Two weeks ago something happened that I’d come to think never would.
I saw Howard.
As I visited my local shops, I was surprised to see Howard as I came around a corner. He didn’t see me, being a little way down the street. He was loitering by my local gym. And he looked lost. What was he doing there? Was he was deliberately trying to run into me or was he was uncomfortable about being so close to one of my haunts?
I coped rather well. I surprised myself. Good luck to him, I thought. I’m over it
But that was until a few personal difficulties arose with loved ones this week. I’m still hypersensitive to anxiety. Even years later, an upset in my private life leaves me feeling hopeless and scared. I’m exhausted. I can’t relax. The panic attacks come back. I can’t sleep or I’m suffering with night sweats/nightmares. I find it impossible to concentrate.
Howard isn’t the problem. That’s how I could calmly watch him for a few minutes as he stuffed his hands in his pockets, moved down the street and frowned at the properties in an estate agent’s window. It was like poking a bruise and realising it no longer hurts. I was struck to find it wasn’t the least bit upsetting.
So what is evidently a problem is the emotional touch paper he’s left me with. It’s the buttons in my head that loved ones can inadvertently press to cause a meltdown.
Can we fix the damage caused by workplace bullying?
It’s a slow old process, but I’m still hopeful. You never know what’s round the corner; sometimes it’s Howard, sometimes it’s heartbreak and with teacher training only two weeks away – sometimes it’s a new start.