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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I literally am on edge and my anxiety is through the roof the entire work day. I sit there panicking about incoming phone calls and cannot stop freaking out inside and I'm so tired of feeling this way, but my subconscious keeps me imprisoned. Logically, I recognize the error of my body's ways in becoming tense, blood pumping out of control, sweating, and feeling like I'd rather be anywhere but there, but I can't stop the physical response. It's purely subconscious. There's no particular thought causing me to feel this way. Sometimes my mind is racing or I can't pinpoint a particular thought. It's just that my body feels wrought with fear and anxiety in the morning before work and the entire time I'm there.

I've tried EFT, deep breathing, thought stopping, accepting thoughts, allowing myself to just 'be,' CBT etc. and honestly my body has never relaxed throughout the work day. I like my job itself, I truly do. It's just the surrounding coworkers and bosses, and being faced with having to constantly be 'on' and to have to put on this facade of normalcy when sometimes I just don't feel like talking, that truly makes me so depressed, and I literally well up with tears sometimes before work. I feel like I can't go on like this. I've tried therapy, but it hasn't been effective and I really don't want to go on medication, because I know it's my subconscious that won't release these underlying fears, and medication would merely mask the underlying problem. I know it's a subconscious thing, so if anyone could help me somehow transform my subconscious beliefs which trigger these torturous feelings, I seriously would be so grateful.

I search and search online, to no avail, for reprieve from this work anxiety. If anyone has overcome it without medication, can you please help me?
 

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I'm sorry you're feeling this way. I've experienced a similar thing as work before and it's awful. I sympathize.

Are you in a position that'll let you work from home?

I also wouldn't necessarily count out medication. You think it'll just "mask" the problem, but that's not necessarily so. It might be able to keep you calm enough to experience situations that were once threatening to you in a positive or neutral way. Maybe you should talk to your doctor about giving you something for acute anxiety and just try it out.

The book Feeling Good helped me. But that was about 5 years ago and I'm noticing some serious anxiety coming back. I'm joining a group therapy workshop soon. Have you thought about something like that? Also maybe look into temporary disability/leave from work, if you'd be covered and begin a therapy session.
 

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I'm also about to start a job in a customer support center where I will primarily be on the phone. Just be glad that you aren't out in the open at a retail store or fast food outlet. I feel so naked in those situations. Believe me there are situations that would have you puking half the time.

Medication can be very helpful in these situations. Therapy is okay, but a combination of medication and therapy have a higher success rate. Also, have you tried a stress ball? What about a white noise maker or a small desk fan to cool you off when your anxiety is high? I often find that stimulating my senses often helps reduce mental strain and stress. :D

Don't give up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ariestrying, I wish to God I could work from home but at the moment, only one member of my team has a telecommute position, so I'm stuck working in a crowd of coworkers all day every day. To be honest, I've thought long and hard about medication because I don't want to just give in to the anxiety and quit, because I know financially and career-wise, it's not a smart move, but I simply cannot go that route, because I don't want to experience the potential side-effects. Also, I feel like it's some kind of subconscious block that if I could just get sorted, I'd be fine, and so I'd rather continue to seek help the natural way. I'm just not having success so far. I don't really have the option to take a leave of absence given that I just started at this job not too long ago. I should look into group therapy. I've tried individual therapy and didn't have much progress work-anxiety wise.

Munir, I have read the one book you suggested.. and many more. I think that site is good, but I still can't seem to move past the panic of being confronted with so many of the same people every day. It's just too much stimuli and I'm too much of a loner to feel comfortable with it. I'd rather work in solitude or with maybe one or two other people max. More than that, and the panic is constant.

Catfreak, I appreciate the support. I actually worked in both retail and fast food in the summers when I was in college, and felt fine in those situations and at ease. For me, talking on the phone in front of bosses and coworkers is the most dreadful situation to have to endure. It's like being on stage. I do have a small desk fan and while it helped when I started using it, the effect quickly wore off, because I still feel that others are paying attention to my every word. I'm trying to persevere, I truly am, but it is such a struggle and I feel hopeless much of the time, because I think it's just my personality. I'm introverted and don't have any desire to change that part of me. I crave solitude and silence, especially when I'm trying to concentrate. Seeing the same people day in and day out and being faced with numerous unpredictable interactions in front of peers and authority figures literally makes me sick to my stomach. I just want to escape so bad. It's torturous.
 

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Almost Creepy

I literally was glued to your post, since it sounds as if I myself could have written it.

I recently started a job at a call center, assuming that the pay would override my anxiety about being on the phone. The job itself was incredible, amazing benefits, pay, facility, and the people were all incredibly supportive, friendly, and helpful.

I was nervous about the phones from the beginning and figured if I could just push through it until I got a promotion, maybe I wouldn't always be on the phones so much.

After weeks of unrelenting panic attacks and just a feeling of tightness and anxiety literally all day, I began waking up in the middle of the night with a tightness in my chest.

I saw my doctor, and she gave me medication. After being on it for a bit I noticed my depression subsiding but no effect whatsoever on my anxiety.
The dosage was increased and I was told to come back in a few weeks.

At this point I had been off work for two weeks. The company wasn't accepting my doctor's notes recommending I stay at home, so I was becoming terrified of being let go.

The medication still had little to no effect on my anxiety, so my doctor upped it again. We discussed disability leave, to which I was told to 'Google some social workers in my area' since my doctor didn't think she was able to put me on disability for something like this. (Basically telling me to suck it up)

I am now on 125mg of medication, and had to quit my job. No hope for any sort of government assistance, considering I quit rather than was let go.

I know that quitting was the best option to keep my mental health in order, but I still find myself pissed off. I was just hoping for some time away to create a plan to get better. I wanted to see a therapist in combination with the medication I was being given, but I was told 'it would take months to get in', and wasn't even referred.

I regret quitting my job all the time, but feel like I had no other option. It frustrates me that I live in Canada, and was able to get all that health care for free, yet am in no better a situation, and if anything I am worse off, than when I started seeing doctors.

I truly hope that you are able to find a solution, but I wanted to caution you about the immense guilt I have to live with, knowing I quit a job that I was physically capable of doing, and one that would have bettered my life in the long run, because I was unable to get my anxiety in order.

People have told me my whole life to seek help, and I have tried several times over the years. This last experience proved to me once again that you can not rely on doctors to fix your problems, even if they are medical.
You can go and ask the opinions of your doctors, but I realize now that my health is in my own hands, and I am responsible for finding what works for me, through research, as well as second, third and fifteenth opinions.

Doctor's don't do **** for this kind of thing, sorry to say.

Please let me know if you are able to find relief, as I would sincerely appreciate knowing what was helpful in your situation.

-Twitch.
 

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There seems to be a myth that somehow call centers are easier because there are no face-to-face-interactions. On the contrary, I found it much more stressful than retail. For one, you can count on almost every call involving a problem. There's a reason they're calling after all. On top of that, there are A LOT of customers (with problems) that you're dealing with. One after another, after another, until your mind-numbing day comes to an end. It might take you a week or more to talk to the same number of people that you do in one day at a call center. Even non-SA people find it quite a challenge, which is why there's such a revolving door for employees at most of these places!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey Twitch, thanks for responding and I am so sorry for what you've been through and the guilt you're experiencing as a result of leaving your job. I certainly can relate b/c I gave up on my last job after about three years. The anxiety and resentment towards coworkers built up to such an extent that I felt it was what I needed to do. I honestly felt like my anxiety was my instinct leading me away from the situation and ignoring it further would just do more damage to my emotional and physical health. It just felt like the thing I needed to do. It sounds like you did what you felt you needed to do as well. Sure, reflecting back on the situation, it's always easy to question yourself, but in the end, there's a lesson to be learned through it all. Dealing with anxiety when it affects your ability to function at work is serious. People don't understand unless they've experienced it.

I can say that having read many books and articles, there are numerous medication options available to help with anxiety issues. There is this good book 'Ten Steps to Relieve Anxiety: Refocus, Relax, and Enjoy Life' by H. Michael Zal, in which several natural and pharmaceutical drug options are detailed. It could be that the particular drug you've been prescribed is not right for your particular symptoms. Don't give up hope if you wish to pursue medication to alleviate your symptoms. There are a wide variety of options if one particular drug is ineffective.

Also, don't give up hope in general. Trust me, I know the hell that is situational (work-related) anxiety. However, each day is a new day to get up and try again. Honestly, if I were in your shoes trying out medication, I would definitely be optimistic that one of the numerous anti-anxiety meds available would help. Do your research. Maybe someone who specializes in this particular ailment, like a psychiatrist, would be more helpful than a PCP.

Try not being so hard on yourself. Instead of dwelling on the fact that you wish you hadn't quit your job, maybe look at it in a different light: you listened to the message you were hearing in terms of your body's signals, and you acknowledged how you were feeling and are now getting the rest you needed. I know it's stressful being out of work. Been there, actually not too long ago. However, you'll have plenty of time to deal with the anxiety BS if and when it resurfaces at work, so why not enjoy the time away from that nonsense, even for a brief bit?

I can't say I'm over my work-related anxiety. Far from it. I go in every day and I struggle. However, I've started meditation 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening each day this week. I've just bought three new books regarding social anxiety/phobia, mindfulness, and fear of performing in front of others. I'm considering joining a group of others with the same struggles. I'm trying everything I can to hang in there, because even though my mind is telling me to quit and flee from this situation, I'm trying to work through my feelings somehow. It's hard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Blue Day, very true. Thanks for understanding and relating. It's good to know others feel the same.

Knightofdespair.. cool username btw.. I'm sorry to hear you've experienced the same sort of anxiety.
 
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I've had similar issues at work and still do from time to time. I understand the aversion to medication as well for the very reasons you've stated. I've personally never taken psychiatrict meds and refuse to do so.

I've found that having a script in front of you tends to help if you have to make a phone call. After a while of having similar conversations, you may find yourself easing into the phone calls because your uncertainty would have decreased. It helps to really probe into what exactly is triggering you, those subconscious triggers you speak of. I've tended to find these will reoccur and reoccur as long as they're not really heard, accepted and understood. I've tried EFT too and I'm currently doing sentence completion stems created by Nathaniel Branden. If done in the right way, the stems are designed to bypass conscious resistances to expose subconscious thoughts and emotions.
 
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