Hi, I'm new to these forums so please bear with me while I explain the situation
I've worked with my company for 4 years now. I left my first department as I had to work in conditions which made me physically ill. The office was boiling hot all year round, there was no ventilation, I was overworked by my boss and the other secretary was very narcissistic and rude.
At first I really enjoyed the change. Then I found out that my ex-colleague had been saying vicious things about me to her friend whose job I filled. She in turn had slagged me off to the new team I was working with. I was upset, but a supportive manager resolved the issue.
When they recruited for another position, I was asked which office I wanted to work in. I chose the quieter one hoping this would help me succeed in my part-time studies. Some people warned me that I'd suffer for this as they didn't want to lose me to the quieter site. I laughed it off with them thinking that they were joking.
The new girl was a nightmare. She couldn't do her job and started to follow and harrass me with phone calls. I had to tell her we weren't friends and she was scaring me. Afterwards there was a terrifying incident which I'm convinced was connected to her, as she had mentioned suspicious things before it even happened. I complained to a manager who didn't want to listen, and I felt my line-manager was too unapproachable to discuss this. I left it, knowing that I had little evidence and that she would end up getting sacked.
The team really did seem to blame me for leaving the main office. When she was sacked it got worse. They had become so used to rightfully blaming her for her constant mistakes that they now needed someone else to talk about. I became their new target. People became rude and aggressive towards me for no reason, and they complained about me for any little issue that wasn't even my fault. I was called horrible names. Others became snooty, constantly ignoring me and making me feel so alone.
I became friends with the next new girl, and she told me what everyone was saying about me. I was being called lazy, controlling, self-important and manipulative. Then people tried playing me off against her by trying to make me say nasty things about her. Of course I refused.
By this time the pressure had become too much. I ended up in hospital with a severe infection and had to take a few weeks off to recover. After getting the all-clear I returned to freezing-cold office conditions and everybody gossiping about the new girl. The stress was too much and the infection came back so I had to go off sick again.
I returned again after Christmas, again back to full health. I felt absolutely fine but the office was still freezing and my colleagues were ranting, raving and arguing in the office. I went home that weekend, had a hell of a stress episode in front of my boyfriend, and ended up crashing out from exhaustion. It took me the whole weekend to recover from this and I think that going back again to the same stress made me mentally snap. This time I can't seem to recover. I am now feeling constantly down, constantly anxious and even terrified of seeing my colleagues in the street. I'm so angry because I had recovered but now I've been pushed too far. I can't handle this anymore. I've been getting terrible nightmares, I can't think, I just cannot return to that place.
My doctor (who is a senior GP and very experienced) says I am clearly suffering with anxiety and work related stress and I've been signed off for 6 weeks. He thinks I might have developed depression from going back but he's happy to sign that I'm fit for work if I get another job. However my confidence is abosolutely shattered which isn't going to help me find work. Also, how do I explain this awful situation to a potential employer without looking crazy?
I was thinking something along the lines of "My colleagues are under a lot of pressure to the point where most are on medication to control their stress and depression (this is true). Trying to support them has now negatively affected my health and I need to move on..." ?
I am so scared about this and don't know what to do. I had another episode yesterday and I've been asleep all day today trying to recover from it.
Worse still is that my boss and an HR rep are coming to my house in a few days and I am so scared about this. My boss is known to back up my colleagues and I don't have any physical evidence to prove what they've been doing to me. I doubt anyone will back me up.
Aaaargh please help. Sorry for rambling on!