Monday, September 1, 2014

Surviving Workplace Abuse: an unexpected mini vacation in the midst of recovery

This vessel, now privately owned, used to be a marine research vessel.
 Good morning and happy Labour Day from Parry Sound, Ontario where hubby and I are taking a much needed mini vacation.

Recovery, for me, is very hard work.  As it is for everyone who truly embraces the concept and is willing to work hard for something.  Hubby is now working two jobs in order to keep our heads about water.  That's hard work too.

Worrying about how you're going to pay the bills takes a lot out of one as well.

As well, when hubby is away from me, he worries about how I'm doing.  Is someone going to do or say something harmful?

For me, I find this summer has been a continual experience of pushing the envelope and seeing how far I can go.  The CN Tower.  That day of firsts in Toronto.  Talking to my new neighbour.  Getting outside the house and taking walks.

They all take their tole.

I discovered that even talking with my neighbour for approximately 15 minutes earlier this summer took a toll on me.  I would suddenly get extremely tired.  So much so, that I would head straight to bed and sleep for the next two or so hours.

So when hubby said he unexpectedly had three days in a row off and wanted to get away, I said:  "OK".

Everyone needs a break.  Or else they will break.

We've come to a place that is familiar to us.  A place where there's lots of water as it's on Georgian Bay (sometimes referred to as the sixth Great Lake).  A place where we feel comfortable and can indulge in our interests and passions:  canoeing, photography, enjoying nature.

I've found that feeling comfortable in a place post workplace abuse, trauma, PTSD, etc. is helpful.

At one point in my journey, I was so afraid of running into those various former co-workers that I would hesitate to go anywhere.  Poking my nose outside my house was scary.  Powered by fear of what these people might conceivably do.

Then, my analytical brain took over and I realized that many of the things I was interested in doing and many of the places I would go were not things these people would enjoy.  My interests were so different from theirs - and vice versa.

I think, in retrospect, that's what helped make the situation in the workplace so difficult.  I was very different from most of my colleagues and, therefore, harder to find a common ground with.

Unfortunately, while I did try many times to open up dialogue and find a common ground with these people, they did not.  Instead, they turned inward and formed a group within themselves based on their common interests, etc.

As time evolved, the biggest common denominator became me.  Their mutual dislike of me.

As I watched this attitude spread and the circle widen, hubby used to take me out to places like this.  Or Algonquin Park where we could canoe camp.  Get away from it all.  I called canoe camping my emotional detox.  When you're out on a lake with no distractions and minimal contact with people, you can soak in the quiet and solitude.  There's time for healing to take place.

BUT ...  no matter where I go, I can't get away from my thoughts.  They're always there.  Sometimes, they torment me.  They come up in my subconscious causing nightmares and convoluted dreams.  

 I'm still trying to work out in my mind how I want to tell the story:  the story about how my working life formally ended in a doughnut shop totally unrelated to my workplace with only the Union VP in attendance.

 Leaving in the way I did left more injury and has created many questions as I've worked through things in the past three years.

Since I was not in the workplace but was off site in a doughnut shop in a surprise (to me) meeting with only a union "official", was it even legal? is one of the questions.

 Like Pandora's Box, going into this part of the story opens up more questions and dynamics to explore.

 Yet, for the moment, I will soak in the beauty around me.  I will rest as much as possible.

 I will allow my thoughts to find an order in my mind so that when I come back from my mini vacation, I will be rested and up to the challenges ahead.

Until tomorrow ....

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry I've been such a bad blogging friend - I've gotten so behind on reading your blog but I'm so happy to see your continued to growth and recovery and that you're actually writing so much - I think that's amazing!!!! It sounds like you had a great little get-away and from the looks of it you surrounded yourself in beautiful, peaceful scenery - what could possibly be better??!!! I'll try and be more consistent with reading - you know as well as anyone that life gets really busy - but never doubt that you have people in your corner rooting for you as you continue in your journey!!