*Trigger warning: content touches on subjects of adult bullying, anxiety and panic attacks*
This is an individual's story and we recognize that everyone's experience of mental health and everyone's circumstances are different.
We are proud to share a really important Q&A around the subject of adult bullying. One of the amazing contributors to our Lived Experiences Project has openly shared her experience in the hope it will help others to seek support.
She would like to remain anonymous, so we have named her Alice for this article.
What were the circumstances around your experience?
Earlier in the year there was an issue at work, but rather than accepting that it was a misunderstanding and helping to resolve it, my manager unfairly placed all of the blame and responsibility on me.
I was made to resolve the issue alone under the immense pressure of a tight deadline and was berated by my manager for accepting help from other team members. The situation then became really personal, with my manager making comments about my character and work ethic.
Was there a point where you realised, ‘yes, I’m being bullied’.
Did it happen over a period of time?
This incident made me see what a bully my manager had been to multiple people before me, and this was the first time that I had felt it truly directed towards me. I look back now and realise that there were lots of sly comments and belittlement towards me before this incident happened, it had just never been to this extent.
What was the lasting impact on you? Did it impact your family too?
I still think about it now [several months later] and am starting therapy sessions to try and move on. It has really affected my confidence at my new job too. My family were really supportive but as I was taking a leave of absence it was a worrying time financially, however it all worked out in the end.
What did you do about the situation?
It took me two weeks to realise that the answer was to get a fit note from my GP and take time off, but I knew I could never go back [to the job]. I spent my leave interviewing for new jobs so that I never had to face them again.
Was there someone you talked to about it?
I spoke to my partner, family, and friends, but it was hard for them to fully relate as they had never been in a similar situation. It took a work friend who was closer to the situation to tell me they thought I should take the time off and reassure me that I wasn’t overreacting, for me to see that it was the right thing to do for my mental health.
What advice would you give someone in a similar situation?
Listen to the early warning signs and remove yourself from the situation as soon as you can. You’re not being dramatic. Getting a fit note and escaping them was the best thing I ever did and I wish I did it sooner. I would also say report them to HR if you feel comfortable as this is something that I wish I was brave enough to have done.
What advice would you give your past-self?
Don’t ignore the red flags. When things seem like they’re going downhill but ‘aren’t that bad for me’ remove yourself before they get there.
If you have been affected by the topics covered in this blog there is help available:
Mind – Dealing with difficult work relations and workplace bullying
If you would like support in managing your own mental health, our Wellbeing Coaches are here to help:
Wellbeing Coaching is a goal-focused approach designed to support you in improving your wellbeing and to equip you with the tools to manage stress, low mood, anxiety, and other mental wellbeing concerns.
Virtual Wellbeing Coaching- this is a free, 1-to-1 service, available to all adults in Lancashire.
Adult Wellbeing Coaching - this is a costed, 1-to-1 and face-to-face service, available to all adults in Lancashire.