Is PTSD Disclosure in the Workplace Risky?

by | Sep 13, 2012

by Michele Rosenthal  Following is a quote from this site and blog posting…

PTSD in the Workplace: Do You Disclose?

“One of the most difficult things to do in balancing life and PTSD is maintain, develop and/or build a career. There are times we are able to channel all of our anxious energy into being a super-duper employee (there are, you know, great benefits to hyper-vigilance in how you perform your job!) – and times it’s just not possible to expect that level of performance from ourselves. During my own PTSD decades I had eleven jobs in five industries over thirteen years because sometimes I could hold a job – and sometimes I really just couldn’t.”

I write in my story how “hyper-vigilance” served me well in my own career.   I did not know where my sense of urgency came from nor was my severe anxiety condition understood.  I discovered early in my career that it felt good to be the most successful professional in IT sales.  It also felt good to be competitive, highly competitive.  It felt great to workout everyday by running 4-6 miles and staying in shape.  All of this sort of channeling of my high energy was like taking medication.  I was high as a kite all the time!  Making lots of money was okay, but what was most important is being the best sales dude on the planet.  I loved the recognition on the outside, but also felt like it wasn’t deserved on the inside.  I grew up believing that I had to prove something to my Dad and everybody else, including myself.  “I’ll show that SOB,” was my thought of each day.  I was really saying this to my Dad, since he spent most of my childhood telling me I would not amount to a “tinkers dam,” a Royal Navy term from the 19th century.  I was blessed with “super duper” success.  My bosses loved it.  My peers hated it.   I picked high energy, high sense of urgency, and highly anxious, and super smart team members to lead, and built the best IT sales teams and success on the planet during my  long career in IT.  But there was a huge price in my personal life.  The baggage of growing up in a toxic home with a parent who was emotionally and physically abusive finally had to be reconciled later in life so that peace of mind could be discovered for the first time.  I now know peace of mind at age 66, and the journey of healing has been an amazing and wonderful blessing.  But it is true, however, that those who suffer from symptoms of PTSD, especially hyper-vigilance are the best employees on the planet.  Hire them, all of them, but don’t expect them to reveal their secret formula.  Otherwise, the stigma of mental health issues becomes a show stopper.  You can tell everybody about about your PTSD challenges after all the success and financial rewards.  That’s what I did at age 64, and do not regret a minute of keeping a secret…

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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