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Author Topic: Dealing with an Anxiety Disorder  (Read 3604 times)

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Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Dealing with an Anxiety Disorder
« on: September 05, 2014, 06:50:54 PM »
I learned I had problems with anxiety about four years ago.  Up until then, I only thought it was depression which I dealt with mostly in my teens.  I seemed to get that straightened out pretty well by 19.  Now here I am at 31 with a whole new set of psychological problems.  I didn't realize how bad this has become until just a few weeks ago.  Granted, it will likely diminish once the stressor (my current job) is out of the picture, something that I'm working on very hard now, but it seems that my reaction to stress is easily triggered and heightened more so than the average person.  To put it in perspective with an extreme example, it would be like losing your wallet would invoke the same reaction you would get if you were in fear for your life.

To detail what I'm dealing with, I'll put a quote of a post I made on FB which pretty much sums up what is going on with me right now:

Quote
I don't know that anyone truly grasps what I'm talking about when I say I have an anxiety disorder. I'm writing this to give a little clarity, and this has been brought on by my recent job dissatisfaction (which is an understatement). Keep in mind, these are just my symptoms and manifestations. Everyone does not react the same.

Right now, sitting at home which is a place of comfort, my chest feels tight. I feel a little dizzy or disoriented. My vision (or perhaps my attention to detail) is off. I almost shake at times. My body temperature can fluctuate (sometimes hot, sometimes colder). Breathing is hard now. It sometimes hurts to take a deep breath. I lose color in my face. One of my coworkers saw this while I was at work. My heart races. I feel nauseous, and my stomach is upset. I don't eat (or don't eat like I should). My GI tract goes haywire. Sleeping without medication is impossible. In fact, I woke up in the middle of the night (after having taken Xanax to fall asleep) Tuesday and could not get back to sleep. By the way, that was the day I realized that something had to be done and now here I am on medical leave because of this.

Looking in the mirror, I can see the reaction on my own face. Does anyone have any idea what that does to me? I look and feel like a shell of a person. I don't take joy or fun from things I usually do. I don't have the motivation or drive to do the things I normally do.

Now, directly relating this to the trigger, my job. I've found that my anxiety isn't causing a problem at my job so much as my job is causing my anxiety. I am now very unhappy about my job. The expectations, workload, and volume of customers have changed drastically to the point that I'm now really doing a whole new job. I'm fine with change. I've worked in environments that change frequently before. I believe that the expectation of work from me now is much higher, and I am not meeting that expectation for one reason or another. My workplace has become a place of absolute dread because of this. I feel like I'm on a sinking ship with fifty holes gushing water at either end with 2 minutes until we sink, and the captain is looking at me going, "Well? Why hasn't the water stopped yet?"

Now, take all the symptoms I explained above (you know, the symptoms I have while I'm in my comfortable place at home) and multiply those symptoms by at least five. That's how I feel at work.

I had a particularly bad night on Tuesday which is when I woke up at 1:30am and couldn't get back to sleep because of overwhelming feelings of dread because I had to go to work that morning.  I immediately emailed my supervisor and told them I wasn't coming in which lead to a doctor's visit and a fax to my work place telling them I would be out for nearly 2 weeks.  I'm not sure what to do now.  I've been submitting applications like crazy to find a new job.  It kind of feels like I'm running, but I know it's the job and not my anxiety.  I know I can do the job as I knew it because I got raving reviews from my supervisors up until the job changed drastically.  I'm just struggling to see if it's worth making an attempt to try when I go back or write it off entirely and take my chances with finding a different job.

I'll try and write more as this develops, but until the next time I write, I'm feeling like utter crap.

Offline Izu

Re: Dealing with an Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2014, 06:59:27 AM »
*hugs Ry*

Offline ImaginedScenes

Re: Dealing with an Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2014, 11:14:05 PM »
All I can say is good luck and I empathize. Been through hell like that before. People don't realize how bad stress can get.

Offline Rhedyn

Re: Dealing with an Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2014, 02:27:46 PM »
~offers hugs~ I know it's not much but I wanted to say that I understand how you're feeling only too well and offer my support. Anxiety issues are horrible to deal with, I have panic attacks sometimes over the most ridiculously small things, particularly when it comes to social situations... even something as simple as having to make a phone call.

Offline Ariel

Re: Dealing with an Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2014, 02:29:29 PM »
*quietly hugs*

Offline Aislinn

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Re: Dealing with an Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2014, 02:42:08 PM »
I completely understand and empathize with your feelings. Anxiety disorders are nasty to deal with and like many other 'invisible' disorders, it's really hard for people that haven't experienced it to understand exactly what you go through.

I've suffered for years with depression/anxiety. The triggers change as the years go on and symptoms lessen...or worsen from week to week....but it's something that is always there and is a day to day struggle to find balance and peace.

One thing that has helped me is realizing that while I have these challenges, the 'challenges' make me stronger in a crisis. Sometimes I think that the only time I have clarity is when dealing with a crisis.

So yeah....you have challenges...but those challenges make you stronger in other areas.

My pm is open if you ever need an understanding ear.   :-)

Offline RyvenTopic starter

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Re: Dealing with an Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2014, 10:31:37 PM »
Thank you all.  It means a lot.

I have, since my last posting, quit my job.  It wasn't an easy thing to do, especially since I don't have another job to go to yet.  That being said, I've talked with friends, and many of them have said that if what I have going on (which is caused by the job) is bad enough to keep me from work for 2 weeks, I should probably examine whether or not I really need to continue on in that job.  I've thought it through before quitting.  I tracked my finances and how much I have and will have, and it seems in the most extreme case, I can still make it by a few months without worry should I not be able to find another job.

All that aside, I have been putting in applications like crazy.  I've already had interviews, so I am remaining positive and hopeful that I will find something soon.  I still have trouble with anxiety, though now without a stressful job contributing to it, I can focus on trying to find a new one.  I believe that most of my anxiety at this point is coming from not having a job and the financial security that comes with it.  Once I get something that wont stress me out, I think then I can concentrate on centering myself again.

If anyone has any advice on how to try and change anxious thinking patterns, that'd be great.  I find that while I can distract myself for a while by focusing on something I like doing (playing a game, watching a movie, taking a walk), when my mind is then left without anything to focus on, my thoughts turn to anxious ones of worry.  Before it was about an overwhelming workload and how I was going to get it all done.  Now (and this is lesser than before) it is about my financial security, but I find this a little easier to handle.  Still, I need to try and master getting myself out of these kinds of thought patterns, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Offline Rhedyn

Re: Dealing with an Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2014, 04:19:26 AM »
First of all I wanted to say how brave I think you are for taking that difficult step. I know it's a really hard thing to do but I am glad to hear it's had a slightly more positive effect on your stress levels. I hope that you find something else that's more fitting for you soon.

I find that distraction only works for a limited amount of time then the anxiety comes back, often harder. Breathing and meditation exercises have helped me somewhat, particularly if I catch an attack early enough though it's hard to push those thoughts aside. That said it does get easier with practice. One of my friends is a life coach and she always recommends affirmations, they can be a really good tool if you stick with them as they work by replacing the negative, anxious thoughts with positive ones. I have also found that just talking through the issues helps, whether it be with a trusted friend, family member or counsellor. Sometimes you just need someone to listen and acknowledge your feelings, not necessarily for advice but just so you can share in a safe environment. I'm always around if you want to chat or vent about anything  :-)

Offline Suspires

Re: Dealing with an Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2014, 10:08:19 PM »
If you find your anxious thoughts fixating on a particular subject (job search, argument had with a friend, whatever), one of the standard tools is to ask yourself, "what's the worst thing that could happen here?"  Then the followup question is "what are the odds of that realistically happening?  And what would I do if it did?"

In a lot of situations, anxiety operates in this kind of nebulous fog of possibility.  Pinning down what exactly the worst-case scenario is, and forcing yourself to notice if you're engaging in wild catastrophizing, can help short-circuit that uncertainty.  Even in the rare cases where the odds of a really bad outcome are high, at least now you're thinking about a specific problem that can have specific solutions, not running the endless treadmill of unfocused dread.  And the next time you think about it, you'll already know the answer.

That's one that can help with dwelling on specific stressors, at least.  If you're having a lot of trouble with beating yourself up, Googling "negative self-talk" has some useful stuff about recognizing and rewriting nasty stream of consciousness narratives.  Affirmations like Rhedyn said, and breathing exercises can also help a lot.

Also, congratulations on getting out of a toxic job situation, that's hard and you're a strong person for doing it.

Offline Autumnal Equinox

Re: Dealing with an Anxiety Disorder
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2014, 12:50:49 AM »
@Ryven
I'm new here but this caught my attention..  everything sounded very familiar.  I'm 32 and have social anxiety/generalized with some panic attacks (rare) and had a sort of "clear period" from about 19 to recently.  Work is also my #1 stressor, which then bleeds over into everything else, resulting in cutting off contact with family and friends and sort of "going dark" as I call it. 

Congrats on bailing, though, I did the same thing.  My current job is intense but no where near as bad with anxiety..  I know what to expect now and predictability can really help with things.  And it motivated me to seek better wages/benefits.

I also have started trying a natural remedy.  In the past, I have tried SSRIs and anti-anxiety agents.  Haven't been on any medication in quite some time.  Recently, I have started taking daily doses of kava-kava root.  It's easily available online (I get it at Amazon in bulk).  It is a bit of an acquired taste but the right strains last most of the day.  I drink some kava tea early and my anxiety is taken care of all day, without getting tired. It works on the GABA (anxiety) receptors as well as dopamine and epinephrine (energy), so it simultaneously calms while also giving you focus.  It is also non-addictive.  It can cause upset stomach, however, for the first few weeks until you get used to it.  And overindulging is alot like getting drunk, with hangover and everything, so it's best to use the bare minimum for anxiety relief.

Hope this is useful!