reasonable accommodation denied

Cypress

Confident
In spite of having chronic PTSD I have always been able to work at a high level. Work has often been my only connection to the outside world and the scaffolding that I hung my life on. Last year I made a bad decision to go work in a war zone to pay for my impending divorce and came back last summer so symptomatic I could barely function. I took a boring administrative position within my organization thinking that would allow me to adjust and recover but I was quickly pulled into COVID response efforts ( I do medical stuff) and made to work rotating shifts, mostly evenings. This was hell on my my already bad sleep cycle and I had panic attacks every night walking to my car in an urban neighborhood. I was a mess, got into a car accident (no injuries but my fault) and decided to take a medical leave when my planned vacation time was cancelled at that last minute.

I talked to my doctor and we requested a reasonable accommodation for scheduling: strictly 9-5 with option for telework and flexible start time for "bad" days. My supervisor retaliated against me for this request and now I have an EEO complaint to go with the reasonable accommodation. My organization also denied the reasonable accommodation stating that I have 24/7 availability as an essential function. I am still on an extended medical leave trying to decide what to do next. I'm talking to lawyers and filing grievances but this will all take time.

I feel like I am not being treated like a human being but a piece of faulty equipment.

I feel completely lost without work to hold me together which my therapist says is not a bad thing. I need to figure out who I am as full-fledged person not a narrow-bandwidth, dissociative, workaholic PTSD'er. But some days I just cannot cope and all the propranolol and trazodone in the world will not fix that. I

'm also wondering if I just need to do something else completely but the fact remains that I need the health insurance, retirement benefit and I could never make the income I currently do if I quit. I am not young.

I'm not sure what I am asking here. Has anyone else gone through something like this in the workplace? Did it turn out well? Has anyone wound up suing their employer?
 

Elsewhere

Learning
You have my sympathy.

My story isn’t quite the same as yours because, in my case, I ended up feeling like I had no choice but to “retire” early (I’ll just have to deal with the consequences). That’s the level of despair I finally reached when my symptoms got overwhelming and my system had broken down to where I no longer felt confident in my basic functionality. FWIW, I also used to be very career-oriented... then I reached my breaking point

When I attempted to list all the accommodations I believed I would have needed in order to try to keep going, it seemed like too much—to the point where I didn’t even have the nerve to present it to HR. I figured I’d be laughed out of the room. Plus it’s one thing for the higher-ups to grant the accommodations, but coworkers may not be so understanding, and that can create all kinds of hostility and daily tension that’s not a great thing to have to pile on top of all the rest of the crap that comes with living with PTSD

Good luck, and I hope you can figure something out that’ll work in your situation
 

Cypress

Confident
You have my sympathy.

My story isn’t quite the same as yours because, in my case, I ended up feeling like I had no choice but to “retire” early (I’ll just have to deal with the consequences). That’s the level of despair I finally reached when my symptoms got overwhelming and my system had broken down to where I no longer felt confident in my basic functionality. FWIW, I also used to be very career-oriented... then I reached my breaking point

When I attempted to list all the accommodations I believed I would have needed in order to try to keep going, it seemed like too much—to the point where I didn’t even have the nerve to present it to HR. I figured I’d be laughed out of the room. Plus it’s one thing for the higher-ups to grant the accommodations, but coworkers may not be so understanding, and that can create all kinds of hostility and daily tension that’s not a great thing to have to pile on top of all the rest of the crap that comes with living with PTSD

Good luck, and I hope you can figure something out that’ll work in your situation
This is what I am afraid of too. Having to retire early or go out on disability. No one I have spoken to has a positive story about how accommodations for PTSD in the workplace end up. I'm still too angry to be discouraged but I am getting there.

Hope you are doing ok post "retirement" and have found some meaningful work and or life satisfaction.

Maybe staying on medical leave for 6+ months is the best option atm?

That would also lay the groundwork in terms of demonstrating why you need accomodations?
I agree. This is most likely what I will end up doing. The tincture of time right?
 

Elsewhere

Learning
Hope you are doing ok post "retirement" and have found some meaningful work and or life satisfaction.
Well... let’s just put it this way. In my adulthood, work was always my greatest stressor. Stress always made certain symptoms of my PTSD worse. My hope was that the reduced stress from leaving the workforce would help tame my symptoms and thus improve my life in general

I haven’t had a panic attack since retiring, I sleep MUCH better, and I am able to take life more slowly and focus more time and energy on healing (and exercise, and eating more healthily). So those are some important positives. But some things have gotten worse. The part of my brain that used to obsess with worry over work stuff, now freed up, ruminates on stuff (including stupid, “unimportant” stuff) from my past. No matter how hard I try to distract myself with other things, including activities that are productive and helpful to others, I still get stuck in depressive rumination (including rumination about how I ended up “failing in my career”!) I feel like the anxiety aspect of my daily life has been replaced by the depressive aspect. So overall, I’m not sure if it’s been so much an improvement as it’s been a shift in dominant symptoms. I guess I should add, though, that I don’t actually regret retiring, and even if I did, it wouldn’t matter because it was getting to where it had to happen whether I liked it or not

The biggest upside has probably been the fact that I’m no longer forced to spend 40+ hours/week interacting with people I’d never choose to have in my life. Getting to decide whether and whom I spend time with, and engage with, day-to-day has definitely been nice
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
Has anyone else gone through something like this in the workplace? Did it turn out well? Has anyone wound up suing their employer?
Hm...well, I've been retaliated against a couple of times for trying to get help (but not special accommodations - I was afraid to ask) a couple of times in a couple of different jobs. Honestly, I went on leave at both and didn't return. I was already seriously symptomatic, and I knew going through all the legal stuff would just be too much. I even had a psychiatrist provide my dx to my employer - against my express, written instructions. She could have lost her license and faced charges, but I would not have been able to manage the legal proceedings.
Maybe staying on medical leave for 6+ months is the best option atm?
This is what I did. I didn't go back, though.
This is what I am afraid of too. Having to retire early or go out on disability. No one I have spoken to has a positive story about how accommodations for PTSD in the workplace end up.
You have to decide which is worse. I quit my last job in March and the job I had lined up fell through. I haven't had insurance since and just recently started a part-time job. It's really hard financially, but I have absolutely no regrets. I was working in a toxic environment and I couldn't manage my symptoms while there.
 
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