“How long does it take to fully recover from workplace bullying?” I asked.
“A lifetime,” He replied.
My heart sank as I took in the workplace bullying expert’s words. His response cut sharply through my hopes of someday being able to put this whole experience behind me. And it left me wondering,
Were the effects of workplace bullying really here to stay? Would there be no regard for the peace I’d found and how far I’d come?
It would be 5 months later, in the late-night hours of a February evening, that I would revisit those very questions. After feeling really good for an extended period of time, my anxiety, a physical manifestation of my workplace mobbing experience, was making a comeback.
But just off the path of my road to recovery, I was about to see two shining lights, turning what could have been a major setback into 2 steps forward in my quest for continued peace after workplace mobbing.
Peace in The Midst Of The Storm
It would be after a particularly busy, yet rewarding couple of weeks, that I would lay down for the evening noticing a slight increase in my heart rate. Just a few short hours later, I would be jolted awake by a full-blown anxiety attack. Without explanation, that familiar sense of danger, the physical discomfort, and the gut-wrenching vomiting had returned.
This time, however, the experience would be a bit different than in the past. Moments into the attack, I began to gather all that I’d learned in order to cope with what was taking place. And as the hours passed by, instead of feeling out of control, I was feeling in control. I did this by:
- Being curious about my anxiety, instead of fearing it, allowing room for the answers I needed to come from within.
- Assuring myself that I was fine, that I had been here before, and that the anxiety would pass. Not only did this action provide the much needed encouragement that I needed, but it also kept the negative thoughts at bay.
- I doused myself in essential oils, practiced my breathing, took a hot shower, and read from my favorite meditation book, instead of pacing aimlessly around the house allowing panic to consume me.
- I used intention to rid myself of the inner tension, using each deep exhale and episode of vomiting to purge the negative feelings.
- And when the morning finally did arrive, I resisted jumping back into my regular routine in order to feel normal again. I accepted the help being offered, so I could rest and recover.
I realized that evening just how valuable the tools I had gained throughout my earlier days of recovery were. And how we can call on these tools anytime we need to find peace and calm in the midst of a storm.
The Missing Puzzle ‘Peace’
As my body was decompressing from the attack, a mild lingering of anxiety would come and go over the course of the next few days. But when it did finally subside, I was finding it difficult to shake the letdown of doing so good for so long, and then…not doing so good.
With each passing day, my interpretation of what had taken place and how I was feeling continued to change. I was finding it difficult to be patient, both with the situation and myself. Especially since I was doing all the things that I was supposed to do.
I meditated. Took time for myself. And made sure to follow up with a heath care professional. And while these actions were certainly helping, there was a heaviness lingering as I searched for what would be that one last puzzle piece.
That’s when I received a call from a near stranger. Another workplace bullying target that I had only interacted with online asked if we could chat, that I had been on her mind.
As we shared our stories and I opened up a bit about how I was feeling, she said something not particularly deep nor philosophical. In fact, I’d heard this saying many times before in my recovery. She gently reminded me that,
“It’s ok not to be ok.”
There was something about the remarkable timing of her call and the compassion in her voice that changed those words from an ordinary saying to something that brought the clarity I needed.
I’d soon begin to see that I was feeling stuck and heavy because I was being too hard on myself. I was carrying with me the disappointment that I was struggling again. The frustration that I wasn’t able to just shake it off. And the shame of not having my emotions under control. It was when I released myself from those burdens that I began to experience the breakthrough I needed.
So, how long do I think it takes to recover from workplace bullying?
For some, recovery from workplace bullying may take a lifetime. For others, perhaps not. But one thing I do know is that I no longer feel the need to set a deadline for my recovery. Right now, I’m just going to allow the imprint of my workplace mobbing experience to just BE.
BE the tools I need to make it through the storm.
BE the catalyst to more self-discovery and personal growth.
And BE the reminder that it’s absolutely ok not to be ok sometimes.
Because I’m finding that peace doesn’t only thrive in the good seasons of our lives. We can also find it in the space between just BE-ing and the grace we give ourselves during the bad seasons, as well.
Wherever you are in your career or recovery, I wish you success, peace, and most of all, good health.
*If you are suffering from chronic anxiety, please seek help by contacting a mental health professional.
If you are new to my writing, you can visit me at www.theempoweredemployee.com to read more of my blogs and find the resources I found helpful. You can also joint me on FB at The Empowered Employee.