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I won’t let the bullies and demons of my past defeat me

I won’t let the bullies and demons of my past defeat me

What I’ve learned from the battles that changed my life.

It was in therapy that I found refuge, battling my own demons. I refused to be defined by them.

I was bullied in school, so I assumed I had the willpower to deal with bullies, especially in the professional environment where I was thriving.

Two years ago, I found myself sitting across the boardroom table from the resident office bully.

I watched with glee as she slowly realised she had lost her toxic hold over me.

I remember that day, including her attempts at playing the victim to discredit me. After what felt like months of agony, I decided to claim back my power.

I can’t recall how, when, and why I allowed another person to affect my mental health to a point where it nearly broke me.

Working in a political environment at the time, reputation was everything. I had earned a good name across the organisation.

I was good at my job, and this seemed to threaten her.

The weight of the torment I faced grew unbearable, suffocating my essence and spirit. I found myself enveloped by darkness, unable to process what was happening to me.

The lack of support from management compounded my experience, which I identified as the catalyst of my emotional breakdown. I was left feeling ignored, hurt, and paranoid.

To make things worse, a blind eye was turned to merit and professionalism, and I lost my permanent employment.

I was part of a group of 130 employees who became victims of a relentless political battle. It was a crushing blow, a stark reminder of the ruthless world we live in.

After two months of sitting at home without a job, I was fortunate enough to be employed by an international organisation, supporting climate-friendly infrastructure projects across Africa.

Instead of finding joy in the upward trajectory of my career, I was gripped by post-traumatic stress disorder and imposter syndrome.

Doubt, anxiety, and insecurity prevented me from immersing myself in my new role. I was scared that the magic carpet would be pulled from beneath my feet.

With the help of my current manager, I worked through my feelings and dared to believe in my worth once more. The scars I carried have become badges of resilience, reminding me of my indomitable spirit.

It was in therapy that I found refuge, battling my own demons. I refused to be defined by them.

With the support of loved ones, I embraced my healing journey. I remained steadfast in my pursuit of self-love.

In hindsight, difficult as it may have been, I am grateful to have gone through what I went through. I now work in an environment that prioritises my well-being and encourages a healthy work-life balance.

I get to travel to other African countries, with the prospect of international opportunities.

As I begin a new and exciting chapter, I recall a post I encounter often on my timeline. “When praying for a job, remember to include a healthy, non-toxic working environment”.

I agree. I was clinging to a job I thought I deserved, only to learn that I needed to put myself first in order to find fulfilment.

Poppy Louw

Change expert, Poppy Louw, believes that the big change equals big opportunity.

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