Bullying in the Workplace
Posted by dermagirl
I wrote a post recently called “Don’t let the bastards get you down” where I talked about an ex-friend of mine spreading rumours about me in my workplace and telling my work colleagues all about my picking (my biggest secret!). Two nights ago in the staff room, I was questioned intensely by another work colleague. I was sitting at the opposite end of the staff room with my back turned to everyone, watching the TV minding my own business, when she called out my name in front of everyone else (I think there were 7 of us in total in the staff room) and asked me if they were bites I had on my arms. I was quite taken aback by this. I haven’t been questioned over my marks in a LONG time and for the most part my picking has been getting better. Add to this I also wear long pants and long sleeves to work so I was not at all prepared with how to respond to this. I agreed they were bites, hoping this would end the conversation (as it usually does) but she continued to question me… When do they bite you? They must be big mosquitos where you live! Where do you live? You have to be careful you don’t get Ross River virus! And so she went ON and ON and ON! I was that ashamed and embarrassed I walked out of the staff room in complete and utter shock. This personal attack on me came out of nowhere! I’ve been there almost a year, my picking was a lot worse when I first started, she’s had plenty of time over the last few months to ask me one-on-one what they were but she chose this moment when the staff room was packed and right after the rumours at work had gone around about me to question me about my scars.
THIS IS BULLYING! And it brings back all my old memories of being taunted in the schoolyard for having “chickenpox”, “rabies”, “scabies”, parents recoiling in disgust, fearing I was contagious, teachers asking if I had the “chickenpox” (one even lifted up my shirt in front of another teacher in the staff room to “examine” my skin) and employers accusing me of being a drug addict and having to check my “track marks”! I am not contagious and I am not a drug addict! I am a girl that has seen and been through a lot and because I keep all of this bottled up inside of me, it has to escape somehow, and THAT is what the marks are that you see – PAIN ESCAPING!
As you can probably tell, it really bothers me that people can be so nosy and insensitive! I would never ever question someone on their physical appearance or on any condition/illness for that matter. Dermatillomania is a serious, debilitating, life-threatening illness that deserves the same recognition, respect and treatment that is given to other physical and mental illnesses. No one jokes about cancer. No one asks a cancer sufferer why their hair is falling out. (Or at least I hope no one does these things!). So why joke about me? Bully me? Torment me? Question me relentlessly?
LEAVE ME ALONE!
It would be so easy for me to relapse right now but my mum has told me that I’ve been doing really well lately and encouraged me to not let this woman destroy all the progress that I have made! So I won’t. Because you know what… I AM strong enough to fight this and my scars prove that!
I hope one day I have the courage to tell ALL the people that I meet, especially the nosy ones, that I have a skin picking condition, and hopefully educate them in the process! Education and greater acceptance are two things Dermatillomania sufferers urgently NEED!