Having to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder is bad enough itself. When you have to deal with it in the workplace, it’s even hard to deal. People with PTSD will often feel lonely and distracted, even when in the company of others. This disease leads sufferers to feel anxious and shaken the majority of the time. PTSD gets worse when you experience something that triggers the bad memories that caused it, and when you have to work every day, the chances of a bad memory coming up are exacerbated ten-fold.
While there may not be a quick fix or a “magical” Cure for PTSD, there are a lot of coping mechanisms that can help you to recover. While you expect people to be understanding at work, there are those who will still place expectations and other burdens on you. Even those who sympathize will expect you to get yourself back together and well.
Check out the following tips on how to manage PTSD at your work:
Identify Your Triggers
Depending on the nature of experiences and events that led to your condition, it is possible to identify your specific triggers. So you know when the anxiety is coming, and can cope better with the symptoms. For instance, if you were involved in a car accident, it is possible that a loud bang or noise will take you back to the event. A work-related example could be something as simple as being let down for a big promotion after being promised you’d get it. Even simple over-working can cause PTSD.
It could be that your trigger is the sight of the exact place where the incident happened (e.g., the office where you work, or your desk). Whatever it is that takes you back to the tragedy that caused the trauma is the trigger you need to be aware of. Closely monitor your emotional responses when PTSD symptoms occur, and learn to cope and/or avoid the triggers altogether.
Make A List of Possible Coping Mechanisms
After identifying the various triggers, it becomes easier for you to come up with ways to cope. For instance, if loud noises are one of your triggers, and you work in a noisy environment, perhaps you can get some earplugs or wear headphones and listen to relaxing music. However, with time you could even decide to confront specific triggers, and learn to see them as harmless. Therapy can help if you can’t figure out how, yet are obliged to be near triggers day in and out.
If recurrent nightmares of the events are the trigger to your symptoms, you might benefit from the services of a sleep therapist. You’ll be given helpful tips on how you can sleep better by creating a more relaxing sleep atmosphere, and this is different and contrasting from one to another.
For example, if the fateful events happened in your office, you could ask your manager to give you a different office space. If those happened during your duty in the military service, then you need to seek a sleep guide focused specifically for soldiers and veterans.
As you can see, there is no one specific way to cope since the mechanism depends on the trigger.
Plan How To Exit Difficult Situations
Many people think that symptoms associated with PTSD are imagined and not real. However, those who’ve gone through it know it’s very real. It’s important to realize it’s possible to come into the situations you deem extremely difficult, and still come out alive (Yes, people with PTSD often feel on the verge of life and death!). One way to do this is by having a good plan on how to exit from such situations. Even though they can be extremely draining, there’s always a way out.
Your plan shouldn’t be to give up and bury your head in the sand, but rather applying smart and useful coping mechanisms. For instance, when your symptoms seem out of control, take some time off to put yourself together, and decide whether a different job is the best outcome for your mental health. This is the time you need to contact all the help you can, and strengthen your determination to overcome.
Arrange How to Deal With the Unexpected
Dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder at work can be quite a task but it’s definitely doable. This is mainly because there are a lot of expectations, and pressure on you. Again, you’re not in control of everything that happens in the workplace. All these things can cause you to experience surprise symptoms of PTSD which may need immediate intervention, perhaps even emergency medicine to help calm you down when symptoms seem overwhelming. Though, this isn’t a long term solution.
Sometimes it’s necessary to have a relationship with an emotional therapist who understands your situation best. This way, whenever you’re hit with unexpected and extreme triggers and anxiety, you can access quick help so that you don’t fall into depression. It is also important to prepare to calm your mind so that you have the strength to face these situations. Meditation and PTSD support groups can be a big help.
Dealing with PTSD at work is strenuous but it is possible to manage it and get back on your feet. Be sure to do your homework, and apply the tips above.
I wish all the best of luck to all of you out there with this problem.