Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Some Different Things are the Same

PTSD can cause many symptoms. These symptoms can be grouped into three categories:
1. Re-experiencing symptoms:
  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts.
Re-experiencing symptoms may cause problems in a person’s everyday routine. They can start from the person’s own thoughts and feelings. Words, objects, or situations that are reminders of the event can also trigger re-experiencing.
2. Avoidance symptoms:
  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the experience
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling strong guilt, depression, or worry
  • Losing interest in activities that were enjoyable in the past
  • Having trouble remembering the dangerous event.
Things that remind a person of the traumatic event can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms may cause a person to change his or her personal routine. For example, after a bad car accident, a person who usually drives may avoid driving or riding in a car.
3. Hyperarousal symptoms:
  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping, and/or having angry outbursts.
Hyperarousal symptoms are usually constant, instead of being triggered by things that remind one of the traumatic event. They can make the person feel stressed and angry. These symptoms may make it hard to do daily tasks, such as sleeping, eating, or concentrating.  It’s natural to have some of these symptoms after a dangerous event. Sometimes people have very serious symptoms that go away after a few weeks. This is called acute stress disorder, or ASD. When the symptoms last more than a few weeks and become an ongoing problem, they might be PTSD. Some people with PTSD don’t show any symptoms for weeks or months.*

Boy, today was indeed a long day.  9.5 hours at a desk the day before Thanksgiving is BORING!  But I survived, and what's better, I didn't fall asleep!  I'm very proud of myself today.  I went into this job enthusiastic and positive and I got great feedback.  It was like riding a bike, this answering phones for 30 different companies thing.  I really like this job.  I don't have someone breathing down my neck (ahem, former boss), and I get to talk to and interact with tons of people, and all doing it while letting my attention wander here and there  because despite appearances, I am capable of focusing on more than one thing at a time - in fact, I'll be forced to multitask, which I excel at doing.  I can also streamline and organize this position a lot into what it's supposed to be, because I've done it before and I fully understand what it's supposed to be.

I've also been basically offered a second job - a financial planner in this building needs an assistant for approximately 15 hours a week, and I know and am familiar with financial planning (e.g., retirements, IRAs, mutual funds, annuities, etc.).  I will be discussing it more at length next week with the guy, but I can't even believe this opportunity.  On top of all that, my starting pay is a whole dollar more than I was told it would be in the interview because a.) I have experience in the position, and 2.) I am awesome.  When you suddenly have money, it seems as though all is right with the world.  I will be able to buy decent Christmas presents, I'll get a better tax refund, and I'll be able to pay off CU a little quicker than I had anticipated, as long as I am being responsible with my money.  Maybe I'll even set myself up with a couple of mutual funds.  I'm going to use some of my down time to actually get to writing the book I want to write and expand on living with mental illness and being surrounded by mental illness, and there is even a publisher in my new building! 

So, needless to say, I'm stoked on this new job.  There are definitely some marked differences from my previous executive suites job, but there are also some different perks.  There's a workout room with a steam room and a sauna and there's a rooftop veranda where they have drinks and parties in the summer.  I get to decorate the Christmas tree in the lobby on Monday.  The parking garage to which I have a pass is literally across the street.  The owner of my favorite sushi restaurant has an office in the building.  I'll be working at least one 40-hour week in the next few months.  I might even be able to bring Phoenix to work sometimes.

It's difficult for me to believe that just a couple weeks ago I was really upset and stressed out about the possibility that I might be job and moneyless by this point.  My situation has turned around so quickly and so much and the novelty I'm not taking for granted.  I find myself in a fantastically lucky situation!

Alas, my first 9.5 hour working day has tired me out, not excessively, but enough to the point where I plan on simply vegitating in a semi-conscious state for the remainder of the evening. Aaaahhhhhh.......

*"NIMH · What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?" NIMH · Home. Web. 24 Nov. 2010. <>.

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