How Do You Cope With Employment

Not open for further replies.



I'm just wondering how anyone copes with employment. The thought of getting a job bothers me because I feel like I'm not free to just flee at a moments notice when I get scared or my mind starts to slip back etc. The fact that I'm bound to that place where I would work.. that I have to get up and go to work even though I may be having a bad day... how to get out of it quick to be able to cope that particular day or days.

How do you get through that.

I want to work desperately but I keep telling myself that what if I need to flee.

All my jobs are around 3 months stints and then I think I make myself unwell so that I can be free from being at the job and then I can just go back home and curl in a ball and worry about money issues again.

I put an application in for a job and I was all happy and confident about it and now I'm paniking because what if they ring me up and want me to work... I'm freaking out about it.

I'd rather have no money than have to feel like I'm being held prisoner.

I'd rather have a job and a career where I feel like I fit in with society than to stay at home and dwell 356 days of the year.

How do I become part of society secretly without showing people the real me...

I'm so tired of putting on another mask but I need to start working.. is there any tips...

does anyone else have these issues??



I think working really helped me. It gave me routine that I badly needed as well as the money obvioulsy. When I was working when I was really bad I found a fairly unchallenging job to start with. I used to go to the toilets when I got bad just to give myself somewhere quiet to go until I'd got myself together. Either that or go outside for a walk round the block. I wasn't chained to the desk. I thought if people go out for a fag break then I can go out to calm down. Then I'd come back and get on with my work. I was never challenged as to why or where I was going. It worked well. I used to get waves of wanting to make a run for it but gradually they subsided. I also try and find somewhere quiet for lunch. I've always walked around in my lunchtimes when I work in London. I find a park or garden, just somewhere peaceful and have my lunch there. Its a little escape in the middle of the day and makes me feel much better when I get back to the office.

The people you work with may need an explanation at some point but you dont need to tell them everything straight away.

Good luck.


hey wadoo. sometimes its hard to go--i have to make myself go, but i'm never sorry. i work with children, and they are so loving and funny, lol, it really helps me to work. it is also a good devirsion for me to keep my mind in the present. had to make a lot of adjustments, like keeping my curriculum available instead of just lesson plans--to make sure i don't forget where we are, or leave something out--bad memory. children are also accepting--if i cry, they hug me, don't ask questions--if i am zoned out, they just stand and poke me on the shoulder til i come around, no problem. i do worry about being a decent teacher, not to hurt their education, and i have to be careful about being snappy or grouchy with them because i'm having a bad day. i can't stay at home by myself all day and live with myself.



I would really like to work. I have worked all my life. Maybe I’m a workaholic since I learned that that is a coping mechanism in ptsd. But I loved working. It was my life.
After my trauma I wanted to start working immediately. Everybody seemed in shock about that idea.
I finally started working for the wrong reasons, I felt myself forced starting to work again. Maybe I did it as a way of avoiding the memories. But ultimately I had to because of financial reasons. My work was nice but my co-workers didn’t want me around and forced me to leave. That was devastating. Because I didn’t had any trust left in humans this only made it worse. The next job was a disaster also. Because of my “attitude” my co-workers complained. I have been without a job since and went downhill mentally and my symptoms were getting out of control.
Now I have accepted that I can’t work anymore and don’t find the need to do otherwise.
I don’t need more stressors. A job can be helpful in the healing process but if it augments your stressors you better of without. I red lots of people with ptsd loose their jobs because of behaviour problems because of or as a result of co-workers or because of the pressure on their shoulders. Gong from one job to another.
I wished I had a nice job with nice co-workers no pressure no stressors that would really help me I think. If you can try to find something suitable for you it could make a positive difference.


If I didn't have my job, I know I'd end up staring at four walls all day. The financial reasons aside, my job gives me a reason to get up and go and do every morning. I enjoy what I do and I'm good at what I do and this helps me to feel better about myself. I also have to interact with a lot of people (known and unknown) daily. This helps me to keep my focus as I never know whose face will pop into my office doorway. Keeping busy is a great distraction to give you some time and a break from dealing with symptoms.

Like Claire-if I feel the need to run or the walls are closing in, I hit the ladies room for a good cry or just some peace with no phones, emails or nextels. Also I try to take a walk in the morning and the afternoon just to get out into the sunshine and wind and remind myself there's more out there than just my job.

Maybe starting with a part time job so you know that it's not all day you're at a certain place and you can tell yourself 'I only have to get through four hours (or whatever)...I can do this' and then work your way up to full time.

As to showing the real you-everyone and I do mean EVERYONE wears masks outside of their homes. How we are at home is different from how we are at work, school or whatever. That's human nature. You don't have to show the 'real you'. Everyone has their defences. What works for me is keeping my two worlds (work and home) as seperate as possible. A few people at work know I have PTSD-only one I've spoken to at any length about it and as much as I consider her my friend, I'm still very careful about what I tell her. That's just the nature of my beast now.


hi wadoo well i am qualified, but because all the ptsd i am on a disability pension and though i would love to have financial security its really hard when it comes to work.....i know i can do the work...but on a bad day or the so many bad nights (insomnia) its hard to keep the hours. i ask the same question what do you people do to cope on a bad day or after having a bad do you get through the hours...i mean the syptoms don't disappear...i am a professional person with degrees and they mean nothing..i get told i am to qualified for now i work for free for others that get to meet me so i can get busy on my nights...its so so hard
warm hug to my fellow survivor....


Voluntary work

Try to work as a volunteer, no pressure, no forced hours to make and still the benefits of working and being out there and having contact with people
I am thinking of this. Like Doobie says I am overqualified for “simple” jobs which keep me occupied and can be a daily distracting and my own job is to demanding for me.


I thankyou you all for your valuable advice, it means alot to me.

I really cant wait to work because I need to start living again.

It's just so nice to know that I can turn to someone who knows what it feels like.

I drag myself to work most days dreading it. Then when I am finished work I get home dreading home. It gets pretty tiring after a while. But if I were not working I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Work helps me because it forces me to keep moving... if not I think I would go completely nuts. When I am feeling shaky I retreat to the bathroom for a bit. Some days before work I practice smiling in a mirror. I have on maybe three different occasions in the last year called in sick when I simply couldn't face going to work. But I don't do it often because it could lead down a slippery slope to work avoidance.

It's hard to go to work but I figure my life would be harder if I didn't. Many days I think about giving up altogether and taking a prolonged break, maybe a year off, the thought is really tempting. But then I fear if I did that I would just never get back into work again.


Going to work when you haven't slept is hard but can be done. I think the discipline is helpful sometimes too. I'm working from home again at the moment. That, in my opinion, is even harder but I'm better at managing myself and the symtoms when I work. I try to look after myself better when I have to get up for work the next day. I try and make sure I get to bed early etc to give myself the best chance. It doens't always work and I still get nights when I cant sleep, its 3am and I have to get up at 6am. In a funny way its helped by the fact I dont want everyone at work to know there's a problem. So I have to be as normal as poosible, its not denial exactly but more determination. It pays off though in so many ways. When I was really bad I know I couldn't stand being with myself on my own with no work. I dont think I'd still be here. I think getting a job that was well within my limits with low pressure/stress levels was the best way for me when things were really tough.



-work avoidance vs. workaholic
-all the positive aspects of working vs. all the stressors at work

it's a tricky one; avoidance as well as being a workaholic are both coping mechanism
everybody copes/deals with it in his/her way
make a list of the positive and negative aspects of working for yourself in your situation and for people in general

be aware that starting to work, "being normal again" isn't a cure for your symptoms and doesn't mean that nothing ever happened
just value it for what it is: a job, not some miracle

When I worked I was quite all right until I came home than all the pressure that I built up during the day got out


yes, I agree. I used it at first to try and blank out everything. Working silly hours, trying to blank it until I finally couldn't take anymore and was forced to face the reality of my situation.

Its not a miracle but it does help me feel better and I find it rewarding as well as challenging. It helps me on many levels. It has lots of positives.
Not open for further replies.