I have been suffering on and off for almost 10 years from work-related anxiety and depression (at least work is the trigger). I have no issues outside of the office, other than allowing the feelings I experience at work to bleed into my personal life. I started seeing a therapist, and she made 2 observations that I wanted to get others opinions on:
1) I mis-interpret the gravity of certain situations in the office, which is a direct connection to how my mother treats every day situations in life (my words were "makes mountains out of mole hills"). It seems logical - I actually made the connection out loud before she did - but seems a stretch to my intellect. That said, I know it all is present in my sub-conscious only. Thoughts?
2) I seem to be seeking approval from those around me, same as I would from my parents. My Dr. said it was like transferring the home setting, that I was viewing my boss subconsiously like a parent and my co-workers as siblings, and I was seeking their approval too much. She said this is not uncommon. Does this sound like something anyone else has experienced?
My big question through all of this is why this only manifests itself while I am at work. I am 100% confident and care free in life outside of the office, save for when my feelings about work permeates itself into my life outside. I am in control of every situation, and never have the slightest feeling of anxiety no matter how grave or important a situation is.
Not sure I understand the question - do you mean outside of work? If so, than I am not really sure. I just make decisions. I don't have the adrenalin rush like I do elsewhere, so I really don't have to think about it.
Well, work is for most people an entirely different environment than any other part of their lives because that's the one area of our lives that we seem to have the least amount of comfort and control over. At home or with friends, you are around loved ones and the relationships you have are rather unconditional as you aren't being judged. Work is unlike that where you are constantly interacting with people you have no emotional ties to and things can be very judgemental and stressful. It's like a big test that you have to pass every day of your life and that can wear down the mind.
I don't know what you do for a living or how your work situation is, but I'm willing to bet that its rather stressful and with stress comes feelings of anxiety over your performance, low self-worth and depression when mistakes are made, irritability if someone is bothering, etc.
Most of what I'm telling you here I've experience personally many many times as I've had some rather stressful jobs myself and my anxiety would run really high throughout most of the day. It really is rather draining, but when I finally sought help for it in the form of medication, it really helped take the edge off of things. I took Zoloft for this and it did help me.
I realized something else really important about myself to and that is we are all built will a certain tolerance for how much stress we can take...each of us is different. With the peace of mind that medication brought me, I was able to see just how much easier life could be if I would just stop thinking and feeling so distraught throughout the day and just learn to take things one step at a time. No need to get nervous or panic because if you know that you are doing the best you can, no one could ever ask anymore from you.
There is plenty more I could tell you about this sort of thing if you want to know. Just ask me anything that's one your mind or if I'm way off on this one, please let me know how and I'll try to help out.
Last edited by ms_mod; 09-10-2007 at 06:56 AM.
Reason: Removed unnecessary quote. Ms_Mod
It is frightening how spot on I think you are, actually. For 1, my job is extremely stressful, and I do feel like I am constantly being judged and having to prove myself all day. My self-esteem, while so high in some areas, is always put to the test while at work, and depression is most definitely the result.
Are you still in your stressful environment? I experienced this a few years ago, and removed myself from the situation. I was anxiety free for almost 2 full years. I changed jobs about 4 months ago, and unfortunatley, the new gig is MUCH more stressful, and I feel like I am right back here again. Not nearly as bad, but it is still there.
I tried meds, and it didn't seem to work for me. I am now trying therapy...too soon to tell.
I thought so...and you definitely aren't alone with that either. It's important to remember that a lot of what you experience there is 'perceived' stress meaning your mind is taking the situation and finding the stress in it rather than accepting it and working through it. That's exactly what therapy will teach you to undo.
Actually, no, I had to stop working because I came down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) back in 2003. Since then, I haven't been able to work a day...just have to stay home, lay down and rest most of the time.
If you were to ask me, 'do you think all that stress you experienced at work contributed to you developing CFS?', I would say, 'absolutely, but it wasn't the CAUSE of it.' By the time CFS hit me, I was pretty well controlled on the medication and I actually felt better than I have in probably all of my life.
If you've tried medications and they haven't worked, therapy is definitely a great and maybe better option. It can certainly help you sort through all these thoughts and feelings, see the error in them, and learn better ways to think through and deal with things. That's one thing I really regret not doing myself because, while medication can be quite effective, it's usually not curative meaning once you stop the pills, the symptoms come back.
Believe me, I do understand all the things you are going through right now though and it's a very hard life to live. I'm glad that you seem to be sticking with it and working on the therapy as I believe quitting the job may not be the best answer for you right now. Running from the problem won't solve anything because you can't run from yourself. Of course, if after awhile you feel that would be the best option, then you should do that because your health and peace of mind is much more important than any overstressful job could ever be.
Last edited by ms_mod; 09-10-2007 at 06:59 AM.
Reason: Removed unnecessary quotes. Ms_Mod
Thanks, this really is helpful. I am 100% totally committed to beating this, as I know how great life can be, and have way too much good to live for. I have a wonderful family, to young beautiful kids and the best spouse someone could ask for, so I know that their is a ton of good out there. The work part of it is extremely difficult though, and has the ability to take over. I am committed to beating this, not just making it go away temporarily.
So sorry to hear about your condition, is there anything you can do?
That's really great to hear. I love it when people are proactive with their health...if something can be done, DO IT! Don't sit around waiting for things to work themselves out or for someone else to do them, just go get it done, right? Bravo to you.
If I may mention one thing to you, and it may not seem like a big deal right now, but one day you will know what I mean, is that when you use the term 'beat it' or 'beating this', you are in a way subconsciously setting up sides. It's become YOU vs THE STRESS or THE ANXIETY. Instead, remember that this stress and anxiety is a part of you right now and it's purpose is to protect you...it's not an enemy, but probably your best friend in the world. It tells you, "Hey, you are doing something wrong with your life...fix it."
See what I mean? Learn to embrace it and appreciate it as part of yourself. What appears to be this huge monster that has a grasp over you is really your own protective mechanisms trying to help you out. You just have to learn to listen...
When you teach your mind how to deal with things properly, there will be no cause for alarm anymore and the anxiety will melt away. That's when you'll know you are on the right path.
Unfortunately, nothing so far is helping me and I have a whole lot of trouble taking medications anymore. They cause me tremendous side effects. I'm still working on it though...never give up, right?
Last edited by ms_mod; 09-10-2007 at 07:27 AM.
Reason: Removed unnecessary quotes. Ms_Mod
I understand it is "supposed to be" helping me, but lets face it, it is hurting me. It is me against myself most of the time. I know I am not supposed to look at it this way, but its tough not to. To be honest, I don't want to embrace it, I want to beat it and leave it for dead. I see others who appear to be worry free about life and truly embracing and relishing in every moment, and I am full of envy. I can't wait for the day when I can say I used to suffer from anxiety and depression...
As for never giving up, you only live this life once...it seems silly to walk through it constantly feeling hopeless. There are good things in everyone's life, the trick is figuring out how to focus on them!
Last edited by ms_mod; 09-10-2007 at 10:53 AM.
Reason: Note edit to your post. If you know a word is questionable enough that you have to edit it, then choose a different word.
I completely and totally understand how you feel about that. I've said the same things myself many, many times. It is difficult to do and it does take a lot of practice which is why you are going to therapy in the first place...to keep you on track and working hard to overcome the problem.
Like I said though, you may not understand how anyone could have the point of view of wanting to embrace the anxiety rather than trying to fight against it right now, but one day through the course of your therapy, it will hit you like a bolt of lightning. I'm confident that it will happen to you just like it has happened to so many of us.