Wednesday, May 27, 2009

PTSD Symptoms in the Workplace

Today, I need your input. The workplace is not somewhere I ever discussed my PTSD.

I could, of course, write about how I managed my physical and emotional PTSD symptoms at work – which was just to bear with them, control them, get the work done, and go home.

I could write about how I never told anyone what my interior world was like. Or, how I just kept quitting jobs because I crashed physically and couldn’t work, who knew why?

I could write about the day I told my boss about my escalating physical deterioration and she was wonderful to me. I put myself out there and she was empathetic and supportive and agreed to help me put in place whatever I needed to manage.

But all of that would be without the PTSD factor. The problem with all of these stories is that I wasn’t diagnosed until 3 years ago, so my whole Manhattan career I had no idea what was wrong with me; nothing specific to tell and so no employer or colleague who needed to learn that something mental was taking place. By the time I was diagnosed I was working in a family business; easy enough to be honest about it there.

I believe everything we’ve considered in the past couple of months – about PTSD education and reaching out – is relevant to dealing with and addressing PTSD in the workplace. But there are special considerations in business that are not present in the private sector.

Today, I hope you all will educate me about how to discuss PTSD at work.

  • What have you done?

  • How did you approach your colleagues?

  • Whom did you bring into your confidence?

  • What was the outcome?

  • What tricks did you learn about presenting the problem?

  • What tips would you give someone who needed to spill the beans to an employer?

  • What are the pros and cons, and which outweighs the other?

As I think of how we PTSDers move through the world I constantly come back to this: We need to live our reality, not sap our energy with lies.

How do we do this at work and still keep our jobs?

(Photo: Stuart-Forster)


Anonymous said...

i am not sure that i dealt with my ptsd at work very well, as my ptsd was caused by my work enviornment. when i requested fmla for the depression/anxiety, it was denied. i had to take my hr manager, direct manager and supervisor to court in an attempt to get a restraining order due to their continued harrassmen about my fmla requests, denial of said requests, being written up corrective action and being threatened with my job for using fmla, etc.
my employer put me in the position of having to fight them for my legally protected rights. the case is still pending with state and federal agencies in investigation at this point, i am unemployed as i was denied accomodation, fmla and state leave rights and had all employment benefits dropped while out on fmla and disability leave.
i am probably not the best one to respond to your question other than to say, that at least mentioning to your employer that there is some underlying medical condition is supposed to protect you or at least make them aware of the possibilty of your need for accomodation.
didn't do much for me, but in theory, that is how it should work.

Michele Rosenthal said...

@anonymous - That's a tough situation, and a difficult one to remedy. I admire your courage and persistence. Good luck with the rest of your case. I'd be interested in hearing how it turns out, and what advice you would give other PTSDers in a similar position.

Viagra Online said...

I really like my work's place but sometimes when you feel sick or angry is when you can do anything to avoid it so this is the moment when I try to breathe and keep going.

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