A Rotorua woman has suffered depression from bullying in her workplace. She had anxiety at the thought of having to go to work and coming face-to-face with the person responsible and left. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, shares her story.
I am a Rotorua local, born and raised. Despite going away a number of times, I have come back, and I'm enjoying raising my family here. I have a fantastic family and an amazing partner. Up until recently I was also enjoying a busy and satisfying work life.
I was working for a local company for some time with an amazing group of people who taught me a lot about our industry and who were always generous with their time and knowledge. I enjoyed going to work.
As with most offices there is often someone you don't always see eye-to-eye with and my situation was no different. I always just let the snarky, sarcastic comments slide though and accepted this was this person's nature. I tried not let the behaviour get to me. I had seen this person being rude to others to their face and behind their back and didn't feel it was targeted at me.
As time went on however the person's inappropriate behaviour started to get to me. My boss was aware of this person's nature and that they were temperamental. The behaviour got worse, but I didn't advise my boss of the extent of what was happening because I didn't want to deal with the backlash from this person. It wasn't always the comments that damaged me most - it was the deliberate silence, filthy looks and the avoiding me also and made me dread going to work. When you list these things individually they don't sound too bad and you may think I was just being petty, but when you're exposed to this five days a week over a long period of time it builds up and starts to tear you to bits. The list of "incidents" seemed to get longer and longer. I dreaded going to work.
It started to take its toll on my personal life and my partner and family could see I wasn't my bubbly self. They only knew some of the issues I was having. One of my biggest mistakes was not explaining the full extent to my family earlier because once I had, I felt like a weight had begun to be lifted.
I can still remember the day I hit rock bottom. I couldn't sleep, so I got up and sat staring at the TV. In the early hours my partner noticed I wasn't in bed and came and asked what was wrong. I said I was fine. About 4am I went to bed and got about an hour sleep. Once my partner woke up he knew I wasn't okay and I broke down and couldn't stop uncontrollably shaking and sobbing.
My partner was shocked at the state I was in. Somehow I managed to get myself to work, but I sat in my office not knowing what to do. I went back again the next day but went home sick. I tried to go back the next day but had a panic attack and couldn't. I never went back.
I went to see my doctor, she recognised I was depressed and she referred me to a psychologist who helped me realise the behaviour I was putting up with wasn't okay and wasn't just a clash in personalities, it was bullying. She taught me not to minimise the behaviour and to name it for what it was.
I still suffer from depression and I know it will take some time before I find my way through it, but I've had amazing support.
It's amazing the number of people that have been impacted by bullying and depression in some way.
I used to be one of those people who saw depression as something you should or could just get over, but once you learn more about it you realise it's not that easy.
Some days I get angry because this person was not held accountable for their behaviour and I left under the circumstances that I did. Sometimes I wish I had stayed and fought harder for my position but I had lost so much confidence at the time and couldn't do it.
I made the decision that was best for me and my family at the time and in the long term I will be stronger as a result of this.