Welcome to PTSD Bunker Gear For Your Brain
Modified duty. Light duty. Return to work program. Temporary work assignment. Workplace accommodation. Medically restricted work assignment. Alternate placement? YUK! It doesn’t matter what you call it or what phrase you use. Most people cringe at the very thought of this; going back to work with specific limitations. After all, who wants to spend their days counting paperclips or sorting socks in the supply room? To many, particularly emergency responders modified duty is like a death sentence. Let’s face it; we’ve all heard the stories (whether accurately accounted or not) of people forced to accept demeaning and useless work roles placed upon them by their employer. Often the day is spent walking around with a stack of blank papers in an effort to look busy while not being spotted by management. I’m pretty sure you all know exactly what I am talking about. To some, modified work placement still carries a negative stigma. “Oh look, so-and-so smashed their ankle and broke their leg and now they are on modified duty! What a BABY!!!” To others, the thought of being confined to a boring office environment seems unbearable. After all, emergency responders are used to working fast-paced shifts in the field, NOT being stuck behind a desk all day having to account for what they have accomplished with their time. This is one of the saddest reasons I hear why people don’t seek any kind of help. Many worry that if they are diagnosed with PTSD or any other mental issue then BOOM they are immediately removed from the trucks. This is what I thought, and one of the reasons that I too avoided getting help when I needed it. And yet again, I was wrong. PTSD may or may NOT have an impact on your ability to perform your regular duties. Just because you have been diagnosed does not mean you are unfit. A diagnosis does not necessarily mean that you are incapable of doing your job. What a diagnosis does is provide you the opportunity to get the help you need. Remember, PTSD (or any other work-related emotional stress) is simply a normal reaction to the extreme trauma experienced throughout your career. So, who and what determines your need for modified duty? Well, YOU do of course. You, along with your doctor are the ones who decide this. Another common misconception many have is that you have no control over your recovery. And many think you have no control over your return to work. And that simply is not true. You have more say in it than you realize. Although it IS quite common to return to work after an extended absence to some form of modified work, it is NOT necessarily automatic. Perhaps reduced work hours would be a more suitable fit than modified physical duties. The options are endless and specific to each individual. What we have to remember is the parameter of what defines modified work has changed. Up until now, it has exclusively applied to physical injuries. After all, presumptive legislation for emergency responders is a relatively new development. Few departments have had the first-hand experience of moving employees through this process and don’t necessarily know what to expect. Can you be attending physiotherapy and still ride the trucks? What about registered massage therapy? There are many examples I can use in which an individual is receiving treatment for a physical injury and yet still be able to perform regular duties. Why would this be any different? Work with your doctor and develop a plan together. You don’t have to leave the trucks. Just because you CAN take time off, doesn’t mean you MUST take time off. And just because you HAVE been off, doesn’t mean you MUST return to modified duty.
Thanks so much for stopping by and make sure to check out our blog at www.ptsdbunkergearforyourbrain.com, as well as Facebook and Twitter page. PTSD may be a worthy opponent but is no match for the title wave of information that is available to defeat it.