I am overwhelmed, miserable, confused and utterly lost!
I’ve had a very hard year so far and this is not even taking into account all the shitty things that happened on a global scale this 2020.
My personal and work life is a mess. In Jan 2019, I got an opportunity to do my dream job. Since joining, it’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions – I got ignored by my colleagues at training school. Six months of trying to learn while ignoring the overwhelming hopelessness that engulfed me whenever I tried socialising with my colleagues who pretended I didn’t exist for the most part. We then graduated and I thought to myself – a new chapter begins. I will start anew when I get to my work location.
When I was posted to my work location in June 2020, there was perhaps 3 months of happiness co-mingled with big chunks of work related stress. I was learning, growing, helping others and enjoying my new job! Then my supervisor changed, I got a new one in September 2019.
I did not know how hard life was about to get.
It started gradually, like most things, the gas lighting. I initiated private conversations with my supervisor asking for reviews of my work – with a focus on receiving positive criticism and support. For the longest time, I was told it was okay. Then I started getting attacked in this meetings, not in a rude aggressive way but in a nice polite tone. I think that’s what had me so confused for almost a year. I was told that everything was my fault, that I never asked for advice and thus produced work that was subpar – I was being gas lighted and never knew. There was no way I could have known because I never spoke about any of it to my colleagues or other team members. My supervisor was nice to everyone so why was I receiving such intense criticism in these one to one meetings with him. From what I could see at work, he almost never had any one to one meetings with anyone else.
He was who most of my colleagues depended on and yet he was causing me hurt and grief. I could not process how to reconcile these different personas of the same person.
In the one to one meetings, he would bring along another person without my knowing that would happen and overwhelm me by showing how incompetent I was. He refused to acknowledge any other factors and even when I provided information, that was constantly put aside and ignored. I was treated like an idiot who didn’t know anything. I started suffering from stress because of that and ended up reaching out for help. Soon after that I got sick and was hospitalised on two occasions which resulted in overnight stays. Months of being sick later, I was then diagnosed with a thyroid disorder.
When I initially got sick, my supervisor treated me with suspicion. His words and affect towards me was one of disbelief. How could I make someone believe me if they could not see and trust their own eyes. I came into work several times because I didn’t understand what was going on within my body. Several colleagues commented on how unwell I looked and yet there was nothing from my supervisor. There was no empathy, no communication about my looking unwell, no caring. Instead he gave me work that stressed me out more.
Finally, I was unable to walk into work – I was bedridden for couple of months. I could not eat, feed myself, have a shower or get out of bed. After I got diagnosed and went on medication, I started getting well slowly. Within two weeks of starting to get better, I returned back to work. Two weeks after starting work, I was pressurised into going from restricted working to full time working. Even though I was weak, he insinuated to me that it would be better for me to get back to full time working. At that point, my legs were still quite weak and I couldn’t even get off the floor once down there.
He was relentless in wanting me to do a physical assessment immediately. In these conversations, he would tell me constantly that I could lose my job. The pressure was intense because there were so many factors taken into consideration with the main one being the loss of my career – I panicked several times.
In the time that I came back, he did not stop finding fault with my work at every turn. It led me into a spiralling out of control – I could not make simple decisions, unable to sleep if the next day was a work day, stopped cooking for myself, would be in a daze for hours once home, could not get myself thinking, stopped being efficient at work, second guessing every decision and not trusting myself. This effected my work and personal like. Depression started and then a nervous breakdown – I was so overwhelmed that crazy thoughts came in. I did not think there was a point to my life or in living.
I tried to gain some degree of control by going to my supervisor’s line manager but there was no empathy or understanding to be gained there. She supported him and threw me under the bus. Overwhelmed, I did not know if I wanted this job anymore – choices were clear – it’s either me or the job.
I was quite aware that my supervisor was going to be leaving the other department when I made the complaint to his line manager but felt I had no choice. In the remaining one month that he had, I was giving notices in which my probation was extended due to my work being subpar. He has single-handedly managed to destroy my peace of mind and my ability to make decisions. He has destroyed my reputation and any confidence in me was shattered. I am now left with a shell of a career that hasn’t even begun.
Now I am debating on leaving the country to pursue my wanting to become a mother via ivf while taking courses on writing and doing some on a beach. I need a reset to my life – I am not happy and don’t believe this is my best life. Somewhere along the way, I let all the bad things happen while pursuing my dream with a singular focus. I now see that it has not brought me happiness. Perhaps if my supervisor was a better person, I would have received support and encouragement instead of criticism and being devalued. But that’s the past, I am now here and I’m confused and lost.
I really want to quite my job and start again. I want to get pregnant. I want to write. But my finances won’t allow me – so what do I do?
What would YOU do?