Good career/job/school options for people with C-PTSD

My PTSD is Chronic and complex. Working with ANYONE is a challenge because typically people will just trigger me w/o even knowing it. I'm fine with getting triggered when it's a singular incident for the most part but when the triggers stack on top of each other and I get no accommodations, it can lead to me getting angry and blowing up at co-workers and customers. This is why customer service and sales are so difficult for me.

I'm willing to work retail or warehouse but any ideas?

10 Replies

  • I deal with the same issues with CPTSD. I want to go back to work, but not sure what I can do either. Am going for brain tests in two days - not sure if I want to know or not. I know I can't work with people anymore - I always had high stress jobs and worked with people no one else could work with in the mental health fields. Those jobs are not options for me...I'd choke someone like a chicken within a few seconds. I always say I'm allergic to stupidity these days, and it's more than rampant....what are ya supposed to do??!

  • Same here! It's why I started working alone cleaning houses for people. I wouldn't recommend though as it is extremely brutal on your body. I'm trying to figure out what I'll do next as I need to quit soon because I've been doing it for many years. There is something grounding about it, but depending on your age/level of activity/any health issues/etc., it's not a good long term option.

  • I opened my own practice for the same reasons.

  • You didn't mention what kinds of skills you have, that might be good to mention-any and all-no matter how obscure! You never know if someone on here might be able to offer suggestions based off of some obscure talent or skill you have!

  • As someone with CPTSD I also find working in an office environment extremely difficult. It may be great for a while but once a trigger occurs or a few, there is a downward spiral effect; I am just not able to function effectively and it shows in my work. Fortunately I've always earned a few extra $$$ doing graphic design on the side, so I decided to turn that into my full time gig and work from home. Its tough starting a business as it is but the risk of eviction kinda forced my hand. I am getting a bit of help from my local Vocational Rehab office (once they proved I actually have a "disability"). I am praying it all works out.

  • It seems a lot of people, including myself with CPTSD are self employed. I interact with my clientele through a computer mostly. Those I am in direct contact with I can control (that's a big word for CPTSD). Self employment has it's own difficulties.

    In my previous jobs I was really good at public speaking and largely it went well as I was in charge of the meetings. I don't do well in heavy handed management situations or lose management (as the rank and file get into pecking and bullying).

    The problem for me is truly losing control. Keep in mind that being self employed you don't know always when business is going to come. However, I can control the sales end of it.

  • My sentiments exactly. It's still a struggle, but one easier to recover from. I have ended up in court for eviction notices a couple of times but managed to pull through in the nick of time. Vocational Rehab is helping me get to where I need to be in order to avoid those type of instances. Future seems bright.... today ;-)

  • yeah, me too. Organic farming, anything outside in silence is best for me. My best job was lifeguard, but that was when PTSD was not anywhere like this, as a young adult.

    Anywhere there is plenty of alone time and silence, and nature, work with hands best for me mostly since brain is issue.

  • transpower, I am so sorry that you got no response! Have been cleaning up my email and saw this.

    I can relate to having job problems. My triggers have been mostly my bosses, as I don't do well with authority figures (was abused by my father and others) as well as with co-workers. I have had a co-worker blow up at me because of his perception that i was not doing my job and he said he had been asked to keep an eye on me. (Ridiculous because I was full-time and he was part-time, so in absence of our boss, I was HIS acting supervisor!) I got scared and hooked into getting defensive unfortunately. This happened in part because this co-worker had at times been acting like he was MY supervisor and I had let it go and not reported it to my boss. I thought it would be better to confront him myself, as I prefer to be direct, but in a work situation that isn't the way it works.

    I do like people and helping people and most of my jobs I have had customer service components. Yes I sometimes ran into customers who were unreasonable and demanding, but as I tend to always be polite and give people the benefit of the doubt, I would end up blaming myself for no real reason.

    You had a couple of good ideas for jobs that might work for you. Don't know about retail if you tend to blow up at customers, maybe after you have done some more healing if that is what you want to do. If you prefer to work alone much of the time, maybe some kind of repair work where you could get on-the-job training? And of course there's always assembly-line type work in a variety of manufacturing settings, if you like working with your hands.

    I worked for a couple of years for temporary employment agencies doing a variety of office jobs. I had computer skills to start with, and both the temp agencies and a private agency for people with mental disabilities helped me increase my skills free of charge. It was a very good experience as it gave me a sense of what I like to do and what I am not so good at, as well as exposure to a variety of work situations, good and bad bosses and co-workers. I'd really recommend it for those reasons. The downside is that you seldom get benefits and there isn't a lot of job security. Fortunately for me this was in the 1990s when the economy was in great shape and the job market excellent, so I was seldom without work for more than a few days at a time. Sometimes when you are a temp and the employer likes you it may lead to a full-time job with them. That didn't happen for me, but it did help me pay for school and gave me something to put on my resume as well.

    If you could work with a career counselor, they can be very helpful. I don't know where you live but in US you can get career counseling free or at low cost with state employment agencies and private agencies that specialize in people with disabilities.

    You mentioned not getting any accommodation, I have run into that problem too. It helps if you can get some legal assistance for people with disabilities. Again there are agencies that provide such assistance free of charge and attorneys who will take your case (if it comes to that) on contingency.

    Good luck to you in your search.

  • Oops! I see that you did get a number of responses! For some reason they didn't show when I first looked at this.

    Being outdoors and in nature really helps me, too. That's why I finally did what I'd wanted to do since I found out it was actually a job at age 14: be a park naturalist. I loved parts of it, though of course there was that downside of heavy customer service component, but by then I'd gained enough transferable skills in that area. It meant going back to school, and now that I'm retired I still owe 5 figures on student loans (but don't have to pay anything as long as my income remains as low as it is). Also the perennial bosses and coworkers stuff and problems with authority figures, but there is that with almost any job. Anyway I made a career of it for 16 years, which has provided me with a small pension and money in the bank.

    I tried going the self-employment route, turning a beloved hobby into a business, but soon realized it wasn't going to be fun anymore if I had to make a living at it.

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