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Scared To Go Back To Work

Discussion in 'Employment & Education' started by BlankCanvas, Mar 4, 2009.

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  1. BlankCanvas

    BlankCanvas Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    I was hired back at my old job as of Monday. I was away from work for a few months because I was in university.

    I last worked in August and it was at this time when I was diagnosed with PTSD. I had no clue that going back to the same workplace would trigger me so badly. The traumatic events that I've experienced do not involve my workplace or anyone I work with. However, I have been completely disabled with panic attacks each morning when I've tried to get up and go to work. This is a huge setback for me. I have recovering quite well up to this point and was completely surprised by my anxious reactions.

    I managed to go to work on Monday but have not gone yesterday or today. I left a message with my manager today explaining that I have PTSD and have been suffering from panic attacks over the past couple days. I have not heard back from her yet.

    Any advice?
     
  2. disenchanted

    disenchanted Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2009
    No advice no. Sadly. But I can relate. I am taking a 12 week leave from work b/c of too many triggers there. My trauma is not work-related either but lately it's been hard. I work in a very large room with my back to everyone and my co-workers are loud talkers and door slammers. There's more to it but...

    I remember before I ever had a diagnosis going anywhere could cause anxiety or an all out panic attack.

    I guess you might try identifying what is scary about work...location, travel, noise, people, expectations, it could be a million things. Once you know what it might be, answers for dealing might come. I always do better when I have some even minor control over my environment.

    Cat
     
  3. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    I can't offer you any advice, but I can tell you how I beat mine at one point.....I forced myself everyday to go to work. I too, was fine as long as I was home, but the minute I would start getting ready for work the panic would hit. By the time I was ready to leave for work, I had to crawl backwards down my stairs to get to my car. I had anxiety for a good portion of the work day, then upon returning home it would vanish.

    After several months, and talking myself down from the anxiety, the panic/anxiety left, and I was able to work without the fear of it returning.....

    I do believe that if you give into the panic/anxiety, that you eventually become a prisoner of it....
     
  4. Grama-Herc

    Grama-Herc I'm a VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    BC

    I lost my job because of this very thing. I was lucky, however, to be working for my physician at the time so help was quickly available.

    You must get a grasp on this asap. I now have full blown agoraphobia and it is almost impossible for me to leave my house anymore. Do whatever you have to---but do not let the panic/anxiety get the best of you.

    Believe me, I do know how you feel. I went from missing 6 days of work a year to missing 60 days of work a year. My anxiety/panic attacks were and still are bad. I keep trying to expand what is called my "safe zone" I try at least once a week to go someplace new.

    This is miserable to overcome so catch it while you still can. She Cat is right, push as much as possible. Good luck.
     
  5. Ursa

    Ursa Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Sometimes I feel like I am living one day at a time. I just go and face it with my mind that I can do it for a day. On the next day, if I feel the same I go and face telling me that I can do it for a day. I breath through the day to keep myself on the page at work...
     
  6. dust

    dust Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Hi BlankCanvas,

    in January I went back to work after a 7 month break. The first two days were very difficult - on the second day I could barely hold it together and ended up crying hysterically for 5 hours from the strain. BUT it got better and now I am getting back to what I was before - it can still be hard work, but it is nothing like it was at the beginning.

    I agree with the others about being conscious of the constant need to re-adjust our comfort zones. Once I got through the initial period the return to work was fine.

    If your line manager knows about the PTSD it may be good to ask if they can do anything to support your return to work - some workplaces offer staggered return or lighter duties until you are fully well again. HR should advise you about this. I guess this all depends on your contract (if you have one etc.)

    Best wishes with it all,

    dust
     
  7. BlankCanvas

    BlankCanvas Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Thanks for your replies. Since I'm moderated it has taken a long time for my posts to even show up. It has been over a week since I returned to work and I'm going to see a doctor this afternoon to see what they think. I need to get a doctor's note for my employer. I know it's a fine line between letting my anxiety take control and also giving myself time to recover from all these trauma issues.

    As of lately, I have been getting really angry when my anxiety surfaces. This is a new feeling for me. I'm typically very subdued and timid when my anxiety hits. My anxiety was pretty manageable until this last 6 months or so. Since I started seeing a psychologist for my PTSD things have been extra difficult.
     
  8. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Blankcanvas,

    If you are now seeing a psychologist, and you have noticed anger is now an issue....It's probably because you are starting to face things, and it's hitting you. Fairly normal reaction..... Just try not to let the anger get out of control... As you work with your therapist, you will be able to find ways to deal with the emotions that come to the surface.....

    Good luck, and keep up the good work!!!!
     
  9. Irton Pike

    Irton Pike Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    I have another thread on motivation to work, but this one is far more appropriate because I so understand your fear because it is mine too. Yesterday was a descent into hell. Dreadful. after coming home and going for a fast 7.5 mile run i was still hyper and started coming apart. Dreadful anxiety and panic creeping in and I brought myself back down again. Not done that before! not from such a great height. I was not in today as i am on a phased return. I am in tomorrow, and I feel OK about it. I had to sit down last night and this morning and write about what had triggered me. Once i had done that and identified my thoughts more clearly, and slowed them down by writing them, I was able to analyse the patterns of negative thinking and analyse my thoughts in a compassionate and then more rational way.

    I think work places demands on you. Places you under stress. Presses the buttons that have been broken. It is a normal reaction to feel the way you do. Don't attack yourself. You made a major positive step forward in going back to work, and you have stumbled. You are learning to walk again on busted legs. It takes time and patience and lots of love. Reward yourself for your major success! I have started putting a pound in a jar every day I get through wirthout going ape! Once my jar is full i am going to take the mrs and the kids out for the day. Cool.
     
  10. dust

    dust Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Hi BlankCanvas,

    I just wanted to add one thing about going back to work - perhaps too late for you at this stage, but may be helpful to others.

    I started to prepare to go back to work 2 months before my return. I was volunteering one day a week at a local city farm. Nothing like my job, but it gave me a sense of how long the working day was and how to organise tasks.

    In terms of progress, take it easy on yourself. I am now 2 months back and not really functioning 100 per cent. I am employed part-time and and freelance the rest of the time. I have only just begun to think about the freelance work as the part-time work was enough to deal with and is exhausting. But it is all coming back slowly...

    dust
     
  11. BlankCanvas

    BlankCanvas Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    So wow, I didn't realize how common this was. I found your post really helpful Irton, I like your pound in a jar idea :D

    I saw a doctor yesterday who was a complete ass and thank god I know enough about myself/PTSD to know he was an idiot. I went to a walk-in clinic (first mistake) to get my paperwork filled out for work. The doctor told me I have poor life skills/coping skills and would need to be medicated for the rest of my life. This was one of many offkey things he said. At first he really upset me and I bawled my eyes out when I got out of his office. Then I thought about what he said for a while and realized he didn't even ask me the basics (e.g. what has been going on in my life, what has been triggering the anxiety/panic attacks).... Anyway, as you can probably see, I didn't like this doctor.

    I called my manager and told her the Cole Notes version of what happened and that I didn't feel comfortable having a doctor work with me and my manager/workplace in order to strategize a return-to-work plan. Lucky for me she said they're more than willing to work with me and my psychologist instead to figure out the best way to get me back without triggering me/making things unbearable. So I'm going to see my psych on the 17th and hopefully we can come up with a solid plan. Just have to keep reminding myself, 'easy does it'.
     
  12. dust

    dust Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    BlankCanvas,

    I am glad that your manager is on board - her understanding will be crucial and it is always good to know that someone is on side working with you rather than against you (like the doc!)

    Yes, easy does it is good!

    dust
     
  13. airangel

    airangel New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Understand the Fear

    Hi: I too understand totally. I have been off work for about 3 weeks now. I was out all of Jan for my hubby's radiation treatments. In Feb, I returned back full force thinking I needed to get back into the swing of things. However, after 2 weeks, I started getting sick. First the nausea, then diahrrhea(SP), then the full blown panic attacks. I can't concentrate, too much noise, loud voices, demands, etc etc. I finally got to where I couldn't even get out of bed. I decided this couldn't go on and sought help. Its taken 3 weeks to get into a Doc's office. I did the intake and the therapist said I had PTSD with severe depression. I couldn't even go out of the house without hubby with me. I see the Doc on Monday.

    AND...I am changing jobs. This one at Home Health has added to the symptoms. I know I probably shouldn't make major decisions right now, BUT the place I work now is not healthy for me. I am returning part-time to another hospital. The staff , (so far), seems supportive and team oriented. I think this is where I need to go. IF I don't maintain there, then its career change time. Luckily, my hubby is my biggest support.

    I am reading all of ya'lls thoughts and suggestions. They are helping. Thanks for all you do...
    della
     
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