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Topic: Debilitating anxiety about work

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. loki112000
    loki112000 avatar
    0 posts
    7 January 2020

    Hi all,

    I am writing here for the first time. I've been struggling with depression and anxiety for about 10-15 years now and although I've gotten better at times I have recently regressed making me realise that this may be a long term challenge for me.

    My full story is that I had a very harsh father growing up who had anger management issues caused by his own lack of a father potentially. I also had a timid mother who became a gambling addict. I myself became a gambling addict and was able to beat that but couldn't save my mother. She has improved but still financially my parents struggle.

    The irony is that for the last 15 years of my career I worked in the gambling industry and climbed quite high in my startup company which became a global operation and was bought out. After discovering of my mother's relapse into gambling I decided to quit. During that time along the way I also burnt out at work.

    Recently I took a new job, and I've found it so hard to adjust to a new industry. I also took a role because I didn't get many offers on applying despite my depth of experience in management. I am really struggling now where I don't enjoy my work and I feel debilitated to wake up and get to work every day.

    My wife hears a lot of my angst, I see a counsellor and things have improved in my personal life. I am on meds, no longer suicidal which I was, but I still struggle to face work on a daily basis.
    I really don't know what to do and where to turn. I've tried a lot of techniques to overcome anxiety.

    But when I get into work I sit around not knowing what to do, listless, watching youtube and wasting time. Any advice would be great to help me feel more motivated and invigorated. I want to quit and try something else but I don't know what that is and also I'm scared to even face that possibility of being out there searching and not finding something. It's really pushing me back to depression again.

  2. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    382 posts
    7 January 2020 in reply to loki112000

    Hi loki112000,

    Welcome to the forums and thank you for joining us and sharing what's been happening. I hope that by being here you can find some support in these forums and feel welcomed.

    While reading your post it sounds like you've had to make a really big decision around your career based on your mother and since then haven't really been as satisfied in your new job. Have I got that right?

    Personally, and frankly - while I'm glad that you reached out to a counsellor and got some support, all the medications and anxiety techniques in the world can't help if you are at a job that you don't enjoy.

    You said that you want to quit and face something else but are afraid of searching and not finding anything - what were to happen if you were to just explore the idea of something else without the idea of commitment? By that I mean just allowing yourself to brainstorm and think of ideas without limitations - no matter how likely/unlikely it is that you'll end up going that way. I think that if you were to give yourself permission to think outside the square (and pop that fear aside), you might find some more potential. Even if you were to start with crazy careers such as an actor or astronaut, just to allow yourself that time.

    While I know this suggestion is a bit out there, I'm guessing that you're probably limiting the ideas that you've come up with purely out of fear (even if you don't recognise it).

    I hope that this makes sense to you!


  3. loki112000
    loki112000 avatar
    0 posts
    7 January 2020 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Thansk Romantic Thief!

    I do like that idea. I have a lot of fears around everything and every step to be honest. Suffering from anxiety I'm probably reading too far into every scenario but ultimately I think that the approach of not being afraid to try some options is a right way forward.

  4. loki112000
    loki112000 avatar
    0 posts
    8 January 2020 in reply to loki112000
    I guess the hardest part of my role is that is intimidating is that I have expectations to deliver and I can't solve some of the problems we face.
    And I feel judged by everyone around me which I know shouldn't matter but I've learnt in counselling (as of yesterday) that I am always seeking approval of others.
  5. loki112000
    loki112000 avatar
    0 posts
    8 January 2020 in reply to loki112000

    I feel like part of my anxiety is that I am always seeking approval from others. I don't know if I've always been like this, I don't think so because there was a time when I felt very confident. But that could have been because at that time people were approving of me.

    Growing up under a harsh father with a bad temper made a mark on me where I felt I never had his approval. But there were others who would always say,"you're a smart kid, you're gonna turn out just fine". Whilst hearing that a lot I still had my father casting doubts in many areas and now when people don't show me support or approval for what I do I feel so depressed and anxious about it. Any small statements cut me very deeply to the point where after a while I can no longer function and I am listless and lost.

    What if anything has anyone else experienced with building more self confidence, not needing approval from others? Are there any stories people can share or techniques that they use to be able to deal with other's disapproval or self assurance that you are capable?
  6. smallwolf
    Community Champion
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    smallwolf avatar
    282 posts
    9 January 2020 in reply to loki112000

    Hi loki112000,

    Saw your last post and thought I might be able to contribute something. I did not feel smart in my family - statements like "don't you get it, it's so easy" and other statements (from teachers as well) do nothing for your self confidence. On the other hand, doing work experience I was also told "you are too smart to work here". Bit confusing! No matter how hard I tried I felt it was never good enough.

    Other things in your post struck a chord with me as well, like seeking approval etc. For me it was a case of knowing that what I was goind was actually what they want "that it was good enough".

    Fast forward to now ... I have been seeing a psychologist for about 2 years and in that time and have learnt some tricks.

    When someone says you are doing a good job, just say thank you and reward yourself in that moment. (I would add a "but" in putting myself down as that was what I was used to.)

    I was challenged to the rock the boat in conversations to see what the effect was - this was to help my confidence as well.

    Listening to a talk by Brene Brown who said she has a small sheet of paper on which she has written the names of people whose opinions matter. If you are not on the list what you say about me does not matter.

    I still get thoughts of "if I do X, then Y will be upset" and can descend quite rapidly. I hope that over time these thoughts will reduce.

    Lastly, I don't look at how far there is to go, rather how far I have come. And call myself a work in progress. Then there is also kinsugi (spelling?) and other little tricks that all help.

    Be patient and give yourself time - the change won't be instant but bit by bit things may get easier.


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