How to navigate 5 years out of workforce due to PTSD?

Thanks in advance for any wisdom and insight.

I’m struggling and feel like I’m ramming my head into a wall and that really bad outcomes are looming in the form of running out of my emergency savings.

I’ve been in therapy for the past several years to deal with some heavy trauma. Some from childhood, some from a recent marriage. I was beaten a lot by my parents and my ex-wife caused injuries that resulted in a broken neck, a dog attack and was also being suffocated with a pillow repeatedly in my sleep. I had war-veteran like nightmares every night for nearly a year after divorce and I’ve been focused on my mental health.

Feeling better, I have begun the job search. I have an engineering degree in systems engineering and I’ve worked as a network engineer (20 years ago) and have been in people and project management since in different industries. I’ve applied to at least 200 jobs, I’ve gotten 4 interviews and haven’t had any luck while admittedly not interviewing particularly well. The self-esteem from the abuse and the time out of the work force has taken its’ toll.

I’ve been applying for entry level jobs that pay worse than my first job out of college in 1999 and would be happy to secure one, but I’m simply not getting traction. In the interviews I’ve had for them I was told the job was “beneath me,” to which I answered that no job is beneath me and I’m always happy to start a new adventure because there’s always things to learn…

To help not rip through my savings so fast I’ve been doing rideshare, but it’s an unhealthy gig and I don’t enjoy being around drunk people. It also pays very poorly and I have to work 70 hours per week to make any kind of an adult paycheck.

I’ve been told to focus on the positives of my time off and the things I accomplished like studying HTML, CSS, Agile/Scrum Methodologies, CCNA and for other IT certifications but I haven’t taken any of the certification tests because I don’t want to spend the money for nothing. Money is a dwindling resource and my work history should help. I’m also on the autism spectrum and I don’t absorb theory on paper by memorization like others. It helps me to have my hands on the equipment to learn so I’m not completely confident I’d even pass. The other factor is that when you’re in a state of PTSD your hippocampus simply does not function like a healthy one and information retention is problematic.

I simply want my foot in the door somewhere, but to employers a 48 year old with my recent history is a big red flag and it’s a turn off for entry level roles because they expect that I’ll leave for a better paying job at my first chance and of course mid and senior roles see the lack of recent experience and opt for more stable looking candidates.

TLDR – Engineering professional with 5 years out of the work force due to PTSD can’t get entry, mid or senior level work and is going to be broke. Do I start to be more candid about why I’ve been out of the work force for so long (treatment for PTSD) at the first interaction in my cover letter? Spinning it in a positive manner has not proven successful.

View Reddit by xylostudioView Source