Anxiety and work
I recently started a new job and I was on cloud nine. For the first time in months I’ve beaten my monsters and actually managed to make it through a successful interview which left me feeling like myself again. Bubbly, confident and filled to the brim with self belief. I have been away from work for a few months due to my anxiety and depression. Making the decision to leave my job, which I loved and enjoyed was not easy. I struggled for weeks with the decision, but finally felt that leaving financial services was the best thing for myself and my mental wellbeing. I was and still am happy and confident it was the right move for me. I lost my confidence, dignity and my sense of self during and no job is worth that at all. During my interview for my new position the ladies all seemed really nice and for the first time in months I felt like myself again amongst strangers. Being able to laugh and joke has always been part of my personality and I felt comfortable and confident enough to be myself. I had them laughing and showed them who I really am. It felt amazing. When I was offered the job I was elated. A new job meant a totally new beginning for me. An opportunity to start anew and rebuild my confidence.
The first day I was so excited I couldn’t wait to start, so much so that I never even realised that I forgot to take my antidepressants until I was driving home after work. The drive to work is very picturesque. It’s like a beautiful postcard. When I arrived all the staff seemed so nice and like one big happy family. It felt great, the pre-work nerves evaporated and it felt amazing. In spite of not taking my meds I felt amazing. I was confident and calm and I loved it!!
Fast forward six days into work and the anxiety has well and truly kicked in. I’ve remembered to take my antidepressants, but for some reason the fear of being amongst new strange people I do not know has set off my anxiety. My new found confidence disappeared and I felt lost in my world of chaos. Suddenly I find myself feeling completely lost in a strange world I know nothing about. I work in a completely different industry which is at least and hour and 15 minutes drive from home. I’m fearful of messing up, not knowing everyone or what I’m meant to do. I know I have only been in the job 6 days and I am expecting too much too soon, but the fear of making mistakes is so overwhelming, I work in a very well known upmarket establishment surrounded by lovely people, waterfalls and natural beauty so breathtaking it should be calming, but it’s having the opposite effect to what I imagined.
Anxiety is the Bain of my life! It is frustrating to the core. Sometimes words fail to describe just how much it affects me. The fear becomes physically taxing. My arms and legs are so heavy I can barely move, my heart racing so fast and trying to control my breathing without giving away how I’m feeling takes so much energy I am exhausted by the time I drive home. Once I am home I have just enough energy to have a bath and go straight to bed. I now find myself in bed before my children are in theirs. Don’t get me wrong. I am so blessed and grateful to have a job, however I know that I have to push through my anxiety to get to the other side. This is the first major step I’ve taken towards getting out there and being out of my comfort zone. I have worked really hard in my recovery, but even though I thought I was ready to return to work the anxiety I feel still caught me off guard. I guess I may have become a bit complacent in my recovery expecting too much too soon. Because I felt happier for the first time in months, and solely focussed on my recovery the thought of my anxiety returning once back at work never crossed my mind. I now realise although I’ve made such great progress I have a long way to go and work will either help me or hinder my progress, but only time will tell. I am so determined to make the best of this opportunity and I sincerely hope this will be a great move for me.
I’m fearful of telling my new employer about my battles with my mental health. The fear that this may change the way their view me, the way they treat me and all the stigmas around mental health consumes me, so I’ve kept it quiet to myself and my intention is to keep it to myself until I feel comfortable enough to share my mental health condition. For now my battle is to keep calm and find away back to the bubbly, calm and confident woman I was during my interview and on my first day. I’ll deal with whether I share my mental health condition with them if and when I ever feel comfortable enough to do so. My hopes for now are to find my centre and use what I’ve learnt over the past few months to make the best of the situation and to get back to the positive mental state. I need it now more than ever because what should have been a joyous occasion is being overshadowed by the monsters in my head. Anxiety is robbing me not only of my confidence, but also the excitement of such a great achievement and a great new start leaving me underwhelmed, petrified and feeling like I’ve failed myself again.