TW: CPA/DV Triggers and Work and Panic Attacks (but no details)

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briasmith12

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Recently, I've started spiraling. I went from "managing" (at like a 6/10) to a level of depression and anxiety that my anxiety medication and self-care techniques can't touch. It's been incredibly frustrating to me as it's been years since I've felt quite this fragile and un-grounded, the last time being when M died. A week or so ago, I realized what must have been the trigger, an incident about a month ago. The short version is that a woman came into the cafe where I work and physically threatened another customer. She was unhinged and upset about him cutting her off on the freeway, a couple of miles away. I acted without thinking, like I did as a kid, and immediately got between the woman and her target, and escorted her out as I called the police. She was so sure she was justified that she waited for the police to show up so she could share her part of the story.

As if that wasn't enough, a couple of weeks ago, a couple was in our parking lot and a dv situation developed. As I was the supervisor, one of the baristas came and got me and I was calling the police...again. I have been so stressed and paranoid at work, hypervigilant and just exhausted when I get home. Haven't wanted to go anywhere or do anything. My boss is thankfully understanding (she knows about the anxiety) and has reduced my hours and shortened my shifts.

This morning, one person called in sick and then, at 615 (we open at 430 am), one of our coworkers walked through the door for her shift...completely and utterly drunk. Weaving when walking, barely could form sentences, drunk, and it's been an ongoing issue with her. I'm sympathetic about her situation, addiction is horrible and a cyclical battle, but I have not been in a good place and this put me over the top. I just lost it. Our cafe is very, very busy, as we're near a lot of businesses and on a main thoroughfare for vacationers and commuters, and I had to somehow make magic happen with three people. I have already been so on edge at work. A situation like this I can normally handle with very few ruffled feathers. This time, though, I had to go into the back and take a few minutes as I felt myself starting to hyperventilate and panic and I couldn't stop it. It's the first time in months that I've had a panic attack at work and the first one that others have seen, and it was triggered by something that is normally annoying, but not something I (generally) see as catastrophic. I'm not really in a position to not work, but I have been losing faith lately in my ability to handle my job. It's a stressful job without adding my triggers and generally unpredictable, but manageable, emotions, and as my ability to cope continues to fracture, I'm just not sure how much more of this (being the job) I can take.

I do have a new T in the crosshairs, but It's taken a long time to even schedule an appointment, so I'm not sure how long it will be until I can get some real help working through all of this. It's just been the day from * and I know some of you (if not all) will understand where I'm coming from and that's not a thing I have a lot of in my life. Sympathizers and empathizers are very different though equally important when it comes to things like this. I guess I just need validation because it's one of those days that I feel legitimately crazy and unstable.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2018, 02:11:49 AM by briasmith12 »

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Boatsetsailrose

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Re: TW: CPA/DV Triggers and Work and Panic Attacks (but no details)
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2018, 09:24:53 AM »
Hi brias
I hear you I really do.. Iíve been working as a nurse and after 2 long periods of being off over the past 18 mths due to busy stressful job and cptsd combined I have made the decision no more and I am ending my career.
My main learning over this past 2 yrs is me and my health have to come 1st. As you describe things you normally would cope with become so heavy. Hyperventilating and Panic attack for me are warning sign that my system has been under too much pressure for too long. I can relate to reacting in ways that I was condition to in foo and thatís a testament of your recovery to notice that and change reactions.
Your manager sounds supportive. Is the reduction in hours helping ? Or is it too soon to say ? Can you take some holiday time ? Or indeed some sick time ?
Iíve learnt to take what I need slightly ahead of crisis is the most helpful.
Also to think about what strategies I have in place for self care / anxiety management and pin these to the wall so I can do some practice daily

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sanmagic7

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Re: TW: CPA/DV Triggers and Work and Panic Attacks (but no details)
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2018, 02:52:24 PM »
the roller coaster ride we experience with this beast is just horrible.  bssr found one way, the best way for them, to deal with it.  unfortunately, not everyone is able to do that.  i totally agree with bssr that self-care comes first.  as individuals, we must find just which way that is for each of us.

i absolutely don't think you're crazy or unstable, even tho your groundedness may be a little rocky underfoot right now.  these have been 3 big situations you've had to deal with in a very short period of time - that kind of thing can get to anyone.  managing c-ptsd on top of it, well, it's no wonder you experienced a panic attack.  i don't think that's out of the norm.

it sounds like shortening your shifts may be helpful for now.  it will give you some time to process your reactions and feelings, some extra down times between shifts, and possibly enough time to re-ground yourself so that you can eventually go back to your former schedule, if that's what you want to do.

customer service, and supervising others in that field can often be tricky, even for those who don't have a history of trauma.  take it easy on yourself and do what you need to do for you, first and foremost, ok?  you are the most important one in your life, always.   sending love and a warm, healing hug to you, brias.

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briasmith12

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Re: TW: CPA/DV Triggers and Work and Panic Attacks (but no details)
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 06:26:54 AM »
Your manager sounds supportive. Is the reduction in hours helping ? Or is it too soon to say ? Can you take some holiday time ? Or indeed some sick time ?
Iíve learnt to take what I need slightly ahead of crisis is the most helpful.
Also to think about what strategies I have in place for self care / anxiety management and pin these to the wall so I can do some practice daily

Thank you, bssr. It's comforting to know that I'm not alone in this. And thank you so much for acknowledging my progress. I often forget I'm in the "it will get worse before it can get better" part of my journey, but that I'm still moving forward. The reduction in hours has helped some, but my manager also hasn't been consistent. A week and a half ago, I worked 6 days straight, and 4 of those days were long. Starting tomorrow, I have three long days, 4 days "off" for my younger brother's wedding (two of my abusers will be there), a short work day after that, and then the following three days off for real and a visit with the psychiatrist to get medication changed/adjusted. I could go on medical leave, which I'm seriously considering right now, but it's difficult for me to ask for time off (fog) as we're currently shorthanded  and I'm moving at the end of August. I'll know more once I talk to the psych; I'd be braver having backup from a dr.

customer service, and supervising others in that field can often be tricky, even for those who don't have a history of trauma.  take it easy on yourself and do what you need to do for you, first and foremost, ok?  you are the most important one in your life, always.   sending love and a warm, healing hug to you, brias.

Thank you, san. Self-care is the most difficult thing to do as that feeds the fog. Your kind words help a lot. :hug: I'm finding more and more that the cs field is not for me. SA is big for me, but haven't been able to secure another job in a this town. I do simultaneously better and worse as a supervisor because I have a lot to think about (distractions), but it requires more confrontation. It's definitely a trade off. I'm hoping the psych appt will yield results, as this particular psych is known for being well-read and actually listening. Here's to hoping.

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sanmagic7

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Re: TW: CPA/DV Triggers and Work and Panic Attacks (but no details)
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 12:26:39 PM »
hoping right beside you that you get what you need from the psych.  sounds like that could really be helpful. 

yeah, those trade-offs.  they can definitely be tricky.  sometimes it seems like we're walking thru a minefield.

i also hope you're feeling a bit better right now, having a break from all the crisis management.  love and hugs to you, sweetie.

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Boatsetsailrose

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Re: TW: CPA/DV Triggers and Work and Panic Attacks (but no details)
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2018, 08:17:03 AM »
Hi Brai
Yes we are always moving forward now we are in recovery :) though my my sometimes Iím in a hole and I forget Iíll get out :)
Re your manager and hours
Quote Ďmy manager is understanding and knows about my anxietyí
 Ďbut my manager also hasnít been consistentí.
In my experience I have needed to keep re iterating what I need to stay well to my management. I realised it was up to me to keep knocking the door and saying hello this is what I am doing and this is what I canít do and this is what I need - and then asking is that possible can that be put into place as a permanent ?
I got into a place where it was Ďcan you meet my health needs / disability and give me reasonable adjustmentsí Ď Iíll do a good job for you but I need to be met with this as itís important I put my health firstí. Any boss who is worth something will see the humane in this and look at if it is feasible to balance what I ask for with the business. If itís not feasible then itís better I know and I can then make an informed decision.
I give you my experience brias as someone who has had many years of juggling work and health and itís been through collapsing Iíve learnt really how to put myself first. Managers are busy they have such a lot to think about but as both you and I are in the lower management roles there is a right to be met as there is with the junior staff you supervise.
Quote Ď I worked 6 days straight and 4 of those were longí. Did you have this rota in advance ?
I used to work long days in a care home, I did this for 2.5 yrs and it truly burnt me out .. shift work takes its toll. Iíve never recovered from yrs of long days and shift work itís had a long term effect on me despite Iíve had months off work and slept hours and hours.
At the hospital I would get my rota in advance and then flag up any inconsistencies, shifts that went against what Was agreed ( thats why it is good to get a firm agreement and not just a weíll see what we can do) and any changes that could be made. Can be tricker if you are the only one doing that role ? But still ...
My
Biggest lesson through it all is acting fearless - even though Iím very fearful - trusting putting myself first. Of course we need money to live but no no job on this planet is worth my sanity and inner life.
Iím in a place now where letting go of nursing feels right and good and a relief. I donít want to have a job where I hold responsibility anymore. Iím looking at receptionist work and 9-5 mom - fri. Last week I worked my 1st 9-5 week in 25 yrs !!! It felt incredibly good - my body so needs regularity and of course that makes perfect sense as that is the core of treating cptsd regular and calm treatment.
I finished on Friday felt good and just had the wk end off with friends - perfect.

Let us know how you are getting on brias ...
best wishes
Boat