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What to do with myself - ptsd in action

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I'm having one of those days where I can't settle to anything. don't know whether to take myself off to bed and hide, go for another walk, pound my punch bag, or whatever. I hate days like this (and nights) as they seem to last forever, and nothing I try will work. It's bloody infuriating!
This day is getting better by the minute - have just got a letter from work asking me to arrange to come in and discuss my return to work programme. Am I really ready to go back to work?!

I want to go back, but I'm not sure that my idea of a phased return will be the same as theirs. I'm kind of thinking part-time for at least a couple of months, whereas I know from previous conversations that they expect people to be back full-time after 2 weeks. I think it's going to be a challenge to get through this meeting with an outcome that's good for me. At least I know that my GP is supportive - he'll just sign me as unfit if work are unreasonable.

In reality, I expect that returning to work will make things worse, at least for a few days while I get used to it all again. I really don't know if I can manage it though. I hate being so unsure of myself!
Uuummmm.... I don't know if its really you being insecure within yourself, or if its more the PTSD aspects are making you anxious about returning! Anxiety has that affect on us, and there is little we can do about it, except learn to manage it. If you can't manage it at this point, then the hard reality is that your definately not ready to return to work. Me, I will never be able to return to full-time work again, as I have tried just simple things over the past few years already, and it only takes days, maximum a week, and my stress, anxiety, depression, anger, etc etc all kick back in really quick, and then it takes me another few months to get them back to a sustainable level. Some people can work with PTSD, some can't. But you do have to try to work out which one you fit within.

When saying some people can't every work again, more refers to that they won't ever be able to hold down a normal 9 - 5 job that endues being somewhere on time, working with others and general stress that everyone gets during their working day. Many with PTSD end up working for themselves or other similar type job where they can control the hours they work around PTSD. We all know, some mornings it just isn't going to happen, but then you may be fine by lunch time, or vice versa, good in the morning, poor in the afternoon, so generally people tend to take this avenue which caters an income for them, but around what they can manage with PTSD.

What people tend to forget, is that they scale everyone with PTSD on the same rule, in that some people may be at the bottom end of the PTSD scale, whilst others are classified as "severe" symptoms. It is generally the severe end of the range where people will never work normally again.

Its like when people say things like, just go get EMDR to get past PTSD, or the worst of it anyway, and live a pretty normal life with only bouts of anxiety and other issues. Many EMDR specialists won't touch veterans with severe trauma, nor rape or other serious trauma cases, as the method will generally make them worse than they are if too much comes out at once.

People who are successful at EMDR, which is really great for them, generally have trauma at the bottom end of the PTSD scale, and can go work, and pretty much live a normal life again. Everyone else, severe range, nope... it just ain't going to happen.

I guess these are just some of the differences that people with PTSD read about, and sufferers need to know the differences to why their friend with PTSD can get EMDR or get better, and they cannot! The systemic nature of the individual traumas are what pretty much rate the chances of the sufferer to live a normal life again, or struggle to live a semi-normal life again. Unfortunately, I am in the severe end of the range... about as high as it goes actually, with lots of others here. Some here fall at a lesser scale. It doesn't matter where you fall within the scale, PTSD is PTSD, and we all suffer the same crap.

It is these factors that sometimes makes it hard to explain the actual facts for their specific instance... which is more up the local professional counsellors and doctors to provide this face to face.

I think only you will truely know whether you will be capable to continue working for others within certain environments or not. I know some people here who have gone and chilled out and swam with the dolphins for years, turned to an environmentalist or found something they are good at and now work for themselves at a pace they can handle. You will know as time passes and you try things to where you fit in this, and what you need to do for future preparation.
Thanks for this Anthony - you really are a star! I guess I'm still worrying far too much about what work will think of me. I can't explain to work the events that caused all this, cos I'm just too scared it will set things off. All I can do is explain that for the moment I need to avoid the avoidable stress so that I am in a reasonable state to deal with the unavoidable. If they don't want to work with me on achieving this, then I think I will be staying off work for considerably longer.

I'm hoping that they'll have time to sort this today - otherwise I'm going to end up worrying about it all weekend. I already have enough to think about, cos I'm going to see my parents on Monday - haven't told them that I'm having problems again - hoping they don't notice!

What complicated lives we make for ourselves!
Had meeting. They just don't get it. Basically, they want me to start back part-time on the 24th and be back at full time after 5 weeks. I said that I thought this was unrealistic. They said if I'm not back full-time by then, I would need to think about whether I would be better moving on. How helpful and supportive.

Apparently, it's hard, and they don't want me to be pressured, but I am paid to do a job, and if I can't do it, well......

Even discussing my timetable, they thought they knew better about how I should deal with things. They would rather I worked full days and let me have long weekends to "unwind". I explained that I thought I would be better having the hours spread over the week, so that if I am having a bad day, I would have breaks to sort myself out. Also, this way would be easier for my line manager to sort.

Very frustrated.

So anyway, it looks like if I want to keep my job, I'll have to take a huge wage cut so that I can work part-time while trying to heal myself a bit. They also said that if I had been signed off for much longer, they may have had to "consider whether or not my position could be kept open". I know it's a business, and I am paid to do a job, but I am also entitled to my sick pay that I have earnt.

I think it's time to speak to my union again and see if there are any legal things that could help me out.

Grrrrrr. :mad: :eek: :( :confused:
Yep... seen that one coming... but so did you. I know it must be hard for both parties realistically, as the business needs to make money, thus people need to work so that money can be made, or else everyone becomes at risk to lose their job if the company goes broke. On the other hand, workers have rights, and when a person is ill or injured, the business just has to suck it up, and live with that, as these things happen.

I have seen to many businesses that I have been involved with treat employee's like this, and I think it sucks. I don't know about other countries, but in Australia, you have workers compensation, which when a person is sick or injured due to work related issues, then workers compensation pays their wage, which the business pays like an insurance premium to cover workers being sick for extended periods, which allows the business itself to not worry about covering the sick or injured wage and bring in temp employment for the duration of absence. Even this though, I know companies try and just get rid of the sick and injured, and move on, because its easier for them... which is just a crock of shit under these circumstances.

I would think that if you have doctors reports saying it is unrealistic for you to return to work under their requirements, then they would have to suck it up and live with it... but I don't know what is specific to your country, you could answer that one I'm sure.

One of the guys here is another example, alex barber, who is a private soldier within the Army, got PTSD within training when a gun blew up on them, did the very stretched out return to work, which didn't go that well anyhow, and is now being discharged because of PTSD. Now they are still making him work half days, even though he is being discharged because the military environment is triggering him constantly.... When I got out as a Sargeant, they simply sent me home on permanent leave until the discharge date came around. Same Unit too....

This is the type of inequitable bullshit that happens with employers and employee's. I bet if it was a manager or head position at your work that got PTSD, I'm sure the boss would make more tolerances for that person, than say for yourself. Its discrimination in its ugliest form I personally think, and it sucks. None of this BS makes PTSD better, only worse, thus they get a worst result from the person because of their lack of knowledge on the subject. You would think that an employer, who has an employee that is suffering PTSD, would get online and find out exactly what they are dealing with, so they might understand a little better in how to work with that person, instead of against them.

Discrimination I say....
Thanks Anthony. I have calmed down a little since this morning - I realised how stressed I was when someone just asked me if I was going to dinner - I haven't even done lunch yet! Oops.

One bit of more positive news - I have made an appointment with a private stress and trauma clinic. Unfortunately it is on the day I start back at work, so I e-mailed my line manager and told her I'll need the afternoon off! Feels almost like I'm taking the ****, but it can't be helped.

I'm hoping that I may get a professional opinion on how I can best manage my return to work. I can then take this to my employer, who will be obliged to work with this advice, or they will be neglecting their duty of care towards me as their employee.

Obviously, I am also hoping that the doc may actually diagnose me with something, or at least give a "ball-park" opinion. She sounded quite nice on the phone, saying that the assessment would be upsetting and tiring etc - it felt like someone was giving me some straight-talk for once.

So, the plan is, to take care of myself, go to this doc, then reassess things after that. Does that sound sensible? I'm trying really hard not to wind myself up thinking about all the what ifs..

Oh - and what really got me this morning - how the hell did I not lose my rag when the Hr person said "with illnesses like depression etc, the hardest thing is getting up and motivating yourself to get to work. Once you're there, you'll be fine"

makes my blood boil!!!!! What planet is she from?
Hey piglet,

Sounds like you have got the plans in motion doing all the right stuff. That stress and trauma clinic sounds like the way to go and as for work they will just have to get over it. You need to take care of you first. I think you realise that if you don't look after you, work is not an option anyway. Hopefully, you will get somebody some straight talk and a realistic plan for return to work. Anyhow take care of you, eat chocolate and get some fresh air.
piglet said:
So, the plan is, to take care of myself, go to this doc, then reassess things after that. Does that sound sensible?

I think that sounds like a really good plan. You first, everything else second. Hey, this comes back to that other thread, "[DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread110.html"]Are people with PTSD self absorbed[/DLMURL]?". This is what partners see as self absorbed I believe, where in actual fact, its not self absorbtion for the sake of it, but merely needing to look after you first, because nobody can do that as well as you can.

I think you realise what is, and is not, important now. You first, doctors and medical as you can handle, work is really quite low on the priority list, especially if its just going to continue upsetting the top priorities.

Your sounding much better from when you first arrived. You need to give yourself a big pat on the back and treat yourself to something special. You have come so far in such a short time, its really quite inspiring to read about.
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Inspiring? Wow! You know how to make a girl feel better! Thankyou, but I must say it's just a reflection on how important this forum is, so you've got to take a huge credit for that and Kerrie-Ann too!

I've actually just come across a really good book. It hellish hard to read - so much so, that I only manage about a page at a time, then have to go away to think about it. It's by a guy called Jon Allen and the book is "coping with trauma: hope through understanding" it's in it's second edition.

The guy treats people with trauma-related illness through helping them understand how it all works - bloody complicated, but I'm managing to follow it. Particularly useful to me is the fact that it goes through how trauma in early life can affect things so much later on.

So far, it's looks like I'm fairly ****ed up, but on the other hand, it shouldn't be unexpected, considering my experiences. This has made me feel a lot better about myself, which in turn is helping me to deal with all the ptsd symptoms a bit better - i.e. I've got to take care of myself, not get angry at myself for being crazy. Obviously, it's much easier said than done, but there is hope there somewhere that I will someday get on top of this again, and maybe be able to stay on top of it (still thinking that this is a bit optimistic in reality!).

If I can feel comfortable with putting myself first, I will be much more likely to deal with this than if I allow myself to be intimidated by my employer into going back to work in order to save my job. I will be spending a lot of time finding out about my rights etc, so when it does come to the point of having to "consider my position" I can hit them hard with their responsibilities toward me and not get steam-rollered.
Thanks, much appreciated.

Yep, I often see it too many times, and sometimes myself, that those with PTSD don't want conflict anymore, in that we have suffered enough of it, and so we tend to back down on far too many things in society. Obviously each action has a reaction, though we tend to rip ourselves off avoiding conflict. A little conflict at times is a good thing to ensure #1 is going to come off OK and not get screwed over and end up in a mess on the floor. Saying this, in all honestly, a little conflict from us also tends to see some pretty ordinary days after the event also... a calm down period I call it.
Aaah Piglet. Good on you, arm yourself with the information and they will see that you are serious about being treated fairly. You never do know they might just roll over and play dead!! You may not need to much conflict at all besides it sounds like the GP is in your corner. A confirmed diagnosis would help.
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