I have something that has been weighing so heavily on my mind since I heard it and I need your advice/ to get it off my chest. We recently hired an 18-year-old at my work that disclosed in his interview that he has overcome anxiety/depression and has a service dog due to PTSD.
My district manager (who is male) and store manager (female) interviewed him, then consulted with me and we ended up hiring him. He is not allowed to bring his service dog to work, as it’s in the food industry, which he is ok with. Fast forward 2 weeks into his training, they ask me how his performance is, how it’s going, etc. After giving my feedback (mostly positive), they begin to discuss amongst themselves and I overhear them actually mocking him for saying he has PTSD and “needs a dog.”
The male district manager goes on to say PTSD is something you only get from war. This infuriates me and I pipe up, doing something I have never done before, and say, “excuse me. I have never been to war and I have clinically diagnosed PTSD.” This is something I never disclose, because it’s my private business, but it’s obvious they are ignorant and could use some education. They both were utterly shocked and said, “you do?” Then the male has the audacity to ask “what I have PTSD from, ” to which I replied “none of your business, but people can get PTSD for a variety of reasons, such as being an emergency responder, being in a car crash, or a victim of violence, crime, or trauma.” This ended the conversation.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Both bosses are actually nice people, but I have never experienced that level of ignorance in my life. There are people in the world that actually think ONLY military get PTSD??? How can you be so blind to the constant trauma people endure on the news headlines every night?
How can I educate these people to actually understand what this boy, myself, and others are going through, while not stepping outside of my bounds of an employee? It’s really eating at me. I am well liked and respected there, as I have proven myself to them, but they do not give this boy much hope for a future with my company and I feel they have written him off simply because he was brave enough to disclose his battles.