How To Manage Work When You Have PTSD

How To Manage Work When You Have PTSD - People Development Magazine
How To Manage Work When You Have PTSD - People Development Magazine

PTSD can seriously impact your way of life

It doesn’t matter what the cause of your PTSD was, it can affect your quality of life in a big way. People who experienced childhood trauma face many of the same issues that soldiers who experienced battle have.

With the right treatment, it is possible to manage your PTSD, of course. But, balancing your treatments and living a balanced and productive life is a challenge, to say the least. There are ups and downs.  But through it all, you have to be able to handle life with all of its stresses. Which means that your work can be affected in such a way that you have trouble doing your work. As a result, you could face serious consequences because of it.

In this article, we will discuss what it is like trying to manage your work when you are dealing with the effects of PTSD.

Can you work with PTSD?

This is not a simple yes or no answer. Every situation is different. If the question is “Is it possible to work with PTSD?” then the answer is yes. But, you will need to have support and therapy to be able to deal with the rigours and pressure of work.

Some types of jobs may not be possible as there are far too many triggers that can lead to an episode that can have serious consequences.

Then, some cases are so severe that that person is not able to hold down a job. Many conditions can qualify for disability benefits and PTSD is one that is on the list so you may qualify for benefits if you aren’t able to work.

When you can work, it still may affect your ability to perform. You could feel lethargic and low energy that inhibits your ability to get the work done on time. Or, you may have difficulty interacting with others on your team which can cause many productivity issues.

How to manage at work

You are protected at work when you have a diagnosed illness and PTSD is no exception. You can’t be fired for having it, but you may be let go if you can’t get the work done. If you go to your HR department and let them know, then they have to find ways to accommodate you at work

Your employer should be creating a positive work climate that allows people to feel comfortable and stress-free at work.  But unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. If they do know about your condition, then this should spur them into action. They should be finding ways to give you the tools needed to be healthy at work

This can include asking for a reduction in noises in your immediate work area, particular jarring sounds. In some cases, you may be provided with noise-cancelling headphones if they are not able to accommodate a quiet space.

Your employer may also be amenable to giving you flexible work hours. For instance, you could come in earlier in the morning when there are fewer people in the office so you can work alone. Then you can leave early. As long as the work gets done then you should be able to have that option.

Don’t stop treatment

Treatment does work and will allow you to get better and regain control of your life enough to be able to have a job and work effectively. Remember that it is not linear, however. What I mean by that is some programs will work and some won’t. Or one program might work for a while and then not work at all or not as well as before.

Life shouldn’t be a roller coaster, but it won’t be a flat surface that is always easy to move forward on.

What the right treatment does provide is the toolbox needed to get through your day until it starts to get easier. Eventually, the goal is to diminish the episodes related to your PTSD enough to carry on a healthy and full life that includes the ability to work and have a career.

Which treatment will work best will depend on the severity of your PTSD and where you are in your treatment of it. You may need cognitive processing therapy in which you talk in detail about the events that caused your trauma. Or, if you are further along than that, or, have avoided confronting your PTSD then prolonged exposure therapy maybe your best option. You may also need to find the right therapist as some you just might not jive with properly.

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