Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I Hate Anxiety and Worrying about Work Performance

The Buildup and the Inevitable Fall:

Today started out as a pretty ok day. I woke up with some slight anxiety thinking about everyting I wanted to do. But usually I can shrug my morning anxiety off by getting out of bed and getting on with my day. When it didn't go away today I decided I needed to do some yoga, one of the things on my checklist anyway. I did yoga and a little gardening before the thunderstorms came rolling in, checking another thing off the list. Both of these things are very therapeutic for me and I usually feel great after doing them. Not today. While I was doing the yoga I could tell that I wasn't letting go mentally and I felt like it was forced. My baby woke up and so while feeding her a bottle I noticed everything I had already accomplished and thought about how all that I had left was getting my work hours in. Stomache churns. After setting her down to play, I could feel the intensity of my anxiety grow. The burning in the neck and arms, the sweating, heart beating faster, etc. And you would think I would have learned my lesson by now but no. Instead of accepting my anxiety, telling myself positive thoughts to help me through it, knowing that it will eventually pass; I fought it thinking perfectionist and critical thoughts like "I have to stop feeling this way!" "Why do I do this to myself?" "I am a mess!" "I will never have a normal life" "I am going to ruin my kids life!" etc. which of course only aggravates the situation and makes it worse. So I wrote out all my thoughts that I thought brought on the attack, worked on some positive affirmations but still I just can't shake it today. I am trying to work and I can't focus on anything. I just feel yucky. I took a little clonozepam finally to see if that will help, but so far, nothing.

Potentially Unproductive Venting Session: Read at Your Own Risk!!

I just want to vent about how much I hate anxiety. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. I wish that my mind would filter thoughts normally and not run on overdrive all the time. Sure its an opportunity for emotional and spiritual growth and I remind myself that I am still a good person even with the anxiety in my life, but I am tired of it today and just don't want to deal with the struggle. I know there is nothing going on that I should be soooo drastically worried about, so why, why, why!!! Argh, I guess I am just frustrated. Thanks for listening.

Let's Break it Down:
After thrashing it all out on paper I have come to the conclusion that I need to reevaluate the whole work situation. Right now there isn't much that I can change about it although I desperately wish I could ultimately quit and just be a stay at home mom. But since thats not an option at the moment and more of a goal, I have to work with where I am at now. 30 hours a week plus watching an almost walking 11 month old is HARD. Its overwhelming at times which spurs some anxiety. However I also can't reduce the hours because we will need the insurance benefits in a few weeks. We've thought about Day Care but I know my first responsibility is to be a Mother and I just feel better knowing that I am the one raising my child, (even if internally I worry that my anxiety is going to screw her up). So ultimately I have to change my negative thoughts about my work because it is the driving force behind my anxiety lately, specifically today.

I worry soooo much that if I don't constantly prove myself worthy to hold my position to my boss, showing him that I am working hard at home, that he will assume I am not doing anything and fire me.

When I rationalize the situation, there is no merit to worrying so much about it.
  1. My boss has already stuck up for me and my position to the company CEO who was questioning the validity of the position and if what I was doing was "effective."
  2. He has also listed me as doing everything that I have been asked of and more on reports of employee performance.
  3. Since I work with schools all over the country, many of them are out for the summer and so my work load is lightening. Its getting harder to find productive things to do and that is making me worry more about my performance because I feel I need stellar reports every week or else! However everyone in the departments work load is decreasing so my boss is expecting that. If I am really concerned I can ask him for more projects.
  4. Plus if the worst case scenario happened and I get fired I ultimately think it would be a blessing. Sure it would be stressful and we would have to figure some things out and get rid of some luxuries, but then I could stay at home with my Little and not have to work all day long. It could take a lot of other stress away.
So you see brain? There is no reason to constantly worry about getting your hours in. There is no need to put yourself in a full fledge panic attack for no good reason at all, when everything is just peachy!

I still need to learn to live in the PRESENT not the past or future. And presently, everything is fine.


Patrick said...

AArg, I can completely relate to your venting. There are some days where it is just so tough to accept the fact that you can't just stop the anxiety 100% of the time.

The logical thinking that you are trying to do definitely helps, but sometimes it is so hard to say to yourself "It's going to be okay. I've made it through this before."

Agreed about living in the present. Sounds easy, but is hard to do.

Don said...

I hear you, honey. I have had days like that, including yesterday, where it's all I could do to focus on a task at hand -- the anxiety was so bad.

Anyway, I read your top 10 tips on beating anxiety, and I have to say that I am familiar with just about all of them. I'm a big Vipassina meditator, too. But I use all the tools available: Xanax, anti-depressants and some herbal remedies, like Melatonin to help me sleep (not through the night, though).

I recommend your readers check out an article on that spells out some easy stress-busting tips, one of which, deep breathing, I practice when I wake up at night. I always fall back asleep.

Here's the link, if it's okay to leave this here:

I wish you peace of mind and safety, Don

Doug said...

I can totally relate to how you feel! Anxiety and perfectionism are a problem for me, too. I've found Recovery International to be helpful.

amy said...

You do such a great job of trying to rationalize your thoughts by writing them down, and therefore understanding that everything is really OK!

Truly, our thoughts are just that...irrational and silly, and most of the time have no validity.

I will be praying for you, and hope that you can release and enjoy! You're doing the best you can do :)



H.F. said...

Thank you for this. I suffer from horrible anxiety, as well. When it comes on I am so guilty of making myself more anxious by being anxious about being anxious!! :-)
Reading your words helped.

Diana Strinati Baur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana Strinati Baur said...

This is a great post! We all suffer these setbacks from time to time -- I try to meditate and can't let the catch in my throat go-- I try to do yoga but my mind chatter won't let me move. Sometimes it is hard to just give the proverbial one fingered peace sign to anxiety. Sometimes it is downright impossible. You know, I know, it will be a better day tomorrow and the mind chatter, the adrenaline, the cortisol will subside. You have a wonderful blog, and are a good person for helping everyone out here. I understand so well what you are going thru. Anxiety is a thief!!

how to deal with anxiety said...

I have related to this is so many ways! I just wanted to leave a few helpful suggestions, because I have found them to be very beneficial. Deep breathing exercises are excellent for anxiety and many people report positive results from meditation. Some other natural anxiety remedies to look into are St.John's Wort, SAMe, L-Theanine, and Tryptophan. I hope this helps, it has certainly helped me and anxiety can really take a toll on anyone's life.

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Cindy Robinson said...

I know exactly how you feel! I just found your blog, and I'm so glad I did.
I too, get angry at myself for having anxiety, it's almost funny.
When I'm at my desk, sometimes I'll just start doing jumping jacks (50), that always makes me feel better :)

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