I have learnt today that my employer will not be paying for any more counselling sessions. I learnt this because my counsellor texted me to let me know. I am extremely unimpressed that the company let her deliver the news instead of communicating with me directly. She said that she asked if I had been informed, and HR lady replied that she intended to speak to me later this week.

I’m disappointed but not surprised by the whole thing.

I asked my counsellor to forward me the first email that she received from my employer. I vaguely remembered she read it out to me at the time, and it seemed nice and supportive. The meat of it reads:

We very much care about [my] wellbeing and mental health and we are
aware that the is going through a difficult phase at the
current moment and we would like to support [me] as much as we can.

We would like to pay for 5 counselling sessions for him to start with
and review this at a later date to see if [I] needs further support from
the company.

I will be printing a copy of this email tomorrow morning and I will be asking what prompted the change in company policy. I will express surprise and disappointment and see where that gets me.


Hmmm so…

Once again, nothing has happened. HR lady was in the office today and yesterday but has not spoken to me. I saw my counsellor this evening (and had to pay for it myself(!)) who agrees the situation is bizarre.

I was talking over the whole thing with my counsellor and I said that if they do withdraw the paid counselling sessions, I’m going to find it very hard not to hand in my notice shortly afterwards. The money is trivial, but the message matters. They aren’t supporting me in any other way and I don’t feel valued. Over the past four months, literally the only support they’ve given me is five sessions of counselling.

HR lady was put in charge of my situation back in February after I complained about it to my boss. I objected to the formality that her involvement would imply, but it wasn’t the first complaint I’d made and he told me, in his words “if you left right now you could take me to court for unfair dismissal which would cost me a shit load of money, so I have to do this properly and protect the company”.

I get that. But what I really can’t get my head around now is that HR lady is adding fuel to that fire. I’ve asked for a meeting and been declined, I have had one meeting cancelled without explanation or any communication whatsoever, and HR lady goes out for lunch with Becky. All of this gives me grounds for constructive dismissal (not unfair dismissal, apparently my boss doesn’t know the difference).

Boss probably doesn’t realise HR is making such a mess of this, and my counsellor raised the possibility I could go back to my boss and let him know all of this.

I’m reluctant because it’s all politics and stress. If he looks at this and is as alarmed as he should be, HR lady might find herself on the receiving end of some kind of disciplinary action. It would be her fault, but she would probably blame me. I don’t need more enemies. But the flip side to this is that I am protecting HR lady at my own expense, and that’s kind of dumb.

It’s Sunday evening again

Tomorrow is Monday (obviously) which means HR lady will probably be in the office. She still hasn’t spoken to me about the ‘late-June’ meeting we were supposed to have, and it’s very much mid-July now. She has a reason to speak to me soon though, because the company is actually paying for my counselling at the moment.

The subject of counselling was raised when I complained about Becky, and I said I was already seeing someone. They offered me 12 sessions, on the condition that it was with a counsellor chosen by my boss, which I politely declined. The company came back and offered to pay for 5 sessions with my current counsellor, which they’d then ‘review’. I accepted, but I didn’t feel grateful because the whole thing irritated me. Asking me to break off my established and trusting relationship with my counsellor was extremely insensitive; asking me to see a counsellor chosen by my boss was clearly inappropriate, and knocking it down to 5 sessions after I declined this is just a bit… I don’t know… I was very underwhelmed.

Anyway I had number 4 last week and my counsellor has kept the company updated on this, so it would be appropriate for HR lady to speak to me this week.

I’ve lost faith in HR lady, so I don’t know what will happen. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if nothing at all happens, but I find it quite draining to be mentally prepared for this meeting all the time. My current feelings are that the situation has not improved much and I will leave because of it, as soon as I have something better lined up or maybe before. I don’t really know how much to say to HR. I think it’s right to make it clear I’m uncomfortable here, but I’ve done that before and it hasn’t yielded any improvement, so…

The other big thing this week is I have a gastro appointment. At the moment I feel that I can’t start taking SSRIs because they come with a warning about stomach bleeding, which of course I have experienced before. I need to discuss this with the gastroenterologist. I keep going hot and cold on whether or not I want to start taking them, but if there’s a significant risk of heavier or more frequent bleeds then they’re not worth it.


I saw my counsellor today and went through the way I’d been feeling lately. Her opinion is that I don’t express anger; I keep it inside and it becomes intense anxiety because it gets too much and I don’t know how to cope with it. She is right in as much as I do feel anger and I generally don’t express it, so I need to think more about how I can express it healthily.

She also reminds me that I’ve been through a lot and I shouldn’t feel bad about having a slight set back.

In related news… Becky viewed my LinkedIn profile again today! We have a fairly bizarre history and an extremely unhealthy current relationship, so I’m unsettled she’s taking an interest in my social media. Nobody else I work with is repeatedly looking at my profile. It’s just… weird. She’s doing it in work hours too while sat at her desk, which is very odd. My counsellor suggested that maybe my boss, knowing I’m not happy, has asked her to do some digging (she’s his PA) and see if I’m at risk of leaving. I had thought of too but I’m not sure it’s likely.

If I could do it without visiting her profile, I would block her.

I’m going to give her the wrong impression tomorrow because I have a doctor’s appointment. It’s not an interview, really.

I don’t like Wednesdays

I often find Wednesdays a bit harder than other days. Last Wednesday I woke up at 4:00 AM and had some intense stress and nausea over the job seeking, which surprised me a lot, because the previous evening I’d been telling my counsellor all about it and feeling happy and optimistic. Based on that I decided to just suspend any active effort on my part last week, and based on that I decided to see her again this week instead of leaving it another week.

I felt fine at work yesterday. Even my watch agreed my stress levels were low.

So I felt quite content and secure yesterday evening telling her all about my change of plans, and she agreed that avoiding unnecessary stress for the next few months was probably a sensible thing. She thinks I have a bit of PTSD, which seems like a serious term for being a bit stressed… but I don’t know. There’s a thin line between being a bit stressed and having a meltdown. I’m never quite sure where I am on that spectrum anymore.

Fast forward to today and I feel unsettled again.

Maybe it’s because my counsellor asked me about the future. Where do I see myself in two, five and ten years? I’ve been seeing her for almost a year but she surprised me with that question. I think I said “errr”. I don’t have plans for the future. My current plans for the future are limited to:

1. I should buy some Bluetooth headphones but I’m not sure which ones,
2. I am going to buy a new guitar but I’m not sure which one,
3. I need to sign up for a new investment fund but I’m not sure which one,
4. Maybe I’ll get a new job but I’m not sure which one.

There are things I haven’t done which seem like “grown up” things that I should aim to do, but I’m not doing them because they wouldn’t actually improve my life. Maybe I felt a bit guilty about that. Maybe I feel guilty I’m not actively looking for another job like I said I would. She reminded me that I’d previously said I’m not paid enough and I’m not challenged. I did say that. And it’s true. I’m coasting in a job I’m not sure I want to stay in.

She also asked about romantic desires. I drew a blank on that as well. I said that if the right person came along then I could see myself in a relationship, but “the right person” is an abstract idea right now. Maybe I feel guilty that I’m not going out and putting myself in situations where I might meet “the right person”. To be honest I just never think about it. I just don’t feel the urge.

Plus, my recent forays into “people” have not gone very well, all things considered.

So also.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the Becky meeting. I had ’27th June’ in my head, but I wasn’t sure why. Today I checked through my emails and there it was – a calendar invitation from back in May for tomorrow afternoon. Cancelled – that’ll be why it was only a vague idea in my head. But no, wait, it says it was cancelled at 2:00AM today!

HR lady works strange hours. She has sent me emails at gone midnight. When she’s in the office she usually turns up at about 11, takes lunch at 3 and seems to leave about 7. I don’t know what compels a 40 year old woman to run her life on those hours, but anyway…

So I’ve no idea what’s happening here. Why was it cancelled? The communication at this company is non-existent really. I expect she’ll be in the office as planned and she’ll speak to me about it… but… who knows? I went through it all in my head while I was running this evening. I feel prepared for it, but I also feel so pessimistic that Becky and I are going to reach an acceptable outcome for me that I just don’t really want to deal with it.


The next part of the work story is that HR arranged a mediation session between Becky and me. I didn’t know how to approach it, so I discussed a lot with my counsellor and she advised me to adopt a position of explaining that I found her behaviour confusing.

My personal belief is that Becky has or had romantic feelings for me and in the run up to her marriage decided she needed to put a stop to it. It would explain why she has been rude to me when I’ve tried to be polite to her, and why when I simply stopped speaking to her she became very offended and started arguments and passive-aggressive sniping. i.e. there is a lot of inconsistency coming from her because she has confused feelings she can’t manage. It would also explain why she accused me of coming on to her – projection! She definitely does a lot of that. But I can’t just come out with “well, I think you’re in love with me, let’s talk about that”, so we went with the confusion angle.

It worked about as well as you might expect: I came out even more confused. She was quite disrespectful throughout the whole session. She was annoyed with me but didn’t clearly articulate why. The only clear point she made was that I don’t say hello to her when I come into the office, which seems a bit odd because I don’t pass close enough to her for it to be natural. Afterwards I was sceptical this was a genuine point. I tried very hard not to make her defensive and I had discussed a lot with my counsellor what to focus on and how to phrase things neutrally, but it was all effectively wasted effort because Becky opened by saying everything was my fault as she puts in lots of effort to improve our relationship and I don’t return it. It was easy to rebut, I just said “can you give an example of that?” and she couldn’t. But for me, the idea wasn’t to prove her wrong, it was to try to improve things, and she went in with an attitude not conducive to that goal.

I pressed her on the fact she’d twice accused me of coming on to her and the accusation magically disappeared. She claimed she didn’t remember saying it the second time, which didn’t make me trust her any more.

I actually came out with a lot less respect for her than I had going in. I felt she handled the meeting unprofessionally while I was quite pleased with the way I handled it. We didn’t make much progress, but at the time it seemed OK because I felt like I’d done what I could.

The main outcome was that we agreed that we’d give each other space, which is all well and good, but we spend 8 hours a day in the same room. I started taking it literally and worked from home a lot, in part because I feel completely uncomfortable being anywhere near her. I don’t find her behaviour towards me predictable or professional, it causes me a lot of anxiety, and I just don’t want to deal with it.