Until recently, I had never experienced workplace bullying. When I informed my colleagues about my MS, I didn’t expect kid glove treatment or special measures, just a little understanding. I was completely unprepared for what happened next.
Bit by bit my duties were stripped from me. I was told that I could no longer drive for work, cutting me off from a large percentage of what my job actually entails. I was studiously ignored and excluded, most of my projects were shelved and backs were literally turned. Schoolgirl sniggers might sound harmless , but when executed effectively, they can be brutal.
In the blink of a diagnosis, I have been branded worthless, a waste of company resources and deemed less intelligent than before. Yet the only tangible change is that I chose to reduce my working hours (due to extreme fatigue), so that when I was in work, I could be as effective, if not more, than before.
What angers me most though, is that their callous and cruel actions have robbed me of the mental clarity needed to adjust to my diagnosis. I have been fighting a war on two fronts and it is clear they are hoping to make my life so unbearable that I will have no choice but to leave.
So why, on the threshold of a brighter future, do I feel nostalgic? Have I come to love my tormentors as a way of coping with the ongoing ordeal? I think I have had to believe that deep down, they are decent people, in order to force myself out of the house each morning. Or perhaps it is just sadness, for never being allowed to reach my full potential.
In the meantime, as I wait for good news, I will cheer myself up by reading our company policy on ‘Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace’. It’s by far the best work of fiction I have read in a long time…