Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Surviving Workplace Bullying: Being thankful for what I do have

How I wish sometimes I could be like that little speck of an airplane up there in the sky and not feeling oh so mired to the sticky clay here on earth beneath my feet, trying to suck me down.

Writing this blog is ... interesting ... to say the least.

I start in one direction and then another comes up unexpectedly.

For example, when I wrote the story of how I was coerced to resign that day in the donut shop, I fully intended to move on to significant issues contained both within the document purported to be a legitimate complaint as well as thoughts regarding legislation in Ontario and how it should have been applied along with workplace policies and how they were ignored.  I haven't gotten there ... yet.

I've suffered a severe emotional backlash just from writing that posting.  I've felt weak and shaky.  Depressed.  I've felt like a huge weight is pressing down on my chest.  Something the doctors have concluded is probably from the extreme stress and anxiety I experienced in the workplace.

I didn't expect writing that post, reliving that memory to take that toll on me.  I thought I was past that.  That I had dealt with the issues and put them to bed.  Now I wonder:  does it ever completely go away?

I've lost interest in things again.  I curled up in bed and read - which helped short-term.  But that book is now finished, and I was too down to select another one at the library.

Everything has become an effort - again.  I have no interest in things - even knitting.  I did accidentally discover what I call "photo therapy" when I was going through an old photo file on my laptop to cull out photos to get more disc space on my laptop as it's pretty full.

As I looked at those photos, taken in Scotland in 2009, they brought back good memories.  They brought me back to that time, that place.  They soothed my soul.  And I felt somewhat better.  Not whole, not alive.  But better.

There is still hope.

I know more about these affects, lots more, than I did when these things were happening.  Therefore, I have coping mechanisms in place.  I know too that I'm not alone.  People have risen up from unexpected places to reach out to me not just along the journey but in the last few days.  

I have more "feet" than I knew I had.

To explain what I mean by "feet", I have been reading a book called The Holy Wild, by Mark Buchanan, a keynote speaker at the writers conference I went to last June.

In his book, he recounted an incident where he was in a third-world country, tired after his long journey, hot, dusty, irritable.  He was in a lively church service where people were praising the Lord.  He wasn't.  He just wanted a hot shower and a bed.  His heart wasn't into being thankful in that moment.  The pastor asked if anyone had something to be thankful for and a woman danced up to the front with the others encouraging her on.  She told how she had been praying for shoes for three months and God had given her shoes.  She lifted up her long skirt and held out her feet to show the others the shoes she was so thankful for.  Mark describes how they were just ordinary shoes.  He had lots of shoes in his closet back home.  And then it struck him, how unthankful he was for the things he had.

His prose struck me too.  What can I be thankful for in my situation?  I have shoes - lots of them.  I thought a bit and then realized that I could be thankful for my "feet".  First, I was thinking literally.  I have feet.  I can walk.  Because I have "feet", I can do lots of things.  

Then I began to think of my feet in the figurative sense.  While I haven't had is a lot in the way of support, I have had a small, patchwork support system - which works.  It may not be able to supply every need I have - like when I was down for the count after my mother died and unable to do much of anything and I needed intensive support.  But I did have this small, incredible support system which continued to do what they could, when they could.

To not be thankful for them is to be ungrateful.

I realized that these people were my "feet".  In the last few days since writing and publishing Monday's blog posting, I've realized that I have more "feet" than I thought I had.  Individuals from different areas of the world have reached out to me in one way or another, some by texting, some by phone calls, some by messaging or emails.  Each one different.  Each one with something slightly different to offer.  Most of them suffering in one way or another - not from workplace abuse but from autoimmune diseases which sap them of their strength and their identity, just like workplace abuse has sapped me.

These are my "feet" for which I am very thankful today.

So today, I deflect from the heavy work of writing about workplace abuse, mobbing, etc. and I take a moment out to reflect on what I do have.  To be thankful for those who reach out to me when I'm down.  Who continue to encourage me on the path I've taken.  Who think I'm brave because I write about this.  To the one who says I'm her hero, because of the path I've taken in attempting to be visible and to regain the voice that was stolen from me in the workplace.

The other night I took time out also to be thankful for being able to see the super moon.  To see it bathe my room in moonlight as bright as though there was a light on.

Until tomorrow ....

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