Please help - working with PTSD

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Hi all

I've resistered on here today because I've been tailing the Internet trying to find somewhere that could potentially offer me some support or words of wisdom as I'm in such a difficult position right now.

I'm finding it hard trying to figure out where to begin with my story but I'll try... For about 2 years now I've been dealing with anxiety following an assault I was involved in which was pretty life changing in my mind because it completely affected my entire outlook on life and how I portray people. I see everyone as an enemy and I hate having to leave the house and view the outside world. It just scares me and even talking about this now makes me really uncomfortable.

I've tried and tried and tried to ignore this anxiety and the underlying cause but a few months ago at work I guess I had a breakdown. My heart rate went through the roof, my breathing became shallow and I was continously out of breath. I hate a very tight chest and ultimately thought I was going to or was having a heart attack which added to the anxiety I already suffer from. I was admitted to A&E by work, I had several blood tests, ECG's, chest X-ray and all tests came back clear. Following this I was signed off from work because these symptoms stayed with me for weeks and I was later referred to a cardiologist. I had to be placed on a 24 hour tape and got the results back 4 weeks later. The cardiologist said my heart was looking healthy but she had noticed from the reading that when I came into contact with other people my heart rate would significantly go higher. I told her I'm always aware of my heart and my the continuous heaviness in my chest. I sometimes have panic attacks, especially at hospital. She later told me that she can rule out heart problems but she can tell I have a severe form of anxiety and told me it is also due to the assault I was involved in, therefore recommended beta blockers and counselling therapy (still waiting for this).

Like I said up to now I've had medical notes from my GP saying I cannot work and today I've had to renew my doctors note and he said he is reluctant to give me one because people with anxiety are generally off work for no longer than 2 weeks. I feel upset by this, really upset in fact because mentally I'm not the same person. Physically I'm finding it function and yet he believes I'm fit for work because and I quote "IT'S JUST ANXIETY". This can be a really debilitating mental health problem and it certainly is for me. I work as a health care assistant and its incredibly stressful and very demanding. I don't see any way forward at this moment in time. I just can't. The medication I'm on at the moment are having no effect, having said that they are only 10mg to start. I have been told I will be on 40mg in 2 weeks time. I'm taking 3 Propranolol daily.

I guess ultimately what I'm asking is where do I go from here in regards to this certain GP that thinks I'm fit for work? Right now he had given me a note to cover me for a further 3 weeks but wants to review me on 15th December. I know he will refuse at that point and I will hand my notice in to work if he does because I don't see what else I can do. I'm praying every day that once my therapy begins I will feel a lot better mentally. For the GP today to turn round and tell me it's only anxiety and people don't need any longer than 2 weeks off work is beyond me. I felt like he has a certain agenda on this and is not looking at it from the way a sufferer does. I've had it for 2 years and I've managed but now it's come to breaking point and made me worse by doing so.

I'm really sorry for such a long post but I hope someone will be patient enough to read this and give some advice. I feel so alone right now.

Dan x

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7 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi there Dan,

    It's very difficult when someone has an unsympathetic GP.

    PTSD..Anxiety/Panic Disorder does not have a timeline of recovery

    This is not flu, earache, appendictis

    This is severe emotional trauma and each individual heals in his own time and own way

    In a sense you have a breathing space from work and social interaction. That's not a bad thing because emotional illnesses,whatever shape or form they take, whatever ignitied them in the first place, there comes a breaking point from sheer exhaustion both physically and mentally

    Thankfully, tests have not shown a serious physical illness. So any fears in that respect can be dismissed

    That's not to say you do not have an illness, because you do. Sadly, much of the treatment will be down to you.

    Don't be disheartened by that. Taking control empowers one. You will feel less helpless if you are helping yourself

    You have started medication. This will help you cope with the worst of the physical symptoms. Therapy is to follow. This will also give you another lifeline and assist you to cope

    And whilst the breathing space will give you time to rest mind and body, the answer to recovery does not lie in hiding away from life

    And that's what you are doing, Dan

    I don't fault you for that. It's something the majority of those who suffer from any form of Emotional Illness tend to do, myself included at one time

    Shutting yourself away is not the answer

    And the longer you "hide" the more difficult it will be to take up the reins of your former life

    Facing fear is the door opening to recovery.

    It is daunting, I know. But you can do it, please believe that

    I understand that once trust has gone it is hard to ever trust again. Your experience instilled a fear in you of society as a whole. But not everyone is bad, you know that

    You work in health care. That is a valuable assistance to those who are vunerable and need help. You can be that person again but you need to have faith in your ability to overcome your problem

    I know you feel lonely. But here on this Forum others will rush to help you. You will have support and reassurance any day at any time. All you have to do is reach out and help will be given

    Self-help involves not fighting your symptoms. Fighting adds stress. Muscles bunch, tension headaches, back aches and neck aching follows. Stomach upsets, insomnia...the list is endless

    Fear induces adrenalin to flood our bodies. You just move your body to rid it. Eat often, small meals, sit down to eat, and chew thoroughly because  anxiety depletes nourishment.

    Our food is our fuel

    No laying in bed, mind racing, Oh, I feel awful!

    No sitting hunched on the settee, Oh God, my heart is pounding!

    Do something, anything, to distract your thoughts away from the fear

    Keep hydrated. Important this. Cut down on sugar laden drinks, fizzy drinks and caffeine. Drink four cups of chamomile tea a day. That settles nerves and stomach, promotes sleep

    Learn Right Breathing

    Most Emotional Illness sufferers shallow breathe and this induces panic attacks. If you have a panic attack place a brown paper bag over nose and mouth and breathe into it until you calm down

    You cannot change the past. You cannot fear the future. You must live in the moment. This is the day you must concentrate upon. Going about it as best you can with quiet determination

    Positive attitude as opposed to negative. You have a choice there, Dan.

    And you can do this!

    Hugs Helen

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  • Posted

    Dear Dan, I've read your post, and I can honestly say, I know how you feel. Anxiety can be a real problem, I know, I suffer with severe anxiety & clinical depression. What you went through was awful, I will pray for you. I think that maybe you should see a different doctor, get a second opinion. I don't know how long you've been taking your medication, but it can take a few weeks before you feel the benefit. I take great comfort in my faith, even though things are hard, I know I am never truly alone, Jesus is with me, He loves me, and He loves you too Dan. God Bless.


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  • Posted

    Thank you both for replying to my thread. I really do appreciate your input.

    I guess ultimately all I'm asking my GP is to allow me extra time off at least why I'm going through therapy because right now I'm not in the mind-set to go back and face hundreds of people and handle the stressful situations at work. I believe work has been a major trigger towards this ordeal and I've been told many a times that I'm in the wrong job with my current mind-set so how I can seen as fit for work is beyond me. I've also been pulled by certain staff at work for not working effectively which is out of my hands unfortunately so it's really having an impact on everything right now. From relationships to my work life.

    I think I'm going to book an appointment with a different GP and really open up and just hope for the best. I don't see how returning to work right now will help me when I've been doing that for the past 2 years and now I'm at my worse.

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    • Posted

      Hi there Dan,

      yes, perhaps you are not suited to the job in your present condition

      . I once worked in Healthcare. It is physically and emotionally draining. You perhaps are not in a place mentally to be able to might never be.

      I left HealthCare and never went back. Best thing I ever did

      Is there something else you could seek employment wise? Are there other options?

      Keep in touch with your progress, okay?



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    • Posted

      Hi Helen.

      I happen to agree with you. I understand most jobs can carry their fair amount of stress and that's somewhat understandable however in my current job role it's a bit too much, especially when understaffed which happens all too often and I'm running around like a headless chicken for the 12 hours shift. I'm contemplating whether to resign from my job as I feel like I'm going to forced back into work which in turn is not going to help me. It's not like I've not tried. I've struggled with this for 2 years now and it's been difficult, very difficult. Ultimately I believe that's why I am here today in this current situation with my mental health. I don't believe I'm suited to the job role anymore. I'm not sure what else there is out for me as health care is all I've known since leaving college. I think like you, I wouldn't look back if I changed job roles. I think I'd be relieved if anything.

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    • Posted

      Hi Dan,

      don't be forced back.

      The thought alone will make you far more anxious. I know it did with me. I set out one morning after a respite from work and I felt so ill I practically staggered home

       I appreciate that there is a fine line between facing fear and running away

      For me I knew, that for the sake of my health and welfare, it was time to step away.

      This is a decision you  must make. But I would advise you sit down and think carefully.This is a decision only you can make.

      I hope that there is some other form of employment open to you should you decide to break away. And please do not let your GP cut you off by denying you a sick note.

      You are ill and entitled to recovery time.

      Apart from which there is not a GP living that can state PTSD or any other form of Emotional Illness has a timeline of recovery.

      Stand firm now. You must put your health and welfare first  ow as I didm so that you can get better, that you can start life again.

      Think carefully about what you might enjoy doing as a means of employment because state of mind is essential when in the workplace. Much of our lives are taken with earning a living. To be unhappy, to be stressed to the point of illness? Can there be anything worse?

      If you can decide what you might like, be comfortable with as a means of employment, then go online and look at career opportunities

      By doing that alone you will not feel helpless. You will be taking control. It will give you hope, something to look forward to

      Let me know how it all goes, anytime

      Hugs Helen


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  • Posted

    Welcome! Just know your not alone. I'm a mother of five I've been diagnosed with PTSD, major depression, anxiety disorder and one year ago I joined this group. It helped m knowing inwasnt alone.

    My past traumas from childhood into adult has given me so much hurt. I started having nightmares and anxiety everyday racing thoughts and more. I resercahed and educated myself more on my diagnosis. I then did a plan that worked for me. Exercise, meditation from YouTube videos , changed my diet and writing in a journal. Helped me. Today I cope better than ever. I avoid negative people so my thoughts can stay positive.

    I'm free to answer any questions. I'm no longer on medications. But I have some if needed. Everyday i speak powerful positive words to myself , meditate, write , and exercise just 30 min walls a day. I avoid sugars my anxiety will get out of order. Just know RECOVERY can and will happen

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