Last week was a week I would like to go back in time and start over.

Since about January 2015, my psychiatrist classifies my mental health as stable. For the most part in the last two years, I have been on a high. I suppose you could call it that. Everything has been exciting to me! I feel like my soul wants to jump out of my centre and dance! Love has flowed out of my heart for everyone. Even people who I’m not close to, or don’t know me, I feel a bond with! Most of my downs I have had have been short lived. I have been able to catch my triggers and avoid an episode. That is, until last Tuesday.

In the company I have worked in for 9 years, I have never had a complaint regarding my customer service. I pride myself on my skills in dealing with internal and external calls, going over and above to make sure a need is met. My customer service has been acknowledged a number of times over the years. That’s why Tuesday’s events came as a huge shock to me.

Late Tuesday afternoon, I received a rather confusing internal call. As much as I tried, I couldn’t understand the reason for her call. In the end, I decided it didn’t really matter the reason and thanked her for her call. No further thought was entered into. Here is where I could have chosen my words a little better. It doesn’t matter what my intent was, or how confused I was, or how I said it, I shouldn’t have said, “Obviously, I’m gunna pay it.” Offence is a matter of perception, and from my perception, I didn’t think I had said it rudely, or offensively. The girl on the other end of the phone thought differently.

Next thing I know, I’m being asked to see my Team Leader. Immediately, I thought of this phone call for some reason. Of course, I told myself it wasn’t about that. However, as soon as I sat in the chair in the little meeting room with my Team Leader sitting opposite me, I just knew it was a complaint. Part of me instinctively knew. As the meeting proceeded and she confirmed my thoughts, and as I explained my side of the story, I struggled to keep my panic (disorder) subdued. Despite my best efforts, the panic took over rather quickly. It went from 0 to 100 in less than 5 minutes! I perceived her words as accusational.

I have to say that this is all from a hindsight point of view. None of it I noticed while I was in it. I thought I was justified in my reaction and that it was normal. No, it wasn’t normal. It was over the top. An over reaction my a mile! My Team Leader didn’t deserve that. She shouldn’t have to fear getting her head bitten off giving feedback to any of her directs. Needless to say, I left that meeting extremely upset and disgruntled. My pride had definitely taken a hard blow.

Not only did my pride get bruised through all of this, it triggered my panic disorder and OCD. It’s my pride that the OCD latched onto and kept me prisoner for the next two days. It would not leave me alone. The situation played over and over in my mind, making me sick and having to have time off work. I even had conversations with myself! It just would not let up and I struggled to let go. It wasn’t that bad of a complaint to hold onto! I got annoyed and frustrated with myself.

An apology was given to the girl who made the call, in writing from myself, which she gracefully accepted. She could have just ignored it like others might have, but she didn’t. And I am grateful that she did respond. Also, she will never know how much that one act saved my sanity!

It was inevitable that I would have a meeting with my Team Leader about my behaviour. And rightly so. I can look back and see all this from the point of view of someone looking in, and I can offer a reason, but even though I have medically diagnosed conditions which I am unable to control once in full swing, it is no excuse for my behaviour. I have to take ownership of that. And that in itself is pride squashing! I have to admit I was wrong! My Team Leader had to acknowledge my perception of her words which triggered my episode, even though it was not her intention for offence to take place. It was the same for me with the girl on the phone – none was intended. It happened anyway.

All in all, I’m glad my Team Leader and I had the second meeting. I was able to tell her about my mental health diagnosis’. God forbid I should have another episode, but if I do, we have a plan on how to deal with it……..take a break and breathe!

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