It took Jayne (not her real name) a while to realise what was wrong.
“ I’d become more tearful and irritable, snapping at the kids for the slightest thing. I kept forgetting things, missing appointments, turning up to meetings unprepared. I used to be this capable, conscientious person. I was turning into a helpless mess.”
Six months earlier, Jayne’s department was reorganised and two of her colleagues, people she really liked, were made redundant. A new manager was appointed.
“The new manager wanted to make a mark. Early on, I was in his firing line. He was quite an aloof person, someone I found it difficult to read or relate to.
An angry exchange in the office sent Jayne into meltdown. “I just rushed out of the office distraught. A concerned colleague followed me. I knew I couldn’t go back.” She was signed off from work and had time to reflect on what was happening.
Jayne decided to take her problems to counselling. “Even though I was quite fragile and tearful, I was surprised how easily I could talk. It was like months of stress and misery just flowed out of me. I immediately felt lighter, like a load had been lifted.”
Over the next few weeks, Jayne explored how she was feeling about work, the impact of the changes on her and her home life. “I felt someone was really listening to me for the first time in my life.”
“I started to feel stronger, no longer ‘worthless’. I decided to get help with dealing with my manager’s behaviour. I wasn’t the only person he was ‘targeting’ and shortly after I made my complaint, he left the company. Months later, I felt strong enough to forge a new path. I took voluntary redundancy and started my own business.”