☆ (theidolhands) wrote in co_workers_suck,


[STICKIED] Community Question Post #50 - MENTAL ILLNESS

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theidolhands asks: Has a job ever caused or worsened mental health issues? Do you have co-workers who you know or suspect suffers from mental health issues?

How has it affected your workplace and job performances? Did you (or they) ever seek consoling/treatment? Have you wanted to address the problem, but felt it wasn't possible?

Discuss any other issues in conjunction with this topic that you'd like.
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We had three people quit because of mental illness. One bipolar lady couldn't get the levels of her medication right. Another lady had a nervous breakdown and retired. One more I couldn't stand who I was sure had Hystrionic Personality Disorder quit because of relationship drama and actually had to seek professional help.

I'm sure Stalker Guy is mentally ill. It makes me so mad when people sympathize with him because of it or because they think he's functionally retarded. The other lady who had a problem with him is engaged with a clerk who sympathizes with him because he has a 25 year old borderline retarded son. She told me that he treats his son like an eleven year old, yet he lets him drink alcohol. She told him, "You have to choose: Is he like a child, or is he responsible enough for adult behaviors?" This because the son was stalking a women also and created a fake Facebook page to stalk her. The police told him if he doesn't stop, HE WILL BE ARRESTED. I replied, "That's what I'm dealing with. People might sympathize with Stalker Guy, but the law is on my side too."
Any idea what contributed toward her nervous breakdown?

I recall that incident and agree that it was very likely untreated HPD that was well out of control and had spiraled well into a toxic work environment.

Children frequently, entirely, understand the difference between right and wrong; it is a disservice to suggest otherwise and I take exception with her remark. Even people with Aspergers I've interacted with and mothers of same agreed...they understand and are capable (like "children") of taking advantage of those whom they recognize will coddle or enable them.

A selfish child can be taught, they must understand the consequences of their actions even if they are unable to feel compassion/empathy for the person whom they are frightening/harassing/inappropriately bothering. Children typically outgrow this phase as they develop and are reared up, but an emotionally stunted person may not be able to.

So, stalking -- a pattern I also encountered in such situations (as well as others) -- was put to an end when something they valued was threatened (like expulsion/firing or removal from a favorite class, etc), when visible consequences were presented such as a write-up, as well as a person of authority addressing the matter.

In my cases their motive was sex, that was made clear by them, nothing unique or "childlike" about it except putting their own needs above all else. We cannot have everything we want, nor are you allowed to treat other people like things (as normally we would not wish anyone to do that to us); they do not owe you attention or sexual gratification simply because one desires it -- such actions actually have the reverse effect on gaining what one wants.

No idea about the nervous breakdown. Must have been personal issues.

Have you personally been stalked in the workplace? -Or are you talking about experiences with coworkers being stalked?
Not so much the workplace, but in other venues (like school, online, etc). I've also seen it happen to others in lots of settings.

Why did someone stalk you at school?
I don't care to discuss it in a public post, although I don't know if the "reason" a stalker does such things (or the venue) matters.
The Man-child. He definitely had mental issues, but was also a conniving, lying, two-faced, manipulative piece of crap. He would bully anyone he thought he could cow, even tried it with me but ended up literally running away when I wouldn't back down. (He made up huge lies about me and no one gets away with that.) He was finally sacked for gross misconduct after threatening the duty manager who finally took it to higher levels. She was terrified of him, thought he was the type to go postal with a 12 bore. Of course, he didn't. He has a daughter, we never learned her name, never even knew her gender as she was always "the kid" until he bought a princess magazine for her. Oh, he only bought that because he had been told he had to.

He would stalk the girls on Facebook and leave creepy messages and asking if they had boyfriends and if they wanted to go out with him. Or worse would post statements like "My work needs a machine gun taken to it!" on a regular basis. Why nothing was done about that is beyond me.

He was talked to a few times about getting help, usually after he had had yet another melt down and kicked some caging to death while screaming and crying. Even I told him to sort himself out and go to a doctor about his problems but of course he wouldn't. You can't help someone who doesn't want to be better, not when he gets more attention for acting out. This was the tenth job he'd been fired from.
People like this in society deeply concern me, as does the fact that too little is often done too late.

Due especially to incidents with guns (and in other countries knives), it seems psyche evals should be more standard and people like this should be caught by some kind of 'net. It shouldn't be that they're allowed to keep other people in a state of fear and concern, like a ticking time bomb. Toxic people shouldn't just become part of "the missing stair" and those who seem to desperately need help really should be pushed into getting it; when a majority of your co-workers can say, "Something the hell is wrong here" then there should be a way that is heard imo.

I mean, it is great that you finally got rid of him, but God help the next work place, eh?
I get very tired of people saying it isn't their fault, they're not well, but it gets to where it is toxic to the point of killing; whether it be other people's mental health or suicide or actual murder. I am all for getting people help but this bloke never will until a court orders him to.

He likes the attention. He enjoys causing trouble because he revels in the noise it creates, even when it's directed at him. He actually orchestrated a lot of situations in the work place, making it as difficult as possible for the person following him in the area he worked because he liked the fact he could control their feelings even if it was negative. Yes, he needs help, but he also needs someone to punch his lights out a few times so it becomes him getting hurt because he's not getting that help.
I knew a guy like this and it's true, I recall deliberately not reacting to disgusting things he would say because he wanted a reaction. Currently, I deal with a couple of narcissists who look to provoke confrontation, so I retaliate, but I never give them a face-to-face lash out.

I find if there is one thing a bully understands...it's pain (their own); they even have this lesson in the classic, family-themed A Christmas Story.
My last job worsened my mental health. Television call center. Now, I enjoyed the majority of the customers on the phone, so I don't blame them at all. Even the angry, awful, mean, entitled ones. I only remember a couple of stories from my time there, so now I don't care (but I've also been gone for about a year). The workplace and the co-workers were what did me in. We didn't get the support we needed and promised; there was a stupid system that valued statistics such as hold time and talk time and how many times you transferred or how many times people called back in after talking to you, or how often you sold extras that people didn't need (or in some cases want - you were pressured into convincing people to add something like Showtime free for three months, but weren't told to let them know that there would be partial month's charges on the first month and if they took it off exactly 90 days from the add on those partial month's charges being subtracted from their bill).
On top of that, they had a board that displayed all the statistics. And the ones matching or surpassing the goal were written in green. The ones not matching were in red. Colors screw with your self-esteem in a setting like that, for some reason. Then you got see your statistics and the statistics of those who were gaming the system (known and proven fact and admitted by those who did it). You also got to see the 'cheaters' continue to be rewarded month after month when they should have been reprimanded for tricking the system into thinking they didn't transfer or tricking it so that when a customer called back, the system registered it as a first time call.

The call center worsened my depression with the work environment, but also the hours made it impossible to do anything with friends or my family because I'd have to be in bed by 8 PM and home by 5 PM so that I could have dinner and shower the evening before and weekends were insane to schedule anything fun because everyone was busy during Saturday day and wanted to hang out starting about 6 or 7 PM, but I had to get up the next day at 4 AM. But something odd to me, working there yielded a diagnosis I'd never had before, but I was diagnosed with social anxiety. Since I've got a new job, though, that anxiety has been disappearing (it might have been a mild case, I think).

There wasn't anyone at work that you could ever talk to, either. At least, not the people who are supposed to support you. You were told "that's the job, you have to deal with it". There was some good in the job, though. I found my best friend there. We'd console and talk to each other; sadly, even though she's got a new job, as well, she still carries the mental health issues that have cropped up or gotten worse for her.

I've suffered from sever depression and anxiety in the past, which is now under control for the most part. I'm a GM in a pub which can be stressful, but I love my job and I cope well.

However about 10 years back I worked in a McDonalds near a local college, and that was too much. I was front of house, the person that keeps the seating areas clean, dealt with customer complaints etc and I can honestly say I was treated like dirt by most of the customers that came in. People seemed to assume if you work in McDonalds you are stupid; at best people talked to you like you were thick as two short planks, but there was a lot of abuse based on that assumption too. For example I had a teenager from the local college throw his milkshake on the floor at my feet 'To give me something to do' and then say if I didn't like it I should have gone to college like him. You'd get a lot of that from the college kids (note - this is the UK, so this college mainly had kids aged 16-18). I had a good education, I was trying to get back into the working world due to being out of it for health reasons, and McDonalds gave me a job when I needed it. I ended up leaving as I couldn't take the shitty treatment by customers in the end.

And people think it takes millionaires to exhibit classism! No, those experiences would do nothing for one's mental health and I don't understand why we live in a society where it's basically okay to treat minimum wage workers like dirt. You aren't robbing a bank or stealing online ID's, you're getting out in the world and earning a living, society should not make it easier to essentially stay home and/or rip people off than do an honest day's work.

What's that kid, a genius for eating at McDonalds? No, it's a personal choice in a free society.

Plus ya know, world famous fries and world's cheapest hot apple pie!

My mother got this in retail too, and it really hurt her feelings, she was slaving away for two kids and married an abusive man whom she tried more than once to work things out with. For us, poverty was freedom and again...excuse her for working and all the stress that a day-to-day job (or two) entails. I got treated like dirt by management at a certain coffee company, instead most of the customers were my refuge, but that too did nothing to help with depression for a person simply looking to improve their education with a more flexible job (especially since it wasn't the first time, although it was an insane dilly for everyone in those locations).

McDonalds, regardless of judgments, has helped a lot of people with jobs and actively donated to help children as well. Nothing is so black and white. They have helped seniors and people with disabilities too. Many others claim that they also can't afford to eat better and I have happy childhood memories of taking advantage of coupons on the rare occasions we ate out.

It should not matter why you chose to be there, but I certainly congratulate you on your efforts, getting back into the working world is HARD. I'm really glad that you found a better venue whose lucky to have your time & work ethic.
Generally, I can manage workplace stress very, very well. At the Language School, I had a massive amount on my plate- multiple weekly classes, online, seasonal, minor admin stuff but if I can't engage with people I find I slide off a cliff.

The Daycare drove me nuts because there was the abdication of responsibility downwards without any conversation. Any conversation I tried to have seemed to be cut off at the first possible juncture. It seemed like all the staff retreated into their own personal bubbles to cope, rather than working together. It was the oddest thing, like everyone was so determined to miss the elephant in the room that they just stopped talking to each other. I find talking to people hard at the best of times, so when I'm complaining about the lack of conversation it's one hell of a problem.

I found myself calling out or lying about being busy so I didn't have to go to out of hours events because I couldn't stand the thought of being there any more than I had to be. As a good friend of mine said, I was sick, I was sick of being there. On days off my sleep schedule would pretty much reverse overnight. I was so tired all the time and had low-level headaches for days on end- possibly because I couldn't have an adult conversation with any of my co-workers. The whole thing was compounded by having flu then bronchitis within a month of one another, which contributed to my resigning early. I felt a lot better within a week. Unfortunately, even with the benefit of hindsight, I'm finding it hard to separate my very real issues with my current workplace from the terrible treatment of my previous two. As I told a friend, the phrase 'Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you' comes to mind.
I really think it's possible to have PTSD from jobs. In fact I'd like to see more about it, I think toxic work environments need to be addressed and would be better for the overall workforce (instead of encouraging people to live off the system); it takes a hell of a lot of strength not to succumb. I think a few bad apples are spoiling barrels of decent and productive citizens with petty egos and untreated abusive disorders.
Yes to all. Past and present.
Since I know you, I can vouch for the validity of that answer!