It’s been a long year so far and I can sense something about to happen but I’m trying not to think. There’s a lot to do on my list of ‘to-do’s’ and often I find it hard to remember the tasks or I lose track of what to do. Sometimes I lose the motivation to get what I done what I need. It’s been a rough few months and we’re only in May but let’s start with the vacation/sick time I’m using at the moment. I booked my vacation and sick time for about 12 days and I told my manager and human resources that I cannot work due to a family emergency and that my mother is unwell. Yes, that may have been a lie. However, I don’t know how to say how unwell I am given the fact that I’m a staff and I work with clients who have complex mental health and developmental disabilities. I’m the overnight worker and while I’ve been off, I’ve been thinking whether or not overnights are for me. I say this because I have crazy insomnia and when I don’t sleep properly and that’s most nights, I get irritable and moody; this is shown with the work I do usually. I’m normally able to maintain myself at work through silence as I stare down at my phone. My colleagues saw me crying a few times but I don’t make this a daily habit. My colleagues saw my crying maybe three times and whenever they ask what’s wrong, I always just say “I’m fine.” It’s kind of impossible to start mental health conversations because the shame and stigma entrenched with mental health, mental illness and with addictions is far too large. Some of you may disagree and that’s okay — Some of you may agree. I think this personally depends on individual personal experience. I’ve been screwed over by a lot of professionals and literally told that talking about my issues and my mental health is NOT okay and will never be okay; I was told this by a therapist.
I felt it was necessary to book off some vacation and sick days. My manager told me I only had 12 paid days I can take to myself and he sympathized with my situation. I just feel so guilty because I do not lie and the guilt is eating away at me. It’s not that I want to lie but society makes me lie. In order to maintain my employment and dignity, sometimes a few lies will have to do. I’m sure we have all been there or is it just me? I’m just afraid due to personal experiences of being let down by professionals and the system itself to talk about these topics. I’m sure I’m not alone here.
The reason for my time off had to do with an intense meltdown at work where I felt harassed, dismissed and invalidated by my colleagues. It’s a long story but I’m going to try and explain this in the best way possible. I do my best explaining when I write everything out but when it comes to verbal explanations, it sounds like word vomit.
On May 4th, I went into work starting at midnight and I said good morning to everyone. Although I wasn’t feeling the best, I still managed to force a smile and utter a “good morning” just to be friendly and polite. At midnight, that’s literally our good morning and likely your good night. Yes, welcome to the overnight lifestyle. I settled into my shift, firstly signing in as we all have to do and then I told my colleagues that I’d be right back as I headed to the staff room. My colleagues right when I walked in informed me of some apparent power outage but that did not retain too much due to my mood and lack of processing. Sometimes when people tell me stuff, I’m like “uh-huh, okay.” It just didn’t retain. So I went to the staff room to heat up my food as I never ate anything nor did I take my ADHD medication. Without my meds, I’m telling you that I’m a mess and people don’t realize how much I need my medication. When I went back to the office with my food in my hands, I still never took my meds. It was a few minutes after my shift about 12:06am and my colleagues were trying to talk to me and there was something else going on work-related but I couldn’t even bother to care. I went to the manager’s office and sat there and when I tried to dim the lights in the office, that didn’t work. I asked my colleagues why the light was not dimming and was ignored and mumbled underneath my breath, “why aren’t the lights dimming?” Apparently my mumbling was taken as having attitude but I was so confused and just asking a question. My head was also killing me so badly due to drinking before I had to sleep for this overnight. I need to stop drinking as it’s really messing up my life but an addiction is an addiction and people do not understand that stopping a literal drug is not an easy task. One of my colleagues did answer and I made a comment about his tone or whatever. Everything is hazy as I was very much so out of it. During my commute to work, I thought I was going to be late the subway was not running and I tried to uber and kept on getting different uber drivers for some strange odd reason. I just didn’t wake up on the right side of the bed and I should have called in sick to the shift because I knew I wasn’t feeling the greatest. I wasn’t feeling too great due to a comment my colleague has made the previous shift about me being childish. I was called childish for refusing to speak when silence nowadays is a literal coping mechanism. I didn’t know that refusing to speak can indicate someone is being childish? Sometimes I question my colleague and it’s like I cannot be mad at her and it’s hella frustrating!
My favorite colleague made a comment about me being rude and I was like “I’m not being rude. I’m confused. I don’t know why the lights aren’t working.” I even added that the bathroom lights weren’t working. I somewhat remember them telling me about a power outage but it seriously was not retaining at all. I tend to listen but then I don’t listen, and my colleagues got mad at me for my inability to process and retain information I suppose. Anyways, I got frustrated due to confusion and not understanding and being able to follow the conversation. I told my colleagues repeatedly to stop talking to me but they continued to talk to me. I was frustrated and after about the 10th tenth time of repeating myself, I told them to fcuk off. I didn’t mean to utter this and that’s when I saw my favorite colleague pick up her phone to call the on-call manager and I’m thinking in my head, “I fcuked up.” She was making comments about our manager coming on site to talk to me but to be realistic, what manager will want to come on site to attend to a situation at about 1:00am? So that happened and my colleague is on the phone with the on-call manager and she’s going on about not feeling safe and trusting me at all in the workplace while I’m sitting there in the manager’s office in literal tears. I have my phone out and my hands and legs are shaking and due to my lack of communication, I have no idea what to say or do. When I’m nervous or scared, I tend to get on the defense so people don’t really know when I’m scared because I do a lot of masking.
When I sat there in the manager’s office, there’s so much I wanted to say but I was scared. When my favorite colleague is angry or when I say something she doesn’t like, she raises her voice and yelling is a huge trigger to me. Growing up, my father used to yell and physically hit me. These days when someone raises their tone at me, I instantly shut down and I’m not sure what to do or say. I’m not okay but I want to be okay. In that moment, I wanted to say something and let her know that “look, you can’t yell at me like that.” I also wanted to tell her that I wasn’t feeling the greatest. I remember from previous conversations, she told me that I don’t have to be perfect and when I’m not in a good mood, I can just let her know and she’ll try her best to help me out. In that moment when she was angry, I felt like she was somewhat disappointed at me for not getting it and I felt that I couldn’t say anything. It’s so awkward because as a professional at work, I can’t say half the things I want to say and I want to yell most of the time because the work I do is not the easiest. I think on that day, I was also burnt out from work and personal life responsibilities. Sometimes being an adult is not that ideal and I just want to go back home with my home. However, that choice is not there. If I had the choice to go back home, I would go back home and give my Mom a huge hug but she doesn’t want anything to do with me. Due to my poor relationship with my mom, I’ve been awkwardly attaching myself to others and trying to create my own versions of ‘family’ in my head. I know this is not right and how to go about things and that’s why most of the time I self-isolate. Even thinking about my mom right now makes me just so emotional and I’m not sure what to think. Does she care? I have no idea.
I find I’m always people pleasing with my favorite colleague. I start to beat myself up when I think she’s mad at me. When she first started with us on the overnights, I would constantly ask whether or not she’s mad at me. I always do this to myself — I attach myself to older females and then when I accidentally push them away, I self-isolate for weeks and sometimes for months and there isn’t anything anyone can do or say to really help. I have intense abandonment issues and this stems from being alone for many years and having to fend for myself without a motherly figure. Since I was young, I’ve always wanted a family and I never got that. I grew up in a dysfunctional household and it’s hard to talk about. My father abused alcohol and I once saw him passed out on the toilet upon getting home from school. He was never involved in my life. He was never active at all and he refused to be a father. My father even told me, “I never wanted kids.” Who says that to their children? That exact line is just the worse because it makes me feel that I’m nothing to my father, that I shouldn’t have been born. My father was always cold and abusive especially towards me. In the household and I know this is true but I was labelled as the ‘difficult’ child. I was stubborn and I admit I am. I also don’t listen and I’m sure my colleagues will agree with me on this one. I just tend to do things my way but no child deserves to be hit by a parent. He would hit me for even talking too much. I remember he started hitting me in front of my school friends and I was the literal topic of the school day. People in my class kept on asking if I was okay. I said, “I’m fine” with bruises on my arms. Children’s Aid society did get involved on many occasions but my father is a narcissist and he can manipulate any situation so the social workers assumed I was okay to be brought back to his care. He also grew up in the foster care system and is well aware of how the system is and how to play it. Growing up, my mother played both parent roles and she suffered a lot and, as a result, we suffered — My sister and I. My sister had her friends and she ran away for a few years when she was 14 and then came back home at 16. I was too scared to leave. During high school, it was the worse because my mother was absent from my life as she was fed up about it all — She was fed up having to live with my father for many years and being miserable. She met a guy a few hours away from where I was living and she would leave me alone in a house for weeks. She would show up once on the weekend for about an hour just to drop off basic essentials and food. When I asked to do something with her, she never answered and just left to go back to her partner. When she got re-married to this guy in 2015, my whole life fell a part. Why? It’s because she prioritizes her happiness and this new guy instead of kids. I understand that my mom is happy but my sister and I are not and we’re suffering as a result. I just feel like she does not care. I’m bringing up all of this because I have intense abandonment issues from about 14 years old. High school was an utter nightmare and I did not have much friends.
So my favorite colleague is on the phone to the on-call manager and this is making me so angry. When she hangs up the phone to the manager, I call them back from the work phone all hysterical — I literally couldn’t control myself. The manager mentioned that my colleagues do not feel safe and that I need to go home. She mentioned if I don’t go home that she would have no choice but to call the police on me. This part I didn’t get. I was balling my eyes out and nobody even cared for my wellbeing. Is this mental health or? Everyone could have been more sympathetic towards me but they weren’t. I told the manager that I wasn’t going home over and over and that my favorite colleague needs to go home. That’s when she threatened me with the police. Due to the traumatic and triggering experience with the police in the summer of 2021, I refuse to reach out to the police and go back to any hospitals. The system is so corrupt and people don’t understand how messed up it is. Once in conversation, my colleague was going on about being formed and how it’s sooo easy to check into a hospital. NO, IT IS NOT EASY. I don’t know what world she lives in but checking into a hospital voluntarily is utter hell. There’s no other explanation. I left the site upon being threatened by the police because there was no way in hell I was being handcuffed out of the building and having my job ruined. I remember hanging up abruptly on the manager and throwing the work phone — It was so shameful and I’m quite positive my colleagues were scared. I don’t blame them. In that moment, I think I was experiencing a crisis. I suppose that’s what my colleague meant when she told the on-call manager about having years of experience attending to those in crisis — I think she was referring to me.
Just before I left the site, I grabbed my belongings and turned to my favorite colleague and told her that I was going to unalive myself. I meant those words but I didn’t mean those words. I said those words through literal tears and, in that moment, I could not control myself. I couldn’t control anything. I stormed out of that office and just when I was halfway down the street, I had to go back to the office because I forgot my phone. So I did the walk of shame and picked up my phone and I noticed my colleague I think on the phone with the manager. I was so upset that I grabbed my phone and left the building, my heart in a panic and scared as ever. I ran out of the building, literally, and placed my phone in airplane mode and then I turned it off so it couldn’t be tracked. Instead of taking the subway home, I took an uber and I’m sure the driver was concerned because I was in tears from my workplace to my house. I didn’t know what to do and I could not control those years. A part of me wanted to check into a hospital but the other half could not. I’ve been traumatized by most hospitals and being in restraints is not fun. Nurses and security guards do not care about vulnerable asf patients and we’re tossed to the side like garbage. There’s no such thing as mental health in this messed up society and that’s a fact. When I got home, I immediately got my beer out and started to drink. I cried for hours and hours. I eventually called the on-call manager but at about 5:00am to inform her that I was okay and safe; I was safe then and in a better place. She thanked me for calling and stated that I needed to talk to my manager upon returning back to work. I didn’t understand why what happened had happened.
I booked off 12 days of work. Right now, It’s Sunday, May 15th and I’m sitting here writing and I’m not too sure what to think about all of this. I had mentioned to the on-call manager that night about having a learning disability and that my colleagues were bullying/harassing me. I just felt harassed because when I didn’t want to talk and I asked them to kindly stop talking to me, they continued to talk to me and I seriously felt provoked. How is that okay? I wanted to settle into my shift, take my meds and eat my food but I couldn’t just do that and that’s the frustrating part. I didn’t feel respected. Anyone would have reacted the same way as me. I have a human resources meeting tomorrow and it’s in the morning but I’m drinking right now. I told them I don’t have internet due to my social anxiety. Seriously, I just can’t deal with this meeting and being on video first thing in the morning when I wake up. I’m not doing too well and I wish I can disclose to HR and to my manager about my debilitating mental health but how do I do that in such a corrupt and stigmatizing society? People do not get it and they never will. People think they get it but still walk all over us and take advantage of the most vulnerable, that person being me.
I just don’t know what to think. Will they even listen to me tomorrow? What if I check myself into a hospital voluntarily tonight and face my fears? That way, I won’t have to do this meeting at all but checking myself into a hospital is not likely due to a large FEAR.