Major Depression and PTSD From Job Stress

The Juneau Police Department has a history of hiring women officers only when forced to do so. Of the five of us hired between 1984 and 1997, *all* are no longer working there, at least four of the five have required counseling and meds, and two of us are still in bad enough shape that we can't support ourselves. None of us will ever be able to work as cops again - anywhere.

To date, I'm the only woman who's ever been promoted to rank at JPD. Starting the very first shift after my promotion to sergeant, I went through eight years of virtually unrelenting harassment from my supervisors. It took them that long to break me - but I did finally break. After battling depression (caused by the harassment) for four years, I had a stress breakdown that left me unable to function. My shrink added the diagnosis of PTSD to my chart.

It's been almost five years since that happened. I didn't work at all for over a year, then I worked half time doing maintenance work for about 2.5 years. (From 40+ hrs./wk. @ $26.81/hr. to 20 hrs./wk. @ $10/hr.... Nobody can live on $200 a week here - except on the street or in the woods, which is where I would have ended up long ago if I were not married.) About a year ago, I could no longer function as a light bulb changer/toilet plunger/painter/etc. and walked away from that job - something I had never done in my entire adult life, 26 years of *always* working and supporting myself. Now, I sit at home and type letters and documents, transcribe tapes, etc. for attorneys and one doctor. I'm still unable to support myself, mainly because I am unable to go out into the world and deal with people.

I filed a WC report about a week after the breakdown. The City immediately controverted it. Here, the employers can spend as much as they want on attorneys - while the employees' attorneys don't get paid at all unless they win. Needless to say, it's nearly impossible to find an attorney to take a WC case. Add to that the fact that local attorneys are afraid to go up against the police department...

So I've plugged along, dealing with this as well as I can pro se. I'm lucky to some degree because I at least know how to look up, read, and understand statutes. I can't even imagine how other people - who have no experience with criminal or civil law - deal with this system. I suspect they just don't. I'll bet some incredibly high percentage of our homeless people are victims of their employers, the WC system, and the Retirement System (which is actively evil while WC is just inert, allowing the employers to do what they want).

My hearing is next week. The opposing attorney tells me I have no chance of winning and I should accept their "generous" settlement offer of $10,000, when what they actually owe me in back pay and medical costs is over $150,000...

Y'all wish me luck!

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