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Working in employment that is the same area as the original trauma. is this actually possible?

Discussion in 'Employment, Education & Disability' started by Dolphin Lady, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Dolphin Lady

    Dolphin Lady Member

    Hi I am working in the NHS in the same area that is related very much to my original trauma. Not the same place, or people but the same area of practice. This is through personal choice as I feel that I have a great deal to offer having been through the same experiences as the clients I work with. I am really struggling with terrible triggers that cause extreme overwhelming emotions but I so desperately want to work in this area. What I am asking is if it will be possible, with the help of therapy to get back to working in this area that I am passionate about?
    Muted and Multitudes like this.
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  3. Justmehere

    Justmehere Defying the odds Moderator Premium Member

    The desperate wanting to work in that area might be trying to work through your own unresolved trauma, and gain mastery over it, by continuing to work in the same area of practice. It could be a type of trauma re-enactment compulsion, in addition to a healthy drive and passion.

    If you are aware of it, and how it could impact the work you do, and you have people you trust able be a check and balance to things getting out of hand (like getting super destabilized), then it might be ok, even really good and helpful in the long run for yourself and others. It could be incredibly healing to make a difference in such a place for yourself and others. It might also not be possible to work in that area long term, and there may be other ways you can make a difference in the same field that better maximize on your skill sets without having to spend so much time fighting what’s dragging you down.

    Let’s imagine a rape trauma survivor who become an attorney to help represent victims, but gets super triggered by the injustice in the system when representing rape victims, and instead goes into teaching law and writing books or using their abilities to help raise funds for those that can provide direct represention. They could have limped along directly representing victims, but been actually quite held back on the overall difference they could make and been a miserable triggered mess... but when they stepped back and went a different route, they actually could make a bigger difference systemically because in a less triggering environment more of their efforts and skills can be poured into the cause. (This is a mostly hypoethical example, but I personally know someone who followed a path somewhat like this.)

    Some of the best folks I have run into have been wounded healers of sorts, where they undertake an issue and can help others with it because they have been there too. A common example: addiction counselors have often been addicts themselves. They can speak into addiction at a different level. The best cancer doctors have often been oncology patients themselves.

    My own therapist had to switch types of practice because one type was too much.

    Sometimes people have to leave an environment to process the past trauma, and then go back when they are ready. Sometimes trauma from the past can’t be worked through if it’s still a risk because someone is still in the traumatic environment.

    For now, becoming so destabilized just to work in that area may be setting you back from reaching that point where you can do that type of work.

    But it could be possible you are able to work in that practice someday, or otherwise make a huge difference in another way.
  4. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

    I think its entirely possible AFTER you get your ptsd under control. But trying to do it while you are in therapy may be problematic. You can't concentrate on both getting better and fighting triggers at the same time. Well, I take that back. you can, but it will be a huge challenge.

    What if you switch to something completely different while you are in therapy? Then when you come back to the career you want you will bring a better mental health state and additional training from another profession.
    Snowflakes, Muted and Multitudes like this.
  5. Muted

    Muted Well-Known Member Premium Member

    I also think it’s possible, but agree that it’s vital to work through the trauma completely First. If it’s not worked through or only partially worked through I think it’s setting yourself up to fail, because eventually something will stir it back up and then it’s worse.

    I also think you would have to have an incredible employer to realistically accommodate the amount of time that could take.
  6. EveHarrington

    EveHarrington I'm a VIP Premium Member

    It’s worrisome as you haven’t started treatment yet, correct? It’s possible to work in that kind of environment, but if you haven’t healed, you will undoubtedly just be making your trauma worse. And you could actually force it to the point where you don’t ever go into remission. Seriously not worth even considering until you’ve done a bit of healing.
    Muted likes this.
  7. Dolphin Lady

    Dolphin Lady Member

    Thank you for your replies. They are all really helpful and make a great deal of sense. I have decided to work in another area as a temporary thing with a very gradual return to my original area of work.This not something I want to do but realise I have too in order to cope. You are all correct, I need to heal my unresoved issues BEFORE I return but it feels so sad that I have to do this. It just adds to my sense of failure and deep sadness.
    Muted likes this.
  8. WhiteHatGirl

    WhiteHatGirl Active Member

    I did this too. I got a Psych degree, and decided I wanted to work with kids. And when I got to working with them, I saw a very sick social system, much like my family of origin. I realized one day I was trying to save myself! Then I quit beating up on myself for finding other types of work.

    I'm confused is there really a "remission" in this stuff?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
    Muted likes this.
  9. EveHarrington

    EveHarrington I'm a VIP Premium Member

    Yes. Most people with PTSD go into remission at some point.
  10. Dolphin Lady

    Dolphin Lady Member

    I have decided to work in a different area for a short while whilst I work on recovery of my PTSD. I do want to go back to my area of work as I love it and feel that I do make a difference but I understand that I cant at the moment and that this would not be good for my mental health and possibly cause another breakdown like the one I experienced several weeks ago. My manager is so understanding and is accommodating this plan and I know that I am very lucky. I am feeling better and am aiming to go back to work before Christmas hopefully even though I haven't started therapy yet.
    digger likes this.
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