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Self-sabotaging muddle

(24 Posts)
VodkaLimeSoda27 Thu 09-Feb-17 16:41:46

I have a diagnosis of C-PTSD from being sexually abused as a child. It is often under control but sometimes will get worse with little warning. This is one of these times.

When I don't feel safe I tend to run away from situations. I moved to the US for DH's job last year and haven't been as settled or happy as I thought I would be.

Since Christmas I've been looking for work. I now only work part time because I know the PTSD (intrusive thoughts, racing heart, no sleep, nightmares, flashbacks etc) get really bad when I work full-time. Makes me feel weak to say but true.

Started a job this week. Well within my capabilities. Think entry-level, but I've got 6 years experience working and an MA. And I freaked out this morning and told them I'm not going back.

No-one did anything wrong. The line manager told me I would have to be up to scratch today and she'd be watching and I got scared I think. There was an incident in a club on Friday where a guy assaulted me and I got thrown out and I think this might be been a trigger

DH has walked out. He is furious and I understand why. I've done this before with jobs, my brain has got overwhelmed and panicked. He is so successful and I'm just nothing, career-wise. Before we left the UK I had a job I loved and leaving it was so hard.

I don't know what to do. Therapy and doctors are expensive here and I don't want to be unwell again.

6catsandcounting Thu 09-Feb-17 18:26:42

Well I don't understand why your dh has walked out - he should be supporting you. And why did line manager tell you you would have to be up to Scratch? Not very helpful and implying you haven't been - I can see why you reacted.
Have you told dh about the club Incident? I know it can be hard abroad but could you report It? Your reaction to an assault is understandable. Any chance you could go back to the job and explain about the assault and try Again?
Just try to be gentle with yourself - none of this is your 'fault'

user1486613612 Thu 09-Feb-17 19:56:19

What kind of job was it? Maybe it was the wrong type of job for you.

VodkaLimeSoda27 Thu 09-Feb-17 19:58:43

She didn't say, just that the job was very easy and that she would soon spot if someone wasn't right. It put me on edge now I think about it, although I tried to laugh it off. The job is easy but how can you do it without making mistakes 4 days in?

DH was in the club at the time when I was assaulted. He and his co-workers basically wanted to beat the guy up, but I begged him not to. That kind of behaviour is out of character for him, he's not violent at all. I called the Police but they never turned up.

VodkaLimeSoda27 Thu 09-Feb-17 20:02:28

Xpost, it was a corporate reception job. Not difficult. Sorry to drip feed but after we met they said that they wanted to build it into a more senior full-time role in the future and I accepted a work trial knowing that.

I think that's what freaked me out, knowing that they had all these high expectations when in the beginning I only applied for a 20 hour a week reception job. I wanted to be able to do it so badly sad

VodkaLimeSoda27 Fri 10-Feb-17 00:39:14

Now he's saying there's nothing to discuss and he doesn't know what to say when people ask about me sad he's totally embarrassed of me. And I don't think he'll come home tonight.

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 10-Feb-17 01:05:25

OP, I think you are not yet feeling "safe" in the U.S. and that is why you are having difficulty coping. You made a big sacrifice for your DP when you moved. He should be recognising that by helping you feel secure, safe and established in a home. Once that stuff is in place, you will be happier and capable to work outside the home.

VodkaLimeSoda27 Fri 10-Feb-17 13:39:48

He has tried to do that sad I feel so useless. He won't speak to me at all, says he's too angry. He's left for work and probably won't come home until late now.

It's so frustrating. I'm an intelligent person but can't seem to help pushing the self-destruct button and withdrawing from everything. In my last job in the UK I was supported by Scope in the first 6 months, and they helped me while I was ill before.

Perhaps I need more support than I realised sad

AnxiousCarer Fri 10-Feb-17 19:31:00

Do you have any health insurance? Would this cover some therapy?

Have you declared your CPTSD to your employer. I don't know the law in the US, but i the UK they would have to make reasonable adjustments for you.

I am recovering from PTSD and am struggling to get back to work in a senior role. I have a fab manager, but am still on reduced duties and hours and today had a complete melt at an I.T. technician because they are introducing a new system and some of the changes are just so inconvenient. I shook for about an hour after as I just couldn't handle the changes. So I sympathise flowers I feel a million miles away from being able to handle my full role.

Woollymammoth63 Fri 10-Feb-17 20:38:09

Oh my goodness I feel so sorry for you - I am not a hugger, but just feel a real empathy for you, I wish I could give you a hug.
You have done nothing wrong. I can really empathise and have been through similar work situation, a job easily in my capabilities made me feel panic, when one of the staff told me off about something. I started to have episodes of crying and feeling I couldn't do it. It's not that you can't do the job, it's just confidence and anxiety because of what you've been through and because you have been triggered. Please search my posts , I can really relate.

Woollymammoth63 Fri 10-Feb-17 20:39:05

Anxious - also flowers

VodkaLimeSoda27 Fri 10-Feb-17 22:38:24

Thank you both. I have health insurance but don't feel like I can arrange any therapy at the moment while DH is still so angry at me as he will have to pay for it (there would be a copay).

I think part of the problem is I put on a really good front, but I'd been having intrusive thoughts for a few days. And that night, I went to bed and literally didn't sleep a bit. Mind racing, heart racing, nausea, the works. I just wanted it to stop and to hide. But I had no intention of giving the job up the night before and really regret it now.

I had reasonable adjustments in my last job and an understanding manager, which is one of the reasons why I think I did well there. DH is so angry with me. I've had lots of time off sick and had to leave previous jobs for mental health issues. The last job I had in the UK was the only one I've ever had where I was happy. I think he's getting fed up with my shit sad

AnxiousCarer Sat 11-Feb-17 10:55:24

Its really not fair for DH to be angry at you. Having said that my DH has struggled to hold down jobs due to his MH, and the financial pressure I feel when he's not working can be hard. I wasn't very happy when he quit his last job. But with time I realised it was the right thing for him to do for his health even if it did mean we were short on the bills for a few months.

DH and I have started to use a scoring system out of 10 for our mood, anxiety etc. We are finding that really helps us to know how the other one is doing as we are both good at putting on a good front until things get really bad. It's something our CPNs have encoraged us to do. It sounds like you need to have a good chat with DH about how you both are.

Maybe think about the things that made your last job work for you, and then look for those types of things in your next job. Are there any MH charities in the states that could help you? Could you start in a volunteer role to build your confidence maybe?

I recently saw a therapist privately in the UK for Eye Movement Integration for PTSD and found it amazing. It stopped all my flashbacks anxiety etc in 1 session. DH initially was unhhappy about the cost but I decided that I couldn't afford not to do it. And he was so amazed by the difference it made to me hes decided to book himself in once we can afford it.

Woollymammoth63 Sat 11-Feb-17 11:07:29

Anxious - can I ask , did you become very hyperarousal/ anxious after or during the session?

oprahfan Sat 11-Feb-17 17:31:32

Hey VodkaLime
I TOTALLY understand the intrusive thoughts,and it's not nice for you,however,your DH could very well find things difficult. Those who have not suffered anxiety & intrusive thoughts can find it very hard to empathize.
Terribly easy for me to say,but you have to get through minute by minute,moment by moment.
Acknowledge the intrusive thoughts. You're not your best self just now,you've uprooted and of course you'll be on'high alert', know only too well.
I also understand the work situ. I do think that our anxieties cloud our judgement, I cannot trust mine at the moment.
I do hope you get some clarity soon,and can relax a little bit more.
In time,you will gain strength to speak with your DH to let him know how it really feels for you.
You're not alone,far far from it,and I'm terribly sorry you're going through these intrusive episodes just now.
I have absolutely no doubt,that you are highly capable in your employment. But many of us with anxiety disorders tend to knock ourselves,think less of our abilities .
Stand back when you feel able,and breathe a little. Go slowly about your ways for a while. Keep your head up, thinking of you.

VodkaLimeSoda27 Sat 11-Feb-17 19:50:25

DH is now at least talking to me. But still says I have a lot of making up to do to him. He's not really acknowledging any PTSD related stuff at the moment. He's mostly hurt and angry that I didn't come and talk to him before I emailed to give up the job. He wants to call the employer to try and get the job back, but I know that's not going to work. They would have no respect for me.

I'm trying to take care of myself. I haven't eaten much the last few days and I'm making lunch now. I don't feel like I can leave our apartment at the moment though. DH has gone to see friends and they will all be asking about my job. I can't deal with any questions yet

oprahfan Sat 11-Feb-17 20:15:49

Ah yes. I know the DH anger at leaving your job. My DH has looked at me in utter disbelief before in jobs that I've just left. The distress is very real.PTSD is no joke.
There is such a desire to remove yourself from a 'distressing' situation and to run. In its most basic form,it's survival,isn't it?
I do not agree with your DH where he claims you have making up to do.
You most certainly do not. You cannot help how you feel and react to distress,imagined or real. And this is where it gets very difficult for both parties.
I know what it is to run. And run again. And you don't really want to,do you? I know I didn't.
Give things a little time. My DH has been talking to me today about an old job of mine,he admitted he'd made mistakes in making me go back etc. I feel for you,truly I do.

AnxiousCarer Sat 11-Feb-17 21:27:25

wooley not with the EMI

VodkaLimeSoda27 Sat 11-Feb-17 22:39:48

It's so nice to talk to people who understand. Not that I would wish this on anyone but I've never known anyone else who has had this (and told me).
And yes, oprahfan I didn't really want to run but at that moment my brain felt like it had no choice. And that's what my DH doesn't understand. It totally is a survival thing

UnbornMortificado Sat 11-Feb-17 22:43:42

But still says I have a lot of making up to do

You have an illness. He should be supporting you, he sounds horrible.

oprahfan Sat 11-Feb-17 23:37:13

The desire to remove oneself from a distressing situation, perceived or real, is very strong indeed. I do not know if this can be successfully treated to be honest,it gets very wearing and upsetting for all concerned. I still have this to deal with and I am 45. I've left some good jobs very suddenly. Didn't want to,but the overwhelming feeling was to run,to get away,not to be a burden. Hide even. Does any of this have similarities to your experiences?
Your DH will come round in time when things are explained in the quiet moments,and it's a good idea to show him this thread to start,and to see if a therapeutic approach from certain providers (you're in the US,right?) can also help. I know there's a huge cost across there, though.
I understand where your DH is coming from,as he just feels all the financial burden is on his shoulders.
YOU CANNOT HELP THIS DESIRE TO RUN. In its most basic form,this is a survival technique due to massive trauma. This is very important to note.
I don't believe he's a bad person,far from it. It takes a lot to walk a mile in someone else's shoes,doesn't it?
I really think in time this can be resolved,maybe not 100%, but to a point where you won't feel the need to keep running away, and can deal fairly successfully with curveballs in the future.
I bet you hate confrontation and would do anything to avoid it.
I bet you also give everything you can to your jobs.
The trauma aspect cannot be ignored, this is in no way unusual for an adult survivor. Its distressing for you that this has impacted onto your DH and into your working life. I understand only too well that you had no intention of leaving your job,but it's far too overwhelming to stay,isn't it? The lying in bed at night,overthinking (which you will be aware of).
I can see resolutions to the situation you find yourselves in.
I find AnxiousCarers comments very helpful & understanding to your predicaments too.
So you've got a few understanding & supportive souls here,even though we're separated by a rather deep & wet pond! X

oprahfan Sun 12-Feb-17 00:22:33

The other thing I've noticed in your original post is the situation being 'under control,but gets worse without much warning'.
YES to this. And it is very debilitating and confusing,not just to us,but to others around us too.

VodkaLimeSoda27 Mon 13-Feb-17 19:00:30

'Didn't want to,but the overwhelming feeling was to run,to get away,not to be a burden. Hide even.'

This is my fucking life. I don't want to keep running away. But I need to face facts - I am unmedicated and without a therapist and have been for too long, living in a strange country far from my family and have had a really rough year (lots of problems with MIL over my weddings). So I need to sort this out, or this will happen over and over again.

DH's solution is to ring the employer to try and get me my job back... he is very insistent this is the way forward to the point of putting a lot of pressure on me. He says I'm putting my barriers up. While this is true, I feel so humiliated and embarrassed that I couldn't go back to that job even if by some miracle they said I could.


oprahfan Mon 13-Feb-17 20:10:42

I know you don't want to keep running away. It's so tiring,I know it has an effect on others,but we're talking about how YOU feel right now. Withdrawal. Hiding. Isolation. Textbook cPTSD stuff pet.
Do you realise you helped me over the weekend? Yup,you did.
I had to speak to my boss, I thought I'd lost my job last week because of the usual high alert,arousal, triggers etc.
My boss has been fantastic today,and between me & her,at her suggestion, she or I can mention a 'safe word' if she or I have concerns that things aren't right.
And you made so much sense.
And do you know what? You don't have to leave your job.
Something triggered you off,plain & simple, how do you know that you won't get support there?
You could have a very pleasant surprise indeed. You might not.
But I'm willing to place a bet 😉 Miracles happen sometimes.
All is not lost,I promise. 70% of cPTSD is due to child abuse. 25% or so is due to military conflicts,wars,etc & the rest to disasters,accidents etc etc etc.
The therapeutic & medical world is still learning of the serious affects of trauma in childhood, but IT IS being taken seriously these days.
I can quite believe your DH when he says you're putting up barriers.
Of course you are! It's a survival technique!
I can understand your DH's insistence about getting you back to work, you CANNOT help nor control what you feel & act out on. This is part of cPTSD until it is treated.
However,I really advise your DH with caution. It is wise NOT to pressure you right now until you have spoken to someone trustworthy either at your place of employment or therapeutically. The last thing you need is more stress. But get support,and soon! I totally get the financial thing,the burden to be shared,and I know you will!
Yes,it will happen over and over again until it is treated,not a great prospect,eh babe?
A strange country....IL issues.....and untreated cPTSD to boot. There's 3 MASSIVE triggers right there.
There are LOTS of great info sites out there,both US, UK ,Australia,etc. The good news is, cPTSD is taken very seriously indeed.
You need to start taking care of yourself Mrs,and your DH needs to help out here too. Get some good people around you (easier said than done especially when we have huge trust & avoidance issues).
Please keep in touch, send a direct message if you need to talk to someone that's going through it right now.
One last thing. It's not shit.
YOU CANNOT help what has happened and is happening to you.
Your poor brain has dealt with prolonged trauma, PTSD & cPTSD is an INJURY! Remember that 😘

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