Burleson: I’m baaaaack! Let’s get talking about living well with PTSD when starting your new job!
I disappeared. I disappeared into the stresses and strains of festive December holidays, January New Year, a new job and the overwhelming psychological aftermath. How did you fair?
The fact it has taken me almost 2 months to post weekly again is testament to how very successful I am at… getting ‘lost’. During my ‘lost’ period I missed this. I missed my dear friends who have come into my life through my Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) survivorship awakening. Not that I constantly live and breathe my CPTSD, gosh that’s a no-no, but it is part of my genetics and should not be ignored or down-played.
The ‘family’ triggers of December did my head in and I only coped by restarting a regime of a daily maximum dose of CBD. Things were so bad even my husband was asking me whether I should consider taking some CBD. Now we are into February, I’m surviving and relying on half that daily dose otherwise the nightmares come back with a vengance. Two thumbs up!
My ‘lost’-ness also resulted in me throwing every energy into my new job. A part-time job at most 10 hours paid at minimum wage (it’s a start-up) a week. I’m doing more like 20 hours a week. The obsession to fix every problem and rise to every challenge my new boss utters is intense. The hole in my life that needed some purpose for my learned and academic skills and talents was being filled with the seratonin enhancing quick wins and resulting praise. (I see this now.)
I come from 20 years plus of running my own music business, then working in senior management in the public sector. Transitioning to full-time motherhood and house-wifedom in a strange town; then finding this local small-business opportunity that is so ripe for growth and my consultant expertise was too good to be true.
I picked that ripe and juicy fruit, kept stuffing my face with it and now I feel totally sick, my nerves are pretty shot and I have tummy pains.
This child-like retreat behaviour, this kid-in-a-candy-shop dream has meant I have overindulged and all my best learnt behaviour for living well with PTSD or CPTSD went out of the window. My shield deflected the sporadic firing of questions from my new (very lovely) boss about who my family are, where did I grow up, what was my childhood like, etc… at least that worked! It feels right to keep that part of my life under lock and key from my professional life. How’s your shield helping you these days?
PTSD or CPTSD, it’s going to be the same for all us SURVIVORS. When you finally find a new job to give a part of your wonderful self to it’s going to be very hard not to overcompensate for the existence of the not-so-wonderful elements of your ‘Self’.
Putting yourself into the highest gear you can physically tolerate to drive in the opposite direction of living with your PTSD will only cause your nervous system to splutter and come to a stop.
It may be that you read this and you still end up reaching your ‘elastic limit’ like I did recently. Don’t be hard on yourself, it’s useful to know what that feels like so that you get that muscle and nerve system memory to ease the brakes on to avoid it happening again.
Pause. Plan out your responsibilities. Think about how they fit in with your personal life. How can these new projects and tasks complement your life outside work? The personal achievement and satisfaction from your outputs at work can bring much needed regularity to ‘positivity planning ahead’ in the life of someone who has to battle triggerse of past traumas daily. Regularly review and refocus.
Keep what’s best for your own health in the forefront of your mind. You don’t need to suddenly become a ‘no’ person to your boss. It’s about the you taking the power back (and me taking the power back)! You can still be a ‘yes’ person. ‘Yes’ to a request doesn’t mean that the project needs to be scoped and completed by the end of that day, because if you don’t you’re not good enough. Negotiate and influence, then deliver. Agree realistic timescales, milestones, priorities. No point delivering on all 8 projects 3 weeks early then you’re off sick for a week, or your family or friends suffer the consequences of your poor mental health.
You matter. You need to care about you more. You can do this. You are AMAZING.
Burleson: I’m baaaaack! Let’s get talking about living well with PTSD when starting your new job! (c) 2020 Laura Devlin