Anxiety issues = unemployment for me!

Earlier this year, I was told in confidence that my role in Customer Services, was being made redundant. The whole operation was closing…but, I was not to worry. I was being offered the chance to apply for an internal role as a Marketing Assistant. I had tons of experience and the company didn’t want to lose me, plus a big pay increase, I went for it. After 6 years of waiting for a promotion, it wasn’t my idea of a dream but it was a good opportunity. I did feel partially used, as it was a circumstance rather than a “Wow you’ve done great, have this,” but that’s just my mind over analysing things as usual. Unfortunately, I had to keep quiet about the company situation, when CS was declared redundant it was obvious that I had some sort of ‘arrangement’. I felt horrible and two faced, but I had to think of myself.

Anyway, I spent the last 2 – 3 weeks after the announcement travelling to head office and handing over my previous role to the team there. It was hard, to say the least after nearly 7 years training someone else to do your job, especially when they didn’t seem to want it. But Hey ho, I had a new role, right? Yep, I was slowly learning it, but not a lot as I had to hand over the Customer Services first. Then my new manager hands her notice in, big bombshell. She didn’t want to travel the extra distance to where we were moving to and had a better offer. Fair enough, I was happy for her. I did feel a bit like I was being used, you know to just hand over the Customer Service, but they assured me they wanted me, which in retrospect I know they did.

Now, I was told there would be some travel involved with my new job, but I questioned it before hand as I know my anxiety has its limits. Once a month, after the training has been handed over. Yet, most the training had been handed over and I was still going once a week. I really struggled with this! I struggled to see the people I cared about, my work family as such looking for new jobs before their redundancy kicked in. I found it hard to sit in a role, basically looking at Facebook Business all day, I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing and I was vocal about this. Training was promised and would obviously come, but I felt depressed, de-motivated. Time to move on? I felt like I needed a new opportunity and to meet some new people, as much as I loved everyone there.

I applied for jobs for just under or about the same salary I had moved up to. Administrative jobs, jobs that sounded enjoyble. I’d gained so much confidence working for this company I felt like it was time to step up my game. Not long after my manager left, I broke the news to them that I had been offered another job position and I’d be moving on. It was working for an Adoption Agency, no longer in the toy industry but it sounded amazing, and so rewarding! I was so excited and obviously a little nervous! I handed in my one months’ notice and prepared for my new role.

Last Thursday I finished my previous role, Friday to be precise if you count the day’s holiday I took. I started my new job this Monday and drove out to Bromsgrove. The people were so lovely, friendly, and it seemed like a nice role, easy for me to learn. It was quiet on the day I started. I felt sick, anxious, ill all day and I struggled to focus on anything. I know, I know, first day nerves. But I seriously struggled. Everyone was talking about the Christmas party the next day, meeting parents on the Wednesday and me, driving to Mansfield on the Friday. No one had mentioned the Mansfield part to me, I said I’d get the train and although they were friendly I sensed a surprised undertone. I asked in my interview whether there would be any travelling and they said no. In all fairness, it was a one off, but it was a lot to take in on my first day. For someone that has GAD and suffers to eat in restaurants and go to busy places sometimes, I struggled. Starting a new job at Christmas. BIG MISTAKE. So, I come home, worry about the next day. They were very nice social people, eat out a lot, asked me where I like to go… They mention how nice it is as they go out for lunch a lot. I just can’t cope. It’s too much to worry about in one go. I just wanted to sit down, learn and get to know everyone in the office first before trying to cope and worrying about all the external social activities people do in businesses. I got home and freaked out, constant panic attacks; sickness; crying; shaking… Too scared to go in the next day because of my nerves. So, I emailed them, I know it sounds stupid but I was in no fit state to drive and I couldn’t do it. The overnight change from somewhere I was relatively comfortable and people who were aware of my anxiety to this new role, new atmosphere. I must say, that I worked so hard in my previous role my anxiety didn’t factor in at work, only if there was a Christmas or Birthday meal which I sometimes couldn’t attend. I explained myself to my new employer and asked whether I could postpone my start date for a short while (I was thinking a week!) to help deal with the change of stating a new job. Unfortunately, they couldn’t help me with this. It will take them another month to get someone new with CRB checks and recruiting but they couldn’t do it… So, now, I’ve gone from a well paid full time job to no job overnight. All I have is myself to blame.

I feel too anxious to do anything, go anywhere, apply for anything. I feel like I’m having some sort of breakdown and I don’t know why, I don’t know what to do. What the hell is wrong with me? I have rent to pay and its Christmas, I was so looking forward to my new life. What if the people I worked with for 7 years find out I lasted a day in my new job? How can I explain my anxiety to someone that isn’t me when everything sounds so trivial? I honestly don’t know what to do right now.

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Anxious about having a panic attack = having a panic attack due to how anxious I feel.

I wrote the below this afternoon, it is a very short piece which describes some of my emotions when I have an upcoming event that I do not wish to attend due to my fears and predictions. I get myself into such a state when I am invited out to a meal or sometimes certain social gatherings, that I worry about the event on a daily basis, weeks before it is even due to occur! I have been working very hard with my CBT guide to overcome this and challenge my thoughts.

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 I find myself trembling ever so slightly and white fluffy clouds begin distorting my vision, I’m hot and struggle to catch my breath as my heart begins to run its daily marathon.

Perspiration starts to trickle down my brow as I look in angst around my room.

I worry about having a panic attack even more than the event I have been invited to, I obsess, create scenarios in my mind and for each day that passes on the calendar, I fear the worst.

I am exhausted.

I try to suppress the negative thoughts that burrow in the back of my mind, but they linger and scratch at my temples with eager persistence.

My feelings and paranoia are dismissed and belittled by those around me as I struggle to keep my cool. Their lack of understanding depresses me.

As the day gets closer my anxiety increases, my patient, usual friendly manner wears thin. I snap at those around me.

I have only been invited out for a meal, how foolish and self-centered am I, If I turn down the invitation once again?

But how can I attend, with all those spectators that will witness my cries. I will lose control and panic will take control and destroy the once pleasant atmosphere.

I look for problems where none exist; I try to hide away where I will not be missed. I avoid the people I know and love; I despise my emotions and the emotional wreck I become.

My Old Friend, Mr Anxiety.

Dear Old Friend, we’ve known each other throughout my entire existence, almost everyday you greet me as I leave my home, my sanctuary, the only place you rarely enter.

Dear Old Friend, you have accompanied me through every chapter of my life, your guidance has helped me to overcome my burdens, grief and self doubt. Your strenuous efforts to warn me of any dangers ahead have protected me and kept me safe.

Dear Old Friend, I sometimes feel as helpful as you can be, I cannot keep you within my control. It does not feel normal to shake and feel nauseous when sometimes you visit, however you say to accept your guidance with open arms, I feel lost and utterly confused.

Dear Old Friend, tonight we dined in a restaurant full of co-workers and friends. You came along for the journey and chatted away until we reached the table. I felt you squeeze the energy from my body, the breath from my lungs, why oh why did you do that?

Dear Old Friend, you’re squeezing me too tight and I can scarcely breathe, my voice is just a whisper. That nauseous feeling has greeted me once again and it was too late, I was sick at the table.

Dear Old Friend, as terrified as I am to face you with your darkened veil, your persistent presence is no longer welcome and I demand that you leave! I feel you smoother me as I try to tip toe from my home. I feel your unearthly control dominating me, strangling me, as my attempts to overcome you repeatedly fail in catastrophic ways. My body is shaking uncontrollably. Please leave and never return.

Dear Old Friend, why do you continue to pursue your relentless campaign to revoke any and all social outings I am invited to? Why must your selfish lingering spoil any chance I have of overcoming my hellish nightmares and infuriating fears.

Dear Old Friend, it pains me to admit that I once looked to you as a source of great comfort and release, when times were so difficult and things were tragically getting worse.I turned to you when I was engulfed in a deep pit of tangled anguish and despair, but you betrayed me in the most conniving and unsuspecting way.

Dear Old Friend, every corner I now turn is full of dead ends and darkened rooms. Padlocked doors greet me as I try to regain control, I find myself avoiding the things I once enjoyed. My shackles feel too overwhelming to fight you today. My heart is pounding and my peripheral vision sees shadows where monsters lurk. I envy your sickening confidence, your determination and devotion to my suffering.

Dear Anxiety, I’m going to face you someday, I am gradually but surely going to regain my control over you.

I’ll remove your veil and stare into your dark and hollow eyes. I’ll remove my chains and walk into where the shadows hide.

I’d take pleasure in your welcome demise, however you may stick around, for in time I may require use of you once again. But never again will you use me.