Work Experience (please help!) - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-20-2015, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Work Experience (please help!)

I don't know whether or not it's the same where you guys live, but in England, when we are 15 years old we are forced to go to a workplace (e.g. a shop or business) for 2 weeks in order to gather skills needed for later life. It is supposed to let us get used to the atmosphere of a workplace, and what will be asked of us when we have our own jobs.

The only issue with this is that I do not adjust well to new environments, and this one (a small shop not too far from home) is scaring the hell out of me. I have gone there for a week, and I loathe the place. As soon as I walk through the doors, I feel myself sink deeper and deeper into myself until I'm not there any more. If any of my colleagues or clients ask me something, I tend to choke out one-word answers, as they are all I can manage. It's painful and extremely anxiety-inducing.

Yesterday, I had only been in work for half an hour before I couldn't take it any more. I was breaking out in a massively uncomfortable sweat, even in a thin t-shirt and leggings, I felt like I was going to be sick and my vision was going blurry. Although I never said it to my colleagues, I think that this illness was brought on by anxiety. It didn't help when my colleague got angry with me for the way I handled a client (our first customer of the day). I was already scared out of my mind, and although I know that I'd done a horrific job, it pushed me over the edge.

In the end, I called home and asked my dad to pick me up because I knew that I physically couldn't stay. You'd think that that would be relieving, but there's still one tiny little problem.

I am still only half way through my work experience.

Needless to say, I physically can't go in on Monday. I won't. I have been trying to convince my mum all week to let me quit the job and ask my school if I could try a different one, but she never listened to me. On Wednesday night, I had a panic attack in front of her, but still she didn't get the message: I couldn't carry on.

Thankfully, today (on Saturday!) she has given in and contacted my school to ask for a different placement. What I still find alarming though is that she didn't get the message any sooner. I literally had a panic attack in front of her eyes. I know she finds me pathetic and useless. She keeps asking me things like "How are you going to cope in life if you can't talk to people?", but she just doesn't understand. She expects me to have the answers, but I don't. I don't know. It's something I ask myself all the damn time. Recently she told me that I belonged in a mental asylum because I was "wallowing in my own misery". She is willing to question and criticise me, but reluctant to offer any proper help - and I need proper help!

Please, if you are reading this, tell me a way in which I can get my parents to understand my social anxiety, and suggest ways in which I can overcome my inability to speak to people.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-20-2015, 04:42 PM
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Where I live, 15 year old teens aren't required to go to a workplace. Your situation in England sounds really beneficial actually.

Good job for working there a total of one week even though you didn't want to. You pulled through .

At least you'll get a different place to work now. It will be less anxiety inducing too since you worked a week at that previous place.

People who have never experienced what you've felt won't understand it very well. Your mom wants you to become an independent and strong woman in the future for your own best interests.

I don't know how to help you explain to your parents, or ways to overcome an inability to speak to people in an instance. Maybe... You can just imagine that the next batch of employees and customers are all babies, helpless and defenseless, and you are there to help the babies out and they will appreciate the help .

The employees and customers are there for business, so focus on your work, you are not a showcase animal. It's okay to be nervous, just relax your muscles and breathe slowly. If your body is relaxed then you will be less likely to sweat.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-20-2015, 04:59 PM
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 02:09 PM Thread Starter
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I try to view the experience as beneficial, but at the moment it is pretty difficult, despite the education system's positive intentions.

Thanks - I'm trying my best to be proud of myself for making it through the week instead of focusing on the fact that I didn't manage to make it through the two weeks. The whole thing ended up being so much tougher than I thought it was going to be initially, but I made it

I'm hoping that I might be given a job at my school, because that will be a familiar (and hopefully relaxing) environment to work in. I'm nervous about where I will be put, but at least I'll be able to escape my current crappy situation!

I understand that my mum tries to make me strong and capable, but I wish that she would realise that in my situation, it's not always that easy. I feel like I understand her a lot more than she understands me right now.

I try my best to imagine that I am helping out the people I am working with, but they only seem to treat me like they are helping me. The objective of work experience is that the business helps the student by teaching them basic skills for later life, and the student helps the business by helping them to keep on top of work. I feel as if my business only views the experience as a one-way thing in terms of favours.

Thank you so much for your help and kind words. It's so nice to talk to someone who understands!
I will have to go into work tomorrow due to the fact that my school has not contacted me yet to talk about alternative arrangements, but I'll keep all this in mind
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks - that's actually quite a nice way of looking at it! I suppose I will have a more varied experience than most others

Also thank you for understanding me in general. I will try my hardest to keep it all under control tomorrow.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 02:50 PM
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I know how you're feeling! I did my work experience in Year 10 at a Wildlife Hospital, it was bearable because I spent more time around the animals! However, tomorrow I'm starting my Year 12 work experience at a popular Tudor mansion. I needed a History placement to contribute to my University application, but I'm absolutely terrified. My parents say it's normal to be nervous, they don't believe in my social anxiety so I can't really show them how much it's bothering me.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 06-21-2015, 03:06 PM
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You need to get beta blockers. That'll almost definitely take care of that sickness and sweating you're talking about.

nobody exists on purpose. nobody belongs anywhere. everybody's gonna die ~~

If you like pina coladas and gettin caught in the rain, follow me on Twitter @audreytheworst . I never talk about pina coladas or rain. But surely you like other stuff. If you don't, get some other interests already, geez.
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