Nightmares and Unemployment

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The floor disappeared from under my feet. I saw red and knew immediately that I was going to die. My body fell in terror and died instantly. The next moment, fully conscious in my dream, I thought, “Finally!” I was happy to be dead and excited for the next phase. I could not see anyone else but felt someone else’s presence, and I said to it, “Where’s God? When can I meet him?” But then I heard a voice say, “It’s okay. I’m right here,” as my eyes opened from my sleep. My boyfriend was holding and rocking me. My scream woke him up. I don’t remember screaming at all.

Usually, I don’t wake up after a nightmare. I trained myself years ago to continue sleeping after having nightmares. Needless to say, I don’t remember most of them. Nightmares are a symptom of PTSD.

I am enjoying my time off from being someone’s employee and fully motivated to complete an animation that will serve as a fundraising video for my nonprofit project. But I was concerned about having enough income to pay my debts and for the lifestyle I want to have in the future. Until this dream, I was hoping to become a teaching fellow at San Francisco’s public schools. But after the dream, the job didn’t matter anymore. I had experienced death, or what I think death will be like. There is nothing more to be afraid of, certainly not unemployment.

My new therapist, Dr. Zng, agrees that my nightmare was about 9/11. In it, I experienced what hundreds of people experienced when the twin towers each imploded.

Tonight is one week after the dream. My PTSD symptoms are at a peak. Shopping for food a few days ago left me in almost a panic. My dog was not with me. I went outside twice to mindfully steer away from the anxiety.

Every week I must account for job searching in order to continue receiving unemployment benefits. And every week, the question must be accounted for, “Were you able to work this week?” This week, I am not able. But next week, I’m sure I will be fine. How does one with PTSD not lie on unemployment applications? They also ask, “Are you disabled?” Why, yes, I am. But only sometimes.

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