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Is It Possible To Work With Ptsd

Discussion in 'Employment & Education' started by gidge, May 1, 2011.

  1. gidge

    gidge New Member

    Hi, its early days for me, but I'm trying to get my head around things.

    Is it possible to work with PTSD? I have so much trouble concentrating, have headaches, flashbacks and depression. My head at times feel so much like its not connected to my body and I have trouble seeing. Feels more like a head injury at times than an emotional injury.

    I'm on stress leave at the moment, and keep getting rung by work to ask when I'm coming back. I don't know if I can. I've talked to mental health team who have told me it is better to go back to work as soon as possible and carry on as it helps take the mind off things.

    I'm just so worried when I cant concentrate for long and have massive mood swings how can I work? I have just been started on medication and am seeing a psychiatrist re all of this. I have so many episodes when I feel like I'm in a dream and nothing feels real. Will things get better?
  2. Cheshire

    Cheshire Seeker and Dreamer

    It is possible to work.. tricky though, when you have trouble concentrating. I work from home and for myself, so I have the luxury of being able to just stop working when I need to give my body or my mind a rest.

    For you, since you work outside of home, maybe you can set up some sort of program or structure with them, see if they can give you the leniency you need to take a break when you need to, to understand that your concentration is limited and sort out your tasks based on that.
  3. gidge

    gidge New Member

    I am so peeved off. My boss phoned and when I told her why I'm off and I hope to be back Thursday, she said I'll meet you Thurs morning to look at things.

    But she was so grumpy, has just added to my stress as now feel like I have to muddle through even though have been doing it for years and is now why I've crashed. I do miss work but I worry too about triggers causing flashbacks and there is so much pressure at work at moment, I have been struggling to keep up for weeks prior to this emotional crash I'm going through.
  4. blogitout

    blogitout New Member

    I can relate,
    when I was working ,I did not know what was wrong with me..It was such a fight everyday..with what I know now soon I think I could go back..but I certainly enjoying my full time family as of now..But the thought of picking up anf goingto work overwelms be but some day soon I will have to back,maybe not at the job I want but something to make some money.
    If I could fin a stay at home job I would just to make sure I am pretty well healed up un know more time...MORE time is all I need
    I just got a suggestion on here from someone to take a hanky with you with a soothing oil on it..like lavender they liked lemon..and breath it in ,do some breathing exercises in the ladies room maybe some good smelling lotion,too. Just to help you get through the day..
    I worked in a grocery store as an asst.mang.I used to purposely walk sloww by the bakery to smell me up a better mood..
    I hope that helps
  5. Ian Vp

    Ian Vp Member

    Gidge,
    I can relate to having to tell work why you are off work and the lack of understand of what PTSD is. I have to go in each month to take in my medical certificate to my work and was constantly asked about how I was progressing and when I anticpated being cured and would return to work. I too cannot be at work due to it triggering flashbacks and anxiety and the hardest thing was the act of stopping work and having to tell people why. I think it would be farily common for people struggling with PTSD and work for their work performance to suffer just prior to going on sick leave. I know I was using as many coping skills as I could to battle on but in the end stopping work was the best thing I could do so that I can now start to address PTSD. I am not far along my own path of recovery but I hope you are encouraged by the many people that you will come into contact with on this forum who have regained control of themselves and have the tools to cope with life.
  6. Philippa

    Philippa VIP Member

    It is possible. I have worked for the last 2 and a half years, but it hasn't been very good for my mental health at all, and I keep making mistakes that make me feel like I am going insane and getting dumber by the day, which is exasperated by a supervisor who calls everyone a moron and looks at me like I'm a complete idiot most of the time...which doesn't help things...but I know it's her issues mainly.

    I am about to start a new online business that will allow me to work from home, so I don't have to put up with any of that anymore and can stop whenever I need to and take a break. I didn't work for the first 6 years after my assault and domestic violence incident...I simply was not fit to work for anyone, and it was bad for me to even try as I kept getting rejected which made me feel even worse about myself. I had to just rest and take care of myself and do my best to recover enough to the point where I could get a job.
  7. Mina

    Mina VIP Member Premium Member

    Yep, it's possible...not necessarily easy, but possible. I was diagnosed 3 years ago and have worked full time (or close to) the entire time, except for a couple months when I was laid off. I work a regular 40-hours-per-week job in an office. It's a pretty laid-back environment and is not dealing with the general public, nor is it high-traffic, but I still deal with numerous phone calls each day and a bunch of co-workers. They know about my PTSD, as I'm pretty open about it. My colleagues are not always the nicest people, but they all know not to play pranks on me, sneak up on me, etc and respect those boundaries. It also helps that I have my own office, my desk is positioned in it so that nobody can sneak up on me, I have a large window right in front of me looking out into the lobby, and can shut my door, close the blinds, and have the receptionist hold my calls if I need to focus but am having trouble concentrating. We are all allowed to have food and beverages at our desks, take restroom breaks as needed, etc - I think it helps that it's quite a relaxed setting.

    I am free to indulge my small habits which help, too. I have two little stuffed toys on my desk that I hold occasionally, I chew the ends of my pens, and I'm usually playing with one of those rubber fingertips (even during meetings when I'm not flipping through papers). I have a whole extra box of those fingertips; I play with them so much they stretch out, wear out, and tear after a while. Having something to fidget with helps me focus and work.

    I'm not on meds, but do use a homeopathic called Staphysagria to help with concentration the morning after I've had a bad night. I also keep a bottle of Bergamot essential oil in my bag, as it is both calming and uplifting. Some days I'll take a whiff or two, or put a couple drops on my keyboard or something.
    PerfectEmpire likes this.
  8. gidge

    gidge New Member

    Thank you. You have given me hope. I pretty much feel useless if i cant work as the job i do makes me feel like im doing some good in the world and in some ways makes me feel less guilty about my past. I dont know about telling people why Ive been off work. Unfortunatly in the medical world there is so little compassion for colleagues mental illness, and ability to deal with stress.
  9. livergirl70

    livergirl70 New Member

    It is possible, but you need to explain to your boss what your symptoms are - the concentration etc. It might pay to ask if you can do a graduated return to work like a few hours every other day building it up. Most companies would rather you were there in some capacity than not at all. Good luck for Thursday, don't worry too much about your boss being grumpy on the phone, she might have been having a bad day
    gidge likes this.
  10. gamereign555

    gamereign555 Rabid Wombat!


    When I was taken in an ambulance from work and later found out I had PTSD, my boss let me come back without any problems 4 months later. I was desperate at that point for relief from my condition. I wanted to return to work because I noticed it was the ultimate distraction technique that worked beautifully most of the time.

    I was in contact with my boss the whole time and he was very supportive on his end when I didn't believe he had to be. I was starting to face my fears and was succeeding enough to where I thought I could get out into the world again and drive myself to work and do my job. He let me come back and I did, I ended up in the hospital twice after coming back, due to panic attacks at home. I had multiple doctors appointments during my work hours as I was trying to find the correct medication for me still at that point.

    I had some issues at first returning to my work. Doing the things I was doing and going to the same areas of the hotel I was when I found myself hyperventilating and panicking was very difficult and I actually felt I needed ativan while at work, but I was able to ween myself down to nothing. As a hotel maintenance worker my job was very stressful and I had to relearn a healthy way to cope with everything.

    What did that do for my PTSD? For me holding down a job was amazing in how it helped me. For one keeping my job though the torment of the onset was a serious boost to my confidence. Another thing I cant ignore is that it was truelly 'a port in the storm', and it was a supreme outlet for all my nervous energy and over time it calmed my frayed nervous system. It also offered a balance to my day again, waking up at the same time, going to work, going to bed. And I know this is all true for me because I would have more symptoms on weekends when I didnt work.

    Sadly I am recently no longer employed, I made it 6 months after being diagnosed before being laid off.
    A new management group moved in, fired my boss and later fired me.

    I am beginning to feel worse lately due to inactivity and am struggling a little bit motivation wise, but I got a call for a job today and went and met with the guy, hope it works out.
  11. SVAinVA

    SVAinVA New Member

    If work is the cause of the PTSD, I would say you need to look into disability retirement and/or finding another job. Don't wait til it's too late like I did.

    For those who get calls asking when you are coming in when you are on leave, make a note of that. It is called harassment. Same goes for those asking when you are going to be 'cured'.

    Be practive for you and your own health- I learned the hard way your employer doesn't give a rip, no matter how long you have been there.

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