Trying To Get A Stranglehold In The Office

, , , , , , , , | Working | September 4, 2019

As a child, I frequently had other people grab my shoulders and back to jump up on me and put me in a chokehold or even straight-up use a jump rope to try to strangle me. This was a near-daily occurrence and resulted in me being sent to the hospital more than once, and I have scars on my neck from a few particularly bad incidents. The teachers and administrators at the school where this was happening refused to do anything, but that’s another story entirely. The short of it is that I spent about five years getting strangled on a near-daily basis.

As a result of this, I have C-PTSD and cannot stand to have people touching my shoulders and upper back, especially from behind, unless I’m very close with them, and even then, they ask for permission before doing it. Occasional brushes don’t seem to have as severe a reaction, but anything firm is a wild card. The result of someone touching — and especially grabbing — me there has a variety of outcomes, and there seems to be no correlation between the situation and the severity of my reaction. If I and the person who touched me are lucky, I’ll just freeze up for a few seconds. If we’re both unlucky, I swing at them.

When I started my new job, I explained all of this to HR, including that despite years of therapy, I’ve had very little improvement, and they cleared me and said I wouldn’t be held liable by the company if someone grabbed me and I had a severe reaction to it. Pretty much their only requirement was that every other month, I provide receipts from my therapist as proof I was still going, and we had to make a formal document describing my condition and their assurance I wouldn’t face retaliation for it. When my boss learned of my condition, she was kind enough to move me from my cubicle to the office next to her so it would be less likely that someone could accidentally “sneak up” on me. I also have mirrors on the wall across from the door — which I keep open — in case I’m turned away from my computer, and I have a sign next to my door asking people to please knock if my back is turned.

One coworker just flat-out does not get this. Every time he greets me, it’s by grabbing my shoulder or putting a hand on my back, and even though I’ve asked him to stop and informed him of my condition multiple times, it continues. There are times it feels he even goes out of his way to do it. It’s gotten to the point that even my coworkers who only know that I don’t like my back and shoulders being touched, not the extent of my condition, tense up when they see him next to me.

A couple of days ago, it happened again, but he was completely behind me and I had no way of knowing who it was that grabbed my shoulder. Instinct kicked in, and I spun around and punched him in the throat, then again in the nose. A few coworkers came over to help calm me down and get me seated in a corner so no one would be capable of touching me without me seeing first while someone else contacted HR. The coworker who kept touching me without my permission got there first and told them I walked up and punched him without a reason, and three people from HR ended up coming over to the area I work in.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to say a thing. My other coworkers vouched for me, as did a supervisor who knows the extent of my condition and has seen me talk to the other coworker about boundaries and why I didn’t want him touching me there multiple times. All three of the HR employees were furious.

Later that night, when I got home, I found a bruise on my shoulder where he grabbed me.

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Just Go And Sleep It Off

, , , , , , | Healthy | August 1, 2019

(I’ve had problems sleeping most of my life. I’ve mentioned this to doctors before, but I have always been told it is stress and/or that I’ll grow out of it by the time I am 20. I finally go to a new doctor at age 23 to try to get a sleep study to find out if there’s an underlying issue, and I decide before going in that I am not taking no for an answer, collecting everything I can to back my case up. This is my exchange with the doctor.)

Me: “I’ve hardly had what constitutes a ‘good night’s sleep’ in ten years. It takes me two hours to fall asleep at night, regardless of what time I go to sleep, but during the daytime, I can fall asleep within minutes.”

Doctor: “Well, maybe if you didn’t take naps, you wouldn’t have a problem. Why don’t you try that?”

Me: “I have, actually. I’ve done tests on myself using a sleep tracking app and trying two-month test periods of going all day every day without a nap, and then again taking a thirty-minute nap each day. There’s next to no change in the nighttime data, and my self-rating of how I feel after I wake up is the same, too. I’ve repeated this for the past year with variables like listening to music and using a weighted blanket with the same results.”

(I show him the graphs I’ve made from my data.)

Me: “Not to mention, I hardly spend any time in deep sleep. It’s all light.”

Doctor: “Well, sleep tracking apps can be very unreliable. You shouldn’t trust it just because it’s on your phone. Even though it says you’re in light sleep, you might be getting deep sleep.”

Me: “I know it’s not 100% accurate, but it still shows approximately when I fall asleep, and it’s never less an hour and a half, and that’s on my best nights.”

Doctor: “That’s normal! You’ll grow out of it!”

Me: “But when? I can’t wait until my 30s to ‘grow out of it.’ It’s affecting both my work and home lives. I can barely get any housework done on the weekends or after work because I’m too tired, I sleep through holidays with my family, and I have to call into work at least once a month due to exhaustion. Just last week, I was pulled over because a cop saw me nodding off at a red light.”

Doctor: “Just get some melatonin and you’ll fall asleep in no time. And if that doesn’t work, try valerian!”

Me: “I have. Both of them. There’s no effect on how long it takes me to get to sleep or how I feel when I wake up. If anything, I feel worse in the mornings after I take them. I really think I need a sleep study to figure out if there’s something wrong with me. I’ve literally broken down crying because I was so tired before.”

Doctor: “Are you sure it isn’t just PMS?”

(We go back and forth like this for almost fifteen minutes, him suggesting ideas and me telling him I’ve already done it and recorded my data — all of which I’ve already mentioned to the nurse and on my new patient forms. I’m growing frustrated and, thanks in part to the continuing exhaustion, nearly start crying again under his line of questioning. Finally, I’ve had enough.)

Me: “I am not leaving this office until you set me up with a neurologist for a sleep study. I have a family history of sleep apnea, and I need answers.”

Doctor: “So, you want drugs, that’s it. You’re too young and skinny to have sleep apnea.”

Me: “What? Sleep studies don’t even involve drugs! I am literally getting less than five hours of sleep a night; that should be reason enough for me to get a sleep study right there!”

Doctor: “I don’t work with people hunting for drugs.”

Me: “And I don’t work with f****** crackpots who don’t listen to their patients!”

(I stormed out without paying and reported him to my insurance, and I have an appointment with a new doctor this Friday. Hopefully, this one will actually listen to me.)

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Try Fitting It Through Your Onion Ring

, , , , , , , | Right | May 16, 2019

(My roommate is treating us to lunch at a popular burger joint.)

Waitress: “Welcome to [Burger Joint]. May I take your order?”

(We both place our order for burgers and fries, with sweet tea.)

Roommate: “I want to add an order of onion rings to the order.”

Waitress: “6 or 13?”

Roommate: “Inches.”

(You could have heard a pin drop after he said that, despite me coughing after choking on my water. The waitress’s eyes are wide open in surprise from his comment as I get up and excuse myself. I come back a few minutes later after laughing myself out to find the roommate completely nonplussed about the scene he almost caused.)

Me: “[Roommate], next time watch what you say when asked questions like that.”

Roommate: “I didn’t say anything bad; I just answered her question.”

Me: “I’ll explain it on the way home, as it isn’t appropriate to talk about it here.”

(After we are done eating our meal, I stay behind as the roommate goes out to the car, and I approach the waitress and give her a $25.00 tip on a $40 order.)

Me: “I apologize for what he said; he didn’t know what he was implying.”

Waitress: “That’s okay. I got a good laugh and so did my coworkers.”

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Speaks Volumes About The Next Generation

, , , , , | Friendly | April 26, 2019

(I’ve just moved and I decide to have dinner at a cafe-style restaurant near my new apartment. I sit down with my meal only for a girl around 12 years old to start playing a song in the same vein as Rebecca Black’s “Friday” on her tablet, seemingly at full volume. At first, I’m not sure if it’s really that loud or if I’m just tired and grumpy from the move, so I switch seats to the opposite end of the restaurant. It takes about two minutes for me to realize that no, it’s not just me, and people all over the place are glaring. After another couple of minutes and realizing that I can’t get through an entire meal with that, I go up to the girl, her mother, and her mother’s friends.)

Me: “Excuse me. Could you please turn your music down? I moved seats to avoid it and it’s still really loud.”

Girl: “Sure!” *starts turning the volume down*

Mom: *standing up* “No, no, my daughter can listen to her songs as loud as she wants.”

Girl: “Mom, it’s fine–”

Mom: “No, it’s not fine.” *to me* “Who do you think you are, telling my daughter what to do?”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m not asking her to turn it off, just down a bit so I can eat in peace.”

Girl: “Mom, it’s not a big deal. I can still hear it.”

(The mom kind of harumphed and sat back down, and her friends shook their heads and tutted their tongues at me, but at least it was quieter than the music. I went back to my table and noticed a few other people looking relieved. About two minutes later, I saw the mom reach over to her daughter and try to turn the volume back up, but the girl pulled it out of her reach before she could do it.)

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Deaf To Reason, Part 8

, , , , , , | Right | April 9, 2019

(Our accountant is deaf. Every once in a while we get people wanting to speak to her. This is one of these calls.)

Caller: “Can I speak to [Deaf Accountant]?”

Me: “I’m sorry, we are not allowed to transfer people to her on account of her hearing disability; you will need to email her.”

Caller: “I don’t understand. I just want to pay my bill. Transfer me to her now!”

Me: “As I’ve explained earlier we can’t transfer you to her. She is deaf.”

Caller: “Why in the world would you hire a deaf person if you can’t transfer me to her?”

Me: “We are allowed to hire people with disabilities here at [Company]. You will need to email her if you need assistance with a bill. I will not tell you again.”

(They emailed her.)

Deaf To Reason, Part 7
Deaf To Reason, Part 6
Deaf To Reason, Part 5

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