This is an earlier painting I did depicting my treatment by my Chain of Command while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. It still applies today, nearly 2 years later.
My story: I was deliberately targeted by my supervisor while working as a full time Reservist in the CAF. He has PTSD and anger problems, which he directed at me. He would scream and pound his fist at me, and other threatening behaviour. Although I complained to my C of C, nothing was done other than he would apologize each time later, but the passive aggression got worst, ignoring me, leaving me out of information, preferential treatment to another of my equal rank, and slowly turning others against me. I felt very isolated and alone and constant fear of his explosive behaviour.
Finally, when I went to the highest in the C of C, who assured me he would take care of it, this supervisor and his supervisor suddenly took me in a room and berated me with lies, threats and charges ( none formal) of insubordination and disrespect to my supervisor! He was so agitated and angry he couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t understand why they were so angry to me, I’ve never been anything but professional at work.
It felt like a verbal rape. I couldn’t feel my legs and my head was pounding. At the end, even though I insisted on a solution, they simply got up and left me sitting in that room. I went back to my desk, it was near the end of my day, I couldn’t even complete a thought, I felt dazed, so I sent an email to my supervisor telling him I had a migraine and was going home. I don’t even remember how I got home.
I went home and was a zombie. My legs wouldn’t stop tingling. I couldn’t sleep anyways ( I hadn’t slept in months) and as it happened, a former officer I used to work for suddenly made a comment on one of my paintings. I hadn’t seen her in years, but I witnessed her being targeted by someone in her C of C and what she went through. I knew I could trust her. I sent her a desperate email asking to talk to her. She replied with her phone number and we talked til 1 am.
She told me to go to sick parade and tell them exactly what happened and my physical symptoms ( I had others,but the tingling wouldn’t go away). I really couldn’t think for myself and didn’t want to go, but it was like a zombie and just followed her advice. I did go, saw a nurse, she consulted a Medical Officer and they immediately pulled me out of my work and told me not to go back, not even for personal things.
And so it began. I was put on medications and cut off from everything I’d known for 13 years.
Through the next year I coped with a total breakdown and meds that kept me stable but zombie like.
And through that year I coped with my C of C accusing me of theft, constantly trying to contact me ( which caused the symptoms to return) and ending my current contract and position. In fact, they had switched my position with another to accomplish this. In other words, Fraud.
Through no fault of mine, my Reserve contract was ended maliciously. The Goon in my C of C harassed me to sign away my leave, but I was advised not to. He bullied me, but I wouldn’t sign. Although they promised Compensation, they purposely delayed the paperwork for 4 months where I received no pay. I couldn’t pay my mortgage.
I finally went to the DND Ombudsman. He really listened and within 3 days ( because of deliberate delays by my C of C) , I had my back pay reinstated. I had a $1000 penalty for non payment of my mortgage that I had to pay myself.
Finally, the Ombudsman intervened and even though the C of C tried more stall tactics, the Ombudsman and Primary Reserve List came through for me and Compensation was approved. I was exhausted and so mentally I’ll from all this.
I have been told, as a Reservist no longer with a contract, I have no rights to health or dental care other than something that occurred while I was on contract. Confused? Try living through a breakdown and dealing with this obscure concept.
Fast forward to yesterday. I have a medical appointment with the doctor. She only approves my anxiety pills, but she doesn’t approve meds for IBS which started in the military after another stressful incident. I am not going to beg for them.
I tell her my knee is really bothering me since I tried to work out more. In 2002 I snapped my Plantar Fascitis on my foot during a march and never got proper footwear for it through the years until about 4-5 years ago I started getting physio and proper inserts for my footwear and proper fitting shoes.
The doctor writes me a script for Physio and specifically puts on it that it is attributable to military service, just so they are clear, she says. She examines it, then sends me for X-rays. By then my knee is throbbing !
I take the paperwork to Physio. They refuse me, saying I must have a CF 98 on file or they won’t see me. I never needed that before.
You know what? The hell with them.
I’m a soldier, I don’t beg. I say fine, and leave. I left with my DIGNITY attached for once. I am no longer begging for anything. I’ve had to beg at Pharmacy, Dental ( for a filling that fell out that the military did) for everything. I’m not begging anymore. I will fix my damn knee myself and take painkillers. I don’t need them anymore, losing your pride isn’t worth it. No more.
For the first time I walked out of there feeling better. No healthcare, but I had my dignity!
This is the life of a full time Reservist who served faithfully for 14 years. I can no longer work full time, i now stammer and stutter, I’m exhausted mentally and physically and I’m a shell of the person I was. I live with nightmares and panic attacks.
WHY am I denied healthcare and dental while my Reg Force buddy, same as me, doesn’t worry about that, she has a toothache, she gets it fixed. Me, I can’t afford dental, so I take painkillers. And now I have to do my own physio!
It all comes down to money, the system chooses money over their own soldiers. It is not my fight anymore. I am not alone, this is repeated on all Reservists. Policy and culture need to be changed and I have no control over that, I have my own battles.
I would have given my life for my country. How stupid was I?