This is something I have not been talking about on my blog very much because it’s been so detrimental to my mental health for such a long time that I am only now ready to speak up.
I have worked for Canada Post for four years. I have been bullied and talked down to by the majority of my coworkers, most of whom are decades older than myself. Towards the second half of 2013, I had begun to experience worsening levels of anxiety and depression. Soon, I was experiencing debilitating panic attacks at work, and I found myself often hiding and in the washroom crying and trying to catch my breath. One day, my boss called me into her office to discuss something random. She went off on a lengthy homophobic rant about how disgusting she thought it was to see two men holding hands in public. I was in the closet at the time, so I tried to keep my composure and remain calm, but I left work that day feeling worse than ever.
The next week, I called in sick. I called in every day because I couldn’t sleep at night and the anxiety I was feeling daily was enough to make me physically ill. A few days later, police woke me up after they broken down my back door. They were accompanied by my mother, who had received a phone call at work from my boss saying I was suicidal or had attempted suicide. My mom was hysterical. I was furious.
When I confronted my manager, she exclaimed that she had received n tip saying I was suicidal and wanted to check on me. She refused to tell me anything more until I was “healthy.”
Not long after, I went on short term disability. After a couple months, I was told my case was being forwarded to another agent who would be handling my appeal. The agent told me the appeal was to extend my coverage and that I had nothing to worry about while it was happening because I would continue to be paid.
When I was instructed to have medical forms filled out for the insurance company, I was bounced back and forth from doctor to doctor to psychiatrist to doctor before I finally met someone who could do it.
Little did I know, the doctor who gave the insurance company my medical record (about prescriptions and continued support for medical leave) had also given them my confidential mental health worker’s notes.
A month later I received a letter in the mail saying my appeal had been denied on the basis that there was not sufficient medical records to show I was experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and struggling with my sexual identity.
Despite being on prescription medication, in weekly group and solo therapy, and having doctor’s approval to be off work, the appeal was denied due to the fact that I was not straight.
The second appeal was also denied, and the 10 page report includes lines like "[Rhyse] has issues by bisexuality" "experiencing percieved hostility in the workplace" and “[he] has developed situation anxiety at work” The report completely invalidates any actual harassment I had experienced at work, and then goes on to use that as an explanation for why I have been experiencing anxiety.
The report includes no less than 7 completely irrelevant references to my sexuality and frames them as an excuse to invalidate the very real and dangerous mental health issues I have struggled with for the past year. Keep in mind that all of this information was collected illegally without my consent. Because the appeal was denied, I am expected to repay Canada Post $8990.40 CDN and up to $2000 in back taxes.
I am meeting with a lawyer on Tuesday, September 2nd, for a consultation that I am paying out of my own pocket, but if I am to continue seeking damages from the hospital that released my information, my employer, and my insurance company, I will need to be able to pay the retainer fee which is expected to be in the low thousands.
I know this is a lot to ask of you, but I have been caught in the middle of a war with my mental health and my employer for over a year and taking legal action is the only way to put this to rest and allow me to continue on my road to recovery. Every penny, like, and reblog helps. Thank you so much.
Here’s the link
News flash: queer sick people are still sick people. If you have a patient with a broken leg, are you going to insist he’s fine because he happens to be queer?