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Anxiety at Work

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Aurora87

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
9
Location
Ohio, US
I'll apologize in advance if this isn't in the right place!

If I may, first I want to relate a real situation I found myself in today. It's not the first time I've experienced it but today it was perhaps worse than it's ever been.

Let me set the scene: I'm at work. I work in a moderate sized office, things are rarely hectic or busy and mostly I'm left alone to do my work. Very little stress, nice and calm, just the way I like it. But today it's different because I'm exhausted already. I didn't sleep at all, I stared at the ceiling, I watched TV, I played games, read books, whatever I could think of to do around the other darker thoughts swimming around my mind. The ones telling me my relationship is doomed, that my wife is going to tell me to leave, that I will have to leave her, my children, my home etc.

But I'm at work, I can't think of those things now. I have to think about the people calling in for help with whatever is broken and needs fixed and I have to send someone out there RIGHT NOW to fix it because their lives depend on the little green light inside their bank's ATM card reader. It doesn't but they all act like it does. So I put on my happy face, answer the phone, talk them through the problem, promise I'll have someone come out to help them. They go away happy that someone listened and it'll get fixed that day.

I'm fortunate I can talk to my wife though IM while I'm there and most of the time it's a comfort to know that she's awake and having a good day at home, until she stops answering for 30 minutes without her usual comments on what she's disappearing to do.

I send another IM, it gets no reply. Now thinking back on it it seems stupid. That my wife walking away from the computer after thinking she had hit enter to send a message saying "Give me a bit, I have to go to store" would cause such a panic. But in the midst of all that stress something as simple as not getting a reply set off a catastrophic chain reaction.

She isn't answering > She's ignoring me > She hates me > Our relationship is over

I scroll back up through the messages looking for anything I might have said to make her think that way but I don't find anything. My thoughts are blurring together already, the room is spinning, the lump that started in my throat has become a crushing weight on my chest stopping me from breathing, I can't even make out the letters on the screen and all the time it feels like the world is ending around me. Then that bone deep chill comes, the goose pimples raise on my arms and the shivering starts. I lose the ability to speak and I'm trying to focus on my breathing but the shivering is so bad I can't concentrate. My mind whirlpools into a miserable oblivion as everything I dread coming true becomes reality in that one moment. I just want to die in my chair.

The question is this... how can you cope in a stressful situation when there is no escape? Work isn't a place we can just up and leave at will and I'm incredibly lucky to have a supervisor who understands when I run to the bathroom to sit on the floor for minutes at a time with my head pressed against the cold tiles on the wall. So many people say getting away from the stressful situation is key but what if that isn't a possibility?
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

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Location
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It sounds like the anxiety in these situations are quite severe.
The feelings and physical sensations you describe sound quite debilitating, so it must be really difficult for you.

Does your wife know how bad you feel when she doesn't respond for a while? Have you asked her if she can type a quick message to say she won't be able to reply for a short while, to reassure you?

I suppose i'm wondering also why you IM her while you're at work.
In the kindest way, it isn't something that people generally do either because they're not allowed or they get too busy.
Did you set up the IM-ing so that you could be reassured while you're at work?

Do you think you'd cope if you didn't IM her during your working hours, and instead maybe called her during your lunch break, for example?

The thing is, whilst I understand you find talking to her comforting, I don't know if it's not doing you more harm than good to be doing it during work hours.
It possibly affects your concentration, it's definitely causing you anxiety and it may be that it's not easy for her to be keeping up the conversation.
I know that even with people i'm very close to, I run out of things to say.
 
A

Aurora87

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
9
Location
Ohio, US
She does, and we spoke about it after she came back, she had typed in a message saying where she was going but had forgot to hit enter because she was in a rush.

As for why we IM while I'm at work it's a mutual support system. I'm only mentioning this because it's unfair to her to not explain. She suffers from MPD and has been without medical support for 17 years for various reasons, chief amongst them being that whenever she starts medication she becomes suicidal. She has developed a self-support system that works and is usually sufficient to avoid needing admission and 24/7 watching to make sure nothing bad happens. It's not a normal life but it's the hand she's been dealt. When we met she found the support I offered stabilizing, but it was so long as a stable personality could stay out here engaged enough to ward off the slipping back inside.

Literally, the last time she lost her grip on things that bad was just before we met. The main personality come back out after being trapped in her mind for 5 months to find herself in a different country with 30lbs extra weight, a new tattoo and living with someone she didn't even know after having taken all the household money to leave. Her family didn't even know where she was.

So personally it's comforting to me to know I can be there for her even when I have to be away from home.

As for having things to talk about... believe me... that is never a problem for someone who has so many personalities inside who have their own stories to tell.

By the way, she is reading this as I type it and has said it's OK to disclose what I've said.
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

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Messages
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Oh right - now that you've shared that, it really puts your first post in context.
I'm sorry to hear of both your own struggles and her struggles - sounds like she's had some very frightening experiences and so it's understandable really that you would be concerned.:hug1:

Sometimes I get a similar thing, but it's with my parents. Sometimes if I don't hear from them i'll automatically think something bad has happened.
What helps me in that situation is to look at the situations in the past where i've panicked - in none of those situations did anything bad actually happen. Your fears about her haven't been proved right.

I wonder if perhaps that's something that might help you? You could even have a little mantra that you could say to yourself, like "My worst case scenario has never happened" or "My worry is unnecessary - all is well".
 
A

Aurora87

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
9
Location
Ohio, US
Your suggestion makes a lot of sense to me and I'll definitely try it. It's just the wide range of possibilities of things that could happen that is scary.

Even when I've been with her in person she's had minor breakdowns. Everyday stress for her can sometimes peak and become too much resulting in a 2-3 hour crying session, hugging and sitting on the floor. Whichever personality is out during those is so confused they don't know who they are, where they are or even who I am so it's really a fresh struggle each time to get to grips with whoever it is, get them calmed down enough to the point they won't run away and ride it out with them until balance is restored.

The worst case scenario really is that someone will come out and leave then get themselves into trouble. Lost, alone, confused and outside. I think the only solace is that it hasn't happened since we got together because it did before that time.
 
A

Aurora87

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Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
9
Location
Ohio, US
:low:

Those feelings come again today, it seemed out of the blue. It seemed the more I said it the hollower the words seemed and felt, eventually I had to resort to my usual temporary reprieve. I don't know what made it worse, it felt like I was lying to myself to try and keep myself sane.
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

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Joined
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Have you looked to see if there are any support groups or carer's groups in your area?
It might help to meet with other people who understand the challenges of having a loved one who suffers from mental health issues.
 
A

Aurora87

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Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Messages
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Location
Ohio, US
I have but the local support group was far from supportive. I left feeling judged and shunned as though they felt I had chosen to be in the situation I was in because I knew about her issues before we got married. Honestly it was not an experience I wish to repeat.
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
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Location
The West Country
I have but the local support group was far from supportive. I left feeling judged and shunned as though they felt I had chosen to be in the situation I was in because I knew about her issues before we got married. Honestly it was not an experience I wish to repeat.
I'm sorry to hear that.
It sounds like people were very rude and unwelcoming, so I can see why you don't want to try again.
 
Q

qwerty1234

Guest
I know this is an old thread but I feel exactly like this and I used to feel like this at work. I am trapped and I can't concentrate and yet I am supposed to work.
 
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