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Help – how do I get off the merry-go-round?

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  • #114466
    Kodi
    Participant

    I apologize in advance for the long post. I am an extremely sensitive over thinker who has battled anxiety and depression all my life (I’m in my 30s). I’m on medication that helps me cope and actually have quite a happy life. I am happily married with a 5 year old son; we have our own house in a small town and a dog. I have good relationships with my parents and extended family and we all have our health where it really counts. I am very, very blessed. Despite this, I torture myself daily with thoughts of inadequacy. Most of this surrounds my work. I’m a graphic designer but have never been confident in my abilities. Throughout high school, college and 12 years in the work force I get to a point where I feel so intimidated and overwhelmed by my own thoughts that I just shut down and don’t care. Then I stress eat (which causes health issues), have panic attacks and somehow push through enough to keep going. I really don’t like the job that I’m currently in. 8 years ago I left a job that I liked for the most part and felt like I was fairly good at to take this current job because I needed to make more money. I knew right off the bat that I wasn’t going to like this job, I cried every day the first week. But I did what I had to do at the time. 8 years later I’m still unhappy – I’m either stressed & anxious (when given a task I worry I won’t do well) or am bored (when given an easy but dull task). I sit at my desk and imagine what my boss is thinking of me – and I procrastinate, which makes things worse. I watch the clock all day and it’s a relief when I can go home. Then it starts all over again the next day. I’ve very frustrated with myself because I’m fully aware that the insecurities, projecting and procrastination come from inside my head. In addition to medication I’ve tried yoga, meditation, hypnosis, acupuncture, tapping, you name it. I feel like the only thing that would give me relief would be to just quit my job. I dream of being home, where I feel comfortable and happy. I’d love to be able to be there to put my son on and off the bus instead of him getting on & off at daycare. But not working is not responsible financially and I would feel like a failure and guilty for not working. The thought of looking for another job sends me right into a panic attack. If I’m not good enough for a job I hate no one would ever hire me for a better one, right? I’m open to working in another field – one that would be more fulfilling for me – but I can’t think of anything I’d be good at. Which brings me right back to where I am – sitting at my desk feeling increasing miserable. I also feel guilty because I know that I’m lucky to have a job and it’s not like I’m being mistreated or anything. My brain is just a mess. I welcome anyone’s insight on how to potentially get off this merry-go-round. Thank you!

    #114468
    anita
    Participant

    Dear kodi208:

    As an anxious person myself, this is my input: quit the job if you and your husband can handle finances without your job, that is, handle taking care of the minimum required to live well (I am not materialistic so “living well” for me does not include fancy vacations and second property and so forth).

    There are two ways to reduce anxiety and increase well being: I call them the Macro and the Micro. The Micro are all the things you tried: meditation, yoga etc.: doing what you can to calm that space in between one’s ears.

    The Macro is arranging your life circumstances so that the anxiety is not triggered. Because you feel inadequate in your job and have felt it for so long, consistently (regardless of all the Micro work)- then re-arrange your life so it is congruent with who you are. Either do a job where you feel adequate, and not excessively bored, or remove yourself completely from employment, be at home with your child.

    Attack the problem Micro AND Macro is my advice.

    anita

    #114482
    Kodi
    Participant

    Thank you for your advice anita. Micro and Macro makes a lot of sense. We don’t spend much money on material items or vacations; we live well within our means. However, my husband doesn’t make a lot of money and I fear that if I didn’t work it would add stress rather than taking it away. I also worry that quitting working would be giving up and letting the anxiety win. There are so many people out there working multiple jobs just to make ends meet –I can’t justify staying home just because I happen to have anxiety. As far as doing something other than graphic design, I keep hoping I’ll have an epiphany or some other opportunity will fall into my lap because I don’t have a clue what I could do that would be less anxiety producing. But I don’t think expecting an epiphany is realistic.

    #114488
    anita
    Participant

    Dear kodi208:

    Of course, if there was an easy solution: one with only positive consequences and no negative consequences, then you wouldn’t be struggling and the problem would have been solved. Whatever choice you make will have some negative consequences. The thing to do, I believe, is examine and evaluate the positives and negatives and then decide.

    One negative consequence you fear is the added stress on your husband: things to examine and evaluate are: how does he deal with stress, so far? Did he express distress over the idea that you don’t work? Did you discuss this?

    Another negative consequence you mentioned is letting the anxiety win. Well, the anxiety is not a person or entity, so it can’t win. How do you win? Not by pretending the anxiety is not there but by fully accepting it is, for as long as it is. Not judging yourself negatively for being anxious but being very gentle and patient with yourself. The anxiety is not something you chose, so you are not guilty for experiencing it.

    And I agree that epiphany may not be realistic when you are anxious- it is when you are calm that the fog clears.

    If you’d like, we can keep communicating about your situation.

    anita

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