Never in my wildest imagination would I have thought my violent actions were due to depression. I went from being a mild mannered individual to a person who seemed to want to attack anyone and everyone who crossed me. I had never responded to things this way. Sure when someone angered me I would handle the situation or walk away. However during this time, if someone looked at me the wrong way, “Heaven help them.”
After I broke out in tears and could not stop crying, I went to a counselor contracted through our company. He expressed what I was experiencing was a form of depression brought on by the trauma of a robbery attempt resulting in a person being shot and several employees traumatized.
As a group, six employees were counseled. We each were informed we would handle the robbery attempt differently: some would withdraw, some would respond in fear, some would cry or some would possibly want to or would quit the job. I figured however I was stronger than that. I figured the actions of the prior weeks had no bearing on me other than I was thankful no one was killed. Little did I realize the impact the robbery attempt had on me psychologically.
The day began as usual. Nothing out of the norm. I woke up to a beautiful morning, took care of the entire pre-work task and then headed to work. When arriving, I went to the break room, fixed myself a cup of coffee and headed back to my office ready to handle the enormous pile of adjustments and paperwork from the previous day. In addition, I had to prepare a few letters and an agenda for the weeks Friday Morning meeting.
So, as I dug deep and began to work through each task one by one, after an hour or so, one of my employees came into my office looking strange. She said, Ms Debrie, something is going on in the office near the front door. I had a silent alarm under my desk, so immediately I buzzed the alarm to alert the police. What I thought I observed was a man with a gun pointed towards the employees’ office. Not hesitating to try and determine if it was a gun, I hit the alarm. As I did, as shot rang out. A second later, another shot sounded.
At this point I was moving down under my desk. The employee had returned to her office and locked the door. Another employee was in her office under her desk. In the office where the shot was fired, lie the injured security guard and one employee. Two robbers were headed out the front door running. Seconds later, the building was surrounded by deputy sheriff, police and state troopers. Some were in the building and others were searching around the building for the two men.
The robbers had not planned well. Had they done so, I might not be writing this article today. Their plan was to take the security guards gun, gather all employees into one office and take all the money and other valuables. From there, detectives working the case surmised the two planned to were probably considering killing all of us.
However, our security guard indicated one of the points pounded into their heads during training was, “never give up your gun.” During the attempt, there was an altercation in the employee’s office; he was shot because he refused to give up his gun. He refused, thereby causing them to lose control of the situation and their plan went to pot.
My first indication that something was wrong was well after the attempt. I was sitting in my office watching the activity outside when I noticed a customer allow her dog to poop on the asphalt. The poop was right in an area where customers walk into the building. The customer got back into her car and made no move to remove the mess. I waited for a few seconds to see if she was going to and nothing happened. This seemed to cause my blood to begin boiling. I became angry and remember thinking, “She’s going to leave that there.”
So, I got up from my desk, walked out the door and up to her car. I mentioned the poop and told her I needed her to remove it. She looked at me and it was obvious she knew I was not in the mood for an argument. She then said well I have no way to get it up. My statement to her was, “I really don’t care how you do it, but get it up.” She quickly got out of the car and removed the poop.
When returning to my office, I felt a mixture of hundreds of emotions. I couldn’t believe I had done that. I couldn’t believe I made the customer, visitor or whatever she might have been, pick up the poop. There was no law or nothing to back me up. I was simply angry and managing this satellite office.
Before I knew it, I burst into tears. I was crying so hard I could barely breathe. I left and went home because this was the culmination of several anger episodes prior to this one. There were several so I knew there was a definite problem that had to be handled.
I had visited a fast food location. I drove to the drive-thru to place my order. The employee was very rude and for some reason her actions made my blood boil. Instead of canceling my order, I drove to a parking spot in front of the establishment, got out of my car and went inside. There I confronted the employee. While discussing her rude actions, I noticed a knife on the counter behind her. I was at the point where I felt as if I wanted to jump across the counter, grab the knife and use it on the employee. This was by no means rational thinking. I am not a violent individual and never have been.
Prior to this incident, I was in a grocery store and had gotten a few items, headed to the register and waited my turn in the checkout lane. I was okay this day because I was smiling and when reaching the register, I placed my items on the belt and began to talk with the associate. She and I were laughing while she continued scanning items. Apparently this angered the customer behind me. She began placing he items on top of mine. I kind of ignored her actions, took a divider and placed it between her items and the last of mine.
When the last of my items were scanned and I was given my total, I began to finish writing my check. The customer placed a bag of chips on top of my check while I was writing. Now I am a Christian and I love the Lord., but this was a bit too much for me to ignore. My sons were with me and I could not just let this one slide. I turned and looked at the woman and said, “I know you must have some type of mental problem to have just placed a bag on my check while I am writing?” She then responded with. “You’re suppose to write your check out over there.” She then pointed to where she thought I should write my check. The steam came from both ears. I then looked at her and by this time I was boiling. I looked at her and said. “You witch. You’ve got some nerve. You don’t tell me where to write my check. Come outside and I will show you where I will write my check out.”
She took her items and moved away from the register very, very quickly. The associate was smiling. There was a manager asking us to calm down. I apologized to him, but I was not about to let that one just slide.
I tell these narratives to say, depressions was the cause of these episodes. Even though a situation prompted the action, had it not been for the onset of the robbery attempt triggering an imbalance, I would probably never have been as aggressive as I was. In addition, I have not been that aggressive since I began taking treatments.
Until I burst into tears, went to the counselor to see what was going on, I had no idea the robbery attempt had caused a problem. When I burst into tears and could not stop crying, the light came on. Then after a few sessions and a visit with my medical doctor, the two doctors were able to work together to work out a solution to my problem.
It’s been 17 years since this occurred. I have no idea how the other employees are handling this incident. Perhaps they have moved on as I or maybe not. I know even though I thought I was too strong for something like this to have caused me any problem, it did and had I not realized the problem was gradually worsening, it could have culminated in a tragedy.