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Still can't work - having a hard time talking about it with pdoc/t - considering disability - help

Discussion in 'Employment, Education & Disability' started by Sweetleaf, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. Sweetleaf

    Sweetleaf Well-Known Member

    I am having a really hard time talking about how hard of a time I'm having going to work - or even going in f*cking public - to my pdoc and my t. Some people have suggested I try getting on disability. I'm so afraid of even approaching the subject with anyone. I'm even afraid of making this thread.

    I work as a substitute teacher, so while I'm still employed, I don't take any assignments. Basically I could instantly return to work, the moment I feel like I can do it. But, for the present time, I feel way too unstable, unpredictable, and easy to trigger. There are times that -kids- (and loads more of adults) in public have violated my personal space bubble and it initiated my "run away!!" response. I had to leave a checkout line in a store once, and just bolted out of the store and went to my car and was like "f*ckING DAMMIT!!!" - as a teacher, kids do shit like that -all the time- it is like something that is a 100% guarantee every single day at work. Some kid at some point is going to violate your personal space bubble (if you have PTSD like mine your bubble is also huge). That's just one example of the shit that makes me think I'm going to royally f*ck up if I try working.

    I am so f*cking easy to overload and overstress (oh god just imagining the stress cup filling at work in the first 5 minutes - the first 15 is often super stressful for me) and sometimes I have a really hard time controlling myself, when I start feeling anxious and panicky enough, and it's times like that that I bolt. It even happens in my own home - I have to run away from the place I live sometimes because I get too scared feeling. It even happened yesterday, randomly in the middle of the day. My cats started fighting, the sudden outburst of noise, of their quickly running feet and hissing and all that, startled me, and then that rolled up into me feeling super unsafe, and I had to get out, I just felt too in danger even though I knew the only thing that happened was my cats made noise and it spooked me.

    I'm not just worried about bolting, either. There are so many other things that make me feel like I will really f*ck up badly if I work - general "stress cup" stuff for example, along with other things - and all of those same things are the sort of thing that gets in the way of me even going outside and doing shit that I want. I want to ride my bike, and I've even inflated the tires and gotten it all ready, and I -can't- because I feel so exposed outside and riding around with all those people out and about and doing stuff, looking at me, etc. So, I wait for night time, when nobody will be around, but then it's dark and that just makes me feel too unsafe being out there. There was a point in my life, years ago, when I was living on my own, before I ever met my abuser, where I'd ride my bike at night, for hours, 'till like 3 or 4 AM sometimes, and I'd be doing it downtown and in some rather shitty areas of town. I'd call myself an agoraphobe but I'm pretty sure they don't get afraid of being -inside- on top of being afraid of going outside.

    When I talk about it with my therapist, she never really says anything about it - never anything like what I fear, but at the same time, it's like a non-response to it, where she just listens to me talking about why I'm afraid of returning to work. She doesn't tell me I'm lazy and need to just go suck it up and work - which is pretty much my fear (judgement, rejection). But, she also doesn't really tell me anything about it. Last time we talked about it, we just talked about triggers and stuff, trying to identify specific ones - which is really hard because there is so much that triggers me, in so many different ways, and it's really hard to even know what's going to set me off.

    With my pdoc, I have a hard time talking about it at all. I do talk about my PTSD symptoms, just don't mention that "oh hey I -still- can't work" - I am just afraid that she'll think I'm lazy or a whiner, or not being proactive enough - etc. I'm afraid of being told "lol no, what you have going on is -not- bad enough to not work, you're just lazy"

    I -want- to work, I f*cking -HATE- not being fully independent. I hate relying on others, or on luck (finding and then selling my pokemon cards, getting a nice tax return). I hate not having my own f*cking place, I hate living here, I want my old life back. But I can't just up and do it.

    I have been considering trying to get on disability but I know that will require talking to my pdoc and my t more about how I can't work. But, I can't help but feel like they're all just going to think "psh! you're not that messed up, just work you lazy shithead"

    I also have this fear going on: what if I am just a lazy worthless piece of shit? My abuser basically drilled that into my brain, that I am lazy and worthless and I'm just a gigantic failure piece of shit. But, what if I do just need to f*cking suck it up or something?
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  3. somerandomguy

    somerandomguy Learning how to be myself Premium Member Donated

    I can't imagine, after all you've been through, that anyone would call you a lazy piece of shit. It sounds to me like you're absolutely not in a place where going to work can happen.

    Btw that's what disability is for! You will, unfortunately, have to have that conversation with your T. But I can absolutely 100% guarantee that they will take you seriously, because you're not lazy. You're not trying to get a free ride. You are hurting! You need help! Both your T and your pdoc will know that.
    blackemerald1, Sietz, Freida and 4 others like this.
  4. KwanYingirl

    KwanYingirl I'm a VIP

    Teaching sounds like it has way too many triggers that it’s overwhelming. Can you think of a different job that would be interesting, low stress?
    If you’re in the US the disability takes about two years to get a decision. This is mainly a glitch in the prosess of collecting all your medical history before they make a decision. Some doctors and therapists charge to release records. But no one tells you that. If you can proactively find out which of your providers charge to release, then you can shorten the time between applying and getting a determination. There’s no reason why not to get that application filed, but you need medical experts to diagnose you as disabled. The more Your docs know how hard it is for you to work, they might get on board.
  5. Swift

    Swift I'm a VIP

    I dunno if this is helpful but I'll try.
    I highly doubt anyone will think you're lazy or whining or malingering.
    My docs didn't want to bring up the possibility with me of disability basically out of the fear of making things worse, and that I'd tell them to go jump. One said he was thinking about it, but he thought I'd take it as an expression of bad faith and (verbatim)"tell me to go f*ck myself and not come back."
    In all honesty it was fairly likely that I would've at the time.
    I'm on disability atm and I still do a little work. It was hard for my pride, too. I felt like a failure and a burden on society filling out the forms.
    One thing I absolutely never heard from anyone other than myself was that I was lazy or malingering or a timewaster or rorting the system or all of the things I told myself. "But disability is for people who neeeeeeeeeeeeed it!"
    Yeah, and temporarily, I was.
    You don't have to hand in your right to work for the rest of your life to take disability for a few months or a few years. The idea for me is that I take the time and develop the skills that I need to get back to work. There is no way in hell I could've made enough to support myself without ending up dead. (I tried to get off it by working, started too soon, worked too hard and crashed and burned and got sacked due to ill health.)
    And I can't pay taxes so that other people can get disability if I'm dead.
    I figure I'll pay it all back in tax at some point in the future, but in order to do that, I need to get my shit sorted so that I can work.
    The government invests the money in me, and I'll pay it back eventually.
    One thing I'm grateful I didn't have was my abuser telling me I was a lazy piece of shit. That person is so, so, so, so wrong about you. Don't take advice from someone who thinks abusing is a cool thing to do!
  6. Sweetleaf

    Sweetleaf Well-Known Member

    This occurred to me really fast, and it's very true.

    As far as other jobs though? I have done many different kinds of jobs. I've done a lot of work in the fishing industry, just cleaning fish and/or vac packing them, along with clams and such things. I have worked in bookstores, a liquor store (gave me a traumatic experience), a couple smoke shops, a fruit/nut stand at a summer market, I've made donuts, taught guitar lessons, and did a whole lot of stuff in schools. Right now I don't think I could do any of that. They each have their own individual issues but, the real problem is that I don't know which days will be really hard days - I also don't know what will set me off really hard, because I can go from 0 to panic attacks in no time.

    I have considered teaching guitar/bass again, seeing as there's a local place hiring teachers, but the problem arises again, that I don't know what's going to set me off, and I don't know in advance when I'm going to have a really hard day, symptom-wise. The way I am right now, I can't guarantee that an 8 hour chunk of time will pass, where I don't have problems that would be really troublesome in a work environment.

    I also don't know which days will wind up being days I can function well enough, and which ones will be ones where I am too symptomatic. I don't know when I'll have a sleepless night, or one with a few hours of very spotty sleep.

    My T and my pdoc are pretty nice, and both work for themselves (my pdoc even has people under her lol). I know they'd be pretty upfront if I asked about whether they charge for providing records. I just need to gather up the courage to even talk to them about that stuff >.<
    I have such a hard time not feeling like a lazy piece of shit, even thinking about trying to get disability. But, what you say is helpful, in that it helps me feel a little less afraid of trying to talk to the professionals helping me, though I'm very much still afraid of bringing it all up, and I still feel like it's wrong or something, but I don't think that can be helped until I start trying and it goes well.

    I'm really afraid they're going to think I'm full of shit or something. :(
    blackemerald1, Nessa7, Freida and 2 others like this.
  7. KwanYingirl

    KwanYingirl I'm a VIP

    I don’t think you’re full of shit. Far from it. I am on disability. Not due to my chemical sensitivities, but for my depression and PTSD. My lung doc permanently disabled me, but I am single and my vocational identity was so important to help me feel wortwhile. I do Electrolysis for the past 15 years to supplement my SSDI. There is a limit to how much I can make and not lose my benefits. I am self employed and i can work around my comfort limit. I only do 3 people then come home and rest the work again for the after the workday folks. Some days I struggle. I am professional and serious and my dog comes with me. Everyone loves her. It’s working out.
    PTSD is a complicated condition and your providers must know that. My docs can’t believe I pull off any work, but it is therapeutic for me. I wouldn’t work unless it was self employment. There is no shame in going on disability. I wish you the courage to discuss this with your docs.
  8. Freida

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

    oh I can so relate to this. going out on disability was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I applied thru the VA and then thru my work and I felt like the most incompetent, lazy, whiny, pathetic, open the thesaurus and enter word here that you can find. And sadly I worked in a career where handling the worst of the worst stress is a badge of honor and cracking is completely disgraceful.

    I had to navigate the VA (always the circus from hell) and my employers insurance company, which meant letting people know way to much about me. It was brutal --- even though most of the people I dealt with were unbelievably kind. As usual I was my own worst enemy. For the first few months I was so very angry with myself. But. I've been off 7 months now and it was the very best decision I've made in a long time. I finally have a chance to get my feet back under me and try to get all this crap under control. I can finally take the time I need to get healthy. It's making me realize how bad off I really was. Do I still feel like a total loser? Sometimes. But I'm also finding that I kind of like this. If I want to spend 3 hours on this site, I can. If I want to walk the dog, I can. If I want to go to my Ts twice a week and then do horse therapy - I can.

    Accepting the disability idea really forced me to change what I thought. I'm not always successful at it -- but I'm better than I used to be. also got lucky because I have a pay out for two years. Hopefully by then I will have it together and be able to go back.

    As a friend told me -- -you can stop and take care of yourself now or you can fall down and end up in the hospital and have to take care of yourself in worse condition later. Pick one. Guess I figured I was getting to old to put it off any longer.
  9. EveHarrington

    EveHarrington _______ in progress. Premium Member

    I hope you can see that the struggles you describe are struggles that many of us deal with.....never knowing when we will have a bad day, not knowing if any given chunk of time will be symptom free, etc. These struggles have nothing to do with being weak.....they are 100% due to the unpredictable nature of PTSD. The good news? As we heal, the good stretches get longer and longer. The bad news? The bad times don’t get much easier to predict. I’m working for myself right now. I know I wouldn’t be able to work for someone else right now. Who would allow me weeks off at a time when I’m symptomatic? Who would give me as much flexibility as I need? It would be quite difficult to find employment that would work around my disorder. My current goal is to start volunteering soon to see if I can handle working a few hours at a time.
  10. Nessa7

    Nessa7 Well-Known Member Donated

    I'm planning on starting to apply in a few months. My experience is similar to @Swift . My therapist actually thought I was already on it. Everyone involved in my care havebeen really enthusiastic about it. The more I talk about it with them the sillier I feel for ever having doubts, even though I know the application process is going to be really hard on me.
  11. Sweetleaf

    Sweetleaf Well-Known Member

    It is good to hear the words of reassurance from all of you, but it's just so hard to stop feeling fear about it. It is good to know I'm not alone in these feelings.

    I see my pdoc on wednesday. I have a few reasons I'm nervous about it, but one of those big reasons is bringing up how much difficulty I'm having working or even just doing shit. I don't even know what to say to her about it, like which words to utter. I don't even know if talking about this is what's doing it but, right now I have sweaty palms and feet and I'm just anxious as hell.

    I see my therapist tomorrow, but I'm not sure if I can bring myself to talk about it with her. Or what I'd say.

    Oh, for sure. I see other people having these same sorts of problems. I also see so many people in this thread and elsewhere on this site talking about being validated when they go to professionals about it and try to get on disability. But, I still fear that I won't be seen like they are seen, and that I'll be doubted, and rejected, and that people will just think I'm being a lazy ass.

    I really hope it goes similarly for me, if I'm even able to start bringing it up. I hope it all goes well for you.
    blackemerald1 and somerandomguy like this.
  12. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator

    This. The other way sucks.
  13. Sweetleaf

    Sweetleaf Well-Known Member

    Ugh so. I made this thread a while ago. It wasn't long before my old therapist wound up reading me an email that my abuser sent her, like post-restraining-order-hearing and stuff. It was like solid manipulation, I had a whole thread about it though so I don't really wanna get too into it. Anyway though, it basically like, completely f*cked my shit up and I'm still trying to recover from it - now I have a panic disorder diagnosis on top of my PTSD diagnosis. Quit seeing that therapist, I was too afraid to go anywhere near her office, and she totally f*cked up massively and just f*cking sucked ass at her job.

    With everything that's going on, I've been too busy trying to get my meds sorted out, adjusting to seeing a different person for EMDR (who is awesome, thankfully), etc. I still haven't brought up the idea of disability with my care people.

    I also kind of feel like I'm getting worse :(

    I wanted to like, go back to working in schools (as a substitute teacher) come next school year, in the fall - but at this rate I don't even know if I will be able to work by then. Meds are helping me tolerate my panic attacks better, but they are basically a f*cking daily thing, often multiple times a day still >.<

    My derealization and depersonalization issues are also getting worse. I'm having dr/dp going outside, being in public, interacting with people, driving, randomly, or while being triggered, or in therapy, etc. It happens a lot, every single day now, too, and I hate it. Between this and the panic I am having a hard time still

    All these extra symptoms and problems that weren't there for me, all this sense of safety lost... and yet I still feel really hesitant about talking to my pdoc about disability. I think a part of the obstacle now, is that I have additional trust issues with therapists/pdocs/counselors/etc. due to what my old t did - but in general I am just afraid that she's going to say my symptoms aren't bad enough to apply for disability, or some other form of rejection or resistance to the idea.

    Should I reconsider it? I am having a hard time even going outside and doing shit. I am having a hard time with a lot of shit :(

    I'm also really tired of having no income but I have no idea how the f*ck I'm going to work when I'm having all these issues with panic and dissociation, on top of everything else.

    I wish it would go away and I didn't even have to consider any of this shit.
    blackemerald1, Nessa7 and Freida like this.
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