Online forums

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please complete your profile

Complete your profile

Before you can post or reply in these forums, please join our online community.

Forum membership is open to anyone residing in Australia.

Join the online community Community rules

Forums / Anxiety / A horse called Workplace Burnout

Topic: A horse called Workplace Burnout

18 posts, 0 answered
  1. jollydolly
    jollydolly avatar
    30 posts
    6 December 2018

    My racing thoughts made me think of horses.

    I've been suffering at work since about January this year, through a combination of imposter syndrome, actually being stretched by the demands of the role, periods of staff changes including being short staffed, losing the trust of my managers, interpersonal conflict with team, financial worries, and relationship problems. And I have a two-year-old.

    So, normal life stuff, but I've reached my limit. I've been trying to make it to the end of the year / find another job, but the stress and my constant mistakes and resulting guilt and fear have caught up with me. I was crying every day over things people said to me or how they looked at me; it would take me half an hour to do something because I was so forgetful; I'd stutter and stammer and lose my train of thought. Added to this was layer of self-recrimination that I didn't take more action earlier; I'd seen this coming and didn't simply say "I can't do this anymore" because of my financial responsibilities and because my partner doesn't wholeheartedly embrace my condition (history of depression and anxiety).

    Over the last few weeks my worst nightmares have come true: work colleagues have seen me unravel, and my partner has seen how weak I am. I feel like I'm totally at rock bottom.

    So now I'm at home lining up appointments to get the documentation to get time off work, and am convinced I'm going to be fired. I'm pretty sure that performance management awaits me in January, but I've convinced myself that my boss will try to skip that step and just find a way to fire me for misconduct. Then of course, I'll lose the house, never get another job, and will lose my daughter.

    I know that those of you in these threads with anxiety will recognise these racing thoughts. I just wanted to share them to hopefully get this horse to slow down, maybe eat some grass and just wander off.

    3 people found this helpful
  2. Doolhof
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Doolhof avatar
    6386 posts
    7 December 2018 in reply to jollydolly

    Hi jollydolly,

    I like your analogy using a horse. Sorry to read you have yourself is such a situation. Are there any supportive resources in your workplace? You mention fellow staff have noticed you are unravelling, have any of them offered any support?

    Have you been to your Dr to discuss how you are feeling? Is it possible to get a sickness certificate for a while?

    All organisations are different and I realise a lot of places still don't understand, recognise or accept mental health issues.

    Are there things you can do at home to help you feel better about yourself and your family?

    Can you find ways to take that "horse" out for run so it becomes tired and a little more quiet (calm your mind) or maybe just leading the horse to water so it can drink may help to calm you down.

    Please don't see yourself as weak, but as suffering and needing some help! Mental health issues are not a weakness, they are an illness!

    Please don't feel like you have to do this alone. Seek out help and advice. Have a chat to your Dr. See what help is available to you.

    Please know this is a safe place for you to share how you are feeling. The Beyond Blue website had a lot of information as well you may find beneficial.

    I have used the phone help line a few times on 1300 22 4636 and have found the support staff there very helpful.

    Wishing you well on your journey and hope you receive the help you need right now.

    Cheers from Dools

    2 people found this helpful
  3. LauraRH
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    LauraRH avatar
    5 posts
    7 December 2018 in reply to jollydolly

    Hi jollydolly,

    Thought I'd introduce you to my horse, her name is 'worst case scenario'. Occasionally she thinks she's a carousel and goes round and round and round. You may be glad to hear my horse is currently moving at a more gentle trot (oh. thank. god.) But every now again she rears up (pardon the pun) and I have to reign her in again (ok, I'll stop now).

    Sometimes it's hard doing all the things, whilst trying to save face so to speak. But eventually something has to give, and that's OK! Surrendering to your situation is vastly different to giving up, I applaud you for recognizing that enough is enough and taking action, it's a confronting and crappy place to be. And once you reach this stage, of course your horse will rear up and tell you that you could have done it sooner, better etc. Must do all the things... never quite good enough... everything that could possible go wrong will... the worst case scenario will eventuate with a cherry on top.

    I don't want to make light of your situation, hoping to provide you a little light relief and let you know there are a whole heap of us horses out there all fighting the same battle. Whenever you horse races off, just consider... but what if things do turn out OK in the end? (because they will.. eventually...)

    3 people found this helpful
  4. jollydolly
    jollydolly avatar
    30 posts
    9 December 2018 in reply to Doolhof

    Thanks Doolhof, for your kind words and advice. I took the horse to a psychologist after getting a miraculous last-minute cancellation appointment, and it was somewhat calmer after that. I'm being very diligent and doing the tasks I was set by the psychologist, hoping for the best. I've also been seeing a GP fairly regularly over the last few weeks who was new to me, but is rapidly becoming my best mate. My friends have also been amazing, so I'm very lucky and grateful for their support.

    I know it's not weakness....at least, usually I know. And I know I would want to help someone else who was feeling this way. Thanks again.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. jollydolly
    jollydolly avatar
    30 posts
    9 December 2018 in reply to LauraRH

    Thank you, Laura. I'm definitely getting toughened up at the moment, and I know that one way or another, as long as it might take, I will get out of this horrendous place I'm in and move into something better. As you guessed, I've been calculating how much better off I might have been if I had done something earlier...I would like to one day tell the story of a horse I used to have that was called 'Should', and one day it broke its leg and had to be put down.

    I guess we imagine the worst case scenario as some kind of defense mechanism? But it's so counterproductive because it really hurts and is exhausting! A very inefficient defense.

    Thanks for continuing the horse analogies, puns and all. It really does help to know I'm part of a herd.

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Doolhof
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Doolhof avatar
    6386 posts
    11 December 2018 in reply to jollydolly

    Hi jollydolly,

    Sometimes I think I am trying to ride my horse backwards! I need to twist around in the saddle, grab hold of the reins and give the horse a gentle nudge to move forward.

    Hey, what the heck, I might get a bit reckless, give my horse a good old nudge and go for a gallop! Might be just what I need. Maybe some days we can be too safe and afraid to fall off so we don't try new things!

    One time I volunteered with Riding for the Disabled. Didn't know a thing about horses! One horse soon picked up on that fact and tried to walk me into the fence all the time! I was told to give the horse a decent bump in the shoulder to let him know who was boss!

    Hope you are doing a little better with the help and assistance you are receiving!

    I had a good chat with my new psychologist yesterday and have a very supportive Dr!

    Hope you get that horse under control!

    Cheers from Dools

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Anne1303
    Anne1303 avatar
    19 posts
    11 December 2018 in reply to jollydolly

    Hi

    i read your post and do much resonates with me at the moment. I feel so similar on my work, and am now in a near constant state of panic when I think about it and going back (am currently on holidays). I have these thoughts running through my head all the time that I’m not good enough at my job and I must be making mistakes even though no one has ever said anything about mistakes, and then I have developed this fear that because of these so called mistakes something awful will happen to someone and it will be my fault, I get scared and panicky all the time. I don’t have any advice for you but I just hope knowing that others are in the same situation mite provide at least a small comfort to you. xx

    1 person found this helpful
  8. jollydolly
    jollydolly avatar
    30 posts
    12 December 2018 in reply to Anne1303

    Hi Anne,

    That really does sound like me...I'm so sorry because I know how awful it feels! I've had one psychologist visit so far, and she has given me a book to read about ways to manage racing thoughts and overanalysis, and also the 'Calm' app to download. Both have been helpful so far.

    I would really recommend seeing someone, and trying perhaps a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approach if you haven't before; it seems to me a very practical and helpful tool to have for work anxiety. I feel like I have made a self-fulfilling prophecy: my (perhaps unfounded?) concerns over my capacity and what might happen if I stuff up have led to a clouding of thoughts and reduced cognitive capability, which then resulted in stuffing up, and so on...so if you haven't reached the stage of actual negative performance reviews or having a sit down with the boss, then it might be a good time to (revive the horse metaphors) and take the reins: acknowledge this situation, seek out professional advice from a psychologist or counsellor, and use that help to get yourself back on track. It may mean changing jobs, but possibly, and more likely, it will mean becoming aware of stressors that have led to this perception of yourself and taking steps to reduce them.

    I'm really sorry to hear how you're feeling, Anne, and I hope things feel a bit better for you today. Wishing you luck, and please do post again with an update if you feel you can - I will be looking out for it.

    2 people found this helpful
  9. Anne1303
    Anne1303 avatar
    19 posts
    18 December 2018 in reply to jollydolly

    Hello again

    Since I last posted I have finally taken the first step and saw a physiologist yesterday for my first app. She was very good, seemed to have some good ideas and said we work on some different strategies to help at work.... I’m really hoping they do help and I can start to function abit better....

    i know what you mean about your negative thinking actually causing problems to happen, it’s kind of like we actually make them happen by thinking them! It’s a really vicious cycle, and so hard for people to understand who have not been through it themselves. I wish there was an easy for us all. I’m still on holidays so I don’t have to go back to work for a few weeks so I’m hoping that is going to give me time to get back on my feet abit.

    I hope you are going ok, wouldnt it be nice if we could all work together in the same place with like-minded people who know and understand what this awful anxiety is like! Take care.

    1 person found this helpful
  10. jollydolly
    jollydolly avatar
    30 posts
    19 December 2018 in reply to Anne1303

    Hi Anne,

    That's great to hear - good for you. I'm still on the rollercoaster. Trying to take one day at a time.

    Best wishes.

    1 person found this helpful
  11. Doolhof
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Doolhof avatar
    6386 posts
    24 December 2018 in reply to jollydolly

    Hi jollydolly and Anne,

    Wishing you both all the best and do so hope that next year goes a lot better for you both and issues can be sorted somehow.

    Cheers from Dools

    1 person found this helpful
  12. jollydolly
    jollydolly avatar
    30 posts
    19 February 2019

    Hi all,

    I thought I'd write in with an update on how I'm going. Believe it or not, I'm sitting here alive having just read through an extensive document written by my supervisor outlining the various ways I've underperformed at my job, and my nausea and hot flashes only lasted about 20 minutes! I've been going in to work since late January even though I feel humiliated and pretty alone. Tomorrow I sit down for performance management, the thing I've been dreading as my worst fear and that has caused my increase in symptoms. And I feel ... if not exactly fine, then OK. Able to survive, able to continue. I've felt like I've been trapped in hell for months, and have kept on going because there's no other choice, and now I'm here looking directly at my worst fear. I've been going to a psychologist who employs a few CBT and schema therapy techniques, and have been pretty bad at eating, sleeping, and exercise.

    So, I just wanted to share that in the hope that it might help someone who isn't sure they can deal with the massive trucklod of anxiety they're facing....if I can, in this imperfect way, then you can, and you will.

    1 person found this helpful
  13. Busylife
    Busylife  avatar
    3 posts
    19 February 2019
    JollyDolly I love how you and others have framed up Anxiety using a horse. I don't have any sound advice unfortunately as your post pretty much mirrors where I'm sitting at the moment. Hope you can find your way with the support and guidance from others x
    1 person found this helpful
  14. jollydolly
    jollydolly avatar
    30 posts
    24 February 2019 in reply to Busylife

    Thank you...unfortunately today, my horse is running an endless race around and around the same track, and it can't stop and is terrified, and so am I. I desperately need to let my horse retire from professional racing and take it away to a quiet meadow where it can eat grass and wander about slowly. I faced up to my fear last week in the performance review, but now have been called out by colleagues for my underperformance, and I feel like this humiliation is just going to continue until I break down again.

    On a positive note, I have learned so much from this experience, and I'm pretty sure that I will never ride a horse called 'Should' again (referring to my post above). I just want the opportunity to start again in a new workplace and be the best I can be. Am awaiting the outcome of a pretty good interview last week, so cross your fingers!

    1 person found this helpful
  15. Kayla K
    Kayla K avatar
    2 posts
    25 February 2019 in reply to jollydolly

    My horse is called 'not good enough' fueled by 'persistently negative manager' followed by 'account manger speak to me like I am idiot'. My shoes are very similar to yours where I doubt myself over and over again, check my work over and over again because you know, I am not allowed to make mistakes and must be 110% accurate, 150% of the time. My mind races off constantly with the 'you are going to eff up again' filly and comes back with 10 more.

    So far in the last 18 years of my working life I have been mobbed by management (hello nervous breakdown), bullied ad nauseum (staring down second nervous breakdown), gaslighted (called the manager out on that one and was fired for it), bullied again and now bullied in my current role. I can't win.

    You are not alone in this crap fest.

  16. SHELBY MUSTANG
    SHELBY MUSTANG avatar
    10 posts
    26 February 2019

    I am in a job where no one helps me or has trained me and my anxiety is at a severely heightened level where I just want to throw in the towel and quit, but I am going tell my manager in my one on one and just take it one day at a time and if anyone has a go at me I will say I am doing my best but I have had zero training and handover.

    I see many survivors in jobs who hang around get promoted and the one constant is they go at their own pace and one told me she tries not to care so much. I burnt myself out working long hours trying to help and impress people and you know what people who use you are never impressed and don’t care.

    One day at a time start each day anew and ignore the naysayers and haters.

  17. jollydolly
    jollydolly avatar
    30 posts
    3 March 2019 in reply to SHELBY MUSTANG
    I think you're totally right, Shelby - people who use you are never going to see the good things or be impressed by effort. Something that has really helped me has been identifying my values and trying to use them to make decisions about what to do, who to care about, and what to let slide. It has been great! My psychologist gave me a huge list - I'm not sure where she got it from - and asked me to select six. I then made them into little graphics that I laminated and keep with me at work. When faced with a choice about what to do or how to act, I can then consciously consider a choice that aligns with my values. I think it's similar to what you're saying above, except that it's caring about what YOU want to care about, rather than just not caring. I hope you get the guidance that you need to do your job at your next 1-1.
  18. jollydolly
    jollydolly avatar
    30 posts
    3 March 2019 in reply to Kayla K
    Hi Kayla, that sounds pretty horrible. I've had a big couple of weeks where first, a colleague threw a big tantrum at me for not doing my job well. In some ways it was the big callout I've been fearing for months, but in others, it wasn't so bad...she ended up looking worse for her behaviour than I did for my performance. But it helped me to see that sitting in fear, compulsively checking work in case you make a mistake, is WRONG and no one should have to endure that. I have finally been successful in getting a new job, and of course it is like an enormous weight has been lifted. If there is any way you can look around for a new workplace, I would really suggest giving that a go. I'm taking a small pay cut, but it's going to be worth it for my mental health! Is that something you could do? (It took me more than six months BTW....it wasn't a quick fix!)
    1 person found this helpful

Stay in touch with us

Sign up below for regular emails filled with information, advice and support for you or your loved ones.


All done! You should’ve received a confirmation email, so please check when you’re finished here and click the link in the email. If you can’t see it, we might be in your junk mail.

Subscribe failed. Please try later or contact us.