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C-ptsd problems during work, advice please

Discussion in 'Employment, Education & Disability' started by VanVonNocturne, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. VanVonNocturne

    VanVonNocturne New Member

    I promised a friend of mine that I'd drop this tonight and talk about it with her tomorrow, but she doesn't have C-PTSD, so she wouldn't experience the following situation like I am. -_-;

    I am a maintenence man for a local grocery store near where I live. I work part time due to being on SSD, and I work 3 to 5 days a week, with shifts from 4 to 6 hours long. My duties include (but not limited to) bringing carts into the store, cleaning the bottle room (here in NY we can recycle cans and bottles to make some pocket change, for those who don't know what this is), emptying out the bottle machines, sometimes unclogging them if a bottle or can gets jammed, mopping up messes (including blood), cleaning out carts, helping customers with a variety of things, changing garbage cans, changing plastic bag bins, sweeping floors, and cleaning the customers bathroom. Often I'm alone on my shift, and I work the Night shift, which means that I'm in charge of bringing in all of the carts in from the parking lot (which can be a challenge in and of itself due to it being a hill) before my shift ends. I have a few challenges though; I have dissociative "brain fog" from my C-PTSD, chronic lower back pain, and a condition called plantar fasciitis. Despite all of this I manage to get my job done!

    We have 4 managers, sometimes they're all there, most often only 1 of them are there while I'm working. One of them in particular-we'll call her KC, though it's not her actual name, I have a problem with. Out of the 11 months I've been working there she's been there for the past 5 months, however she's been working for the company for many years (managers are required to move around to different locations every so often).

    Since she's been there she acts like she's out to get me, and I don't know why. KC is an older woman, but the way she speaks to me she acts like a snotty annoyed teenaged girl. For example; we have certain times that the trash compactor is unlocked for us to toss out our garbage from our respective departments, and the managers A) have the key, and B) they must be present while we use the compactor. I'll have 3 carts worth of garbage bags that must be thrown out, and it'll be the scheduled time for the compactor to be unlocked. I look for her, and ask her to unlock it when I find her. She'll look at me, tilt her head, and with an inceasing pitch in her voice ask "Do I look like I'm back there right now?", or "I can't go back there now. Come find me in 15 minutes. Just leave the garbage there for now." I'll ask her again in 15 minutes after I've brought some more carts in, and she'll sigh, roll her eyes, and say "Do I LOOK like I can unlock the compactor right now?! Go ask (manager name here) for their keys!". If KC is the only manager there, then the garbage usually sits by the compactor until either I can get it tossing it, or if my coworkers from another department have their own garbage to toss and they take care of it.

    Another thing she does is she makes a big deal out of minor things. Example; if I'm working at Night during a week day, then my shift ends 1 hour before the store closes. I'm in charge of bringing all of the carts in from the parking lot, which can be difficult due to the parking lot being one big hill. We are required to bring 6 to 8 carts in at a time, and they like to go with the hill, so you have to have strong arms and hips to shift a long chain of the carts so they go UP the parking lot and into the store, and control them when they start to roll off to the side. By the time I'm done I usually have 5 minutes to run upstairs, punch out, get changed, and run to catch the last bus home (more often than not I have to walk due to sore feet). Since there are late Night shoppers, this means that there will be carts in the parking lot after my shift has ended-usually a couple. I don't have control over this, but KC doesn't seem to understand that. Once she grabbed me (not literally grabbed in the physical sense) as I was leaving to catch the bus, and immediately she pointed out 3 carts in the cart corrals that weren't there before. With an annoyed voice she asked "Where WERE you 15 minutes ago?". I told her I was bringing in carts. "No you weren't! I have been out here, I didn't see you! Bring those carts up here, and put them in the line by the bottle room now. You KNOW you're supposed to bring in ALL of the carts, how long have you worked here?". Another example is when she sees a small mess that I haven't found yet either because I just started my shift, or because it's within the first 30 minutes of my shift and I haven't been in that part of the store yet. She always brings these to my attention in a condescending way-"Why are those cigarette butts in the walk way?" yet I just came in, "Why is the bottle room a pig stye?" yet I've only been there for 15 minutes and there were 2 other maintenence people on before me and it's like I'm the one who is leaving a puddle of coke for the customers to slip in.

    Final example; back in March we on Long Island had a weekly series of nor'easters, and I was scheduled to work outside one Night during one. The store was practically dead, but there were still carts in the parking lot. The wind was so strong that telephone poles were shaking, and the carts were getting blown everywhere! And there was a deep (free lake for the ducks deep!) puddle at the end of the parking lot, which I had to wade through to get some carts. It was raining one hour, then light hail the next, with some dry patches inbetween. I was out there with the company issued raincoat on, but my shirt sleeves were soaked, and my hands were getting numb from the cold. Just as I came in with a chain of carts KC was right there by the door. I went to walk over to the cleaning cart (about 50 feet away from the carts) to get some paper towels to dry my hands off and she stopped me. "What are you doing?!" she asked me before I could get the paper towels. Before I could tell her she interrupted me and snarked "I don't want to see you in this store again until you've brought in every single cart in from the parking lot!". I told her I was getting paper towels, but she cut me off again and added with an annoyed attitude "How many more carts can there be?! There's barely anyone here today! Get back outside!". Not only this, but I've often come into work to find no carts in the store, overflowing garbage cans, and the bottle room looking like a soda and garbage bomb had gone off with bags of shredded bottles on the floor-literally a disaster! Once I showed my job coach, she was so disgusted that she complained to the manager.

    Just today KC gave me the "step up to par or you're fired" talk, and in front of my coworker too! But this isn't the first time she's treated me like this in front of someone. She has no problem with speaking to me like I'm a moron in front of my coworkers or customers. She does this to some of my other coworkers too, but for some reason I get the brunt of her attitude. I seriously have no effing clue why she would have a problem with my work! I've earned coupons as rewards; two for staying overtime on Easter when a coworker failed to show up, and one for finding a customers lost diamond from her wedding band! (she was recycling bottles and the machine tore the diamond right off her band. I had 30 minutes left before leaving, and I offered to stay longer so we could find her diamond. KC, the customer, and I were sifting through shredded bottle bits with gloves on to look for it. thankfully I found it on the floor in front of the machine.) I frequently ask for my work to be critiqued by my coworkers and the managers, all whom say I work hard and do a great job! Sometimes my job coach stays behind to watch me work without my knowledge, and even she says I bust my arse!

    But, due to the issues I've mentioned in the beginning of my post, I'm not perfect. I become symptomatic around dusk, in terms of the flash backs and the dissociation. For the last hour of my shift I feel like I'm in a thick fog, dwelling on the abuse and neglect I had suffered through as a little boy. When this happens I can feel my speed slowing down, and I talk/yell to myself loud enough for people to hear-and I've often caught customers staring at me in their cars as I walk past. When this happens sometimes I'm overwhelmed by an urge to chase down anyone that I'm angry at to knock them out, and though I get a huge energy burst from this, sometimes it gets to the point where I'm slamming the carts (holding them by the handle bar) up and down as I bring them into the store, and if I'm not careful I could snap at a coworker passing by me. (thankfully I have enough restraint and have never done this.) The second challenge is that my orthotic insoles for plantar fasciitis don't stay in place inside my work boots, and they slip into the toe of my boots.The heel pad presses on the sensitive part of my foot which causes (minor) pain, and therefore slows me down. I could fix this, but that would mean stopping every 30 minutes (unlace my boots, take feet out, slip insole back into place, stick feet back in boots, relace boots, have insole slip into toe area 5 minutes later...), and my job is fast paced, so that wouldn't work. This doesn't go without stating that I am obese. I weigh around 280 lbs, and my weight has been an issue due to an eating disorder I've had for a while. (that's a whole seperate issue...)

    Here's what I don't understand. All 4 of my managers, and some of my coworkers, are aware that I have C-PTSD, and that it does have a minor effect on my work, even though I get the job done. I used to be able to listen to my iPod before KC was transfered, which helped A LOT! Even though the company does have a "no musikk" rule, the previous managers were laid back and didn't really enforce it as long as we weren't distracted from our jobs. Even so, I play Norwegian musikk on my phone's speaker and place it on top of the bottle machine while closing the bottle room, which is the only time I put musikk on-such a difference in my job peformance when I do! But I still follow this rule while I'm in the parking lot or in the store because it's a safety hazard. (if you've seen how most Long Islanders drive, you'll understand what I mean...) And I also need to be able to hear if they're calling me over the loud speakers for a spill or for customer assistance, or whatever else.

    As far as how I handle KC; most of the time I bite my tounge, but I don't let her force me to take responsibility for another coworker's mistake. When I feel like I've had enough I do get passive aggressive by sighing and saying "okej..." or "...fine then....I'm going to take care of (job goes here)...". Once in a while I'll let her know I'm annoyed by saying "I'm taking care of (task here) now. I'll finish this in a few minutes and THEN I'll take care of (task goes here)." and I do it in the amount of time I told her I would. Though I swear sometimes my gut tells me that she's taking advantage of me when she asks me to do certain things that the overnight crew are supposed to do.

    Without dragging this on much further, I'd like some advice. My job coach has spoken to managers (including KC) several times, and she doesn't seem to listen. I've considered going to human resources to complain, but I'm too afraid of loosing my job! (what I make helps me buy clothes and enough food to last me the month, and whatever else my SSD doesn't cover. also, Long Island is a very expensive place to live. most people who live here often move.) What could I do about KC, and how can I manage my dissociative symptoms while I'm at work?

    Also-a big thanks to everyone who took the time to read my while post! =3:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 5, 2018
    shimmerz and EveHarrington like this.
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  3. Neverthesame

    Neverthesame A Mind The Dead Have Ravaged Premium Member Donated

    My company does this too. It's a loss prevention thing. Bloody irritating too.

    Get a camera app that will allow you to put a time stamp on the captured imagine. Take a picture of the garbage you were told to dump. Get the locked compactor door in the shot as well. If this ever comes back on you, you can prove the manager was the one not doing their job. Higher management love seeing pictures of workplace hazards being ignored.
    Depending on what's in the bags, you could have a fire hazard, mouse buffet, bio hazard, tripping hazard, ect ect.

    All you need to do is exactly what KC told you to do. Dump it and walk away, throwing it out will become her headache.

    Pictures. Prove there weren't any when you claimed to be finished with the task.

    Tell her if you aren't visible in the car park from the front door, then she needs to find you adequate personal protective equipment. It's not safe for you to be working outside after dark with no way for the manager to see you, should something bad happen to you leaving you unable to move or shout.
    Either you get a high visibility vest out else you need to be accompanied by another employee. If it's her? Welp. She can't accuse you of incompetence without admitting her own.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this has at least some part of it.
    Some people immediately associate obesity with laziness. Along with it still being socially acceptable to treat overweight people like garbage.

    I would suggest getting new insoles if possible. Your not helping yourself trying to soldier through it.
    In the short term it works, but if you end up worsening the foot problem. You may possibly need time off at some point due to aggravating the medical condition. If it comes out that you were deliberately avoiding doing anything to make it better, it could disqualify you from receiving WCB. Especially if it's a pre-existing illness/injury being made worse by your job.
    You need to practice due diligence. Besides, why make the job more miserable than it already is?

    Be ready to provide a doctors note as well.


    I would suggest arriving a little early, then taking a walk through all of these areas before starting your shift. Take pictures of messes left by other employees. This will help prioritise the areas you need to start on, being aware of it ahead of time also shows initiative.

    I know it's super annoying to have to document everything all the time because of one asshole, but it's the best way to cover your butt. I work for a jackass like KC. It sucks. Hopefully they'll rotate her out sooner than later.
  4. VanVonNocturne

    VanVonNocturne New Member

    Thanks for your reply!

    1. I do wear a vest while I'm a work, it's company mandated. I'm sorry for not making this clear. -_-;

    2. You are right about the pictures. I have on many occasions reported to my managers-including KC-and they don't seem to do anything about it most of the time.

    3. Yeah~I have an eating disorder rooted in how I was abused as a kid. I was forced to eat all of my food on my plate irregardless of how hungry I was-that's the short version of it. I understand now at my age, 28, that it's my job to loose the unnecessary body fat. I've been going to the gym, walking, biking, working on my feet at my job, and stretching. I have also seen a dietian, but that's not the kind of help I need. Due to having Tourettes I have to follow a gluten free and corn free diet, and watch how much sugar I eat. Without the intention of sounding offended here (I wasn't offended by your response regarding my weight), it's been a battle. My entire biological fathers family are very obese-I'm talking 400+ lbs obese! One of them, last I checked, is bed ridden due to their extreme weight. Anyways, I just keep trying to stay healthy. Thankfully my doctor says that the obesity is my only issue, health wise.

    4. I would like to now what you could recommend me for my dissociative issue during work?
  5. Neverthesame

    Neverthesame A Mind The Dead Have Ravaged Premium Member Donated

    No apology needed. If anything, I wasn't clear enough.
    What I was getting at was that since KC is trying to place blame on you for not being thorough in your job duties. Since you will be able to prove that you are in fact collecting all the errant trolleys at the time you are supposed to be. You can then turn it back on her with not supervising you properly. It will be difficult for her to weasel out of it when boxed into a corner with a safety claim such as I suggested (not the hi-vis vest since it already a thing).
    Either she has to admit that she's lying about you not being in the lot when you collect the carts, because she can in fact see you from where she supervises. Or admit to allowing an employee to go out into a hazardous area without adequate supervision because she can't see you at all times when you're out on the lot.
    All you need do is prove you're doing your job, and she must either shut up, or get in shit.
    See what I'm getting at? ;)
    This is probably what will be par for the course, but as long as you cover your butt, the worst that will happen is nothing. Keeping yourself employed is what you are looking to do? This should ensure you remain so.

    Awesome. Good for you. It's great that you are doing this for yourself. It's super hard to make those kinds of changes. It's great your doing it for yourself. No advice from me about that, just want to give you more encouragement to keep on keeping on.

    Good. I'm glad. Last thing in the world I'd want to do to someone struggling with that, is pile on more shame. It's the last thing anyone needs. Especially when they are obviously going about fixing it in the healthiest way possible. I wish you nothing but the best in that regard.

    The part about not helping yourself?
    I was speaking strictly about your loose insoles aggravating the planters faceitis, when you don't stop to adjust them for fear of incurring the wrath of KC.
    I never shit in someone's cornflakes about their weight, that's just mean.

    I still think replacing your insoles with ones that don't migrate around your shoes would be a good idea.

    This is a more difficult question for me to answer, as it varies quite a bit between people, what triggers them and what they find helpful for grounding.
    The forum has many good articles about grounding exercises, I'm also hoping some other members can offer some insights for what helps them with dissociative episodes in the workplace.

    I find singing helpful, but I have the luxury of an iPod, music and audiobooks. This isn't an option for you outside of the bottle room unfortunately.
    I'm not sure how sensory exercises for grounding could interfere with the tourette syndrome tics. I also admittedly don't know a great deal about Tourette's, aside from it not actually involving shouting obscenities at inappropriate times.
    There is a wealth of information here on the forum about dealing with dissociation in the workplace.
    Hopefully someone can point you in a more specific direction than I can about this.
    VanVonNocturne likes this.
  6. shimmerz

    shimmerz My silence spoke a thousand words you never heard Premium Member

    I use hot candies, sour candies, hot pepperoni sticks, lemongrass essential oil to smell. Those things get me back into my body asap.
    VanVonNocturne and Neverthesame like this.
  7. VanVonNocturne

    VanVonNocturne New Member

    Those are some good suggestions! I habe been considering munching on cloves for a while. Looks like I have a reason to try this out!

    I appreciate the thought you've put into your reply! Thank you!

    So, the singing sounds like a good idea! I might try that, considering that I listen to metal, the reactions I'll get from customers in their cars will be hilarious! *I'm picturing it now!*
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2018
    shimmerz and Neverthesame like this.
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