Scott Dylan on how to cope with Complex PTSD while running a business

Don’t let Complex PTSD stop you from managing your business.

Unfortunately, many business leaders struggle with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) while running their businesses. The effects of the condition can be particularly debilitating, a huge concern for entrepreneurs who are responsible for such a high volume of work outputs. The long hours, financial pressures, and periods of isolation that are all too common with entrepreneurship can often trigger Complex PTSD – but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to run your business effectively.

Complex PTSD while running a businessHere, Scott Dylan, partner and co-founder of Fresh Thinking Group (FTG), an acclaimed capital investment organisation in Manchester, explores the resources that are open to business leaders who have Complex PTSD. Scott himself manages the condition and is well-practised when it comes to balancing work and life with Complex PTSD.

What is Complex PTSD?

Complex PTSD encompasses all the symptoms of PTSD, as well as additional symptoms that are usually also triggered by traumatic experiences. These additional symptoms include difficulty controlling emotions, avoiding relationships, experiencing dissociative symptoms, and feeling distrustful, empty, or hopeless. Scott also emphasises that insomnia can be a particularly challenging symptom. Lack of sleep has a direct impact on your output and productivity, which can be a huge problem for business leaders.

Complex PTSD is a relatively new term. Medical professionals have identified that some traumas can cause additional effects on top of PTSD but – until recently – many have disagreed over whether these additional symptoms should be diagnosed as PTSD or a separate condition.

Though there aren’t yet any medical treatments for Complex PTSD, Scott recommends a series of organisations’ resources that can help business leaders to maintain a strong handle on the condition.

Scott Dylan’s top 5 Complex PTSD organisations for business leaders

As a business leader, you’ll know that you don’t always just need to protect yourself. There’s often a team of people that you also need to look out for – employees that need motivation, direction, and emotional support. But how can you continuously offer this support when suffering from Complex PTSD?

Scott manages the major symptoms of Complex PTSD while supporting large business teams by making the most of mental health resources from the following five organisations. He emphasises that these associations provide and curate some of the most valuable resources for entrepreneurs who are supporting themselves and others.

1) ACAS

ACAS is best-known for offering employment law advice, but the organisation also provides an array of resources designed to support entrepreneurs through mental health struggles. Plus, ACAS helps business leaders to fulfil their duty of care towards employees with mental health issues by detailing their obligations and effective systems to meet these.

2) Mind

Mind promotes psychological wellness and offers a people manager’s guide to mental health, as well as a host of supplementary resources to support employers and employees through mental health struggles. In particular, Mind has produced a selection of outstanding tools that business leaders can use to implement solid mental health policies and procedures.

3) Remploy

Remploy has developed an expansive suite of mental health resources, and the Department of Work and Pensions fully funds its excellent Access to Work Mental Health Support Service. Remploy acknowledges mental health conditions as disabilities and has produced a series of webinars to educate teams on the importance of understanding mental health.

4) Mental Health at Work

Mental Health at Work offers over 400 free resources for employers to support themselves and their staff. You can navigate your way through these resources by taking an initial quiz, which recommends the resources that you and your staff will likely find most beneficial. Mental Health at Work also lists countless ideas to improve workplace culture and develop mental health policies, ideal for both established firms and start-ups.

5) Time to Change

Time to Change is a forward-thinking organisation that works to overcome mental health stigmas by providing accessible resources and strong calls to action for those who are fighting for better acceptance of mental health issues in workplaces. Time to Change also operates a support helpline for employers and employees.

Scott Dylan’s 5 tips to help manage the effects of Complex PTSD

Aside from seeking excellent resources from these handy organisations, Scott recommends five tips that can help day to day when leading a business with Complex PTSD:

1) Polish your finance skills

As a business leader, you’ve probably got a solid grasp of financial basics. Despite this, polishing your finance skills is always a good idea – you never know which handy tips might save you stress later down the line. From negotiating contracts and separating business and personal finance to managing expenses and smoothing out your financial systems, there are plenty of financial learnings that can help you to avoid money worries. Money management tools and services can also be a fantastic help when it comes to relieving stress. The right tools can bring you immense peace of mind, whether you’re looking at business loans or a financial advisor.

2) Prepare budget-friendly marketing tactics

As established in the first tip, finance and stress are closely tied. That’s why it’s helpful to have a string of marketing strategies up your sleeve that won’t compromise your business financially. As a starting point, social media is one of the most valuable tools you’ll come across. Social platforms allow you to communicate with thousands of people for free without having to engage in face-to-face interactions at scale (which can sometimes trigger Complex PTSD). For example, you could launch share-to-win giveaways when you release new products or services to expand your reach without paying a penny. Consider which platforms your audience is most active on and how you can reach them.

3) Channel a positive mindset

When the pressures of running a business mount up, the most important thing you can do is take steps to maintain a positive mindset. Your business will inevitably journey through ups and downs, and it’s easy to feel disheartened when navigating a difficult period. During these times, it can be helpful to focus on your business’ achievements: remind yourself of your successes, goals, and the reasons that you set up your business in the first place. If you still can’t feel motivated or positive, taking a week or two out to recharge can do a world of good.

4) Take time for yourself

Speaking of recharging, taking time out is vital when promoting mental health. Taking breaks is a must for everyone, let alone those suffering from Complex PTSD. Never feel guilty about making time for your family and your own needs. Make sure you have time for your exercise routine and to prepare healthy meals, as well as any hobbies or social activities – even if this means saying no to additional business obligations.

5) Don’t try to go it alone

Isolation can make the symptoms of Complex PTSD much worse. Though entrepreneurship often goes hand in hand with solo work, it’s important to connect with as many people as possible when running your own business. Whether you connect with networking groups or opt to work in shared offices, peer support from like-minded entrepreneurs can overcome feelings of aloneness and allow you to form meaningful business relationships.

Managing Complex PTSD is difficult for anyone, but the condition often amplifies challenges for business leaders. It’s essential that you have access to the support that you need to manage your enterprises. Always remember that you are not alone – Complex PTSD affects many entrepreneurs all over the world.

Learn more about mental health in the workplace at Scott Dylan’s blog.