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Author Topic: Finding a Job with Social Anxiety  (Read 819 times)

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Offline Gailmarie

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Finding a Job with Social Anxiety
« on: August 23, 2013, 12:07:23 PM »
Hi, I have had social anxiety for nearly twenty years and when I'm feeling positive I think how well I have done to have been in employment for most of that time. However when things go bad at work I start to get panic attacks - then my employers don't understand - so I 'run away' and quit my job. I have been functioning quite successfully for about five years but last week things got really bad and I quit. My line manager has no understanding of mental health issues and I couldn't talk to him without panicking so I just ran!!! My problem now is a) getting a new job (and getting a reference from someone who thinks I'm crazy even though my work was impeccable up until that point) b) breaking this pattern of not being able to cope with stressful work situations c) generally recovering from this latest 'episode'.
I am very well qualified and very good at what I do - but all of that seems to go out of the window as soon as they see you have a panic attack. It's like having two heads. I'd love to work from home - that would be my dream - but I guess jobs like that don't come along very often. I'm not afraid of hard work.  Has anybody been through anything similar or got any ideas? Thanks
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Gail Marie :-)

Offline danallen95

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Re: Finding a Job with Social Anxiety
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2013, 05:21:35 PM »
what kind of work were you doing that sent you into a panic attack , i to get them at work which sucks , alot of employers dont understand it. I work in retail and it can get bad sometimes with the panic attacks.
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Offline Gailmarie

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Re: Finding a Job with Social Anxiety
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2013, 05:28:03 PM »
I do bookkeeping / accounts. Which in theory should be a desk job but it was in a retirement village so it was very customer focussed and the customers were very demanding. How do you cope at work? I can't imagine working in retail!
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Gail Marie :-)

Offline Nox

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Re: Finding a Job with Social Anxiety
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2013, 01:41:33 AM »
My issue is more that I have extreme Social Phobia, thus I have a really hard time finding any work.  You always have to interact with people in some way and I just can't do that without losing my mind.  it's ridiculously stressful for me.  It's stressful just to even think about it.  I don't like it, but it is what it is.  I really wish I could find coping mechanisms for it but thus far I've found nothing.  I wish you the best of luck.  I know how hard it is to have this illness and try to find work you can actually do. 
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Offline Gailmarie

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Re: Finding a Job with Social Anxiety
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2013, 06:55:07 AM »
Thanks for your reply Nox. You're right that every job seems to interact with people in some way. Have you ever tried CBT? That has helped me in the past. It's not the answer to everything but it has helped me somewhat - especially with work. I think being with people who understand social phobia helps but they are very few and far between. Good luck. I will post here anything that I find helpful.
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Gail Marie :-)

Offline Autumnstar

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Re: Finding a Job with Social Anxiety
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2013, 12:09:44 PM »
Hi Gailmarie- I think I have been going through something similar. I have been diagnosed with Bi-Polar Type 2 and GAD. I have a history of depression going back twenty or so years. I also am pretty sure that I've got SAD as a result of having the first 2.  I have had to leave every job I have had for the last 3 years or so because of the "things going bad"  at work. Bad panic/anxiety attacks, a few of them in front of management.  All resulting in shameful resignation shortly after. I do well for a month or two before I feel it all going downhill. Had to leave work today or else I would have had one in front of coworkers, management, and the public. I barely made it to my car!
When I was in a long unemployment spell, I was broke, but I didn't have ANY attacks.  Now that I am back to work, albeit part time, I've been averaging 2 to 3 a week. So far, I haven't melted down at work, but it seems to be the cycle in which I find myself in. And it's not even a serious job, it's part time at a supermarket deli. It's loud, bright and confusing.  All things I should have avoided, but it was a job and I needed it. But now,  I'm a nervous wreck again, I have no appetite, I'm distracted, unfocused, and I've started to screw up at work. It's happening AGAIN. If someone looks at me wrong, forget it. I'll be crying in the bathroom. I know I am not long for this job.
I'm glad I found this forum. I wish I had some advice to give you that would help. I was doing really well, too, was off all meds for a year and did fine. I never liked the meds anyway, tried Wellbutrin, Paxil, Zoloft, Lamictal, Celexa, Effexor, Trazadone, Seroquel, various combinations and dosages over the last twenty years, off and on, in addition to klonopin and xanax and a few other meds I can't remember now. Everything seems to stick me in mood-limbo, make me tired, or irritable, or gives me gastro upset, weight gain, libido issues, mood swings, name it. I am one giant side effect.
So if you don't mind, pass me an oar. It seems I'm in your boat.  :spineyes:


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Offline Gailmarie

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Re: Finding a Job with Social Anxiety
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2013, 04:52:42 AM »
Thanks for your reply Autumn Star. It is a relief to know I am not alone - like you say work seems to be a very big trigger for me too and people in general just don't seem to understand anxiety / panic attacks. I want to work, I want to earn a living, but being around people is just too much some times - and as soon as they see you have 'problems' they just treat you differently. I did have a job for three years where my manager and co-workers were very supportive but then we were all made redundant! I am now looking for work I can do from home which is very difficult to find.
What country are you based in? I know in the UK Bi-polar and GAD would be classed as a disability and employers should make reasonable adjustments for you - but if you are like me you won't want to ask for them or even know what to ask for!
I've been on paroxetine for 17 years - I'm not sure what good it does but the withdrawal symptoms are horrible so I'm stuck on it. I'm still looking for solutions and I'm still hopeful of finding a way to live with my condition - if I find anything that helps I will post it here. I do find this site helps - if only to show that anxiety and mental health issues are a lot more common than people think.
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Gail Marie :-)

Offline caramel

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Re: Finding a Job with Social Anxiety
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2013, 07:48:27 PM »
I have been in and out of jobs for 15 years I don't know what to do. I am a teacher I find working at college level is better than working with kids. They sometimes agitate me. They are have attitude non compliance but I like teaching it isn't like when I was in school we had respect. I my have to teach online. This is killing me for sure.  >:(    Anyone know of any jobs I can try?
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