My body doesn’t want me to move. I have hardly slept again and I am exhausted. This time though the sleepless night is not due to my depression or my past. This time it is worry because my bosses are coming to see me today.
I get out of bed. Freshen up. Start getting ready. “Maybe if I put more makeup on today then they won’t see how tired I am?” I think to myself. I put on a bit more than usual. I am so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open.
Yesterday I discovered that my Assistant Manager had contacted our boss to tell him that I am not myself. That I am sick and struggling with my therapy but that I am too afraid to ask for help.
I am panicking. My brain is racing. “How am I going to convince them that I am OK? Do I really want to?” I know that they are going to make me take time off but time off means I have to face things and I am not sure that I am strong enough.
I arrive at work and I can tell that my Assistant Manager is worrying about how I will react. Although disappointed that she went behind my back, I understand, so we clear the air and proceed with the morning as usual.
11am. A phone call. It is my bosses. They ask me to go and meet them at a local park. I am grateful that we do not have to talk in store. It is a nice day. The walk is peaceful but I feel like I might throw up at any moment! I am so nervous! I see my bosses in the distance and make it without throwing up. Phew!
We sit on a bench in a quiet area of the park. They hug me. I pull away. Hugging is never good. I can already feel tears welling in my eyes. “MUST NOT CRY!” Focus on something else. Trees. Birds. Flowers. The tears have gone.
Back to my bosses. Must focus. They are worried. They care. They want to help. They know I am sick. They know that it is not my fault. They know that I am struggling and putting on a front for everyone. “OK” I utter, as I ask them how they want to help me. I can feel tears welling in my eyes again. Trees. Birds. Flowers.
Eight weeks off on full pay they say. The company also want to pay for two months of my therapy sessions. Time off starts immediately. Medical Suspension they call it. I am not in trouble though. The company want to help me. My bosses are driving me home this afternoon. I can feel tears again. Trees. Birds. Flowers.
I manage to hold it together as we walk back to the store. We fill my Assistant Manager in on things. However, my team will just think that I am off sick and will not know any details. Phew! Then we leave.
I sit in my boss’s car quietly. Thinking. How do I feel? Embarrassed. Emotional. Scared. We pull up outside my house. They hug me. They tell me that they are here for me and want to help. They tell me not to worry about work. To use this time to focus on me, my therapy and my recovery. It is OK for me not to be OK. I hug them, thank them and go inside.
What just happened?! My emotions are all over the place. I don’t know how I feel exactly but I do know that this is the beginning of the hardest journey of my life.
My name is Gemma. I am happily married and own a house. I have a good career. However, I also suffer from Depression, Anxiety and PTSD.
This is the beginning of my journey to face the sexual, physical and emotional abuse that I suffered at the hands of my stepfather and the emotional abuse I have suffered at the hands of other family members.
It is time to break my silence. It is time to tell my story. It is time to fight for justice.
This will be the hardest thing I ever do.
Thanks for reading!