Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Monday, March 16, 2009

PTSD: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

I've been diagnosed with PTSD, but usually it's not an issue. Right now it is because of all the things I'm dredging up, and I've been more touchy. Lots of nightmares (the foundation of the diagnosis for me), but that's about it. Until today.

I messed something up. I really don't think it was major and my boss wasn't upset about it; I did something without knowing this place has different procedures than I'm used to. Nobody died, nobody got hurt, and in many respects nobody cares. But this one nurse did, immensely.

Rather than just let my supervisor handle it she made me and my supervisor sit in her office while she yelled at me me at good 15 minutes. This is the 3rd time she did this, except the first two times were in public. She has done this to other people too. Because I don't like the way she treats me I avoid her. So she yelled at me for that too, that after incident 2 (which I would barely remember except that I was humiliated) according to her I was so mad I couldn't talk (which isn't true, I was trying not to cry) and that since then I won't even make eye contact. I don't make eye contact because I NEVER make eye contact with people I'm scared are going to yell at me. She threw out plenty of other accusations, including one about my not doing something she apparently defines as part of my job (it's not) and essentially she accused me of potentially hurting a patient through my mistake (huh?) but the whole thing just was too much.

I can't even explain what being yelled at unfairly does to me. It just brings back way too much, no matter how much I know I'm internally overreacting. And now I'm all upset about the eye contact thing because I feel like I'm failing. Little does she know I'm not good with eye contact because I'm bipolar. I have worked extremely hard on this and as long as I'm comfortable with people I can do it pretty well, but if I'm scared of you or upset I can't. And I'm scared of her, whether I like it or not.

So then I spent over an hour crying. Such a waste of time, but it was just too much. She has no right to yell at me; she is not my supervisor or superior in any capacity, and regardless the way she talked to me was totally inappropriate. My supervisor has informed her boss of this, but the truth is nothing can or will happen because contract therapists don't rock boats. Ever.

I don't want to go back tomorrow. I really, really just want the week off now........


Sarah said...

If she is not your supervisor or superior in any capacity, she has NO RIGHT to speak to you in the way that she did.

I would, before the week is over, submit a complaint to HR about the situation. Making it know that a) it happened b) you aren't comfortable with it and c) that you have rights to take action if it occurs again may make them speak up to her.

I didn't blog about it, but three weeks ago this happened to me, too. The women who yelled at me (for following procedure) told her supervisor that I yelled at her in front of clients and she had never been so embarrassed in her 40 years of banking. Well, when her supervisor contacted mine, we pulled up security video which showed the opposite (showed her yelling at me about treating her like a client when she's an employee ... because bank employees are apparently supposed to get special treatment). I wrote a letter to HR about the offense and she was (from what I have heard) written up for her behavior. She has also not been back in our branch since then!

Keep track of these things!

Just Me said...

It would be great if it worked that way, but it doesn't. I don't work for the nursing home. I work for a contracted company, and there is fierce competition for the contracts. So, pretty much we take whatever comes our way. This maybe was extreme enough and has happened enough times between a few of us that something will gently be said, but essentially the most that will happen is that she is reminded to speak politely. Chances are pretty good she'll go on thinking she's my boss.

Emilija said...

The one thing I have learned doing inpatient OT is don't cross nurses. In their defence, I think that they have a very hard job. Nurses make more money, but therapists usually seem happier with their jobs, is what I find.

Just Me said...

I agree, crossing nurses is a bad idea. But in my experience, every single place I've been has had at least one nurse who just resents the heck out of therapists. Usually it's a floor nurse who hates that I have more control than she does. This particular one just is nasty; it's not that reason.

I've never totally figured this out. I know some nurses get angry that I know this or that that they feel is a nurse's domain. But I have much, much more education than they do, and often more experience, and so of course I'm going to know. Just because I don't pass meds doesn't mean I'm not familiar. Etc.

Or once this nurse decided a patient needed a splint. I had already decided he didn't, and had valid reasons for this. She actually ordered it. I had to call the state board of nursing anonymously to be sure this was not ok, and resolving it took the administrator and this whole thing about "personality conflicts". I had no conflicts, I just was opposed to this woman doing things she wasn't trained to do. (Of course, this is the same woman who when I was being oriented wouldn't let me wait for the COTA who was training me in the therapy room. Instant dislike anyone? (It was a racial thing).

But yelling at me because I didn't read her mind just makes no sense. I'm never going to be able to do that, I'm afraid.