PTSD, harrassment, and physical symptoms

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    So, as you guys remember last week, I went to the doctor, twice, for the chest pains, limb pain and tingling, high blood pressure, and loss of coordination I was having. The first time I went, interestingly, the new doctor immediately picked out in my history that I recently lost my sister - and she started focusing more on the stress in life than the symptoms. Interestingly the pains went away for 2 days. I was then accused of harassment by an employee that I manage (a completely fabricated story, and false in every way), and all the physical symptoms came back times ten. Instantly. I went back to the doctor, and she XR some Xanax. Within 20 minutes my symptoms were completely gone. So, it is obvious now, that my body is physically reacting, in a pretty intense way, to the stress I am under.

    But here is my big problem. This employee that has accused me of harassment, has actually been doing undermining, hateful horrible things to me. She has been the perpetrator, not me. Unfortunately since this has now escalated to a legal level, every time I even see her, let alone when I am near her, my heart starts to race. Sat she really embarrassed me in front of a really large group of people by saying something rude, and I felt like a gazelle being chased by a lion. My whole body went into a flight or fight mode, and I could not calm down. It was not a mental thing - but a physical thing. Mentally I can reason, that soon she will be fired. (No, I cannot fire her now, because she has brought these allegations against me - but someone will, soon.) Physically, however, even writing about this, is starting to give me another anxiety attack, or trigger PTSD, or something.

    I have had PTSD for years, (from abuse by a father, 2 husbands, and unfortunately my own difficult child at times). Being around this person and a victim to her insults ignites something primitive in me, something that seems mentally out of my control. Something that I feel like I cannot physically control, and it always happens at work, obviously.

    What should I do???
    Have you ever had this happen?
    I can take Xanax every time it happens, but that can't last for long. I need to be able to overcome this. It is obviously mental, but it is manifesting itself so physically, that I feel at a complete loss.
    Thanks for any advice.
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    I think that only time will allow your mind and body to heal from all that's happened. I know after a few years of tragedy and mayhem, it took a while before my anxiety got under control. I found a lot of solace in the serenity prayer---and it became my mantra. Whenever I would start to have palpitations, I would repeat the prayer inside my head. It helped a lot when nothing else would.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Wow, Steely, I'm sorry you are going through this and that the situation at work has gotten so out of hand. I wish I had the answer- these reactions happen to me sometimes, too, and it is almost always stress related. Just try to keep telling yourself and having faith that the truth will come out and it will be ok.

    You say she's going to be fired soon- do you believe others who have authority have finally caught on to her and decided not to tolerate anymore? I hope so- she sounds like a witch..
  4. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Yes, since it has reached a corporate level, I pulled out all the documentation I had, and other managers had, of her actually harassing me. Not the other way around. I have indications from all mangers and HR to believe that things are going towards her being terminated - however - you never know. She is a sly, cunning, manipulative, @@@!!. What it will actually take for her to be termed is another story, and what will I have to suffer in order for it to be legally documented to the point that HR realizes that she is actually the perpetrator, is worrisome.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yikes. Just reading about her gives me an anxiety attack.

    I am SO happy that your doctor was on the ball, and that the Xanax works.

    Obviously, stay away from this @%(%&# as much as you can.

    There are some techniques in Albert Ellis' books, Guide to Rational Living, or Overcoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings and Behaviors, but they take a long time to institute. They take practice. Still, I think it would be worth a trip to the bookstore to bring one home and read. (Be sure to keep it at home; you don't want ^($*$@ to see it at your desk!).

    I'd recommend something specific except I haven't finished the books yet.

    And yes, I have had this happen. I had a nasty supervisor once who would choose one person ea mo to berate. Somehow, I made it through 2 yrs with-o being the victim. But when it hit, it really hit. I got to the point where just walking in the door to work would upset me.
    After all these yrs, I still imagine saying something rude to his face the next time I see him. It's actually quite entertaining. Of course, it would be that much easier now that I no longer work for or with-him; I have nothing to lose.

    Maybe that's part of your issue; you are so concerned that you will lose your job. Sigh. I wish she weren't so potent.
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I'm sorry. This is the last thing you need. *sigh*

    The only thing that has worked for me long term is to talk myself thru it. The employee will get theirs in the end. I'd keep telling myself that over and over til it passes.

    But unfortunately when I feel backed into a corner and threatened I suddenly grow claws and fangs. This is right at my breaking point. And I bite. Store manager got it full force once. I didn't mean to. He just happened to ask the wrong thing, in the wrong tone, at the wrong time. And I snapped. (turned out good in the end though)

    The more this person thinks they're getting to you, the more they're gonna do to watch you squirm. Hold your head high and know you're in the right, no matter what happens.

  7. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hon, you need to escalate YOUR complaint! Notify corporate or the other managers about the continued harassment and let them know that to schedule her for the same hours is causing you physical illness and is considered psychological abuse in its own right.

    PTSD or not, they need to preserve your right to a safe and healthy work environment.

    Feel better chickadee, it's always darkest before the dawn!

  8. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    My best friend worked at a place where she was harassed - she had the same symptoms -a few times going to the ER - if the harrasser even showed up in the same room her heart would pound, pains in her arms, the whole nine yards. They did ekgs when she went to the ER and nothing was showing up

    I just wanted to relate to you that it WAS NOT PTST, or Anxiety, or panic attacks the stress she was under had damaged her heart and at the ripe old age of 38 had a heart attack - and it was work related due to the stress this one moron had caused.

    You NEED to get a full workup on your heart - just because you are young does not mean the stress cannot affect it. There is no job that is worth going thru that. And yeah, she was prescribed the Zanex as well - her age led the doctor to lean towards the stress and it just wasn't the case.

  9. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, thank goodness! I know it isn't good for her to see that she is getting to you- but it isn't necessarily bad for others "in the know" to see what kind of stress this is causing you. Maybe just a little comment to the right person the next time you are sure there are physical signs in you- like "geez, I can't stay focused on what I'm doing when XXX is around- I just never know what she'll be up to next" or whatever you think might help get the point across without you looking bad. It sounds like maybe they are giving her enough rope to hang herself good (let's hope so anyway)- unfortunately, it is your nerves and physical and mental well-being having to suffer through this process.
  10. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    What Beth and Marcie said.

  11. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    This might be way to simplified but would it help you to keep some silly putty or a stress ball in a drawer at work and have visions of it being her face?? It seems to me part of the stress is that you feel is helplessness in not being able to change things right now. Hope things get better soon, some people are scarey, sorry you have run into one.
  12. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Wow, Marcie. Thanks for the wake up call. I will do that.

    I appreciate everyone's insight.
  13. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    "Sat she really embarrassed me in front of a really large group of people by saying something rude ..."

    Steely, this is probably way too simplistic too, but something to think about. When she does things like this, in front of other people, she's really making HERSELF look bad, not you. If the others noticed, they were probably thinking how rude and inappropriate she was - she's helping to usher herself right out the door! The more of this stuff she does, the worse SHE looks.

    I know it's not easy but maybe you just need to look at it differently. Instead of letting her get you upset and angry, every time she makes a horses patoot out of herself in front of an audience like that, you should have a little smile on your face, knowing that she's digging herself in deeper and deeper, and people are watching!
  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Oh, Steely...I've been there. When I transferred back from San Jose, I was a problem they wanted to get rid of, so everything I did was wrong, I was falsely accused of all sorts of misconduct...I finally went out on disability under job related stress. I made nearly as much on disability as I did when I was working. Taking that time made a huge difference, and I was able to gather my strength and go on from there. Found a much better job, and worked my way up to district manager. The hardest part for me was coming to the realization that it wasn't me with the problem.

    And things do balance out...I stopped by a new store the previous company had opened, just to look around. The demon woman who had made me life a living he!! for months was no longer in management...she was wearing a little red apron and folding clothes as an hourly employee. I said hello, and when she asked what I was doing now, I told her I was a district manager for XXX. I danced all the way out to the parking lot.

    Hang in there. I know it's tough.