Monday, September 22, 2014

Post Workplace Abuse: Unexpected challenges yet life is still worth living

I started this post months ago in the period after I went to Write Canada.  Going to Write Canada was a significant event in my journey towards recovery post workplace abuse.  It is one of several unfinished posts in which I cached pieces of other posts which just didn't seem to fit in at the moment.

Right now, right at this moment in space and time, dear friends, I feel totally wiped.  Worn out.  My mind doesn't want to function.  My body wants to stay in bed.  Things that used to interest me, don't light my fire right now.

In short, I have a lot of the symptoms of depression according to the linked article from Huffpost.

I also feel disjointed - which is why I think reinventing this old conglomeration of bits and pieces from other posts fits today.  It fits the way I feel.

Yet, at the same time, disjointed and lacking in continuity as it may be, it does have a certain amount of fluidity.

In my journey towards recovery from workplace abuse, depression seems to be part and parcel of the journey.  Sometimes worse than other times.  Sometimes better.  It sort of seems to wax and wane like the moon.

The problem is to realize it for what it is.  If I can realize what it is, what I'm going through for example identify trauma, complex PTSD and depression in my life, then I am able to deal with them, to cope, better.

This post starts with Write Canada, goes on to an earlier part of the journey and then goes back to Write Canada.  It sort of meanders all over the place - like that creek I mentioned in my last post.

Yet ... yet, I think there is some validity in sharing these disjointed parts of my journey.  Because although disjointed, they still form a whole.


Sandra Orchard, Published fiction writer from Ontario, who conducted some of the workshops who just happens to be wearing one of the scarves I made and brought to give away to anyone who blessed me.
Conquer?  Not exactly.  Write Canada does not need to be conquered.  It is not Mount Everest.  It is a group of people, mostly Christian people, who write.  We come from all over Canada, East and West, we come to share this time, to meet new people, to reconnect, to learn and to grow as writers.

Me.  I came with my own agenda.

To continue on the course of recovery from Workplace Abuse.  My own personal Mount Everest.

The journey home from a place which left me lost, alone and lonely.

From picture archives 2011 of ambitious camping trip in what is called the "Near North" of Ontario

I had no way of knowing back in 2011 when everything was happening at the workplace and I had those two back-to-back stress breakdowns what was in store for me.

I knew that what I was experiencing in the workplace was trauma.  I knew that I had complex PTSD from previous situations including and especially the first run in with workplace abuse.  But I really didn't understand how profoundly trauma was going to affect every aspect of my life and how long it was going to last.

It was like starting out on an unplanned, unexpected journey on the spur of the moment with absolutely no idea of where I was going or how I has going to get there.  If I got there at all.

The breakdowns and initial damage occurred in late winter/early spring of 2011.  By the fall of 2011, I was starting to move into what I now know was the chronic phase.  I was tired all the time.  A tiredness that never went away.  We had planned a two-week camping adventure starting out at Tobermory Ontario on the Bruce Peninsula, taking the ferry across to Manitoulin Island and then making our way across to Saulte Sainte Marie, up to Manitouwadge, Ontario and on back.  Little did I know at the time how challenging this trip would be.  How severe the damage was.  And that it was going to last for quite for time.

I simply thought if I got a good night's rest I would be fine.

That didn't happen.

I did notice that I felt safer in smaller spaces.  We have two tents and my husband chose to bring the small, canoe camping tent rather than the larger one.  I was glad he did.  I felt comfortable in that small, enclosed space which held so many good memories of previous trips when it was just hubby, me, the canoe and God.

The old lighthouse, now unused, at Big Tug Harbour, Tobermorey, Ontario
I also noticed that I had quite a startle reaction.  On our first night in Tobermory, a young child ran past me emitting loud noises - as children do.  And I startled badly.  I stopped.  I had a panic reaction.  It was then that we realized that going into a restaurant for our evening meal was not going to work.  Hubby suggested we buy sandwiches, etc. at the local food store and then go to the old lighthouse to eat them.  There were lots of other people there and I started to panic again, but hubby knew what I needed and led me to a secluded spot in the rocks where we could sit virtually unnoticed and simply observe as we ate our supper.

What I've described in today's blog was only the beginning of the affects of the trauma which became apparent in the days, weeks and months to come.  Affects I still wrestle with.

The "long and short" of it.  Myself and Heidi, one of the hardest working and funniest women I have ever met at Write Canada 2014
This is part of the background of the story as to why even being able to go to Write Canada 2013 with my niece as constant companion was such a victory and why going alone this year to Write Canada 2014 felt akin to climbing Mount Everest - or perhaps going up the CN Tower.

Also, why I find life such a challenge even now more than three years past the initial injury, the initial trauma.


Life, my friends, is all about living.  Living to the fullest.  Living to the best of our abilities DESPITE our challenges.

During my journey - and largely because of it, I have had the privilege of meeting many people mostly through the net who are as disenfranchised in their own situations as I am in mine.  Most of these people have autoimmune diseases which have caused drastic changes in their lives.  Pain.  Immobility. 

Yet these people soldier on.

Life, I am finding is not about avoiding all obstacles and challenges but in meeting them head on and finding a way to cope with them.

Today, my challenge - should I choose to accept it - is to find a way to rebalance myself and soldier on.

I accept the challenge.

Until tomorrow ....

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