I have mentioned it before and wrote about it in my first book Damaged Merchandise. I shake. Not all the time, in fact if I’m sitting next to you, you’d never know it. I shake when I’m writing or have some kind of movement. It is something that I have lived with for over 40 years. It is hereditary. Its medical name is Non-Benign Essential Tremors. It is basically the opposite of Parkinsons. With Parkinsons you shake when still. With Tremors you shake when doing things. And Tremors are not as debilitating as Parkinsons. Having lived with it for that long I don’t consider it a disability. In fact, I have never used it to get a job or to use it in any form to improve my chances with anything that has happened in my life.
For the first time in my life I have come to experience bullying because of my disability. Not from management but rather a co-worker. It hurts because I have done nothing to this person to receive the abuse I have. A little bit of it to my face, the rest to other co-workers who have told me what has been said.
He has made me feel worthless. I have become very self-conscious about my shakes, which have made them worse. I have been criticized for my handwriting. He has told me that my “6” looks like a “4”. He has questioned my writing when dealing with customers, further eroding my confidence.
He has played head games with me for so long. I first noticed it when a security door broke on my shift. He mentioned to me that my shakes damaged the lock that it eventually broke. I know it isn’t true, in fact it just shows his ignorance yet it still hurts. Then when a second lock broke, this time, the key broke, again I was blamed. I will admit that both of these events happened with me working but it didn’t happen because I shake. I have been unlocking/locking doors and various locks for over 50 years and have never have had a lock break because of my shakes.
Finally a third breakage took place and again my shakes have taken the blame. The only thing about this one is that I wasn’t near this device for over a month and yet my shakes were still to blame. Quite powerful shakes aren’t they? I’m surprised I don’t register on the Richter Scale when these events occur because of my shakes.
Lately though the bullying has taken new attacks. When we work together with no supervisor around he will bring me printed work papers that he says my supervisor’s boss called him on the phone and told him to tell me to do this paperwork.
It’s all about control. For me it is becoming harder and harder to go to work. Part of me just wants to quit. What’s stopping me is right now dealing with a visa to stay in England. And second, at my age finding a job is extremely difficult. At the end of the day he wants to shake hands like we’re great work partners. It takes everything within me to not knock him on his ass.
As much as physical harm would bring instant gratification the long term effects would be disastrous. So what can a person do?