I tell myself this every day

I tell myself this every day

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Nervous breakdown

Late November of last year I took 2 weeks of medical leave from work in order to deal with my overwhelming symptoms. I did so in order for my performance at work to stay at a functioning level; it was a preliminary strike in order to reign in my mental health before it seeped into my job performance. I ended up in a very bad place and I couldn't figure out what caused it, I reflected on everything and came up with no answers. Was it just the bipolar throwing me for a curve ball? But it felt bigger and much more complicated than bipolar disorder.

Rewind to a week ago, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in addition to bipolar disorder. I'm not shocked, I've had my suspicions but until a doctor says anything, was sticking to bipolar disorder as the culprit.

I've hit my research hard, reading, watching, and absorbing everything I can about BPD and when I did so, a new picture started to take form. I knew exactly why I had my nervous breakdown in November. It was the way I was being treated at my job. The more time I have to reflect on it the more time I'm glad to be out of the environment I was in, the more time I have to see that my boss firing me didn't come out of nowhere.

I was told to clock out if I was going to talk to customers for too long, which came as a surprise since my whole job revolved around talking to people. People love to chat when they come into the shop, anyone who's ever worked in the industry knows that. If a guy wants to tell be about the kayak he bought from Rowlett's 20 years ago, then that's what we'll be talking about (as long as I don't have any pressing issues or other people to attend to.) His talking about something that seems so irrelevant was actually a treasure trove of information for when the conversation circles back to cycling. I can gauge his level of fitness, whether he would do better with a road or mountain bike, and how much time a week he would be riding. All conversations greatly helped me in making sure these people got the right bike and the right equipment.

But I was pulled aside and told to clock out if I want to hang out with my friends at the shop. But they're... customers. I can call some of them friends but that's because I ride with them regularly. I don't really know them outside of a cycling context and plus, isn't that kind of my job? To talk to customers, whether they're regulars or not? To represent the bike shop as an active member of the cycling community? I was in sales, it's my job to listen to people to better figure out what they need in order to enhance their riding experience.

I was told if the topic isn't about cycling specifically then it's inappropriate and I need to clock out.

No one else in the shop was help to this strange policy that I found out was exclusively for me. Everyone else had friends come in the shop and hang out for hours at a time but the owner never felt like it was an issue to bring up with them. I didn't care that it happened, I just wanted to be held to the same standard as everyone else. My friends rarely came up there, when they did it was to buy something from me or to take 2 minutes to say hi and then be on their way.

This is just one small example of how I was treated so much more different than the rest of the guys, I'll write further posts about other ways I was treated unfairly over the next several weeks because I now know it's what set me off. I was being singled out and it was wreaking havoc on my mental health. I just wanted to do my job, I wanted to sell bikes, get people into cycling, and bring all the people that I know or ride with to come over to the shop I was working at. I was good for business. I brought in a lot of regulars.

But I didn't have any defence mechanisms for being treated unfairly. BPD causes me to internalize these things. The more I was treated poorly, the worst I got.

I was singled out long before I picked up on it. I think he was afraid of me since day one, thinking that at any moment I could have a "bipolar fit," which isn't even a thing. I had a BPD meltdown because of the way I was being treated, but that only causes harm to myself, no one else.

I just wanted to be in a bike shop and do my absolute best to serve the cycling community.

Thanks for reading

1 comment:

  1. Same thing happened to me recently at my job. Only I let it get much worse before finally realizing what was going on. I ended up out on disability for 5 months and only just got back to work. It's awful to know that something isn't right, but not knowing what the triggers are or why. At least you were able to figure it out quickly. I've been diagnosed with cyclical depression... That shit sucks...