Mental Health in the Workplace Level 2 (VTQ)

47 videos, 2 hours and 13 minutes

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Video 44 of 47
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Hello there, I'm Susanna. We've got quite a long time together today. Everything you say to me will remain confidential in this room unless you say anything that leads me to think you might hurt yourself or someone else but otherwise it will remain confidential. So what would you like to start with?

I've been feeling rather down recently because somebody new has come into the company, and myself having been here for many years, I'm very happy here, I get on with my job, I feel I do my job, as well as anybody, could. And we've had a new line manager come in and everything I do or say is wrong to her.


I do respect that she is senior to myself. But when you've done a job for a long time, you do know it inside out and she's just making fun of everything I do, she's making comments in front of other people and it's just really getting me down now.

And how is that affecting your life generally?

Normally I go home from work absolutely fine, but it's coming home with me now.

So has whoever you share your home with, have they noticed a difference in you?

I do live alone, but I do see my daughter an awful lot and she has noticed and...

And have you disclosed to her what is causing you problem?

Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah, what has she said to about that?

Well, she said, "Don't put up with it." [chuckle]

Easier said than done maybe.

Which is yes. She said, "You know you gotta stand up for yourself and... "


Well I say, "Really, it's fine saying that, but when you're working with somebody to go to higher management and then you've still got to work with that person that's causing you the issue. I'm half afraid to do so".

Right. Have any of your colleagues felt this way, do you think?

I don't know, I haven't really discussed it with them, but when you are being sort of picked on, you feel as though you're the only one. It may be that she's made comments to other people but I haven't noticed.

I think it would be really useful if you could think back and just think if anyone has mentioned anything that would encourage you to share this with them, but if you're feeling that you're the only one then you must take that forward really.

I've heard comments know if she likes the sound of her own voice, but whether that's been directed at anyone in particular, I can't say.

And how long have you worked in this job?

I've been in this company nearly five years now.

Generally speaking, you're happy here?

Yes I love it here.

And is this the first time this has ever risen in any job you've ever done?

No, it did happen in one of my previous job, my previous job before I was made redundant.

Alright. And you would tell me a bit about that then.

I'd been in that job 23 years and a new FD came in and I was working underneath her and she just had an unfortunate way about her, and I took it a bit personally, she'd say, "Oh you can do this, you do that, and you go and make the coffee, and... " I just got fed up with it. And then one of my other colleagues said, "You know, she's actually bullying you."

Right. So it didn't feel like bullying to you?

No. No, because you always think of bullying is like playground bullying.

Yeah you do. Absolutely.

You know punchy or something.

And if you didn't experience that at school, you would have nothing to compare it with.

Exactly, exactly. I just thought well she doesn't like me.

Right. Okay. That's not a comfortable place to be, is it?

No, it's not. It's not.

This current problem, how is it affecting you when you're at home, are you thinking about it all the time?

I do think about it quite a lot, thinking what can I do.

And does it affect how you sleep, how you eat?

Nothing affects the way I eat. [chuckle] But yeah, I do lose a bit of sleep over it.

So what have you tried that makes it slightly better when you're at home? Do you distract yourself maybe or?

Yes, I sort of read and I watched quite bit of TV when I get home, as well as doing or doing household jobs.

Yeah, yeah. But when it comes to going to work in the morning, what's it feel like driving to work?

I don't want to go.

You don't want to go. Alright.

I don't want to go and...

Okay. What have you thought you might be able to do about this situation?

Well, that's a difficult one.

Use what maybe you used before, think what was helpful in that situation? Was there anything in there that you might be able to use again?

Well, it was only that other people who had noticed before.

Alright, okay.

And they said, "You know, you've gotta stick up for yourself." But because they were in the office with me, I gained more confidence and I went in one day and I said, "I think I've had enough." I said, "You're bullying me." And then that escalated.

What outcome would you really like?

I'd just like to go back to being happy at work. And she was...

But what would happy mean?

This person was obviously taken on to do a job and I do accept that she probably won't be sacked or asked to leave or any we think, but I would just like to be able to work alongside her.

Has there been any positives to her being there?

Not that I have noticed at the moment, but obviously you know.

Alright. So I suppose if we just review what you said, she's making you feel under-confident?

Yes, yes.

Where previously you weren't?

I was quite confident in what I was doing, and now she's making me question things that I'm doing.

Alright. Have you had any feedback as about how you're working, do you think you're making mistakes or lack of concentration leading to anything?

Possibly now, there might be a few mistakes creeping in because... Because of the knock in the confidence.

Okay. Have you spoken to your GP about the difficulties you're having?


Is that a thing you might think about doing?

I suppose it's a possibility now you've put the idea into my head to go and see what...

I mean do you feel a period away from work might help or would that just make it worse because you had to go back?

I think it would make it worse, because the longer you're away, the biggest step it is to go back again.

So, I suppose what would be really useful is if we work together on some strategies on how you might cope with the situation as it is, not as you wish it was, sort of thing.

Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Right. I think we have a bit of an advantage there in which you've been in this situation before, and you have survived it.


So you know that you will survive this situation. The difference is, this time it seems to be just you.


Or that's what it must feel like, I'm not saying it is.

Yes. It is what it feels like.

Right. Is there anyone there, a colleague or any manager or someone who's work there previously who you feel you could discuss this with?

Quite possibly, but I've just not wanted to drag anybody else into it, in case it sort of rebounded and turned on to them.

Could we turn that around a little and not think about dragging anyone in, but think about what you might need in terms of support, to deal with this. If you're going to try and deal with the situation, you have to get support where you can. Do you belong in a union?


Right, okay, but you've worked here for a number of years and you must have certain resources that you know you can call upon, to deal with this and you have your own internal resources as well. If is going to work a real challenge for you each day?

It is. The getting here is the worst bit.

Right, okay, tell me what it feels like.

I feel a bit sick in the stomach 'cause I'm, as I'm driving to work. I feel...

Do you have any physical symptoms?

Sit in the car for a little while before I get the courage to...

So you have nausea.


Headaches and things like that?

Yes, yeah, it can progress into that.

Alright. And generally not feeling...

Just not feeling right.

Not feeling yourself, right? What about at weekends when you're not at work, does the whole thing fade a little or does it stay with you?

Stays with me sort of the beginning of the weekend, and then you sort of do get carried along with normal weekend things, but Sunday evening comes right back at you.

Right. Okay, so from your weekend really is from when you finish work on the Friday until maybe part of the Sunday and then it all starts up again?


So really the biggest part of your life is taken out with this at the moment. Right. Do you have an annual appraisal?

Yes, we do.

And who will be doing that?

That will probably be the office manager.

The one you're having the difficulty with?

No, no. The manager.

The office manager.

The office manager.

Right, so if we can just put ourselves in a pretend appraisal.


Do you think that you would be able to disclose to your office manager any of these difficulties?

Yes, I think I probably could.

Alright, okay. So shall we just look at what might help right from the start? I think it might be good to work on some thought of detachment process when you're leaving work so that you're not carrying it at all. I know it'd be unrealistic when you got home and say, "I'm not gonna think about work."


But you need to think about work being in its place. Do you take work home physically?


Right, okay. So work... Once you've shut that door you can drive home and start... So you might start thinking about, "What do I need a piece of music on the way home, when I get in, do I need to change my clothes. Pour a glass of wine, make a cup of tea?" Something to detach yourself thoroughly from the day. It might also help to think if you are going to worry about it, and you know you're going to worry about it, maybe accept that this is going to happen, but put a time limit on it. Alright, I know I'm going to be thinking about it, but it will be stopped when I switch the television on for the news or something like that. Have a line you can draw under that.


That might help. I think you should certainly seek help from a colleague and you might impress on them, and you'd have to trust them, that you need some support in dealing with this and maybe get some ideas about the words to say. Sometimes it's just down to words.


And I think your appraisal needs to be sooner rather than later. It's probably an annual one is it?


And think about what you might say to enable you to move forward with this. Bullying in the workplace is quite a serious issue. And if you feel it's really altering how you are doing your job, then it needs to address it. How do you address issues, how do you deal with things that worry you in life... In life generally, not just at work?

I try not to worry about things too much because really worrying doesn't solve anything.

No, it doesn't, it can be a bit of a bully you can say. Exactly.

Yes, yes. Sort of you know practically, I just sort of steam through and get on with things, but.

And do you find that works for you?

Yes, pretty well.


Pretty well, but...

Just tell me something that you've done that you have powered your way through, and it's been successful. Can be anything. Any small thing.

Well, I was divorced many years ago, and I just went straight through it. Straight through it, I had two small children and I just got on with it and said, that's it.

That was maybe the thought that you had to do it for them?


And therefore yourself, you pushed yourself back a little bit. And I wonder, really, in this situation, if because you live alone, you've no one to talk to when you go home and things like that, maybe it does seem one of the biggest things in your life at the moment. What do you do when you're not working, what do you fill your time with?

Family. My daughter and my grandchildren.

Alright, okay. And your daughter's aware of this?


So I think that was a really good thing to do because sometimes someone on the outside or a little bit on the outside can give you some ideas of what to cope with. Do you think it would help to come and talk to me at fairly regular intervals about how you're progressing with all of this?

That might be a really good idea. Yeah.

Well, can I suggest that we arrange to meet, say for six sessions and we'll put together a bit of a plan for coping with it, as you go along. And life is very unpredictable as you know. So who knows what might happen in this? But I would like you to think about what outcome you would ideally like, being fairly realistic. I mean, not sort of turning up to work, and your manager isn't there one day.

No. [chuckle]

But how you might live with this. The worst case scenario would be this is as good as it gets. In which case it would be a different set of coping strategies to actually working your way through it to an outcome that you are happy with. But I'm very keen to work with you on this and to take it forward, we may need to involve some others. You may need to involve your HR department in it. I don't know, but think about, start now thinking, what do I need? And keep on that track when we meet again soon.

Okay, that's something. Thank you.

You're welcome. Thank you.

Thank you.