Widespread Panic – The Aftermath

I should have known there would be consequences.

Saturday (six days ago) I had a severe panic attack at work and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. The ER doctor recommended taking two days off, so I returned on Monday, apparently flying under the radar. My regular days off were Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday (yesterday) I called in sick again because of the anxiety.

Today, I went to work and the moment I logged into my computer I received an instant message from the Human Resources Manager. That’s never a good sign; he asked me to come to his office as soon as possible. This automatically sent me into anxiety overdrive because in the nine months I have worked there I have only been in his office once, now I was being summoned. I arrived in his office and he asked me to close the door, I could feel my heart sink. He made small talk, asking if I was feeling better and so forth. Then he dropped the bomb… because if the incident last Saturday, I had to take a drug screen.

I have never been asked to take a drug screen by a current employer before.

I’m really torn up over this. I had a genuine medical issue and the first response is to force me to take a drug test. I was not the least bit concerned about failing it, I have been clean 426 days today. I have always considered and still consider a drug screen to be a violation of my privacy. I have never exhibited any signs of being under the influence at work, there no need to invade my privacy in this manner. I asked what would happen if I refused to take the test, I was told that would result in immediate termination.

I’m hurt, I’m angry, I’m embarrassed. My word is no longer adequate.



  1. You have every right to be upset about that! It isn’t right that a medical emergency goes immediately to them making you take a drug test. I’m sorry for that 😦 Wish i could do something more to support you. Hang in there.

  2. even though i can underStand why they Jump to a drug test , it’s still bs. there really is a big difference between a panic attack and most drug reactions.

    but either way you should get a note when you go into the er. i’ve made ita habbit because of Shit like this.

    but i hope You feel better and can get back into the swing of things.

    1. I had a note authorizing me to return to work, but that is all it said. I work for a large cable company, we have technicians, sales people, and news crews that drive company vehicles. If any sort of incident happens with any of them they obviously need to test them. But I work in a call center, I could be stoned out of my mind and still not get hurt. Their justification is that they must treat all employees the same.

      So I kind of understand it, but it still pisses me off.

      1. yeah, there’s a lot to deal with. an even policy is so much easier for them to enforce. but the way assumptions are made these days are pretty unhealthy.

        i Just wish they would adopt the “harm no others, then do as you will” kind of viewpoint. as i live Sans Shoes,i often run into problems with others freaking out over nothing. Particularly after walking over broken glass & Shards of asphalt to get into their pristine (by comparison) store.

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