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Social anxiety at work

UpnDwn1978

UpnDwn1978

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I work at several nursing homes ordering and delivering food. Usually this requires little interaction with other people, but due to Covid I have been assigned a new task to make breakfast for the patients at one of the nursing homes. This happens in an open kitchen where all the nurses and patients gather and I have to take the orders as they come often from several impatient nurses and patients at once. This has really triggered my social anxiety and I don't know how to cope. It feels like I'm going to get paralyzed everytime someone makes an order and that everyone is watching and judging me. I used to work as a chef so preparing food doesn't bother me, but doing it in front of other people is incredibly stressful to the point of being painful. When I got assigned this task I was happy because I love working with food, but i didn't know I had to do it in front of an audience and now I dread going to work. I'm at work now, having a break in my office after just having finished making breakfast and now I'm scared to leave my office. Tomorrow I have to do it all again, and even if I have been doing this for a couple of weeks now it doesn't seem to get better. Having social anxiety sucks :(
 
OCDguy

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Having to take orders and being watched must put you under a lot of pressure too, aswell as being very stressful. I wonder if speaking with someone will come up with a way to ease some of that pressure etc... I also wonder if there are a lot of people in a confined space, is social distancing being observed...
 
UpnDwn1978

UpnDwn1978

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Social distancing is being followed within the limitations of the available space. It's a large open kitchen with two dining areas, one separated, but open to the kitchen. The other is closer to the kitchen but still far enough away to be safe according to regulations. Patients are also spaced out, but the staff sometimes have to get closer due to space and movement restrictions. I try to make small talk and joke to relieve some stress, but it actually just increase my anxiety and I always feel that I either speak to softly, to loudly or say something wrong. Several times today people have asked me if I'm ok so it is clear that people notice something is up.
 
A

Aurelius

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If you can, be open about the stress taking several orders at once causes you and ask for ordering to be queued - for example by number/ticket system - so you are only having to process one order at a time. This might help contain/manage any sensory and emotional overloading.
 
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Aurelius

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You might also be open with your line management about suffering from social anxiety and tell them about the issues you have. You have stated these very clearly here. I am really sorry that you are having to go through all of this.
 
UpnDwn1978

UpnDwn1978

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It's quite difficult to create any sort of system and I don't think the nurses would adhere to it anyway. The nurses comes and goes. They may come and order something, but then disappear for half an hour while the food gets cold or sometimes just forget about the order altogether. Some nurses asks me to take orders directly from the patients. Many patients wants to order something we don't have and get angry when they don't get it (these are mostly old people, many with dementia). Luckily this isn't a permanent thing so I'll ride it out until the covid situation is over.
 
UpnDwn1978

UpnDwn1978

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You might also be open with your line management about suffering from social anxiety and tell them about the issues you have. You have stated these very clearly here. I am really sorry that you are having to go through all of this.
I'm usually very open about my condition, but I can't talk about it if there's a crowd of people milling about and I don't want to explain what social anxiety is to everyone I talk to. I also find that telling people about my issues don't really help and sometimes even make things worse. It is strange I worked as a bartender for two years and while I still had some social anxiety issues but the pace and amount of work rarely allowed me to linger on it and for some reason i found it easier to talk to drunk people.
 
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Aurelius

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I wish you all the best in doing this. You are very brave to face this challenge daily and should be proud of your courage. I am hoping that there will be a positive outcome for you in terms of becoming more desensitized.
 
UpnDwn1978

UpnDwn1978

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I wish you all the best in doing this. You are very brave to face this challenge daily and should be proud of your courage. I am hoping that there will be a positive outcome for you in terms of becoming more desensitized.
Thank you :), I'm sure I'll get through this, i always do, it just sucks right now.
 
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bpd2020

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I think you are amazing. To have a job despite having social anxiety is not easy. I am sorry not to have any advice but I just wanted to tell you that.
 
Argon

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It's quite difficult to create any sort of system and I don't think the nurses would adhere to it anyway. The nurses comes and goes. They may come and order something, but then disappear for half an hour while the food gets cold or sometimes just forget about the order altogether. Some nurses asks me to take orders directly from the patients. Many patients wants to order something we don't have and get angry when they don't get it (these are mostly old people, many with dementia). Luckily this isn't a permanent thing so I'll ride it out until the covid situation is over.
I had that problem when I ran a cafe. The noon crowd would be orderly and stand in line to wait for orders, but the afternoon people would order then go outside to smoke and while I was doing their orders more people would come up and order then go out. I remember 2 pia women when I asked them if they could write their order down they said they didn't have pen and paper - their office was right across the hall. I had to start writing orders down.
 
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