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Forums / Anxiety / First Post - Work anxiety at a new level, wanting to quit.

Topic: First Post - Work anxiety at a new level, wanting to quit.

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. Anto77
    Anto77 avatar
    2 posts
    12 June 2019

    Hey all,

    This is my first post so bare with me.

    I'll try keep this brief. I was diagnosed with GAD, episodes of panic and some social phobia in 2004, probably due largely to issues surrounding my sexuality. I've kinda gotten on top of it all over the years, including accepting my sexuality. My GAD though has recently flared up... badly. I've always been rather sensitive and lacking confidence especially in work situations, mostly stemming from leaving school and going straight to work in the family business (a restaurant) and not really growing as a person and employee. I knew if I made mistakes or didn't know something I wouldn't have to care or worry so much etc... I did it for 17 years because it was comfortable but I knew I needed to make a change and finally plucked the courage to leave my hometown and start a new job in a new city just over 5 years ago.

    I stayed in hospitality as it was all I knew and even though I went from team member to manager at the store I worked in I had really begun to hate hospitality and wanted out but not knowing how.

    My friend then said to me there was a job in Disability at a place he used to work in and so he applied for me. I only said yes as I thought there was no way I'd get the job with no experience but low and behold I kept finding myself move forward in the application process and I did a stellar interview and got a call that I got the job?! I was kinda proud but at the same time absolutely mortified! You see I really lack confidence at work, I'm so anxious most of the time, any mistakes even trivial ones will make me feel horrible and I will not stop thinking about them, I then lose all confidence.

    When I work with people who are super confident and know their role well I become a mess (always been like this) and get so anxious to not appear stupid or make mistakes that I inevitably do. I'm sick of this as I feel I can not get comfortable in this new job (5 months on), I'm always thinking about the mistakes I make or might make and how I will appear to my colleagues and bosses. I want to quit and go find something less challenging but at the same time this job pays well and is, aside from the anxiety, rewarding. I'm not a quitter but this anxiety is crippling me and I'm not sure what to do. I make absent minded mistakes because my head is so congested. I want to run but I don't know where to as I can't go back to hospitality, I hate it, and the thought of starting a new job again is just as daunting. Help!

  2. Butterfingers12
    Butterfingers12 avatar
    5 posts
    13 June 2019 in reply to Anto77

    Hi Anto77,

    Good on you for giving this new role a go! Working in Disability can be the most challenging yet rewarding careers. You know, I bet your super confident colleagues weren't so confident in their first months on the job either. I remember my first day in my office job, I was scared to even make a phone call. I picked up the phone and my voice was shaking and I messed up all my words. I was ready to quit there and then but I'm so glad I didn't as 12 months on, I was making calls, meeting clients and doing presentations like it was nothing!

    You shouldn't be so hard on yourself, moving to a new city away from your comfort zone is a big deal and this new job wouldn't have been given to you if the employer and your friend didn't believe you were capable. Is there a way you can ask for additional training or find out what areas you don't feel so confident in and right them down to ask your employer or colleagues for tips?

    I read a book once called 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff at Work' and it had tips on how to let the little things go and helped me focus on the bigger picture.

    I hope things get a bit easier for you, practising some mindfulness can help with clearing the congestion you are feeling too. All the best!

  3. Powerful_mind
    Powerful_mind avatar
    3 posts
    13 June 2019 in reply to Anto77

    Hi Anto77,

    i suppose I don’t really have much in the way for advice but I wanted to let you know your not alone. Also, I used to work in disability so I know where your coming from. The job is challenging but very rewarding. I just took on a really challenging job. The first of many I suppose. I was asked to come on board and didn’t even have to apply for the job to get a position. A few months in and my workload started getting larger and my anxieties became worse and worse where I now feel I am incapable of my ability to do my job and do it well. Over and over I think about quitting and finding something less challenging but like you I have drive and passion to stay where I am... plus like you my job offers security and pays well. I’ve only recently decided to get a mental health plan done so I can seek counselling as I know my anxiety stems from my last job where my managers were horrible to me (passively) and it’s completely traumatised me and my feelings of being capable to work. I over think every move I make and worry that the move I do make is a mistake, questioned or judged by colleagues and supervisors. One thing I do know that’s helped me is bringing myself back to reality and reminding myself that the anxieties I feel are irrational fears that have been developed from past experiences. I often find myself writing down all my anxiety feelings and then challenging them and writing down how irrational they are and why I shouldn’t be stressing.

    I hope you feel better soon, I’m currently up at 4am fighting the anxieties I’m feeling - I’m also battling a stellar cold so I’m sick as well! Take care.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    550 posts
    13 June 2019 in reply to Anto77

    Hi Anto77, welcome!

    Yes, those competent folk can definitely make things look easy. In the area of work, the associations we make don't necessarily stop with simply meeting or coming to know people:

    • When we meet our boss, straight away we may associate with our role as 'subordinate'
    • When we interact with a client (in disability, aged care etc), we may associate with our role as 'carer'

    Yet, when we interact with confident and capable people in our workplace, things aren't necessarily so clear cut. It can go one of 2 ways

    • We can associate with our role as 'someone who is gradually learning what others have come to know well over time'

    or

    • We can associate with comparisons. I am slower than him/her. I make more mistakes than him/her. I have less confidence than him/her and so on. Boy, how the list can go on, if we're doing the comparison thing

    Myself, I worked with adults with intellectual challenges before I took time off to raise kids. Now, 16 years later, I'm back in the workforce, working in aged care (also very rewarding). I've been there a year this month. The 1st 8 months or so were like hell when it came to my identity: I am so slow, I am hopeless, I am someone who's never going to get this. The people I work with must think I am stupid. Yes, hell! Working with an incredibly supportive staff meant I was surrounded by guidance, patience, encouragement and so much more. They helped me reach the truth: I am valuable, I am one of them, I am capable etc. At about that 8 month mark everything just clicked. My brain had been learning a program specific to the role I was working in. It's amazing how when people I work with come back from leave they typically say 'I can't believe how many things I've done wrong today!' They can laugh about it because they know they are competent but their 'auto-pilot' program hasn't quite switched on yet. By the way, that program works with tasks. It's not related to the unique care we give to people.

    I'm sure you're familiar with that auto-pilot program that's served you well in previous jobs. You'll know that in order for it to work effectively, the brain has to go through a programming stage, that stage you're facing now. When it's completed it's installation you will feel it.

    If we focus on the benefits of our sensitive nature (what a kind, thoughtful and giving person we are) we are identifying with an undeniable truth (a positive rewarding identity). The rest can be a deeply challenging learning process.

    Take care

    2 people found this helpful
  5. Anto77
    Anto77 avatar
    2 posts
    15 June 2019

    Thanks so much for taking the time to respond to my post, so much good advice here, it definitely helped me to feel better. I find not being alone in this makes me the anxiety lessen. So discovering these forums has been a really good thing.

    On Thursday we had our 5 month mark mentor meetings at work. I was quite nervous but my mentor told me there has been no negative feedback which he said is equivalent to saying "you're doing a good job". The way he was talking made me take a step back from the anxiety and realise much of it is just in our heads and that people on the outside for the most part don't feel we are doing such a terrible job.

    Also an update: I was asked to do some office work recently and join the Resource team for a day and a half a week and of course I was wrecked with anxiety before my first training shift on Thursday. I felt so overwhelmed by it all and just kept wanting to run out. Then yesterday I had another training shift and my trip to work was basic hell. I was just like I need to quit, I can't handle this!! Then I got into work and as the trainer began explaining things on the screen I just felt myself panic and think I will never get this! However during the day I began to grasp the concepts they were teaching me little by little and by the end of the shift I felt better and the anxiety had subsided substantially. I left feeling much better than I had when I had arrived and again was trying to remind myself that I had stuck it out despite being completely overwhelmed when I got to work I managed to survive and even feel comfortable. After, ironically I had a house shift and had like no anxiety and the shift went fine. Normally I'd be thinking so many anxious thoughts about the shift, I felt like for this day at least I had climbed a big mountain and got to enjoy the view.

    I know come Monday that the anxiety will creep back and start to tell me that Friday was just a fluke and that I will no doubt stuff up and make a mess on Monday. I can feel that voice rising in me even now and know it will get louder as tomorrow progresses and come Monday I'll probably be as anxious as I was on Friday. But hopefully I can put it aside and concentrate on my work and remind myself that even if I do make a mistake it doesn't define my entire performance. Fingers crossed.

  6. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    550 posts
    17 June 2019 in reply to Anto77

    Good on you and all the best for today Anto!

    If we look back through history, great achievements have often been reached by the smallest most gradual of steps.

    Take care

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