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Author Topic: What kind of experiences have you had dealing with an anxiety disorder at work?  (Read 167 times)

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Offline jsmith54235

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Hi,  I'm new to the site and hope some people who have been through what I have can help me put some things in perspective.

I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder in 2006 but I didn't trust my doctor so I never continued treatment. Fastforward to 2014 and my symptoms are slowly taking over my life. I just had an annual review which didn't go well and am finally ready to get treatment. My problem is I think I might need some accomodations from my employer and I'm not sure what they are required to do.

Most of the problems I have are with interpersonal relationships. There is a woman I have to work with whose job is to bring my mistakes back to me to fix. There is a language barrier and she comes off as very aggressive. When she starts talking to me my heart pounds, and I feel like I can't breathe and then I blow up which has lead to me being written up in the past I have asked her to please put her requests in writing in my inbox rather than a confrontation but my supervisor has told me that is unacceptable behavior.

I also don't like talking on the phone because I work in a cubicle jungle and know that everyone around me can hear my conversation and is judging me for what I say. It came up on my review that I rely too heavily on email and need to make more of an effort to pick up the phone. This terrifies me immensely because I am very nervous when talking on the phone especially when it is some one i don't know that well.

Another one of my problems is the constant interruptions in my work day. I tend to try to stick to a plan of attack for my work load and when people come in and take me away from something that I am working on I get very anxious and start worrying about all of the things I still have to get accomplished for the day. I started asking people to put things in my box and I would get to it as soon as I could and my boss told me I was being snotty and that if someone came in to my work area I was required to drop everything I was working on and turn my attention to that person. My job is very detail oriented and I find it difficult to concentrate on my work with my phone ringing all the time and people dropping by all the time and it all makes me feel very out of control. I sometimes get angry for no reason and have a hard time controlling my emotions.

I don't sleep at night because I am terrified for my job and I have frequent headaches and nausea. My mind races all the time with everything I am required to remember and I am constantly rethinking every interaction I have with people thinking they are judging me and spreading rumors about me and telling on m to my boss.

I think that if my employer knew about my disorder they might be willing to work with me but I don't know how to describe these things without seeming like I just want special treatment. If anybody else has had these problems and can tell me how their bosses helped them deal with it. Can my therapist suggest adjustments to my work life that will help me keep my job?
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Offline BuzzBee1

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Hi jsmith,

Welcome to the forum.  You are now a member of our community, where you will find support and advice from other members in similar situations.   It's always nice to find someone else who understands, and to know you're not alone.

We have sections in the forum that address specific concerns, so feel free to post or start a new topic in the section that best fits your situation.  Feel free to explore the rest of the forum.  You may find the other topics helpful, and you may be able to offer advice or support to someone else.

We also have a chat room for members over the age of 18.  Once you have made three meaningful posts, you will be allowed access to the chat room.

Jsmith, there are many people on this site who have similar issues.  I believe you will find support and comfort here.

Good luck to you, and again, welcome to AZ.

Buzzy
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Offline Chilly

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Hi Jsmith,
    Most of my recent anxiety has been rooted in the workplace as well, so I can relate. I would be at work constantly comparing my performance to the performance of others I work with, even if we didn't really have the same job. I would think that everyone around me is doing better at their job than I was, and it didn't take long before I started thinking that my bosses must hate having me around and that my peers were annoyed with what I considered to be "My Underperformance". I didn't say much at meetings because I had chisled away at my own self-esteem for so long.
    I found out that the truth was that everyone at work was feeling stressed out, not just me. The company I work for has been going through a lot of changes, so roles and procedures were constantly being adjusted as well. I hold myself to a high standard, so I spent a lot of time beating myself up and convincing myself that my co-workers and managers were sick of having me around. This was all false. I was tearing myself down by exaggerating the truth. Nobody was as hard on me as I was.
   My therapist told me I should take a moment and think about what proof I actually have that others are thinking negatively of me. Whenever you think "I don't want to talk on the phone because others will hear me and judge me", follow that thought immediately with "where's my proof that they are judging me?". I often found that I had no proof. This has helped me in many cases. Your struggle may be different than mine, though, so confide in your therapist. They can help you through it.
    The decision to tell your management about your situation is completely up to you, but I will say that I believe communication is the best way to solve any problem. Letting a situation fester in silence only makes it worse. You don't even have to tell them about GAD. I eventually told my bosses about my struggles in the workplace and it helped a lot. If you decide to tell them, be careful not to make it a pity party, and don't make it about other co-workers. You should make it about your performance struggles and how you can improve on the current situation. Now you're not looking for special treatment, you're trying to improve and you are seeking assistance. It may be uncomfortable, but at least you've made a professional effort to clear the air and show your managers that you are committed to improvement.
Good luck! And sorry for being long-winded, I tend to be that way! :action-smiley-065:
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