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Confession of one depressed Emirates cabin crew

One female Emirates cabin crew committed suicide a few days ago in Emirates accommodation. Out of respect towards her and her family we will not write about her case and the reasons why she did it, but here is a story of another former cabin crew which perfectly explains how depressed EK cabin crew are and how nobody takes proper care of them except few individuals from medical profession who often don’t follow company’s rules in order to help their patients. 
This girl was being forced to resign due to her condition. This is her confession on how she went through that and how she fought her way through cruel and inhumane system. 

Hi Dragana,

I’ll try to make it not too long but detailed enough for people to know what happens behind Emirate’s “welfare”.
First of all, Emirates employees don’t have access to a private health insurance being subdue to company’s clinic and their General Practicioners. If you need to see a specialist you have to go to the one they refer you to, wether you like it or not. If it’s not working and you’d like to see another doctor, well, good luck with that.

I joined Emirates when I was 21 and I had little on my pockets but was full of dreams and determination. Not even 1 year in the company I started to feel down. The things that annoyed me a little in the beginning started to add up quickly and became major issues. I also soon found out that an abnormal number of the staff is severely depressed and/or alcoholic. With the lifestyle provided by the poor work conditions in this airline it is really not surprising.

I started to feel empty and sad the whole time and tired, really tired. I was oversleeping and overeating and my whole body system was going downhill and I didn’t feel like getting out of bed. I was in a sleeping-and-going-to-work cycle, I spent almost my entire spare time sleeping and sometimes I even took sleeping tablet merely cuz I didn’t see the point in staying up. I went to see a doctor at EK clinic and he immediatly recognized that I was depressed and suggested me to see a shrink. I was prescribed antidepressants which takes you out of the roster for a while – long enough to break any changes of an upgrade because you acquire too many sick days. It was a long going back and forth to the clinc, to the shrink: change of medication, sick leave, theraphy.
At this point I don’t think it is necessary to detail how I felt. Depression is too easy to judge but only who has been through it knows what it feels like.

It is important to stress that nothing goes confidential in the airline and that suicide is ilegal in the country. When you join Emirates you are to state if you had depression before. I ticked the box that said I didn’t. In fact I have never been diagnosed with depression even though I did mention to my shrink that I have felt similar to that before. Of course he mentioned that in his report and of course Emirates knew about it.
I must say this very one doctor that left EK clinic for feeling his hand were tied the whole time – and therefore I will preserve his identification – called me and warned me that they would push me to resign, he asked me to come to the clinic before opening hours because, of course, all appointments were taken. Early in the morning he showed me an e-mail he received from the doctor responsible for the clinic saying that I lied about having depression and that they don’t take cabin crew with history of depression. They were trying to get me to confess that I lied about a pre-existing condition and by doing so they could terminate my contract.
Dr A (as I’ll refer to him from now on) was a kind soul, a good doctor and he couldn’t diggest Emirate’s policy of neglecting proper medical care to its employees. He wrote to the doctor atesting that I have not being diagnosed with depression before and that I was seing a psychiatrist that said I was responding to the treatment. Not being thoroughly convinced, the doctor in charge demanded that I saw an aviation psychiatrist in Abu Dhabi and I would have to pay the consultation from own pocket and so the transportation. I am ever so grateful to Miss Mirjana who work for the Employee Assistance Program – she used to be cabin crew and she knew what it is likely; mostly likely she knew what she could report from what you told her. Mirjana drove me with her own car without taking any money from me all the way to Abu Dhabi and back, she accompanied me to the doctor and she offered me therapy sessions with her which definetly have helped. If I haven’t came across her and Doctor A I honestly don’t think I would have managed to overcome Emirates trying to force me to resign.

There is much about depression that goes unmentioned in this company. The reason I concluded they don’t accept people with history of depression is because they know the already huge number of depressive crew who are put out of the roster, who resign or who suicide and they can’t afford to have people with feelings and problems, they want robots or happy-sappy 21 years young who believe it is a great place to be. They undercover all story of suicide. I would like to see statistics and facts about Emirates employees who have been through depression and the ones who lost the battle against it while in Emirates.

One of the times I discussed possible treatments after a few pills that didn’t result in positive effetcs I was seriously recommended to undergo ECT and that Emirates would not pay for it and mostly likely not keep me in the job. I won’t go into the controversials of ECT, I just want to highlight I was recommended to go through it on my own: the company that was suposed to spounsor me was leaving me to my own lucky not caring about my conditions to afford something like that, to find another job, wether I could go back to where I come from or not  and nonethless for my health.

I do give Dragana the permission and encouragement to make my story public. “Truth is a daughter of time” and Emirates Airline labour practices must be known.

Crew's email.

Crew’s email.

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13 responses to “Confession of one depressed Emirates cabin crew

  • tagha1

    Well, I have to say that EK “crew” are not the only employees who suffered from depression…Myself suffered from that too and some other colleagues I’d rather “hide” their names, I was going up and down when I faced the attack that normally lasted for less than 30 minutes but, trust me I don’t want to even just remember how it felt. I got an advise from my sister to see a doctor ASAP ignoring the fact that I was not suffering from anything but, she managed to discuss that with me and pointed out that same could be due to an interruption in the chemicals inside my body. I went to my own country as I didn’t have any kind of trust to see any doctor in UAE specially after I heard stories from my colleagues. I was diagnosed of having “Depression” with Anxiety Attack and for that, I was given Ativan Sublingual when needed and Cipralex (till this very day I am on Cipralex).

    Liked by 2 people

  • randomcustomer007

    Hey Tagha1,

    You are right it is everyone of any age and any background that can get a bout of depression. It is bike horrible and leaves you feeling like you are a worthless soul. If your story ties in to any somewhat way to EK. Tell Dragana. I’m sure she would be happy to publish it. I obviously don’t speak for her so we would need her concent. P.s. Dragana thank you for giving us a voice. Keep up the amazing work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tagha1

      My friend randomcustomer007,

      Indeed, we are in touch however, this is nothing compared to my real story… .I am (still) writing my devastating. horrible and inhuman story to put it here, I am taking a long time and more than expected as I want to JUST pass (not in details) over many different scenarios of unethical, inhuman and immoral situations that I’ve been put through when I was diagnosed of Brain Tumor. And how EK-HR had dealt which was even against the law and of course, against their own rules and regulations. All what I want is to keep waiting as its almost done and I want all of you to write down in a comment his/her own opinion…Sadly, colleagues in Dubai won’t be able to read it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  • nautiflyer

    It is always such a grievously sad situation, when a colleague would take their own beautiful life for the offenses of whatever concerned their mind…
    … God rest your beautiful soul and whatever turmoil your heart perceived ….and to the family… our collective wishes for peace and condolences ….

    Liked by 1 person

  • averyrandomname

    Hi Dragana,

    Thanks so much for this post. I would love to share my story even though the details vary a little.

    I too suffered from depression, even though having no antecedents of it, and Emirates forced me to see a Clinic therapist, take time off, and wanted me to take antidepressants. Even though I refused to take them, they changed my GCAA license to show that I need ‘special treatment’ and cannot work unless I see a therapist and a doctor once a month. Since I was also forced to take time off, I was only paid half of my basic salary (some 2000 dirhams) which I had to live off, while staying at home, therefore having added costs if I was flying and living with layover money.
    Until this day, I have not felt too much pressure from doctors, which have been very compliant (if not a little unprofessional and quick to give out drugs), but my manager did have three meetings with me, all of which wanting to pressure me to give out personal information as to why I was sick, then trying to make me resign and make me feel like I was ‘letting down the company’.

    I am not a robot, I am a human being, and sometimes life doesn’t ask you before making you deal with difficult circumstances, out of your control. I couldn’t predict I’d ever feel that way coming into Dubai, and it is unfair to make me feel like an unproductive part of the company.

    Luckily, I have been able to take some positive action in my life, no thanks to Emirates, and have not been forced to resign (nor been fired yet, although on second written warning because of my attendance). But there are obviously numerous crew out there that deal with this pressure and give in to feeling lonely, depressed and incompetent.

    A lot succumb to desperate measures, the most desperate of which being suicide.

    Thanks for supporting us and giving us a voice,

    Liked by 1 person

    • admindragana

      You are welcome, honey. I will publish your comment as a separate article.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Watcher on the wall

      Dear “averyrandomname”,

      This blog is special because it’s out of the struggle of Dragana who had the guts to face the company and TELL THE TRUTH and the stories she publishes are REAL.
      This depression story is mine and I can only encourage you to share your story, people need to know how depression is treated. Personally I’d love to chat with you as well, I have a slight suspicion they all send the crew to the same doctor and give the same meds etc.
      All the best and keep strong

      Like

  • Jimmy

    I am amazed that in drug phobic Dubai (where there are even reports of arrests for melatonin) they are prescription-happy with the anti depressants.

    I don’t disbelieve they are doing this, but rather I see it as blatant social control and hypocrisy. To keep EK flying, take a pill!

    Evil!

    Like

  • Ashley

    I was with emirates for a year and struggled with depression from day one. My roommate used to go through my room and handed in a business card from my previous psychologist. I was fired.
    My time with emirates was not a happy time and ive chosen to forget it.

    Like

  • Zizi

    Even tho this is not a recent post I would still like to comment and possibly ask for advice on my situation too. I also fly in the uae for another company and am currently going through a similar experience. I was diagnosed with depression two and a half years ago, was geounded for three months and started medication prescribed by a GCAA psychiatrist. our medical aid doesnt cover the costs for psychiatrists and i incured a lot of costs going for monthly and then every three monthly analysis as well as weekly psycologist appointments in order to keep my medical flying license. After using the pills for about a year during the period while i was flying again my dosage was decreased and it took me a while to get back to my old self again. I have been off the medication for a year and a half but recently I started getting other symptoms and was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. Once again my medical license was suspended but i soon recovered after a short course of meds prescribed by an endocrinologist. I again saw the GCAA doctor and applied for medicl reinstatement which was denied because they wanted me to go back to a psychiatrist for a second opinion. Again the analysis concluded that i have anxiety and mild depression and the doctor prescribed another course of anti depressants which i should use for at least one year. This time i refused to start medication as im not allowed to fall pregnant while using it and im at an age where id like to start a family in the near future. After meeting with my crew manger they gave me a week to decide what id like to do because my medical license wont be reinstated unless i use the meds and go to a psychologist. As a crew im not sure if there is any form of compensation for loss of medical license. I was wondering if anay law protects us crew to give some form of compensation. I also heard thats its better to get terminated instead of resigning because im not the one who wanted to resign in the first place. And all the effect of depression is linked to what the job brings upon us. Stress, sleeplessness, anxiety, depression, vitamin deficiencies to name a few. Im hoping to find some advice or assistance with my decision ahead of me. Another thing to consider is the time it will take to qualify myslef and apply for a new job not having any other qualifications reuired for an office job. Thos is the down sode of a life commitment to aviation. Thank you for your support.

    Like

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