally uncharted territory.  Through something I had never gone through before.

Something I would never wish on my worst enemy, let alone my best friend.

From this side, I see it now as an 18 month long barren wasteland.

A year and a half with no healing.  No pretence of recovery.  Lost and adrift in a sea of emotions.  Emotions which I could not control.  Thoughts which were always in front of me.  From the first moment my eyes opened in the morning until well after I attempted to close them at night.

No matter what I tried, nothing seemed to help.  Those thoughts were always there, always a part of me.

From this side, I now know that what happened at that workplace was trauma - both the abuse and the ending.  That it became PTSD - or probably more accurately complex PTSD

The 2 up and HR could not have engineered a more traumatic or brutal ending to the contract.

To them, it may just have been another day at the office.  An unpleasant task to accomplish.

To me it was my life.

For the 2 up and the maternity leave supervisor, they were able to go back to their desks, back to the normality of their everyday work lives.

For me, that normalcy was abruptly seized from me.

I was given no time to adjust to my "new" normal.

All of the insight I have now, has come from being on the other side.  The side were healing eventually began to occur after 18 months.

This desert, this wasteland of confusion and emotions is what we're entering now in the series.

A place were undiagnosed and unrecognized trauma reigns.

This appears to be a good place to end on a Friday morning.  The work week - and my blogging week - are coming to an end and I'm gearing up for the weekend.

I imagine as the series progresses, there will be a backward and forward motion.  Going backward to certain things about the workplace.  Going forward into the emotional barrenness of that time.  

There will be times when I will need to take a break from the difficult work of recounting this phase.  But it has to be told.  Otherwise, what has taken place since makes no sense.

You, dear reader, need to know how dark things became - and why - before you can begin to understand what recovery looked like when it finally started to come.

I hope that this blog is helping someone, somewhere along their journey of either workplace abuse or post workplace abuse.


  1. I love how you tied in being lost in Algonquin. Sometimes, it takes being lost to really know when you're found. I appreciate how vulnerable you're being and I'm sure your experience will help someone else who just isn't ready to talk about it yet.

    1. Thank you, Allanna. I appreciate your taking the time to read my blog and post a comment. It means a lot. And yes, I'm hoping my experience will help someone else. God bless you real good, Carrie.