Coworker Stress in the Times of COVID

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Dear Edda,

I am having a problem at work and I hope you can help.  My job is considered essential, so my colleagues and I have to be in the office a few days a week.  There is one colleague I am having trouble with.  She is normally very high strung and moody, and in the past has had meltdowns in the office over very small issues. She has been written up by management several times. Most of us tend to let her behavior slide, and I always try to be understanding. But sometimes she can get pretty ramped up and start accusing people of singling her out for persecution, trying to get her fired, even stealing.  I guess I’m saying, I think she’s kind of nuts. Her moodiness has only gotten worse during the stressful times we’re experiencing lately.

A few days ago, she mentioned to me that she was sick of this workplace, and was going to quit.  I didn’t know what to say, so I said I thought it was for the best if it would make her happier.  I said nothing to anyone about the conversation.  Well, today, she sent an email out to the whole company (we have other offices) saying that she is leaving because of me and that I’m always picking on her, and told her she should quit.  I am floored by this accusation and don’t know how to react. What do you think I should do?


That’s What I Get for Being Nice

#.  #.  #.  

Dear Nice,

Some people tend to shoot themselves in the foot.  Sadly, they are the ones who feel that bad things happen to them all the time and that nothing is ever their fault.  The reasons can be many, and probably not so much because they’re bad people, but because they have bad judgment, or bad self-control, or bad life experiences, or bad karma, or, well you get the picture.  But all that is not really what you asked me about.

What should you do?  I know you probably want to stand on your desk (if you have a desk) and defend your reputation or maybe confront her, or write a rebuttal email – somehow vindicate yourself.

But I’ll tell you what I would do – nothing.  She sounds really unhappy, and my guess is that everyone already knows this about her and her unfortunate behavior.   So wish her well, and take some deep breaths, and this will pass.  And thank you for showing up at work while the rest of us are baking sourdough and cleaning out the hall closet.


Edda is not a medical professional but a local lady who loves to give out advice, even when it's not asked of her. Submit your question to for Edda to answer.

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KathieD Aug 30, 2020 05:50 PM
Coworker Stress in the Times of COVID

Too bad many of us think of depression as apathy. Most often, it’s irritability, Agree with For Real News. Please consider not referring to it as “issues“, since that tends to place blame on the person who is frustrating you. That said, people suffering from mental illness can totally disrupt a workplace. Sometimes they’re OK away from office, because many are so smart. This is one of the hardest disabilities to deal with, but it is definitely a disability.

a-1598814277 Aug 30, 2020 12:04 PM
Coworker Stress in the Times of COVID

You will never win against someone who is always the victim and never apologizes. Try not to engage with this person at all.

a-1598812460 Aug 30, 2020 11:34 AM
Coworker Stress in the Times of COVID

Old saying: No good turn goes unpunished. Hard to know when to apply this maxim, but at least recognize the law of unintended consequences can operate at any given time. If she has already been written up, most probably already know she is one off. They probably already have you back, but are laying low themselves now. You are not what she says you are - rely on that inner conviction.

a-1598811211 Aug 30, 2020 11:13 AM
Coworker Stress in the Times of COVID

It's really difficult dealing with someone who has untreated mental illness, whether they refuse to get treatment or not. There's only so much that can be tolerated and excused. I personally draw the line at personal attacks, but I agree with Edda that it's a losing battle with people like this. Better to take it on the chin and hope everyone else can see the truth.

forrealnews Aug 30, 2020 12:01 AM
Coworker Stress in the Times of COVID

HR actually should have gotten involved and directed her to contact the support numbers generally provided with your company's health insurance or disablility insurance. They are mental support helplines. There are very supportive and loving ways that HR can do this. It is important to understand when people are having mental health issues. As a society, we need to become better at discussing this opening and training on the ways to get people help when we see the issue. Managerial talks do not help with this stuff. From what you are describing, she needed more of a therapeutic intervention much earlier on. In the future, I would not give anyone in this kind of state advice of any kind other than saying, why don't you give the employee counseling line a call because they help people think through these kinds of issues and maybe they can help you make the best decision for yourself.

SBSand Aug 29, 2020 06:31 PM
Coworker Stress in the Times of COVID

She's got issues! Tell your boss in private and then avoid her and keep all talks minimal if she starts a conversation. They need to get rid of her, people like that are poison in the work space.

420722 Aug 29, 2020 04:25 PM
Coworker Stress in the Times of COVID

I agree with 1:39. Most likely, if what you say is true about her being nuts, your bosses already know and saw it too. Don’t engage with her, if she’s crazy you’ll get nowhere and only end up even more frustrated, you can never win an argument with a crazy. If she is a decent person she might apologize later once she realizes how wrong she was.

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