Upon learning one has the diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), many people go through hell. People living with CPTSD are often forced to quit work to focus more on their symptoms and heal.
In this article, we shall examine losing work because of a disability, the stages of grief that follow it, and how to overcome your strong emotions.
Living with a Disability
Having a disability is challenging. Perhaps you have mobility problems, problems concentrating due to ADHD, or invisible illnesses such as complex post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression. No matter what the diagnosis, a disability changes the lives of the person who has formed it and impairs many functions in the person’s life.
Working with an invisible disability creates a whole new set of problems as the person’s behavior may seem odd or unusual. The person might find they have problems attending work or school due to emotional upset.
What makes matters worse for the person living with an emotional disability is that because it isn’t visible, like a wheelchair, they are oppressed and sometimes taunted because they cannot work.
Quitting Work Because of a Disability
If you are like me, you take pride in your work. You invest your time to ensure your employer is happy and bask in your triumphs. Then, one day after several hospitalizations and breakdowns, your doctor tells you that you must quit work because you cannot function well.
The emotional upheaval accompanying quitting work because of complex post-traumatic stress disorder cannot be stressed enough. Suddenly you have lost your self-assurance and pride with seemingly nothing to replace it.
Filing for disability is tricky, and it is humiliating to tell complete strangers why you cannot hold a job. Then there is the horrible waiting for the answer from the social security administration about whether they have approved or denied your claim. Unfortunately, the drama of filing for disability can last years due to the number of people seeking it and how the SSA functions.
I know that when I was forced onto disability, I wept seemingly endlessly because I had loved my job and felt a failure for needing to quit. But as my therapist told me, I still had a full-time job called healing.
It is important to note here that it is easier to go onto short-term disability if your company has it and then transition later to permanent disability because at least you’ll still have some income while waiting for the social security administration to determine if you qualify for disability.
The Grief One Feels When Quitting a Job Because of Disability
Grief is an overwhelming and intense emotion that stems from a loss.
After you’ve quit your job and filed for social security benefits, you suddenly grieve your lost position. Grief is so constant and pervasive that it affects your home life and relationships.
Grief is natural as a reaction to your loss and is a personal experience, with no two people experiencing it quite the same way. You may grieve about your job loss because you now feel useless or have too much time on your hands to think of anything else.
Experts advise those grieving over their job loss to understand that they cannot control what has happened, that it is not their fault they were forced to end their job and to prepare for the five stages of grief.
The Stages of Grief
Losing a job because of complex post-traumatic stress disorder is challenging to accept. You may wonder if you will be able to work in the future and feel somewhat betrayed by your mind.
While everyone grieves differently, there are some commonalities in how we grieve, although the order may differ. These are called the five stages of grief.
According to Kubler-Ross, here are the five stages of grief and a brief explanation of each.
Denial. It is not unusual for people to respond to a job loss by trying to prevent for a while that the loss did not occur. Denial allows for more time to absorb your new normal and begin acknowledging it gradually. Denial is a common defense mechanism that helps numb you to the intensity of your emotions.
Anger. After you have numbed out for a while to your job loss, you will find that anger has been hiding beneath the surface and now hides many of the emotions and pain you feel. Your anger may be redirected to other people, or you might aim your anger at an inanimate object. While the rational part of your brain knows the anger you are projecting is not the blame for your emotional upheaval, your emotions at that moment are too intense to act on.
Bargaining. Because you feel vulnerable and helpless after quitting your job due to CPTSD, it is not uncommon to try and find ways to regain control or feel like you can change the outcome. You may ask yourself “what if” or “if only.” Some religious people may try to make a deal with God or become more dependent upon him. Bargaining is a defense against the strong emotions accompanying grief and pain by helping to postpone the sadness, hurt, and confusion.
Depression. Depression feels like a quiet stage of grief. After the early stages of grief, when you were running from your emotions and trying to keep ahead of them, you now embrace and begin working through them. Some people choose to isolate themselves to cope with their loss, but that doesn’t mean that depression is easy. The depression may feel overwhelming, heavy, and foggy.
Acceptance. This emotional stage of grief is not necessarily uplifting, and it doesn’t mean you have moved past grieving over losing your job to disability. What it does mean is that you have accepted what has happened and understand what your new way of life means to your life. In the acceptance stage, you might feel differently than you did during the other four stages, such as feeling you understand that no one is 100%in control of their lives. You’ll have good days and bad, but that’s okay.
Not everyone goes through the stages of grief linearly, and you may repeat them. You might linger for a long time on a stage before moving on but begin to slowly think more rationally and feel the emotions you initially pushed aside.
Overcoming the Grief Associated with Losing Your Job to CPTSD
The grieving process takes time and happens gradually. You cannot hurry or force grieving, and there is no ‘normal’ timetable to grief. It may take weeks, months, or even years to heal, so be patient with yourself and allow yourself room to overcome your grief.
There are some methods to help you cope with the pain and uncertainty following losing your employment to your mental health situation.
- Acknowledge your pain
- Accept that grief triggers different and unexpected emotions
- Seek in-person support from people who care about you
- Emotionally support yourself by taking care of your body
- Recognize the difference between grief and depression
- If you cannot overcome your emotions on your own, seek out professional help
Working through your loss from quitting your job is difficult but necessary, and the above methods can help.
Ending Our Time Together
Quitting a job because you have become too ill is difficult at best. The loss one feels is overwhelming at times and can lead to further complications of complex post-traumatic stress disorder.
It is vital to remember that, despite what some people may tell you, you are a worthwhile and valuable person whether you are working or not. Don’t allow the stupidity and biases of others
If you cannot find support from friends or family, please, feel free to take advantage of CPTSD Foundations’ many programs. If you cannot afford to pay for the programs, we have an application you can fill out to receive a grant.
“Life is too short to waste any amount of time on wondering what other people think about you. In the first place, if they had better things going on in their lives, they wouldn’t have the time to sit around and talk about you. What’s important to me is not others’ opinions of me, but what’s important to me is my opinion of myself.” – C. JoyBell C.
“It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.”
― John Joseph Powell
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The Healing Book Club
As of May 7th, 2022, the current book will be – “A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD: Compassionate Strategies to Begin Healing from Childhood Trauma.”
by Dr. Arielle Schwartz.
Here is an Excerpt –
Repetitive trauma during childhood can impact your emotional development, creating a ripple effect that carries into adulthood. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is a physical and psychological response to these repeated traumatic events. A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD contains research-based strategies, tools, and support for individuals working to heal from their childhood trauma. You don’t have to be a prisoner of your past.
Learn the skills necessary to improve your physical and mental health with practical strategies taken from the most effective therapeutic methods, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization, and reprocessing (EMDR), and somatic psychology. When appropriately addressed, the wounds of your past no longer need to interfere with your ability to live a meaningful and satisfying life.
This book includes:
- Understand C-PTSD—Get an in-depth explanation of complex PTSD, including its symptoms, its treatment through various therapies, and more.
- Address the symptoms—Discover evidence-based strategies for healing the symptoms of complex PTSD, like avoidance, depression, emotional dysregulation, and hopelessness.
- Real stories—Relate to others’ experiences with complex PTSD with multiple real-life examples in each chapter.
Start letting go of the pain from your past—A Practical Guide to Complex PTSD can help show you how.
If you or a loved one live in the despair and isolation of complex post-traumatic stress disorder, please come to us for help. CPTSD Foundation offers a wide range of services, including:
- Daily Calls
- The Healing Book Club
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- Daily Encouragement Texts
All our services are reasonably priced, and some are even free. So, sign-up to gain more insight into how complex post-traumatic stress disorder is altering your life and how you can overcome it; we will be glad to help you. If you cannot afford to pay, go to www.cptsdfoundation.org/scholarship to apply for aid. We only wish to serve you.
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My name is Shirley Davis and I am a freelance writer with over 40-years- experience writing short stories and poetry. Living as I do among the corn and bean fields of Illinois (USA), working from home using the Internet has become the best way to communicate with the world. My interests are wide and varied. I love any kind of science and read several research papers per week to satisfy my curiosity. I have earned an Associate Degree in Psychology and enjoy writing books on the subjects that most interest me.