My lashing out and crying out has gotten out of control so many times that I don’t know if I can overcome this.
When I started the emailing to Pret and others (friends, counsellor, anyone …), I was in the middle of the bullying at work and trying to come to terms about my brother’s death.
I received the news of his death via email. In that email I learned that he has died 5 weeks prior, no clear cause of death and an approximate day of death plus minus. He lay dead in his apartment approximately 6 days. This email gave me his death and that they supposedly couldn’t find us and they cremated him. Other heavy information, all in ONE email. I am still today communicating with the police and even involved the press as I can’t afford a lawyer. I plainly don’t know what to do and how to live.
My friends became quickly overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do with me. I was overweight and lost 35kg, much of it in the first 6 months, and no-one knew how to approach me, so they stayed away. I worked at Pret with daily free food, but I couldn’t eat. I forced myself to eat half a baguette a day or a banana and could not swallow.
When the bullying started, Pret did not have info of the circumstances of my brother’s death as I didn’t talk about it except that he had died, not wanting to burden anyone. I only shared about a year later. Part of the bullying from line managers and an area manager was via email.
I believe this catapulted me into mass emailing. I was then gaslighted by a Development Manager from Pret who was tasked to sanction me for emailing. But this person told me in the FORMAL disciplinary hearing that she also had a brother who died alone in his apartment and was not discovered for 10 days. I still don’t know to this day if she lied. If she did, she is a very good liar because of the way she described things. She is also a Hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner and now a Psychotherapist which I learned later. In hindsight I was very naive and lost in a fog of grief, trauma and the survival of the bullying culture in Pret.
I raised a formal complaint with one of the counselling bodies she is under, but they stalled and I flipped out so much that it didn’t get anywhere. I raised a Tribunal claim against Pret and had to withdraw, as I couldn’t afford a lawyer and my dad died at the time of preparing for the case.
The Development Manager went into private text messaging and emailing with me the very next day after she disciplined me for emailing!!! In hindsight it was a trick from Pret to fire me after I also kept raising issues of bullying in Pret.
When I started emailing I didn’t drink. The drinking came later and made it worse. It became so bad that I started to dismantle my phone and laptop, hiding parts in cupboards and places, so when I was drunk, I had a hard time finding the parts and putting it back together. I became so ill.
But I couldn’t stop writing. I often forgot the next day that I wrote to people until I received angry mails back or checked my sent folder! I was always devastated. I even told my then line manager TWICE that I am emailing Pret and don’t know why. He said twice that it’s not his business and that he doesn’t judge me. I was calling out, speaking to counsellors, but the sessions where always 6 weeks and stopped.
When I dismantled my phone and laptop, I woke up the next day and discovered that I’ve written on my walls with markers! I couldn’t stop writing! My apartment was a mess on the walls. I still had some paint from a year before when my kitchen and bathroom were refurbished, and I painted over the writing. Then when drunk, I wrote again on the walls, then painted over again … then wrote again … BUT at least I did NOT email anyone!
When I lost my job and went into further turmoil, I started to write publicly on this blog about what Pret did. When I started to write, I was suicidal and planned to write as much and fast as I can and then end my life. I wanted to leave and at least tell the world what happened that it can’t be brushed under the carpet.
But the writing turned into healing and support, at least on social media started to come in and I felt that the writing, apart from exposing Pret, turned into healing.
But I emailed again and again … even up to TODAY!
I lashed out at people, in emails, in DMs, openly on Twitter, on Facebook …. everywhere.
I sought help with the NHS mental health service and am still, or again, on a waiting list. I wrote about it a few days ago.
I feel hopeless, don’t want to live anymore, feel like I killed people and can’t get them back to life. I pushed people away who truly tried to help. The fear to be abandoned again like I was when my brother died and stuff that happened when my dad died …
I truly have tried to get professional help and know that friends cannot and should not carry this. I was left alone early on and lost hope that I find help. My mum is the only family I have left and I’m losing her.
I am so sorry to all people that I hurt. I have no excuse, especially those who truly tried to help. I lost so many people by my actions that I don’t know how to overcome this. But I want to thank all who were kind and helpful, and I wish I could make good again.
To anyone who has friends who have lost someone, please don’t leave them alone! Please don’t abandon them. I NOW deserve to be abandoned because of my continued action. But early in my grief I did NOT deserve it! I was lost. Now I deserve it and I take 150% responsibility.
I share a little bit on a BBC call-in early morning on Christmas Day 2019. Please all stay safe, and take care of each other.
BBC radio call-in to Dotun Adebayo Show 25th Dec. 2019:
I worked at Pret A Manger and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
An incomplete list on what other Pret staff say about Pret’s bullying environment: Caught in the Act Bullying at Pret.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote two articles in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.
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