Working At Your Panic Station

, , , , , , | Working | July 24, 2019

(I have PTSD and, while I’ve learned to cope with it fairly well, I can still have an episode now and then. Thankfully, I’m pretty good at telling when it’s coming. My managers know about this and are more than happy to let me take a quick break when I feel a panic attack coming on — all but one. We’ll call her “Bratty,” thanks to her attitude when she thinks people are faking it, which is often.)

Me: *talking to a customer when I feel an attack coming on* “Hey, [Coworker], can you cover me while I take a few to gather myself? I’m feeling panicky and I want to stop it before I’m in a full-blown panic attack.”

Bratty: “She’s busy. You can wait.”

(I’m in the back window so I can’t see up front. I have to take her word for it.)

Me: “Just sometime soon. I don’t want to go home because I couldn’t calm down in time.”

(Time slowly ticks by as I feel myself falling into a panic attack more and more. I try breathing, but it isn’t helping. I continue to ask for help, but Bratty denies me. Finally, I burst into panicked sobs and shut down.)

Me: *barely through stutters and sobs* “I can’t… Someone…”

(I rush to the back and immediately collapse to my knees. After that, it gets kind of hazy but my coworker tells me what happened.)

Bratty: “What is [My Name] doing?! She needs to get her lazy a** back to work!”

Customer: *pulls up and sees Bratty yelling* “Excuse me! That poor girl back there is having a f****** panic attack and you say she’s lazy?! Mental health is important! Go back there and help her!”

(My coworker covered my spot while my manager came back to get me. During this time, the general manager walked in. Suddenly, I screeched. Everyone rushed to the back to see Bratty trying to jerk me back up as I kicked and screamed. The general manager jerked her away from me and dragged her into the office before coming to help. After I’d calmed down and come to, they asked if I want to pursue a case against Bratty. Still in a daze, I said no and went home. When I came back, Bratty was on suspension. The general manager was scared that I would want to press charges because I had a known disability and Bratty refused a reasonable accommodation and then assaulted me. I told him I wouldn’t press charges but I would not work with her again until she was trained on disabilities. He agreed and she was put on night shift for a few months while she was retrained on everything.)

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