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Bernie
Jun 27, 2005


It seems I only ever post on SA when I need help. Lots of things have happened since my last sadbrains post, so here I go again.

I was diagnosed with severe depression and PTSD (just as E/N suggested) in june last year after a breakdown at work. It was triggered by initiation rituals when I started working. Those involve being grabbed and held by a bunch of dudes and getting tied to stairway rails and getting hosed down. Similar things would happen in the following years. I chalked it down as 'that's just what it's like in the real world, gotta deal with it like all the others'. But years later I still have bodily reactions and anxiety attacks when thinking about this too much.

Before my breakdown, I tried to fight these practices by emailing the manager and the union. While I didn't cite any names, I felt immensely guilty afterwards, like I'm betraying these perpetrators/colleagues. It's hard to explain. There was no response for weeks and it was just too much to handle, and I broke down at work and got sent to a mental health clinic. I was there for 12 weeks, the first week in a closed ward. I was on sick leave for a year, and spent another 6 weeks in a day clinic. My experiences in these clinics were mostly positive, and I learned a lot of coping mechanisms to not fall so deep into my depression holes. I also got referred to a therapist with a clinical psychology background.

Now I'm back at work, at a different department. It's a lot more easygoing and there weren't any weird initiation rituals yet. This is a blue collar position, and I work shifts. My therapist was surprised at how my colleagues there burp and fart near you, go 'hey smell my fart' and talk about buttfucking each other. I'm used to this and can deal with it, having worked these working class jobs since I was 15. I seem to do well so far.

Now here's the problem. I may have fought my way back into work after depression and suicidality, but I still feel like a total loser and have a hard time keeping my depression and PTSD flashbacks at bay. I barely have the energy to do anything besides work, coding my dum video games, and watching stuff on Netflix with my boyfriend. I feel perpetually inadequate all the time, never good enough. I can barely hold conversations and lack social skills. I lost my last few friends (except for one) during my sick leave because I didn't have the energy to keep in contact. I don't like my looks, the sound of my voice and how my body feels. I put on some weight, too. The feeling that I'm missing something important by not being able to have a normal family haunts me.

What can I do at this point? I don't want to feel terrible all the time.

TL;DR: Got assaulted at work which caused PTSD and depression and a breakdown, and I feel like a total loser all the time and I hate my body. What do?

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PMush Perfect
Sep 30, 2009

MY PAPER SOLDIERS
FORM A WALL
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Bernie posted:

I barely have the energy to do anything besides work, coding my dum video games, and watching stuff on Netflix with my boyfriend
It sounds like you're doing a lot more than you give yourself credit for. Even if it's draining, you're working and holding things together. And you've got a relationship going with someone who seems to understand some of your struggles? If you ask me, those are some pretty big victories.

I'd recommend trying to reach out to some of the friends you drifted apart from. The ones worth having will be happy to hear from you again, and will more than understand the radio silence. The ones that don't... well, they've already proved that they're not worth having.

Ixtlilton
Mar 10, 2012

How to Draw
by Rube Goldberg



PMush Perfect posted:

It sounds like you're doing a lot more than you give yourself credit for. Even if it's draining, you're working and holding things together. And you've got a relationship going with someone who seems to understand some of your struggles? If you ask me, those are some pretty big victories.

I'd recommend trying to reach out to some of the friends you drifted apart from. The ones worth having will be happy to hear from you again, and will more than understand the radio silence. The ones that don't... well, they've already proved that they're not worth having.

Gonna second reaching out to your old friends. I had a nervous breakdown from an emotionally abusive work environment and lots of life stress about 3 years ago and damaged some old friendships that were important to me, but I'm still in contact with them. While it can be hard to see people moving on in their lives and not being as close, it sounds like for you it wasn't even that you did anything to hurt your friendships you just fell out of contact. Reach out to your friends. Also it sounds like you have something going on with your family?

little munchkin
Aug 15, 2010



first of all that "initiation" ritual is not normal at all and I don't blame you for being traumatized by it

it sounds like even before that situation, you hated a lot of things about yourself. the job understandably made you neglect those things even more which intensified the self-hatred. have you ever made an attempt to address that stuff (therapy, exercise, etc)

Justin Credible
Aug 27, 2003

happy cat




I work a union job where that kind of thing used to happen, way back in the day. I didn't experience anything like that, though there are a decent number of rear end in a top hat managers who like to make people miserable, but that's any job in the US these days.

PetraCore
Jul 20, 2017





Yeah that initiation sounds horrifying, you're not weak for having the reaction you do to it. Sounds like basically involuntary imprisonment/kidnapping and assault, if it helps to frame it like that.

Oxphocker
Aug 17, 2005

PLEASE DO NOT BACKSEAT MODERATE


Depending on the laws on where you live and if you have any evidence to prove your case, you might have grounds for a harassment/unsafe workplace case against the employer. If you have hard evidence showing that the employer did nothing after you reported it, you might have some grounds there. If proven, you could probably claim all the medical expenses, lost wages for that whole year, and additional damages. It would completely blacklist you from that job and potentially any other jobs related to that work but if it's worth it to you to get closure and compensation, it might be worth speaking to a lawyer about it...

Might help a bit with your mental health to get out of that job too..

Putty
Mar 21, 2013


Holy poo poo my dude that is not normal. Not at all. Idk anything about blue collar work but can you like file a lawsuit or something?

Fruits of the sea
Dec 1, 2010


Bernie posted:

work, coding my dum video games, and watching stuff on Netflix with my boyfriend.

Don't sell yourself short, those are some pretty neat things!

What elements would you consider necessary to not be a loser? If its being at an ideal weight, with a thriving social circle, multiple successful hobbies, loving partner and a job you love, well... most people don't ever get all those things at once. You may be setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.

Re-connecting with old friends and finding a workplace that won't trigger your ptsd are smaller goals which you can work on. It won't happen all at once, but it will get better.

Scudworth
Jan 1, 2005

When life gives you lemons, you clone those lemons, and make super lemons.



Dinosaur Gum

Putty posted:

Holy poo poo my dude that is not normal. Not at all. Idk anything about blue collar work but can you like file a lawsuit or something?

Oxphocker posted:

Depending on the laws on where you live and if you have any evidence to prove your case,

This is OPs previous thread about the hazing, I never forgot it, it's from 2017
https://forums.somethingawful.com/s...0#post470579791

This will answer most of your questions so OP doesn't have to go over this particular incident again.

Bernie
Jun 27, 2005


Thanks for the replies.

PMush Perfect posted:

I'd recommend trying to reach out to some of the friends you drifted apart from. The ones worth having will be happy to hear from you again, and will more than understand the radio silence. The ones that don't... well, they've already proved that they're not worth having.
I reached out to one friend so far, and we're in contact again. There's another one I can still contact, which I'll do at some point. I have trouble actually getting my butt outta the door when it's not work or other mandatory stuff.

Ixtlilton posted:

Gonna second reaching out to your old friends. I had a nervous breakdown from an emotionally abusive work environment and lots of life stress about 3 years ago and damaged some old friendships that were important to me, but I'm still in contact with them. While it can be hard to see people moving on in their lives and not being as close, it sounds like for you it wasn't even that you did anything to hurt your friendships you just fell out of contact. Reach out to your friends. Also it sounds like you have something going on with your family?
The family thing is like this: Everyone around me (work, relatives, friends) has a normal family with children and a house and so on. That's what they often talk about because it's important to them. I'm the odd one out in all of these social situations (38, gay, no family of my own). I'm not even sure why that brings me down so much.

little munchkin posted:

first of all that "initiation" ritual is not normal at all and I don't blame you for being traumatized by it

it sounds like even before that situation, you hated a lot of things about yourself. the job understandably made you neglect those things even more which intensified the self-hatred. have you ever made an attempt to address that stuff (therapy, exercise, etc)
These rituals were normal for me for a few years. Everyone at work said it's like that everywhere, and if I tell anyone I'm gonna have a hard time everywhere else, because no-one likes those who snitch. I still have trouble not feeling guilty about not keeping quiet about it, because I feel like a whiny baby man. Toxic masculinity hard at work here. On a cognitive level, I know that the good, 'masculine' thing to do would be to protect others from harm, and not take part in abusing others for one's own entertainment.

I'm currently in therapy and have been for a while. I used to exercise regularly. Currently, my job takes up so much of my energy (lots of running about, stairs over 5 floors, manual work) that I just can't work up the energy to exercise.

Justin Credible posted:

I work a union job where that kind of thing used to happen, way back in the day. I didn't experience anything like that, though there are a decent number of rear end in a top hat managers who like to make people miserable, but that's any job in the US these days.
Employers only ever seem to want to adress problems when there's a danger of bad press or if something can't be covered up anymore. I heard that in my old department, a few disciplinary measures were taken after my breakdown at work. But not when I tried to get management/HR and the union to do something.

PetraCore posted:

Yeah that initiation sounds horrifying, you're not weak for having the reaction you do to it. Sounds like basically involuntary imprisonment/kidnapping and assault, if it helps to frame it like that.
It does, I just have trouble not feeling guilty and weak for not being able to take it like the others and I can't get rid of that thought.

Oxphocker posted:

Depending on the laws on where you live and if you have any evidence to prove your case, you might have grounds for a harassment/unsafe workplace case against the employer. If you have hard evidence showing that the employer did nothing after you reported it, you might have some grounds there. If proven, you could probably claim all the medical expenses, lost wages for that whole year, and additional damages. It would completely blacklist you from that job and potentially any other jobs related to that work but if it's worth it to you to get closure and compensation, it might be worth speaking to a lawyer about it...

Might help a bit with your mental health to get out of that job too..

Putty posted:

Holy poo poo my dude that is not normal. Not at all. Idk anything about blue collar work but can you like file a lawsuit or something?
I had someone from a nonprofit organization look into it (helped me through the process of switching departments), and it doesn't look good at all for any sort of legal action. Mostly it's lack of proof, and I doubt anyone else would speak up, considering how colleagues and bosses defended these practices in unison.

I got 60% of my wages during my year of sick leave thanks to healthcare, so the monetary loss wasn't so bad.

Fruits of the sea posted:

Don't sell yourself short, those are some pretty neat things!

What elements would you consider necessary to not be a loser? If its being at an ideal weight, with a thriving social circle, multiple successful hobbies, loving partner and a job you love, well... most people don't ever get all those things at once. You may be setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.

Re-connecting with old friends and finding a workplace that won't trigger your ptsd are smaller goals which you can work on. It won't happen all at once, but it will get better.
I'm in a new department now, far away from the old workplace. It's a big chemical plant with 5000+ people working there. That should help with the ptsd triggers.

I'm not sure what I'd need to do to not feel so terrible. It's so many things. My body hurts all over and I'm always tired. I have trouble trying to make myself understood (as in, forming sentences properly and quickly enough and not saying something stupid), following conversations, reading the room, and understanding if something's a joke or not. There also are the strange brain blips and thinking errors that make me end up on the wrong floor/place, make me lose the ability think logically, or block my thought processes completely for a bit. My mood can go down really fast even though I take the maximum dose of medication. And my sex drive has pretty much disappeared.

I also had some trouble with my queerness in my previous department. One boss would often call me the f-slur, another co-worker said I'd have to shower somewhere else, another one insisted I shouldn't be allowed to adopt because it's unnatural, etc. Now I'm worried what'll happen in the new department if they find out.

Scudworth posted:

This is OPs previous thread about the hazing, I never forgot it, it's from 2017
https://forums.somethingawful.com/s...0#post470579791

This will answer most of your questions so OP doesn't have to go over this particular incident again.
I'm still dealing with a lot of the problems I've mentioned in the old thread. Therapy's also going slow. My therapist says it takes a lot of time to see improvements, so I try to be patient on that front.

CarlosTheDwarf
Jun 1, 2001
Up shit creek.

This would be my general suggestion for anyone remotely in a situation like you, although I'm not sure I've had any success in getting anyone to properly do it.

First learn wim hof breathing and do it once, twice or 3 times a day if it helps. But at least once:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzCaZQqAs9I#t=32s

after doing it, close your eyes and say "I love you Bernie" (or whatever your name is) over and over and over. Sink deeper and deeper and keep saying it. Any memories that come into your head, focus on them with love. You can do this for 15 minutes after wim, 30 minutes, an hour whatever. The love brings the hate to the surface and pushes it out. Don't resist. Let it release. If you are too closed off and this doesn't work, look into MDMA (to be approved next year for PTSD) and psilocybin for therapeutic purposes (check out the podcast "Inside Eyes".

You can return to this love meditation therapy in between mdma or psilocybin sessions and it might work then.

Bottom line you need to love yourself. Saturate yourself with love. Basically all human disfunction is rooted in a lack of self love.

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PetraCore
Jul 20, 2017





Bernie posted:

It does, I just have trouble not feeling guilty and weak for not being able to take it like the others and I can't get rid of that thought.
I would suggest that probably most everyone else also wasn't able to 'take it', but felt like they'd be weak for expressing that and the trauma comes out in different ways for them, ways you don't see. Sometimes those ways can even be initiating the same hazing they went through, because the feeling is that if they had to 'take it', it's unfair for anyone else to 'escape'. The whole dynamic of hazing, the motivations of it, and the lasting psychological effects of it are a complex subject I am by no means an expert in, but you are not the first person to end up with lasting psychological struggles because of something like that and the reasons you were visibly more affected than others have nothing to do with your inner strength. I actually think you're very strong for trying to get things changed at your former workplace, even if it was ultimately unsuccessful, because it's a very frightening thing to admit vulnerability, especially in that environment, and you were exposing yourself to potential harm to try to protect other people.

It sounds like you know all this already on an intellectual level, but emotions are a lot harder to straighten out. Sometimes it can just help to hear it from someone else, even a stranger.

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