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jobs and anxiety?

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by lost_in_a_fairytale, Apr 8, 2014.

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  1. lost_in_a_fairytale

    lost_in_a_fairytale Well-Known Member

    I graduated from university last year but have been too scared to apply for jobs yet. I've not had a job before as I've always been way too nervous of the thought. I did some very brief work experience for a couple of weeks when I was a teenager, but that's the only sort of experience I've had. It wasn't stressful itself, but I still hated the lunch breaks being too nervous to engage in proper conversations with others and feeling isolated and stupid. Anyway, It's coming up to a year now since I finished my degree and I feel the pressure of the fact I should be working by now. I have looked at job sites sometimes, but even that's enough to panic me a lot or make me feel somewhat depressed. There was a time last year when I got so anxious thinking about jobs that the only way I could calm myself down was to take naps during the day as sleeping made me feel refreshed and calmer. I'm now thinking of asking in local shops about part-time jobs but even the thought of that makes me feel sick. I feel bad for putting it off for so long. Whether or not working will be as scary as I imagine I don't know, but I can't imagine how I could even cope in an interview, never-mind actually working. It makes me worry about the future, that I'll never be able to rely on myself because I'm not sure if I could hold a job down with my anxiety.
    Anyone else in the same position? Did anything make you feel better?
  2. Freya

    Freya Loves SF Staff Member ADMIN SF Author

    Hi Lost,

    I was so scared my first day of work in the job I have now that I was tempted to simply stay in bed. I understand completely how you feel, but the truth is that the only way it gets better is to fight through it. For the first weeks it was horrible and I was terrified and went beet red each time someone spoke to me, but now they have trouble shutting me up lol. Yes it does get better but you have to power on through - hard as that is.

    Speak to your doctor about anxiety and how it is hampering you and then plan things in - if you can get prescribed some medication, use it effectively to job hunt in the times when you feel less anxious. And take a med before an interview etc. Doctors can and will help if you talk to them.

    Anxiety over this kind of thing is very normal but you have spent a year building it up in your head into this awful thing you can't get past. Speak to a doctor and break the hunt down into steps. This step is JUST sending out CVs - deal with that first and stop focussing on what comes next.

    Good luck and stay safe :hug:
  3. iwanttohelp

    iwanttohelp Well-Known Member

    My friend I have been working for 20 years and I still get scared of work every day that I wake up. Its very common. People like me at work, I am very competent, I make good money, I am highly organized and I still get overwhelmed and anxious! I think its just part of work.

    So what makes me feel better is breaking projects down into tiny little actions I can take one at a time that last 10-15 minutes. You can only ever do one thing at a time. A job is just a series of tiny actions. Even for job hunting your first step is a resume. The first step of a resume is just write down the basics. The first step of writing down the basics is just opening a new word document and saving it. The first step to opening a new document is schedule a time to sit down at your computer. One tiny little thing at a time can feel like you are not even working at all!

    Plus this helps: keep in mind that you will only work a certain number of days in your life. So each day you go to work just remember that this is one less day that you will have to work! That day of work will be gone forever. Ahhh... just the thought of that feels better.

    The ultimate is if you can imagine a vision for your life of what you really want to do, ask yourself what you think your purpose here is. Then if you are doing small actions toward that larger meaningful goal each day, that can give you some positivity.

    Also, once you get in a place, get to know the people and understand the job it definitely becomes more comfortable over time. Believe it or not eventually you will become the authority in that job and people will look to you. You can do it, work can be uncomfortable, difficult and stressful, but that is ok, its part of life.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 8, 2014
  4. randomguy9

    randomguy9 Put's the "Pro" in Profanity

    Randomguy9's hypocritical post of the day... If anyone sees me in chat please realize I am typing this to someone else, but also for myself... in hopes it will be encouraging to us both.

    I dropped out of college. (USA college... I have gathered that there are different terms.)

    It is tough... the "job" I grew up doing is the exact type of work I A. have no aptitude for. B. Is the exact type that most people go to school to avoid.

    As an adult I have done odd jobs here and there... but again only stuff I am not good at and are the kinds of work people go to school to avoid.
    I too was able to work. Socializing has always been a difficult thing for me. Through therapy I have been able to figure out where those fears came from, realize they aren't good things to live my life by. For me, a lot of bullying, rejection, and abandonment issues developed early in life. It is a different story for everybody.. but that has helped me socially. Unfortunately, the fear of job hunting is still overwhelming.
    I have two comment here.
    1. It is a natural feeling... culture says this is what you do at this age, and life position.

    2. The word "should" can be very dangerous to mental health.
    Yea... my anxiety can rise to extreme levels almost instantly... or it can be depression.
    I too try different things to avoid my problems... it is probably a good things I can't take naps very often otherwise I would do the same thing. The problem with these techniques is while they make us feel better then and there, it only makes the problem worse in the long run... and we train our brains to react that way to stress. While there are times when that is the appropriate response... I am trying to figure out how to deal with this, and not run when I need to fight.
    Yea... I have tried driving by places and walking in, but anxiety has completely destroyed me in the past. Looking for a job has been a lot harder than most day jobs I have ever done.
    You said that you worked before, and other than the socializing you were able to do it. Try to remember those times. I have heard people say that looking for a job is harder than any job they ever had. Interviewing stressed out a lot of people.
    Sounds a lot like me accept you are ahead. I am 24, college drop out, wondering how I am going to get a job that doesn't lead to fear and suicidal feelings.
  5. lost_in_a_fairytale

    lost_in_a_fairytale Well-Known Member

    yeah, I've also not had too many good experiences with people throughout life. Been bullied, insulted and ignored by my own "friends" in the past, not cared about, taken for granted, forgotten about, abandoned, etc. School was pretty tough, not a friendly place, it was the norm there to not care about people, be inconsiderate, nasty, treat everyone like a piece of dog turd, etc. I'm terrified work will be like school all over again - somewhere that I have no real friends at, somewhere I dread going and spend all the time counting down the hours/days/months until its over. I think I'll go into a major depression if it's anything like that, school was bad enough.

    Yeah, I think work might be ok if I had a good bunch of friends there, the only reason I got through university was because I had a close friend who cheered me up, supported me and gave me something to look forward to, etc. I'm not sure I could get through work on my own and I'm not certain I'd even make friends because of the being anxious about socializing thing and not feeling relaxed with many people.

    Exactly, I'm scared a job will make me depressed and I really don't want to endure that. I know I could quit if it was that bad but I feel like I can't keep going through jobs and quitting loads! I've been thinking maybe I'd manage ok stacking shelves or something because that shouldn't be too stressful or require lots of talking.......now I have to somehow get the guts to walk in a shop and ask! I normally walk in, feel nervous and a bit sick, then just buy stuff and walk out. In some ways I can't believe I've left it this long, I thought I would've managed it by now :/
    Someone advised me to ask on a day when I'm in a bad mood because it alleviates the nerves?!
  6. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Hiya, lost_in_a_fairytale.

    If we're working for the first time, or starting a new job, I think it's natural to feel nervous. And if we don't have a lot of experience "working," it's hard to tell ourselves it will be fine (although chances are it will be fine!).

    You might get a bit of practical work experience in a less pressured environment by volunteering with an organization. Showing yourself that you can do a volunteer "job," could boost your confidence. AND you can add the volunteering to your résumé (it's experience, and it demonstrates that you take an active role in your community).

    I expect that whatever you do, once you get into the daily routine of things, it won't be as scary for you. :)
  7. SillyOldBear

    SillyOldBear Teddy Bear Fanatic Staff Alumni

    Are there any employment agencies in your area that specialize in temporary jobs. They can last a fews hour to a few months. And can give you some wonderful experience. Plus give you a chance to check out an employer and see if you would be comfortable working there. And if you don't like, so what. Its a temporary job. You can leave soon.
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