Agatha’s Story

Transcript from video

Tell us about the way you were bullied

I was working for a uniformed organisation, and at that time I was in my probation, when I started seeing things ‘behind closed doors’ which I didn’t agree with, or they were challenging my integrity. I was raising my voice and I was, I guess, sharing my opinion which didn’t meet the reaction I was hoping for from the management.

Things started happening around me. I was exposed to very strange behaviour. I was unfairly treated, I was belittled, I was ridiculed, my language was criticised, my linguistic skills were criticised. I was then trying to stand up for myself, and that [bullying] became even worse.

This was an organisation with a certain culture of boisterous behaviour and also I didn’t want to come across as being too sensitive toward certain banter or jokes so I was ignoring it for a long time.

How were you impacted?

My health was impacted greatly. I was unwell, I was losing weight, I was very anxious, I was feeling depressed. I fainted on a few occasions at work. I was keep working, I didn’t take time off, but the impact on my wellbeing was huge. I was really ill.

A full investigation had started into what was happening, which took a few months. At the end of it I was told in a paper that yes, indeed I was exposed to some inappropriate behaviour and senior members of management which were doing it, they will be retrained, but I was also asked to leave the organisation.

How did it make you feel?

It was heart-breaking because I absolutely loved my job, I loved being able to help people. It was very hard at that time. I was feeling betrayed, I felt that this was a huge injustice and there was loads of anger inside.

What do you feel helped you?

I think it helped me that I was able to actually voice this, that I was able to stand up for myself and also, it helped me to be heard when I reached out for the therapy because I was able to express what was happening to someone who was the expert in this area and who straight away recognised what was really happening and that it wasn’t my imagination. Because a lot of victims of bullying or people who are going through it, they think that it must be their over-sensitivities – so it was really helpful.

Who else in you life was affected?

It was all my family, friends and my social circle because I was very withdrawn, I didn’t want to see anyone, I was depressed, anxious. I was not interested in seeing people so it wasn’t a very good time of my life then.

What do you feel you needed to be able to recover?

The main thing was to be heard, to be able to talk to someone about this and actually believe it is happening, it’s not my imagination or not something I’m making up – that’s what I was told – that I’m just imagining things, that it’s not happening.

What advice would you give to someone who’s gone through something similar?

I would definitely say, to listen to your body, because if something inappropriate happens to you, or you are exposed to actions which are not the right ones, your body will give you the answer. I’ve sensed so often this cringing, horrible feeling and felt so uncomfortable on many occasions and I’ve ignored it for months and months because I thought it was me being too sensitive. So listen to your body, listen to what your body’s telling you and if it’s not good, then reach out for help and talk to someone. Definitely talk to someone.