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Triggers at work and school - February 17th 2019, 06:06 AM

I am having a hard time at work and I am at the brink of quitting. What's keeping me stay longer is not having something else lined up that will help me pay my bills and expenses but I am working on getting another job that actually fits and is a supportive environment because I identified this week with the help of my support team that I am getting triggered at work a lot.

I have a friend S, who has 3 pets right now (2 guinea pigs and 1 kitten). I will be sitting them and the house while she and her family are on vacation. I find S to be a difficult person. We are friends but it is not healthy. A lot of people who see us together do not get it. It is only the people who have not met her and I have told about my experience with S and her family, are the ones who get it which is like 2 people right now.

But I am going to get paid 100 dollars for this and I set my own hours and it is only 4 days. I just feel like I am going to try this out.

Anyway, I thought I would share because some months ago I was pet sitting a bird and I really enjoyed it and that friend was like telling me how many guests get scared of the bird and wouldn't feel comfortable hanging out with the bird alone and for hours. And it is like a cool thing I have. So here is hoping that maybe house and pet sitting can become like a side gig along with babysitting till I really figure myself out.

It is just hard because I want to care for pets and I love cats but I get triggered when I see black ones. This kitten is not black though. But I just feel like crying all day. But I can't avoid animals. I pretty much bring in the word "cat" into almost every conversation these days and it is like a false sense of comfort. I just do it out of needing comfort but it doesnt actually feel comforting.

Also I will be starting a TA course that is Tuesday and Thursday of this week. It is about violence prevention. I do not know if I will get triggered from this.

I was about to work at a preschool for children with developmental disabilities as a teacher's aide and then take the exam to be a teacher's assistant and I turned down the job for a few reasons. But it was related to my triggers. I am still asking myself if I did the right thing about withdrawing my application when really if I wanted to do it so badly, I would have put more effort till I got everything I needed to get done. I did start off very interested and in the middle I was losing interest and feeling like it was not a good fit and there were a few examples here and there. But what really tipped it over was when I was given a questionnaire to fill out that asks about my health conditions. It is illegal to require me to answer this pre-employment (or possibly illegal at any point) and I found this out from multiple reliable sources that involved speaking to people directly. I was however told by one of them that they're allowed to ask but I am not obligated to answer. However at this point I was already turned off and feeling stuck. I also realized going from 10 hours a week to 32 hours a week is a very big jump for me among other things. Anyhow, I am wondering if it is bad to not stay in a job for a full year? April would be 1 year of getting hired at the job I have now. I kind of quit because I told the agency and the family but did not give an actual date of when I was leaving. I told them I will be working at that preschool but then things changed and I did not feel comfortable telling them that I will not be working there but instead will be continuing to look for a new job and then leave. The parents ask how I am doing in the process and I keep saying I am working on the paperwork. I just dont want to feel so exposed. I am kind of in a tight knit community of Jews in my county and I used to not really be in the community and since I started going to iop I guess I was kinda in the community but I really started being *in* the community when I moved out of my family in June 2018 and moved into this private faith based jewish shelter and I get all kinds of questions that put me on the spot that are normal to be asked as part of the community but for me personally I am finding it very challenging as someone who is living with mental illness and did not have a normal life and I can easily feel very exposed. A simple question like "what high school did you go to?" or "what's your father's name?" can really set me off, whereas others would answer these questions without batting an eyelash.

So anyway. I am not sure if anyone really gets the depth of what I am going through. I would appreciate some insight if possible or just acknowledgement that you read it.

Thank you for listening
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Re: Triggers at work and school - February 20th 2019, 10:14 PM

Sorry to hear that you are having a hard time at work and are thinking of quitting. It's definitely worth trying to have other things lined up before/if you decide to quit.

It definitely sounds like house/pet sitting is something you are interested in trying and perhaps may be a way of earning some money on the side. Unfortunately, you won't be able to avoid your trigger (black cats) but you can try to ground yourself and bring yourself into the present. While the cat might remind you of your own which you sadly can't be with, you can still provide the much needed love and care to the cat in your care. If, afterwards, you feel the need to cry, that's okay too.

How is the TA course going? Did you cope well with any triggers that arose?

It makes sense that you may have started out really interested as a teacher's aide and then decided maybe it wasn't a good match for you. It is hard trying to work in an area that is potentially triggering. I'm not sure what it's like where you are, but sometimes employers may ask about health issues so that they can accommodate you if need be. That said, it makes sense that you would be wary when you have been told that it's illegal to ask these things, especially if it's triggering and could even be used to discriminate. Also, for some people, it can be difficult transition from 10 hours to 32 hours, more so when you aren't used to it and can't slowly increase your hours.

When you are first starting out with finding work, it makes sense that you may not stay in jobs for long before switching to work that you are more interested in, better suited to etc. In the long term, if you are constantly changing job roles quickly, it may not look so good on a CV as employers may feel that you are indecisive. You mention that you were working for an agency so it's likely that many agency workers change jobs (as they may be on temporary contracts as opposed to permanent jobs).

It's okay if you don't want to talk to the family about your exact circumstances. If you want to be honest, you could just be vague and say that the job didn't work out or it fell through but you are still looking anyway. Remember, it's your life and you don't owe anyone an explanation for your work or personal life.

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