So it has been a minute! I alluded to my plan to venture off into the woods in prior posts but didn't go into too much detail. Any who, I'm back but not on my own accord.
The reason I ask this question is because it just happened to me. I've struggled with depression and anxiety for going on 15 years, I've talked to a lot of people about it, gotten help, and received a lot of support over the years. I have never had it blow back in my face like it just did. Super long story kind of short:
- I want to offer some context here, that not more than a week prior, my organization had a "getting vulnerable" meeting whereby we were asked (but not required) to share some information about ourselves with our crews. Crews worked and lived together in remote back country settings for months at a time, to be honest it went pretty well. I did not open up too much at the time as I had just met everybody, but eventually I got more comfortable.
- I told the wrong person at my work, my direct supervisor (I was in no danger at any point during my employment, this information was given in a contextual fashion. Because we work so closely together for weeks at a time and also live together, these types of things tend to come out.)
- They told the wrong people (management).
- I was talked to for 5 hours in a closed door meeting with the top brass of the organization (read: interrogated and asked to give a comprehensive psychological background, even though I had already given them a topical briefing during the hiring process.)
- I was pulled out of the field for liability reasons (I openly objected to this, saying that said field was best for my mental health.)
- I was placed on an "in-town" crew that I did not want to join (I openly objected to this as well.)
- I tried to exist on the new crew, but found it immediately and chronically untenable. My new coworkers were OK people, but the stark contrast in personalities between my old and new crew was jarring. Given our line and nature of work, this is super important and there's no way top brass didn't know about this. I voiced this and once again requested to be placed back in the back country at a base camp, I was ignored.
- My mental health began to catch up to me. I did not like my position in life or at work, having to live in the city which is something I came out here to entirely avoid was crushing any and all morale I tried to work up.
- The writing was on the wall. I didn't like it there anymore, and my employer didn't seem to care (despite their claims) about where I was within the organization.
- I voluntarily resigned due to mental health reasons rather than just walk out. The urge to entirely burn this bridge and emphatically explain to them why what they did was so improper was incredibly strong, but I decided not to. This organization is a big name in our field and the field isn't all that big, they stated that I'd be welcome back, I'd sooner clean a peanut butter covered shag carpet with my tongue.
The general mood and sentiment during all of my conversations with staff members could be described as tense. The way in which I was treated during all of those meetings was as though I was a conglomeration of suicidal, homicidal and a direct threat to anybody near me. I could literally see their brains doing very careful dance numbers as they walked over what they thought were eggshells, when at no point was that the case in my view. Their actions, disguised as being motivated by empathy, came straight out of the Harvard Business School of Cover Your Ass. At one point they mentioned they had a psychologist on retainer that they were consulting. I have seen so many damn therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, shrinks and every other name in the book over 15 years. I have never met one that would ever make any absolute statements or suggest any concrete actions before even meeting a patient. Their inability to even empathize with what I had been going through was apparent. At no point did they seem to consider the human in the room, it was always "we appreciate what you bring", "you are a good resource to have", and the worst of all "we hear you, but..." Holy fuck the lingering but was bad. "I'm not racist, but...", dude sit the fuck down.
So that happened within a week or so. There's quite a few more details but I don't want to make the entire point of this post to rant (even though that's what it has turned into.) I am now jobless, homeless as housing was through my work, in an entirely new city to me and floating on savings. It's not too bad to be honest. This is not my first homeless (hobo, vagabond, rubber tramp) experience/adventure, I'm not financially comfortable (I'm on borrowed time) but I'm not broke and honestly I'm in a good place mentally. I've been camping in the woods and I've got everything I need to survive. I'm even super involved in a local activist group, if that's any testament to how comfortable I've become in my current position.
So, does this sound familiar to anybody here? Have you been discriminated against in this fashion? How'd you react? Cope? Where did you go from there? I'd like to hear from others to simply know I'm not alone in this bullshit. I've been in support groups for mental health, and other reasons, but I've never realized the need for this subset of people to seek support. It's been 10 days now and I'm honestly still in shock.
Feel free to get as vulnerable as you want, I won't tell your fucking inept boss.