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Testimony of Elea

resilient Suffering at work


What I wanted to tell them...

and that I prefer to share with you..

Dear colleagues,


If you knew how it bothers me that you did not measure the violence I experienced nor the injustice I suffered. How it hurts and gnaws at me that you do not measure the seriousness of the after-effects and the impact on my health because it cannot be seen, because I have no blows, I have no bruises, I I have no broken arms or legs... yet my whole being is bruised, swollen, lacerated, crushed, my whole being imploded that day!

I'm up, yes, but in a thousand pieces, broken inside... a simple gust of wind and I'm shattered... my physical and mental integrity hangs by a thread.

Témoignage de résiliente souffrance au travail

I have been assaulted, besieged, broken into, looted, dirtied, mistreated, humiliated, threatened... all of this at the same time but only "psychically"... Yes, only "psychically" because it cannot be seen, I bears no stigma of my aggression, at most abundant, uncontrollable tears, even two years later when the subject is broached. But everyone sheds tears, for everything and anything else... you can even cry from laughing... so it's difficult to measure suffering by the volume of tears shed.

That's the whole problem, my blows, my wounds, my scars are invisible, inaccessible, unquantifiable, abstract... maybe even non-existent for others.

I would have preferred to be beaten up... I would have healed faster and it would have been easier to make myself heard, to be recognized, to be respected, because the one who is beaten up, we don't don't ask to explain what he feels, to prove his suffering, to prove that he is a victim, it shows... compassion and empathy are immediate since we have the proof in front of our eyes!


For me it's different, I have to justify myself, explain again and again, relive again and again the unbearable and rekindle the trauma... because no it wasn't a simple altercation between work colleagues, no it wasn't. was not a bun between good women or the expression of two disproportionate egos which mark their territory, nor was it a woman with long teeth who wanted to be caliph instead of the caliph and who had to put in her place, or finally the expression of a fragile woman who finds it difficult to manage the pressure and whose excessive perfectionism has confronted her with her own limits... And it hurts me to know that some of between you have resolved to believe that because it's easier for you to look at yourselves in the mirror in the morning, when some of us have known each other for more than 15 years!

If I had been beaten, people would perhaps speculate less and would surely know better how to position themselves instinctively, clearly... unambiguously in the face of the inhumanity and injustice of the situation.


However, if they knew... if they had seen me on a daily basis for two years... they would understand... Yes, two years later, I am still raw... my scars are regularly reopening, bleeding, oozing ... the process is slow, painful... I am like a lobster without a shell, naked, without protection, without a filter, at the mercy of everything and everyone... the slightest particle can make me react, make me badly, hurt me, attack me... everything has become "too much" in my daily life: "too" light, "too" noise, "too" colors, "too" musical notes, "too much" words, “too” people, “too” movements, “too” agitations, “too” perceptions, “too” stimuli, “too” information, “too” emotions... I am no longer fit for ANYTHING because I am too sensitive to EVERYTHING!

Everything pierces me, everything scratches me, everything tears me, everything attacks me and everything exhausts me. Like an allergy sufferer who cannot be in the presence of the allergenic substance, I react violently to the point of Quincke's edema... I believe that I could die of it and that it has become irremediable, I have become intolerant to everything that directly or indirectly related to my work. It's so violent, it's so irrepressible, uncontrollable, irrational, instinctive... primary... it's a question of survival in short, it's my body that takes control to tell me: "if you go back there, it's over for you!"

I must therefore flee this toxic substance at all costs; yes this escape that I was unable to take a year and a half ago, it is my body that imposes it on me today.


I am a fortress of which only ruins remain; a fortress that has resisted for a long time, that has remained standing, straight, strong, against all odds, against all attacks... for a long time, too long, until the last assault. The final assault, the assault too many, the one by surprise, the disloyal one, the one that has neither rules nor laws, the assault which aims to destroy, not to invade.

I didn't raise my guard enough, I saw the "grandmother" when it was necessary to see the "wolf", I saw a victim when it was necessary to see the executioner, I saw the human in the monster. .. The Trojan horse had no trouble entering my fortress, letting the madman, armed to the teeth, appear when I took out the white flag!

My values and my loyalty are at the same time my wealth and my greatest weakness because they are my chains... those which prevented me from fleeing, those which nailed me to my armchair when my director carried the thrust, that day...

That day when she humiliated me, threatened me, defamed me, yelled at me and talked to me like I was a brat and that I had to be punished severely so that I understood who was the leader and who was in command.

And as at the beginning of the assault, although dumbfounded, I resisted by putting her face to face with her inconsistencies, lies and absurdities, she went to the final stage, she pulled out the heavy artillery... and she became someone someone else, someone I didn't know, someone with madness in their eyes, someone with madness in their gestures, someone with madness in their voice. .. and there, faced with the irrational, faced with unreality, faced with the absurd, your brain is no longer able to manage all this erroneous information at the same time, you no longer have any reference points, any code, no more reference system, you are simply overwhelmed by such a situation and you don't even understand how you managed to get there... as if you were missing the beginning of the episode! "Did I miss something or what?" "Is it a hidden camera?"

But no, the person in front of you is not laughing at all! There is no camera, and you are not more words come to mind, no more are unable to react appropriately because you don't understand what's going on... you're in a game about knocking yourself down, the game started without you realizing it and no one gave you the rules or the necessary explanations so that you can defend yourself or anticipate the blows... it's the most total confusion, fear then panic seizes you because, during this time, the enemy in front continues its attack fiercely, savagely... and very quickly, you end up being completely flabbergasted by what is unfolding before your eyes.

The worst thing is that I am aware of the seriousness of the situation, I see myself sitting at the mercy of my director who has clearly lost it and who is in the process of rolling me over, but in the face of so much madness, I I can't do anything anymore, I can't handle this anymore, it's no longer my responsibility, and it's too dangerous... yes dangerous... I feel it, like a gun pointed at my head... I can't breathe anymore, everything has tightened up inside me: my esophagus, my lungs, my rib cage, my heart, my stomach, my blood vessels... everything is tight, I'm suffocating, I have hot, I am nevertheless traversed by a kind of dazzling and icy electric current which leaves at the bottom of my neck and spreads in my head to finally explode in my brain, it buzzes in my ears...


At this stage, you can no longer do anything, think anything, say anything... you only have one option left: HOLD and SUFFER! Even swallowing has become difficult so everything has tightened and your mouth is dry, this feeling I still have today and I remember that no longer salivating, I could not even articulate the words correctly.

I saw myself glued to my seat, my whole body was made of lead, I was both inside and outside the stage, a stunned spectator, praying that my heart wouldn't let go because it was pounding so hard in my chest, which had become so small. that I felt a growing pressure, like a vice that tightens millimeter by millimeter... it hurts, it scares... it confronts you with your imminent death: that of the symbolic gun of your attacker, which exercises its power to life or death on you, you who are no longer a human being in his eyes, only a problem to be eliminated; that by heart attack, given the increasing and more intense pains in the chest or that by CVA, because the explosion in the brain was violent, it is the first time that this happens to you, your head hurts so much, it buzzes in your eardrums, your temples pulsate... your brain is overheated, in pain, on the verge of breaking.

And to see that my state of distress and suffering in no way diminishes the relentlessness of my director, terrifies me and amazes me even more, because unfortunately I haven't lost my lucidity... it's just horrible! And this insensitivity, this absence of empathy confirms to you that she has entered into a logic of symbolic murderous madness... it's palpable, it's extremely clear, she wants to eliminate you, she is crushing you like she would crush an insignificant ant with her fingertip. And that is indeed terrifying! Because it's inhuman, because it's amoral and you're never prepared for that.


Yet I had the jolt of revolt or defense, too furtively and not intense enough in the face of the assaults and the unpredictability of the situation, and then I was, it must be admitted, in a state of exhaustion professional for many months, ultimate and profitable strategy to weaken me physically and therefore mentally and thus try one last time to submit to me, and, in front of my resistance, to destroy me. These upheavals manifested themselves in an attempt to logically resolve a preposterous situation through reasoning and facts. The problem is that very quickly, I could no longer move forward on this ground because logic never wins against madness and that, faced with an Everest of lies and defamation, my brain was quickly overwhelmed and helpless. . I tried in vain to make sense and to try to understand where it was simply impossible.

The other jolt lasted a fraction of a second, I'm sure, but I experienced it as a slow motion because I remember that at the same time I was reasoning with myself and anticipating the scope of my actions if I let myself go to the primary drive that was rising in me (but which would have saved me from being in the state I am currently in, I am sure of it). When she started spouting all this horror on me, started screaming, infantilizing me, humiliating me, I saw myself jumping on her and shoving her against the wall to shut her up and scream at her. my turn to my four truths and the fact that she was completely crazy and that she needed to be treated. This image, or rather this drive there was so strong, so violent, that it terrified me just as much because it's not me, I'm not usually like that and no doubt, my education, my values , my ideal self censored me and prevented me from taking action. In fact, I'm far too balanced to be able to do this kind of thing and in turn freak out... and that's probably what she was looking for to accentuate her victim status.


I don't regret not having done it, but now I understand that it can be done, I now understand that someone weakened, persecuted, humiliated, harassed, victim of defamation, injustice and in the impossibility of being heard, may come to blows or arms... you have to be damn strong psychologically and anchored in reality to resist this impulse which seems to be, at the moment, the only solution for the torture to stop.

Having given up the confrontation, I was left with flight, I had already practiced it weeks before when my director had started to exceed the limits and I myself was on the point of exceeding them... but this this time my attempt to escape failed because she immediately followed me, jumping up to obstruct the passage, grabbing the handle of the door and closing it as violently as possible while ordering me to leave. sit down because she was the director and she was in charge... "Now shut up and sit down! I'm the director, I'm in charge!"

Once again, in front of this scene, I was bewildered by the behavior of this woman, to whom we would give the good god without confession, whom I thought was my friend, to whom I had brought my unfailing support in her taking office and that most of my colleagues still believe today unable to do so.


I also believe that unconsciously I have perfectly measured the stakes if I "disobeyed" because, in the face of such violence and madness, it would have led us to a physical confrontation, I am convinced of it... given the trance in which she was, she would have restrained me physically and I would not have endured that! She was no longer herself... even her eyes were terrifying, red, bulging, huge and round, her mouth twisted with each word spoken, sometimes as if she was going to vomit me up, sometimes as if she was going to swallow me. .. when she leaned her body forward, her hands resting on the desk, it looked like a gorilla threatening the group to make it clear who was the leader, and sometimes she would come forward so much that it looked like a lion ready to leap over the board to devour me... yes, even his gestures were foreign to him and that too is terrifying to experience this, to see someone you thought you had known for a very long time, with whom we shared intimate moments, confidences, dropping the mask and revealing your true personality, in all its horror and madness... it's monstrous and terrifying, because all of a sudden you turn into Little Red Riding Hood , you're going to be devoured by the wolf disguised as grandma and you didn't see it coming!!!

When fighting is impossible, when flight has been in vain... you can only suffer...


Stunned, you watch the film of your own life unfold before your eyes while saying to yourself "but what is happening to me?" "How should I react?" "What should I answer?".

But each time you find yourself in the vicious circle "Confront? Flee?" and the questioning remains unanswered... in a loop... like a computer, you have indeed "bugged"!!!

Impossible to find the solution, anyway you can't think anymore, you can't cry anymore, your tears from the beginning of the interview have dried up, you don't feel anything emotionally now... except this vice who continues to do his job, everything is so narrowed in you and around you, even your field of vision has narrowed in proportion to your field of action... everything has shrunk like a trickle; soon you'll shrink so much that you'll end up disappearing... that's right, disappearing, at least she'll leave you alone.


Without realizing it, you turn into an automaton, your brain and your emotions under your arm, you finish your working day, you do exactly what is expected of you, without asking yourself any questions, without opposing the slightest resistance, the goal is to make yourself as small as possible, not to be noticed, not to trigger another fit of madness in the other, to survive this day, not to die in the office... Limit everything to the maximum , movements, words, interactions, eye contact... not moving too much, not being noticed, barely breathing and above all, above all, trying not to come into contact with the aggressor whose office is located right next to...


If I could stop time, go back in time... to try to understand what just happened to me, to try to understand how I got there, to try to understand what errors of appreciation I committed, what did I do wrong to make someone hate me so much... and to try to consider my professional future, how am I going to be able to survive in such a hostile environment, under the yoke of a mad tyrant ???

If only I could go back, rectify the mistakes made... the problem is that I don't see what I did wrong, I don't see when I could have hurt her to the point that she want to destroy me, I don't see where I sinned... someone explains to me, someone shows me where I screwed up!!! If only I could go back!!! I'm trapped in this scene, and I can't move on...


And this impression sums up perfectly what I lived for very long months after this famous interview, I relived this scene over and over again, every second, every minute of my waking hours and even of my sleeping hours since my director also had the power to terrorize me in my sleep! Not a single moment of respite, locked up in this event, however insignificant if it is related to the scale of a lifetime... and yet these 30 or 45 minutes at most marked me with a hot iron, like a tattoo in my the furrows of my memory, the word trauma covers everything, darkens everything... I can only see him! I only feel him!

My director succeeded in dirtying everything, demolishing everything, contaminating everything... my workplace became the place of my aggression... the place where I got smashed, the place where I could probably not never set foot again, because this very idea panics me, revolts me, paralyzes me, even two years after the fact!


It took me more than a year to be able to put all this into words, to be able to understand the potential mechanisms, to be able to make sense of it, to be able to no longer be ashamed, to no longer feel guilty. to be on sick leave, to manage to accept that I was the victim of moral harassment precisely because I did not submit and did not deny my values, that I burned out because precisely I am resistant to stress, because I have a higher working power than others, because I am conscientious, because I serve the collective and not the individual, because I wanted to flourish in the exercise of my profession and being able to embody and implement my ideals and because I am loyal, faithful, of integrity ... and what happened in my manager's office that day triggered a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which, today I am convinced, saved my life.


Yes, without this excessive altercation, I now realize that I would probably have gone to the end of the process of destroying my Director and to the end of the process of professional exhaustion... But the State of Post Traumatic Stress does not left me no choice... the next day, when the alarm clock rang, I collapsed on the edge of the bed, after having slept only two hours, my night completely invaded by a gigantic anxiety attack that left me made me think that I was going to die, there at 39 years old... die of having worked too much, of having been too involved, invested, irreproachable, conscientious, competent... while my tears flowed like a tidal wave of tide, I understood that it was over, I CANNOT go back to work, I had gone to the limit of myself, and probably even beyond... I resigned myself to going to see the doctor because my suffering at that moment was beyond bearable, beyond imagining.


I was lucky to have a doctor who listened and was aware of the dangerousness of my condition (I had blood pressure of 17) and who immediately put me on sick leave, I know it's not not always the case, and that revolts me because their responsibility is great, just like that of the occupational doctor and then the social security doctor to put an end to the process...


I'm going to skip over what I wanted to say to my work colleagues, because I still have dozens and dozens of pages to share and the most important thing in my opinion is what I'm going to tell you in the following lines... these lines are for you, you who have recognized yourself and who have had a similar experience, you who may doubt your ability to bounce back, to rebuild yourselves.


If today all of this is clear, in wording and in understanding, and I wish to share it with you, in the hope that you understand that you are not alone in this case and that a positive outcome is possible, that you can rebuild yourselves and emerge stronger from this event, however traumatic, it is thanks to an in-depth work carried out 9 months ago with my psychologist, Mrs. BILHERAN.

I know that it is probably strange to call it that, especially since my testimony appears on its own site, but it is the only way I have to be able to relay the fact that it is essential to surround yourself with competent professionals. and trained in our specific issues, whether Mrs. BILHERAN or another professional.


I lost more than a year in diagnostic wandering, increasing my suffering and my physical and mental exhaustion (to the point of having vagal discomfort almost every day) because my medical entourage was not trained in Burn-out , nor to Post Traumatic Stress or moral harassment...

More than a year of fighting like a lioness to try to make myself heard, to refuse to let myself be defined by the simple diagnosis of severe depression, so as not to let myself embark on a psychoanalytic introspection that took me away from myself and of the truth... and refusing to deposit my physical and mental health in the only chemical treatment that I was offered.


It was my body that once again cried out to me and sounded the alarm bell but this time I listened to it... my state of exhaustion was at its peak when for more than a year I was just resting, since I had developed a social phobia since the altercation and I could hardly leave my house except at the cost of severe anxiety and panic attacks... difficult to do less than nothing!!!

My immune system had collapsed, I had no more iron, I had infections of all kinds and all kinds, drops in blood pressure and endless vagal discomfort, insomnia, seizures. anguish, nightmares, migraines that could last three, four days without interruption... in short, the list is long, endless and just as surreal as my situation.


And one day, leaving my previous shrink's office, exhausted from the session and barely able to walk and breathe, I said to myself "I need to find someone who knows the subject, my current shrink is adorable , certainly competent for other areas but there she knows nothing about Burn-Out or Post Traumatic Stress and I am ruining myself financially and ruining my health because she leads me on paths that exhaust me, take me away and in the end, I'm going to get lost, completely lose myself and she won't be able to bring me back!".

As I am curious by nature and I need to understand what is happening to me, I had started to read (in a laborious way since even that I was no longer able to do, just like listening to music or watching TV for that matter, or having a simple conversation) articles then the book on Burn-Out by Sabine Bataille ("Reconstructing yourself after a Burn-Out"). By reading it, I recognized myself perfectly and I was angry that my medical entourage was not able to explain all this to me... which reinforced me in the fact that the therapy undertaken for months wasn't the right one and that I had to put an end to it before I got seriously ill. What I did immediately, not without guilt... but determined to trust my intuition and what I felt deep inside me.


Reading the book raised other questions and one thing leading to another, randomly wandering on the internet to try to find my truth and solutions to my state of exhaustion, I found myself on the site of "Suffering and Work" and I saw the name of Ariane Bilheran in the directory of professionals.

My first reaction was immense anger. How was it that neither my general practitioner, nor the occupational doctor, nor the social security doctor, nor my shrink, nor my EMDR practitioner had told me about this network???

A priori, if we accept to receive a patient suffering from Post Traumatic Stress, who has had a reactive Burn-Out following moral harassment, I imagine that we know a little about the subject and that we are able to guide him, guide him, help him at least!!! And for me, knowing this national network was, for example, the minimum. Obviously we don't all have the same conception of the minima... and there too Mme BILHERAN helps me to understand why ;-)

I have since realized that many practitioners manage cases of which they know little and this is in my opinion irresponsible. It's as absurd as entrusting your uterus to a neurologist on the pretext that he has studied medicine. That wouldn't occur to anyone, would it?! Yet in the realm of the psyche, this is exactly what happens! And that revolts me!


After the anger came the hope, that of maybe having finally found the right interlocutor, the right professional, the one who will hold my hand on the road to reconstruction because obviously, my will and my fighting spirit are not enough. and I need someone to get me out of this inner prison.

Mrs BILHERAN answered me the same day, with precision, clarity, kindness... she put into words, without knowing me, without having ever seen me, what I felt, sensed, perceived, had the intuition . Reading his email, I burst into tears, I couldn't stop for several minutes, I was overwhelmed by the emotion of finally feeling understood, rehabilitated, heard, recognized... and I knew she was the only one who could help me rebuild myself, and become the woman I've always been... but stronger...

I was not mistaken... I have been making progress for several months, sometimes in giant leaps, sometimes in ant-steps... but I am making progress, it is undeniable, and my progress is very encouraging... My body no longer somatizes and that too is a huge relief!!! From the first two months of therapy, by scrupulously following the "protocol", my eczema disappeared, I no longer had infections, nor blood pressure drops, nor vagal discomfort, nor gastric reflux, and there I I knew I had made the right choice. In two months I had progressed more than the previous twelve months!!!

I am certainly still in a state of deep exhaustion, sometimes unbearable, I am still phobic, my trauma is still reactive, but everything is more attenuated and therefore generates less suffering, I also need less time to recover (before I took a week to recover from a simple family meal or from going shopping, today I recover in one or two days, and I have recently been able to listen to music, read a novel).


And I understand better and better the fact that each issue must be managed in its time... I have too many battles to fight to fight them all simultaneously and simultaneously. The main thing is that I am convinced that I will win them all, respecting my own pace, without doing violence to myself.

And as surprising as it may seem to you, I know that one day I will be able to express that this event in my professional life has been an incredible opportunity to be able to become who I am, both personally and professionally and that I had the wisdom and the courage to seize the opportunity. I still have too much anger in me that I have to evacuate to be able to express it but that day will come and I know it's not that far away...


During these last months, Mrs BILHERAN allowed me to be active again and actor of my reconstruction, she answered my thousand and one questions, and my insatiable desire to understand, she made me read many articles and works (his own, those of Sandor FERENCZI and Alice MILLER, those of Hannah ARENDT...among others), and supported and encouraged me in each of my awakenings. It is a delicate and patient work of education, reconstruction, rehabilitation, restoration...

And if the road is long it is quite simply because the work must be done in depth and on several levels; sometimes it's uncomfortable, sometimes it's painful, sometimes it's discouraging, but then every step taken is a victory and a great source of satisfaction and pride.


I will never again let anyone define me, humiliate me, mistreat me or make me doubt the honest and upright person that I am,

I will never again tolerate being under the orders of an incompetent, corrupt and evil leadership,

I will no longer sacrifice my health for work,

I will never let my skills and creativity be plundered again,

I deserve a job that is fulfilling, nourishing, in line with my values and my ideals, in which I do not sacrifice anything that is important to me but which on the contrary allows me to fully exploit my potential and to contribute modestly, to my humble ladder, my building block for a better, more humane, more benevolent world... as I would like it to be.


If you have read this testimonial and found this site, it means that you are already in a process of reconstruction, in a surge of resilience... and this is an excellent sign, I am convinced of it!

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