I'm so anxious I'm afraid of working

Postby wil212 » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:41 pm

For the past few years, I've had a really rough time at the two jobs I've had. I have had to leave both because they were making so miserable and anxious. I tended to make a lot of mistakes, especially at the start of both jobs, as I find it hard to get to grips with a job straight away - perhaps more so than other people. I found that criticism from managers was unbearable to take and it has gradually chipped away at my self-worth.

I spent about half of last year applying for jobs (in between the two jobs I had), but I had no luck despite getting interviews for over ten companies. For a couple of those interviews, I was so anxious that I cancelled last minute, because I didn't feel good enough or smart enough to do those jobs.

Finally I got a job unrelated to my chosen career and was elated. At last somebody wanted me! As it turns out, that was the worst job I could have gone for. I was overworked to the point where I felt I couldn't even eat my lunch or take a break during the day, because I had to get this and that done on time. I was criticised about not working fast enough less than a week after being there. My mistakes were constantly picked apart, despite being given about a morning's worth of training before being thrown in at the deep end. I couldn't cope. I wasn't sleeping, I wasn't eating, I lost a stone in weight and every morning I just wanted to die. I was just as miserable as I was when I ended my previous job, which also gave me severe depression because my manager picked on me and made me feel like everything I did wasn't good enough.

It's got to the point now where I'm so afraid of working somewhere else like that, that I'm not even applying for jobs. I'm surviving on my savings, which are quickly dwindling... but every time I go to apply for a job, I get panicky and shut down. I avoid it at all costs. It's not that I don't WANT to work. I want to contribute to society and have a solid income. But I'm absolutely terrified of working somewhere that will once again make me want to kill myself every minute of the day.

I've decided freelancing from home would be ideal for me, because I enjoy working alone without managerial pressure, but it's going to take a while for me to establish myself as a freelancer. I need a job NOW, but I keep putting it off. I've gone from applying to 4 or 5 jobs every day to maybe 2 or 3 in a week. I don't know what to do anymore. I'm going to therapy, but it's not pulled me out of this slump yet.

How do I get the motivation back before it's too late? :(
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:05 pm

wil212 wrote: I want to contribute to society and have a solid income.


Yes, but you want to do so without experiencing any discomfort and at this point from what it sounds like your ability to tolerate any level of discomfort is very low. You want to freelance, because in your head it is a job that is comfortable.

There is a trade off. The higher the income the more discomfort comes with the job. At this point you are applying for jobs at X currency per hour and in return those jobs pay out in Y discomfort. This discomfort can be offset if you gain some skill or ability in a chosen field.

Anyway, I recommend you work on your life skills. If you want to contribute and have a solid income, then you need to work on your ability to withstand and or manage the discomfort that comes with contributing.

The main way you can do this is by taking a job that has a minimum of discomfort and in return you will get a minimum of income, e.g. a part time job. You work only a few hours, you are only minimally placed in discomfort. Over time this discomfort becomes not so bad and you can then look at more hours or getting a promotion etc. If it is too much, drop back down to part time work that you can handle.
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#2

Postby Arkady » Sun Mar 12, 2017 7:57 am

I understand you more than anyone else. I was in the same situation a few years ago. I'll calm you right away. You just move along the path of your development. You, as well as I, had many despair and experiences. To some extent it's good that you are not satisfied with the attitude of managers towards you. It means that you respect yourself, you are simply on the road where you would feel confident and comfortable. I compare a person's life with a flight on an airplane. When the plane takes off, we feel some turbulence, we are trembling, we feel discomfort, then when the plane is gaining height - to become quiet and calm as at home in the chair. And when the plane goes on landing, it starts to shake us all again and only then lands and everything is quiet again. Now you are in a zone of turbulence. Therefore, you are hard and uncomfortable. And the most important advice that I would give you is really freelancing. This is what I'm trying to do now, although I have a successful business and I do not have a boss over me. But I have other motives - this is a precious human life time. So you are on the right track. Good luck to you.
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#3

Postby whybotherwhynot » Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:51 pm

Hi wil212,

You are not alone. Everybody in this world, from the lowest to the highest step of the ladder in any company, has experiences like yours a few times in his/her life. I did, therefore I understand how you feel, but prefer not to go into details here.

It’s not only employees in the lower levels feel anxious and afraid of this and that, but also the managers and leaders do feel so. Believe me. There are employees who get fired because they are incompetent, lazy and/or call in sick a lot... But some may be unlucky and be bullied, criticized, watched and mobbed by a group of co-workers and some managers and leader because that person is “different” or does not know how to socialize and “fit in”, or because of jealousy from the co-workers for some reasons. But there are managers and leaders who get criticisms from employees and the higher ups too, and they can get fired because they REALLY just point fingers or use their power to threaten the subordinates all the times and don’t do their job well. I’ve seen that with my own eyes.

That’s the business world. When you work for a company/corporate, you have to be able to do your job well to get pay and help your boss to make profits. To be able to do your job well, you need to have good technical and communication skills. Some people are stronger on one kind of skills than the other.

Communication skill is very important no matter you work for an employer or for your own company. For doing freelancing, you still need to have contacts with others. When others like your work, you can sell it. If they don’t, you can’t sell, you don’t make any money. People in business are competitive. The nature of people is judgmental. You have to have thick skin to take criticisms and wisdom to sort out the constructive ones. We all need to accept others, ourselves and learn to change ourselves for the sake of ourselves.

When you are criticized by others at work, and if it’s really serious and it could affect to your job, don’t admit that you are wrong or think the other people are mean right away, try to be calm, at the end of the day, go home, close your eyes, take deep breaths, review what was happening at work, document everything, and think of ways you could get help.

I hope you have a few very good friends at work or out of work that you can trust and talk to so you would not feel sad, worried and depressed.

If you have Union, go to your Union and report everything and ask for help. Go to your Doctor, to your Counselor, anyone you trust and ask for help and advice.

After getting help, if you think that company is good to work for, stay. If not, find somewhere else or find ways to open your own business. Living in life is learning and doing. There's a will, there's a way.

Take good care of your physical and mental health and try to be mindful (look up on Google for the meaning of being mindful).
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#4

Postby Empath » Sat Mar 25, 2017 4:31 pm

Hi. I understand and my situation is similar and i know that it is NOT the same type of anxiety that people feel all the time or in interviews or whatever. This is debilitating and unexplained. It stops you from doing things you want to do and things you know that you are fully capable of doing. I should be doing an assignment now but I couldnt breathe so im here instead but I am going back to it. Im proud of me for that. Be proud of you too, you keep going back to find your space and place. I managed for so long with it feeling fine because I just stayed away from anything that even smelt like a real challenge. I wasnt fine, I was stagnating. When I started doing the things I had always dreamt of - not even anything spectacular! :lol: like getting a degree/learniung to drive. Thats when It all came back. I didnt/havent given up and never will because staying closed up so tightly and safely was hurting me more than even the worst panic attack. I agree with one of the earlier replies using the flight similie. Youre feeling this way because youre getting to the place you need to be so you are doing good. I have a job that makes my anxiety worse but i suffer panic attacks all the time for no obvious reason. I have propanolol 40mg to take up to 3 times a day. I need to leave my job and get real excited abiut all the jobs I COULD apply for, I even start some applications, but I never finish them off. Im Sort of in limbo.
I'm Curious about the type of therapy youre having and how its going? Ive had 3 CBT sessions so far and whilst its nice to have someone to talk to and help me 'unpack' my thoughts , im waiting for the big reveal! He asks me lots of questions about how I feel and what im thinking right now and what i think about those thoughts and he notes them down, then we look at them and agree that 'alot is going on here' :? but ermmmmm, ok, so what next though? he always says this is good. This is very good see you next week................
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#5

Postby Arkady » Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:23 pm

phrase: "I have a job that makes my anxiety worse but i suffer panic attacks all the time for no obvious reason. I have propanolol 40mg to take up to 3 times a day"


Do not take propranolol. If unbearable, then you need to be patient for 10-20 minutes and then as before you feel well-being. If thoughts do not recede and do not give you comfort, then snap your fingers (imagine that you have a magic wand in your hand) and feel how your thoughts change. This is not a distraction from the problem, but it is the work of the subconscious. At once it will not work, but if you train all the time, you will get a good result. And do not be afraid to do what you want. Check yourself and do what you especially do not want to do, because you're afraid. For example: if you are afraid to fly on an airplane, then necessarily fly. If you are afraid that you will get stuck in an elevator - then be sure to use the elevator. The best defense is an attack. Attack your fears and they will back off from you. Do it. Be brave. Here's a look at what happens: First - is an act, then a habit , then a conviction and finally You create your character. This experience is vital. And there is no other way. So first of all you have to do things, make an act, that you will be proud of yourself.
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#6

Postby Empath » Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:11 pm

I like this, thank you!
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#7

Postby chrissel » Sat Mar 25, 2017 10:34 pm

First of all, social anxiety is not encoded in your genetics, you CAN learn how to get rid of anxiety. It is going to be hard, and you will not change your life completely in one day, but it is worth it. At first - educate yourself, learn what is happening in your body, in what particular situations you feel anxious. I really do recommend you this book - Social anxiety: Overcome your shyness & fear by Mike Bray - it is pretty cheap right now, but there are as well others, just learn. Once you understand when, why and what is the stimuli of your anxiety, you will be able to get rid of it. Make small steps every day and one day you will just wake up and know, that you feel confident , not anxious. Good luck!
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