First, I must apologise for the time it’s taken to post this blog since I posted part 1. However, I’m here to assure you that my computer hasn’t been hacked and I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ve attempted to keep up my presence on social media as a way of letting you know that I’m O.K. and that I am still around. On that note, thank you to those who contact me via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share your stories with me, and for all your kind words of encouragement. I am happy that this website is helping you in some way…
Where have I been? What have I been doing? I hear you ask… Well, this post is called part 2.0 for a reason – let’s call it an update post.
So, here’s the loop. It’s been over a month since I was able to sit down and write because I have been trying to navigate my way around this warped system that includes all these players, organisations, government departments etc. all of which I’ve never had to deal with before…
- The insurance company – as my initial claim against my employer was denied, I lodged an appeal. This has also been denied. The case is now with my lawyer who has requested that the matter is heard by the Tribunal in my state. This means basically that he will meet with lawyers representing my employer’s insurance company in the presence of a member of the tribunal, in an attempt to have the decision overturned by yet another “independent department”.
- The “Independent Assessor” – my original appeal for reconsideration of the decision made by this external organisation was denied. I had the opportunity to appeal the appeal (if you can even believe this is a thing), so of course, I did. They did not take long to respond with a further denial and to advise me that they will no longer be investigating my matter. Case closed as far as they’re concerned.
On top of having to attend regular appointments with my own treating practitioners, my employer decided to send me for another psychiatric assessment with another one of their “independent psychiatrists”. This involves re-telling my story which effectively means I must re-live it at the same time. It is emotionally exhausting and not very pleasant at all (and that’s really putting it nicely).
The interesting thing that happened prior to my appointment with this psychiatrist, (Let’s call him Dr. C. for the purposes of this story) is that my employer’s HR department sent me a copy of everything they sent to Dr. C prior to my appointment with him. I did not get this before my appointment with the previous “independent psychiatrist”.
HR basically sent me a stack and I mean a stack of paperwork, containing information that my employer was providing to Dr. C. and had more than likely provided to the insurance company as well.
What I found included in this stack of paperwork was information I had never seen before and included some case notes from a discussion I had with a completely different Team Leader in December 2016. These case notes included information that was completely and utterly FALSE – I’m talking flat out lies here.
To say I was horrified is an understatement. The information contained in these case notes were SERIOUS, and made me out to sound like I was some kind of nervous wreck, a ball of stress just waiting to explode… I assure you, at that time, I was not!
So, having had the heads-up, I attended my appointment with Dr. C. who basically told me he had not read any of the information provided to him by HR. He told me that he found it overwhelming and difficult to follow, (welcome to my world Doc) and asked me if I could just tell him what had happened.
As I knew exactly what information was contained in the stack of paperwork he had in front of him I proceeded to tell him my story. I told him that information he was provided with contained false information.
I discussed the December 2016 case notes with him and advised that I had never seen them before. I told him that the statements that I (apparently) made, were not true. I further informed him that given the gravity of the information contained in the said case notes, it would be my right as an employee to receive a copy at the time they were written. This begs the question, when were they written?
Dr. C. questioned me, he probed, and he pushed all of the buttons he knew would get a reaction from me. No matter how upsetting this was at the time, I just did what I have been doing all along, and that is, I told my truth.
At the end of the appointment, Dr. C. looked at me and said, “I’m very sorry this has happened to you, we see this way too often”. This was a “wow” moment – someone had actually listened, he had actually heard me! This was completely surprising. Then he said words to the effect of… “this is what they do, they scurry to protect themselves and each other which is why you have been treated so badly”.
Although I was exhausted from defending myself yet again and from re-telling this same story – at this moment I felt validated, by a stranger and by someone that my employer had hired to assess my mental health. I haven’t received a copy of his report yet, so I have no idea what is in it (I am sure he will not be putting those words into print), but it doesn’t matter, as I have those words he said now and I’ll remember them for a long time, because they mean a lot.
What else have I been up to? Well, I’m finding out what it’s like to be a stay at home Mum (this is a good thing! Also, I think I’m allowed to call myself a Mummy Blogger now!). My family is the one thing that has kept me sane amid all this insanity.
In between writing appeals, dealing with a constant influx of paperwork and attending appointments I’ve been reading a lot on the topic of workplace bullying, I’ve been researching, and I’ve basically been working on trying to get myself well.
On the topic of getting myself well, I think something is finally working. I’m recovering slowly but surely. I have learned that I don’t like being lied to or manipulated and these are violations to myself that I will not ever tolerate again. Also, I have decided that I will not cling to my wounds, rather I am letting them heal, one at a time.
I have made a very conscious decision to separate myself from the system that is designed to make you question your sanity, that is designed to make you want to give up and drop your case and is run by a government and other independent bodies who are run by people that have the same make-up, the same personality traits as those who bullied me at work.
I’ve decided that from now on I will deal with the ramifications of this system and the people that run it as a piece of business that I need to take care of, (albeit almost every day) and I am slowly learning to take the emotion out of it. After all, I know what happened, I know the lies that have been fabricated to discredit me and I know my truth.
A Russian Proverb states:
“One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
I still don’t know how this story ends… I don’t know what will happen at the Tribunal hearing or what the outcome will be… and really, I can’t worry about it, because I cannot control it. What does matter is that I get on with my life and find my old self (I know she’s in here somewhere because occasionally she pops out to say hi!).
I am challenging myself and doing things that are out of my comfort zone, like aerial yoga (not even kidding – and for those of you that know me personally, I can hear you laughing).
I read somewhere that if people throw stones at you, you should pick them up and build something. That metaphor has stuck with me. I don’t hate the people that wronged me, and I don’t want to get revenge on them as revenge is a negative and toxic emotion that really is just a deep want for fair treatment. Of course, I want a fair outcome, but the reality is that I’m not sure it will come. As for revenge, I will let karma herself take care of that.
“Revenge is a hubristic act that should be left to higher powers”
– Alexandre Dumas – ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’
If you have any questions or concerns about your own situation, please speak with your own treating practitioners or feel free to contact me here or on social media. I’m happy to chat to whoever feels as though they can’t speak to anyone else.