PTSD and The Job Search

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Job searching is hard. It's hard even with a perfect work record (something I don't have.) I have many holes in my work history when I needed time off to recover. My husband is so lucky. He has a nice job where he is wanted and needed and gets paid well for it. He doesn't have a degree in what he does for a living. He just had "connections" I guess.

I worked in a maternity ward for a about seven years. About five years into it, I was diagnosed with PTSD and my world came apart. I tried to work after my diagnosis and made a huge effort. I relapsed several times in the next two years. I finally decided enough. I have been unemployed since March and I'm getting anxious to work again. More percisely, making money again.

I have applied to many jobs but I have problems with answering that question on most applications: Please explain all periods of unemployment. I have not told the full truth but have not lied. I'm already having trouble as it is.

I guess I'm just venting. I really thought I was ready for this. That I'm well enough to join the workforce. I think I've thought wrong. I have one small, part time job that is already starting to stress me out. I teach a tumbling class twice a week. Already, I've called in sick once that was due to stress. I'm beginning to wonder maybe I shouldn't do this. Help? Any advice?
YA, I take comfort in knowing I'm not alone, but don't want you going through the same thing. Stressful...stressful....
Alright, I made it through another gymnastic lesson today. I actually feel good. I think it's a combination being around little girls that don't have to worry about much else than keeping their toes pointed, and exercising with little girls that can seriously kick my butt.

It has given me the inspiration to keep looking for possible job opportunities. Instead of looking for a job that I think I will "impress" people (or a job I'm not ashamed of, rather), I should congratulate myself on holding any job, no matter how simple or "down the pole" it may be.

Even though I have a degree, I'm well educated, I have to realize that having PTSD is starting over. Instead of just living life, it's living life with PTSD. I have to stop thinking about where my life would be had I not had been diagnosed or to even fathom how life would be different if I wasn't ever abused at all. I must accept myself as I am right now but not to settle on staying right where I am. I must push myself to be better. I can overcome this. I have to. For myself, my husband, and my kids.
Ah Nam... you hit it with your last post. Its not just about thinking, or doing, its also much about whether your fit and able. What you are doing though is the right thing, ie. some small part-time work, finding your boundaries, pushing those boundaries beyond comfortable to set new boundaries. When you push and find your limit, you will know it through sickness of symptoms. Heal some more, push the employment boundaries some more, continue cycle.

My brother in law works a full-time job with PTSD, though he also drinks like a fish to cope, but telling him that is useless, because he knows everything as he is a nurse with PTSD, in denial. I gave up on him long ago... but he still does it, he just doesn't do it the right way. Some people I know work with PTSD, full-time, no drowning in alcohol or the like, they just simply have good employers, or they work for themselves, they have routines so they know what they are doing in the back of their minds at all times, and they don't go outside of those, or else thats when PTSD kicks their arse.
I am so glad that we are talking about this! I am a school counselor. I have a masters and three years experience. I am a "recovering" perfectionist. And it was such a blow to my ego to not be working "up to my potential". IE working in a school. I just couldn't do it this year. I am glad for the decision that I made. Looking back, I realize the many events that triggered me: two student deaths, car accident, car being stolen three times (mine), students being hit by parents, students getting raped.... I don't know how I did it. I would more than function at work and then get home and collapse. I would drink every day... this past spring I started drinking in the mornings. I don't really drink now.

Since June (before I left my counseling job) I have applied to over 70 jobs. It has been a demoralizing process. Feeling like I had so much to offer skill wise, but not me as a person, not mentally, not physically.

Since Monday, I have noticed my anixety gearing up... thinking about balancing between the house and the dogs and my husband and working. I found myself saying the old familiar phrase, "I can't do it all." I want to try. When I get really anxious my new mantra is "for my family, for the sake of my family" and that helps me work toward putting things in perspective.

I am scared of relapse. I am scared that I won't be able to be a counselor again. I am thinking of using "light" drugs bc it helps me relax. All I know is that my husband can't shoulder finances alone. So many bills are past due. I guess I am also anxious about being able to pay them in a certain amount of time (which ones do I pay first) even with working. And of course, I don't want to call any of them. I am also frustrated with the fact that I will be making 15,000 less than I will make. I am trying not to take it personally, ego-lly. I know logically that what I make does not equal my worth as a person. But it is hard. Even if I don't conciously think about it or I silence the voices, the feelings are still there and they manifest in my feeling blank or empty but mostly in physical ways: tired, hemmoriods (sorry about spelling), not sleeping through the night, self-harm urges (which only leads to more psychic pain). I am not being dramatic.

I start work on Monday.
Nov, we are here for you. I know how hard taking that first step is. I, too have a hard time with the money/self worth thing. I hate it that I'm using money (eating, gas, clothing, etc.) but not bringing anything in. I try to rationalize by saying that I'm taking care of two kids and that could equal about ten grand in child care per year. For some reason that doesn't seem to matter much. Is there any way that you could get disability for the time being? We downsized quite a bit in order for me to stay at home, but since my hub has a good job, the stress isn't too bad. (I've got some whopping credit debt, however....) If you get any anxiety about Monday's job, any urges whatsoever, PM me please. It helps me to help others. Be good to yourself this weekend.
Sometimes it really sucks to need money. After a year's hiatus form working, I'm holding down a part-time job while in school full-time. However, the stress this semester is getting to me, and my brain is shutting down in class. The worst part is I have to find a SECOND job in order to pay for my health insurance next semester (while finishing school). I have absolutely NO CLUE what I am going to do for that second job, because the only thing I seem to be able to handle is groundskeeping and landscaping. I still wonder if I'm gonig to be able to handle two jobs and school and not lose control of everything.

I guess the only thing I can do is what I can do, and deal with stuff as it comes. But job stress is definitely a sore spot for me. Sorry for the rambling.
Today I applied for a job where I was COMPLETELY honest in all the questions. One of the questions was Describe a personal acheivement. This question was after What are your career goals? So they were asking for something personal. Well, without paraphrasing or trying to write in vague sentences, I wrote the truth. I wrote that I was diagnosed with PTSD in July of 2004. In the time since then, I have aggresively tackled this with all I had. I am glad to say that I am now a stronger, more confident, more determined individual. Yada, yada. I'm really PROUD of myself. And I feel fine about it! I feel no dread whatsoever!

Also, with the explaination of periods of unemployement? I said the truth. "I took time off to heal."

Wow, what an empowering feeling. I do not know if I get the job or not. We will wait and see. I know that if my PTSD causes me to not land the job, I really don't want it anyway.

My kite is still flying high.
Congratulations Nam... and what a really great statement to use for that question. No doubt the employer will most likely be scratching their head, but we know what it means to get past PTSD, and learn to control it. Well done to you.... huge kudos and hugs.
Wow that was so courageous of you, Nam! Did you hear back about the job at all? Even if you didn't, I really admire you for being so upfront. I'm stressing about the same things right now, as I'm looking for a part time job. Today I'm supposed to go down to the employment centre and register to see a counselor, and even that seems scary. I guess in a way I am "lucky" though in that I am already on disability as the result of my dad being in the military. So the employment agency knows that I might have to go into one of their sheltered workshops, where they help you find a job you can handle. Blah. That sounds so horrible. Actually I'm quite intelligent. But I guess I have to start somewhere.

Anyways good luck, I'm hoping your courage pays off!
So far, no calls, no offers. I am busy doing other stuff right now. I have two friends who want fine art pieces made for their homes and yes, I do get paid! (with a friend discount....) I went shopping yesterday to get some materials and I felt GREAT! Usually I feel horrible for spending money, but not yesterday. This weekend, I'm making my own stretchers/canvas, so I have tons to do to keep my mind off it. Like I said, if they don't want me, then I don't want to work where I'm not wanted....
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