The Lumber Incident
I worked for this big box hardware store, where I mostly stocked shelves, but I did have to help customers on a regular basis. I had a hard time with people, especially new ones, so this aspect of my job was hard. I tried to not focus on the person and just answer the questions. I was knowledgeable enough, and most people were quick to go and find what they needed.
One day I was called into thee office, and my manager told me that I needed to work on my customer service skills. He had noticed that I don’t smile or make eye contact enough.
Which I took super personally.
I asked if I could transfer to the overnight crew, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with customers, and he told me there were no openings and I had to just suck it up and do my job.
I started to obsess over every interaction I had with a customer. I couldn’t afford to loose my job, so I would put on a big fake smile, and stared at their forehead. I would have panic attacks shortly after and if someone tried to shake my hand or touch me I would withdraw immediately, and usually break down in the bathroom.
It got so bad I just tried to avoid customers completely, hiding out back or asking other associated to handle the customers while I did other projects. My manager eventually got wind of this and made me work as a loader.
If I hadn’t become so obsessive, I wouldn’t have been moved to a different position.
My job was to help people load their vehicles up with wood, cement, and whatever else they bought. I couldn’t avoid people so I adapted to just focusing on the labor part of the job, and keeping conversation to the bare minimum.
Most days I could make this work, but one day I couldn’t, and things got bad.
One day this contractor pulls his truck up, he and another guy get out. The third guy wheels out about 30 16 ft 2X4’s.
This was a big load and I was standing there waiting to see if he needed help. Most contractors didn’t, especially when they had other people with them.
I was ready to help but I was hesitant to just start loading before asked to.
He looked at me and said “What the fuck are you waiting for?”
I was taken aback, but I had been abused a lot as a kid, so I immediately regressed.
I put my head down and started hoisting these huge pieces of wood into his truck, while all three of them just stood there, smoking cigarettes and watching me do all of the work. He kept looking at me and making snide remarks.
The guy was just being so rude and unbearable that I lost it.
I started just whipping the boards onto the truck. Throwing them in as fast and hard as I could.
I was just in a blind rage, I wanted to be done, so I wasn’t paying attention to anyone else. One of the guys had moved closer and I ended up hitting him in the head with one of the boards.
I didn’t mean to, but I almost knocked the guy out. The contractor chased after me and I ran through the store and hid in the break room.
I ended up losing my job, but at least the guy was okay. I felt terrible, I mean head injuries are serious ( he could have died), all because I lost my shit.
I have never purposely tried to hurt anyone, and I am so sorry I did.
I fell into a deep depression after this. It was a dark time, the combination of losing my job and how it happened lead me to hurt myself. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s what happened.
I eventually worked through all of this without the help of therapy or counseling. I honestly don’t think this situation would have happened if I had understood more about my mental health issues.
I just hope if anyone is going through some mental health issues, they try and get some help. Even if they just talk to a friend, parent, or a counselor.
Thank you for taking the time to hear me out, and I hope you have a great day.