Saturday, 17 November 2012

I'm out of the Twitter closet!

Morning campers, how’s it going?

Today is a big day in the on-going trials and tribulations of me and Twitter.  I’ve come out.  My real name and my Twitter name are in the same place for the first time ever.   Given the problems I've had in the past and particularly given how I was feeling when I wrote my last post you might think this is a move of the utmost foolishness on my part.  Maybe it is. 

I’ve started blogging for the Tottenham Journal under my real name and my first piece includes a link to my Twitter account.  It seemed like a bit of a faff to have to start explaining why I couldn't actually give out my Twitter name in the same space as my real name and to be honest, the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I shouldn't have to.  I am not ashamed of anything I put on Twitter and whilst this move may mean I need to be a little more circumspect in what I write on there, that’s not necessarily a bad thing – there may be a few less ‘cunts’ but the internet is littered with swearing bears (just look at who I follow on Twitter) and I doubt my lack of contribution to that arena is going to break anyone’s heart. 

There is also the fact that the more open I am the less opportunity there is for nasty mean-spirited people like The Person to try and get one over on me.   I’d like to think they’re over all that now, but I’d never be so foolish as to not give it due consideration.

I am a very open person and hiding out of fear doesn't sit naturally with me. So I’ve decided I'm not going to do that any more.

My name is Tara and I am Bear Faced Lady. 

Friday, 2 November 2012

I can’t let go

I am angry.  I am angry and I can’t get past it. I am angry and it is not doing me any good. I am writing this in the hope that it will be cathartic and I’ll stop having nightmares about the place I used to work at, that I’ll stop being terrified of not being believed, that I’ll stop thinking about it all the bloody time.

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know something of what I’m going on about and might not want to read anything else about it, so here’s a Get out of Jail Free card; collect £200 and pass Go without reading any further.  I wouldn’t blame you; I’m sick to the stomach of the whole thing. If you haven’t read it before, here is a brief synopsis: I had depression and was signed off work. A nasty, grubby individual wrote to my employer saying I was faking it and using my tweets as ‘evidence’.  My employer investigated me, found me guilty of misconduct on the basis of my tweets and precious little else and began disciplinary action. I was suicidal.  I resigned.

I’ve tried so hard to get past it.  I cleared my desk on 10th January this year.  Time has gone on and yet I can’t stop thinking about it.  It affects everything I do.  I am so fucking angry.

They knew I was on a waiting list for therapy.  They had medical certificates from my GP stating I had depression.  They had letters from my GP confirming the severity of my illness.  They had reports from their own Occupational Health doctors who having met and examined me on at least three occasions agreed with my GP’s diagnosis. And yet, on the basis of what I put on Twitter and a telephone conversation with a different doctor from Occupational Health who I hadn’t even met, they told me I was a liar.  They told me my behaviour was not consistent with that of someone with depression.  

This, from a manager who, by her own admission, had no experience or understanding of depressive illness.  This from a manager, who, when I said I felt uncomfortable talking openly to her about my symptoms told me “Stephen Fry talks about his depression…” This, from a manager who whilst carrying out the investigation into the veracity of my mental illness, was also appointed as my line manager, responsible for over-seeing the phased return to work recommended by the organisation’s Occupational Health doctors.  Conflict of interest, much?

Of course, everyone asks why I didn’t take this to an employment tribunal.  I thought about it, I really did.  I sought advice.  In the end, I was still too ill.  Even though I was told that legally, I had a strong case.  The prospect, however remote, of being found guilty a second time of something I hadn’t done was just too terrifying.  I’d pulled myself back from the brink once; I knew I couldn’t do it again.  It’s too late now, you only get so long to lodge a complaint with an employment tribunal, and honestly despite being more mentally healthy now than I have been in a long while, I don’t think I’d ever be strong enough to fight that battle again, even if it were an option.

I’m starting a new job soon. I am terrified of it all happening again.  I’ll never be able to say where I work, or have any public facing role in the new organisation, for fear of the grubby individual who began all this, sending their nasty poison pen letters to my new employer as well. I’m not angry with the grubby individual anymore; they are not worth the effort.  They are nothing. I am angry with my old employer.  They knew me. They knew my past history of depression.  They knew I was good at my job. They knew me. And they called me a liar. And I can’t forgive them.