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Sunday  October 29  8:22 PM EDT

PTSD:  Post Technical Support Disorder
The Hidden Epidemic

By Brian Briggs

Silicon Valley - That rude technical support person who just told you to "format C: and shove it" may not be the incompetent ass you think she is.   Chances are she is suffering from a little known psychological disorder called Post Technical Support Disorder (PTSD).  Symptoms of the disorder include: extreme irritability, telephone phobia, night terrors, recurring flashbacks and nausea.  In extreme cases victims have suffered from hallucinations, usually about strangling callers with phone cords.  PTSD is most common among telephone support personnel, but field support and internal help desk staff are also at risk.


Simon Yang who does support for Westlook Software and suffers from PTSD said, "The nightmares were the worst part of it.  In the dream I would be on a call and the caller would keep repeating 'I didn't change anything and now it doesn't work' over and over and over.  I would wake up screaming."

Help desk manager Kevin Dyer was unaware that most of his staff was suffering from PTSD until he held a special PTSD Awareness Day, "I just thought all my staff was pissed off at the world, you know, some Gen X rebellion thing.  I was surprised to discover that 10 out of 11 people on my staff had PTSD. The other guy was just an asshole."

Jennifer Fassihi suffered for seven years before being diagnosed, "People thought I was just bitchy," said Jennifer, "so did I, until I found out it was PTSD.   With therapy and medication I can now handle idiotic customers without breaking anything."

PTSD can be diagnosed by a doctor or psychiatrist using a simple questionnaire.  A condensed version of this questionnaire is available as a pamphlet, which is being distributed to technology companies in Silicon Valley to raise awareness about the disorder.  If you think you or someone you care about may be suffering from PTSD please visit http://www.ncptsd.org or begin drinking heavily.

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