It was getting out of hand. I tried to claw my way out of a sinking depression, but I was lost. Things were black. I was consumed with thoughts of ending it again. Although I reminded myself I’d written for the Guardian on workplace bullying, and been on their panel of experts, it made no difference. Life had no purpose and no hope.
Then I read through my old blogs, telling myself how far I’d come; telling myself I couldn’t give up. When I got to The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner I was reminded of my team mates’ arrogance before and during the race. They were going to beat me. They were men. They were my superiors. They were faster and taller. They’d trained for it.
They told me there was no way I could win. I was a fat, ugly little loser without their training, without their physical strength and experience. As if a secretary could ever win a race against senior solicitors with only three days notice.
But then, of course, I did win.
The more I thought about it, the more hope it gave me. Here we were again, the same old characters – Eva James v HOWARD and the Senior Solicitor. The only difference was this time it isn’t a race, it's a tribunal.
I called my mother and told her I was coming over for a visit. Whilst there, I dug out my “Memories Box” from the attic. I found my old race T-shirt, with my number still on the front. I turned it round and there they were; messages of support from the secretaries who’d wanted me to prove our arrogant bosses wrong.
And there was my favourite message of all; the message HOWARD’S first secretary had black-marker penned across the back.
“EAT MY DUST, HOWARD”
Its 8.10 am and I’m just back from the gym. Slow and stiff, I plodded away on the treadmill. I’ll go again tomorrow and I’ll get better. After all, if I’m going to win again I need to be in far better shape.
See you soon,