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Unable To Work Today Due To My Anxiety


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#1 eggsprog

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 08:25 PM

A little background about me - I'm currently unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits from the government. My unemployment started when I had to leave my job last fall due to severe anxiety (and I was at that job because I dropped out of school, also due to my anxiety). I've made a lot of progress lately - partly due to therapy, better diet and more exercise, and I'd say in large part due to developing a healthier outlook on life. I've had 3 or 4 days of temporary work in the last couple of months, but the work was for someone I knew already, so it wasn't a good 'test' of my anxiety.

Last week I decided that I was ready to start applying for jobs again. I decided that something temporary or part-time was best for me right now, so that I can try and ease myself back into the working world. I found an ad on craigslist from a man (who ended up living about a 2 minute walk from my apartment - it would have been perfect) who was looking for one or two people to help him with some landscaping and general chores around the house for a few days. I sent him an e-mail with my contact info, and then promptly forgot about it. Last night I received a call from him, and after a short conversation he offered me the job. It would most likely be 2 days of work, he'd pay cash, and it wasn't anything too complicated or strenuous (just shoveling soil, laying down patio stones, lots of other small jobs). We agreed that I would be at his house at 8:30am today to start.

After hanging up the phone with him last night I immediately took an Ativan (a suggestion from my therapist to make any anxiety attacks less likely) and watched TV until bed, in order to distract myself so that I wouldn't spend the whole night thinking about the job (another suggestion from my therapist). The evening went well, and I managed to get to sleep at a decent time. If anything, I was excited about finally getting back to work, even if it was only for a couple days.

So morning comes, and of course I sleep in a little bit. I wake up at 8:14am, giving me only 16 minutes to get cleaned up, dressed, eat breakfast, and walk down to his house. I rush around getting ready and get out the door of my apartment around 8:32. I start walking towards the guys house, and get there around 8:35am. Although I knew that he wouldn't be upset that I was 5 minutes late (in fact, he might not have even noticed - for all I know, my clock was wrong and it was only 8:30 anyway), but I started to have an anxiety attack and ended up walking right by his house to a part down the road to try and collect myself. I stayed there for a few minute and did some deep breathing exercises but was unable to calm myself down enough to go back to his house and start work. I ended up walking home, taking an Ativan to calm myself down, and spending the day feeling bad about myself and angry at myself for thinking that I would be able to do this.

I absolutely hate it when this happens - when I think I finally have my anxiety under control, and it still managed to take me out. I guess I'll be on the phone to book an appointment with my Psychologist in the morning, not much else I can do. I'm starting to get worried because my unemployment benefits from the government run out in September and I was really hoping to have this under control and to have some sort of a job by then, even something part-time would be fine.

Does anyone else have trouble going to work because of their mental illness? Any advice, similar stories, or merely words of encouragement would be appreciated - feeling pretty low right now.


note: sorry if any of this seems jumbled or doesn't make sense, my typing skills and english skills seem to deteriorate when I'm anxious.

#2 PoeticProse

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 08:36 PM

Hello eggsprog,

I am sorry to hear about your current situation. I can definitely relate to your anxiety issues, as I have struggled with the same thing for about 2 years. I would get terrible panic attacks, sometimes caused by stressors, but majority of them occurred at random. It was a horrible feeling going through the motions of the day fearing a panic attack. They left me completely debilitated: sweating, psychomotor agitation, nausea, blurred vision, labored breathing, chest pain, the works. I was prescribed Xanax (a benzodiazepine like Ativan, with a shorter half-life), but due to its habit-forming nature, I spent months convincing myself to take it. I would avoid certain situations, and perform poorly in school and work due to this fear of anxiety. When I finally convinced myself to try Xanax, I found that it does stop my attacks. However, I still do not like taking it unless I absolutely have to. Antidepressants are the best option for this anxiety, as they are not habit-forming, and are a better long-term medication. Now that I am on an antidepressant and mood stabilizer, my panic attacks are nonexistent. I would talk to your doctor about all of your symptoms and concerns, and he or she will help you decide the best course of action. Therapy is always a good starting point, but many people need medication. Panic attacks are extremely tricky, as one's neurocircuitry is different; it is more than just overcoming it on your own, it takes time and effective treatment.

Talk to your doctor and keep an open mind about your treatment. I truly hope you can find an effective treatment to rid yourself of this anxiety. I know all too well that these attacks can cause serious problems in one's life. You are not alone, and there are better days ahead.

Keep us posted.
PoeticProse
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#3 eggsprog

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 09:07 PM

Hello eggsprog,

I am sorry to hear about your current situation. I can definitely relate to your anxiety issues, as I have struggled with the same thing for about 2 years. I would get terrible panic attacks, sometimes caused by stressors, but majority of them occurred at random. It was a horrible feeling going through the motions of the day fearing a panic attack. They left me completely debilitated: sweating, psychomotor agitation, nausea, blurred vision, labored breathing, chest pain, the works. I was prescribed Xanax (a benzodiazepine like Ativan, with a shorter half-life), but due to its habit-forming nature, I spent months convincing myself to take it. I would avoid certain situations, and perform poorly in school and work due to this fear of anxiety. When I finally convinced myself to try Xanax, I found that it does stop my attacks. However, I still do not like taking it unless I absolutely have to. Antidepressants are the best option for this anxiety, as they are not habit-forming, and are a better long-term medication. Now that I am on an antidepressant and mood stabilizer, my panic attacks are nonexistent. I would talk to your doctor about all of your symptoms and concerns, and he or she will help you decide the best course of action. Therapy is always a good starting point, but many people need medication. Panic attacks are extremely tricky, as one's neurocircuitry is different; it is more than just overcoming it on your own, it takes time and effective treatment.

Talk to your doctor and keep an open mind about your treatment. I truly hope you can find an effective treatment to rid yourself of this anxiety. I know all too well that these attacks can cause serious problems in one's life. You are not alone, and there are better days ahead.

Keep us posted.



Thanks for the reply!

In the past I've tried cipralex for my anxiety, and am in the process of tapering off of Cymbalta right now - neither worked for me. He also had me try wellbutrin in combination with cymbalta - this actually increased my symptoms, if anything. He tried to get my on Topamax (apparently as a mood-stabalizer, but from what I've read online it seems like it doesn't actually work for that) but it made me too nauseous so I had to discontinue use. I'm open to the possibility of trying medication again, but I'm very hesitant to try another anti-depressant - I'm hoping that my doctor looks at mood stabalizers (something other than topamax) because I've started to think that my symptoms point towards bi-polar disorder rather than just generalized anxiety.

Like yourself, I was very hesitant to start using Ativan to control my anxiety because I had read horror stories about benzo addictions, but it hasn't really been an issue for me. I only take it when needed, and never increase the dose. It's funny that you mention Xanax, because I was actually going to talk to my doctor next week about possibly switching from Ativan to something with a shorter half-life, so I'll mention Xanax to him.

I really want to do whatever it takes to get back to work and eventually, back to school. I'd love to be able to do to school to study mental illness and addiction - ironically, my mental illness prevents me from doing it.





#4 LaurynJcat

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 10:40 PM

Hi Eggsprog,,


Just wanted to add my voice to the sympathetic voices here. I suffer from severe anxiety and moderate depression. I've had to miss work due to both and am currently off on leave. Some drugs I've heard of that work as mood stabilizers are Seroquel, Lithium, Lamotragine/Lamictal. Lots of info available out there on the net. There's also a drug Pregabalin that is used a lot for GAD in europe, although here it's used mostly for fibromyalgia and neuralgic pain.


Good luck,
Jill
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#5 starr

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 08:46 AM

Hi,

I too suffer from dep/anx issues and
have been on meds for years for it. My
current combo is working really well
(zoloft,abilify and neurontin). The abilify
and neurontin both help with me anxiety
and insomnia so I take them at night. I just
wanted to share what is working for me.

I understand about your job concerns. I
once had to quit a new job after 2 weeks
due to extreme anixety. It was embarrassing
but my husband let me blame it on him (saying
he didnt want me to work) but it was still
hard. My pdoc gave me xanax to help with
the really bad anixety and it works great.

I hope you feel better soon and can get
back to work.

best wishes,
starr

#6 Oceanborn_Angel

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 12:21 PM

I can understand where you're coming from in terms of anxiety keeping you from gathering up the motivation to go to work. From my own personal experience at this moment I can understand you. Basically, right now, I called my boss and asked him for the day off today (I usually work 3-11 on Saturdays.) telling him I was feeling ill. Now he did begrudgingly tell me not to worry about it and that he'd find someone to work it but I still feel guilty because I'm just not strong enough today to deal with the afternoon shift. The truth of the matter is that I just can't bring myself to handle the business of the afternoon shift on a weekend. I just know that the least little sign of testiness from a customer will set me off, which is a lot worse than calling in sick. Basically I've noted that this anxiety is caused by several things.

1.) I had to sink all my money into a bill leaving me very little money for food to eat.
2.) I had to not only dip into my laundry money to pay for my groceries, but my taxi money that I need to get home from work.
3.) Said loss of Taxi money would strand me at work with no way of getting home unless I walked the several miles it takes to get back here, in the dark, all by myself. I need to take a Taxi because the buses do not run late on the weekends.
4.) My apartment is a huge mess that I have to clean but can never find the time to clean it. I'm also physically and mentally dragged out from the odd hours I work.

All these things have really taken their toll on my inner strength and will. I'm fine when I work my regular Night Shift schedule because the transportation thing is not an issue at all. But this 3-11 on a Saturday is taxing me. It's such a stressful shift because of how frantic it is. I tried getting another Night Shift during the week, but my boss already has someone working it. My problem is trying to tell my boss that splitting up my work week and having me work a shift I don't feel comfortable working is taking its toll on me mentally. It's not like bosses are there to care about your well being. They just require you work your shift. Another big problem that I have been having is that several months ago my father passed away and this 3-11 shift is too hard for me to work because at 11 he was always there to give me a ride home and we'd go get something to eat and talk. I really really miss that and this is another reason why I just can't bring myself to go to work today.

#7 gemstar

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 02:10 AM

I have GAD, and am on a week off for it right now. it's caused me to miss work over the last 6 months, a day here or there. the anxiety stresses me out, my immune system is low, so i end up also catching colds a lot. also, my GAD gives me stomach problems and IBS, so sometimes that keeps me from working. it's all really bad. i feel guilty if i don't go in, while at the same time i try to tell myself i deserve to look after my health. it's terrible. i worry all the time what's to become of my work and income in the future. you're not alone. it's tough to have GAD.
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#8 Meko

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 08:23 AM

Fortunately it has been a long while since I have had an anxiety attack, but I also don't have the added stress of needing to work due to being permanently disabled. I'm wanting to get back into the working world though, but my illness doesn't seem to make it easy. So I do relate to the frustration and the beating yourself up about it. I take ativan every evening and that has curved a lot of my anxiety. Of course if I were to have a full out anxiety attack now the ativan wouldn't work in the same way of nipping the attack, but that's due to having developed such a tolerance for it. I would relay all of what you are going through to your doctor and see what they have to say.

#9 eggsprog

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 08:21 PM

I've been doing some temp work for my dad this week, with mixed results. Did a full day Monday, I was proud of myself. On Tuesday I was really anxious and only managed to put in 2.5 hours. I was anxious today but stayed until I finished the work assigned to me (but didn't make an effort to seek more work) and put in 4.5 hours.

I'm feeling pretty confident about tomorrow. I was in a really anxious and irritable mood all night, but Ativan seems to have done the trick and has be in a relaxed state of mind. I'm hoping to be able to stay tomorrow for the full day, and do the same on Friday. If I can do this, it is going to be a huge step for me. It will be the first thing in the last year that I can feel proud about, and it's a really exciting feeling!

#10 eggsprog

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 07:10 AM

I've been doing some temp work for my dad this week, with mixed results. Did a full day Monday, I was proud of myself. On Tuesday I was really anxious and only managed to put in 2.5 hours. I was anxious today but stayed until I finished the work assigned to me (but didn't make an effort to seek more work) and put in 4.5 hours.

I'm feeling pretty confident about tomorrow. I was in a really anxious and irritable mood all night, but Ativan seems to have done the trick and has be in a relaxed state of mind. I'm hoping to be able to stay tomorrow for the full day, and do the same on Friday. If I can do this, it is going to be a huge step for me. It will be the first thing in the last year that I can feel proud about, and it's a really exciting feeling!


Although I was relaxed when I went to bed last night, I woke up feeling really anxious this morning and wasn't able to get past it. I had to call my dad and tell him I'm not able to come in today. I feel so guilty, even though I know I did everything right and this isn't something I can control.

I'm going to have to try and get lost in a book today, because if I just sit home alone I'm going to feel like s*** about this all day.

Why is it that I can't just make myself go, even though I'm feeling anxious? I tell myself - 'just go in and work even though you're anxious, the worst thing that can happen is that maybe you'll work a little slower and feel miserable, but you're just going to feel miserable if you stay at home anyway', but I guess using reason and rational thinking doesn't really work with anxiety.

I've finally managed to taper myself off of Cymbalta, and have avoided getting my new prescription for Effexor filled, but I guess it's time to re-evaluate that.

#11 gemstar

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 02:45 PM


I've been doing some temp work for my dad this week, with mixed results. Did a full day Monday, I was proud of myself. On Tuesday I was really anxious and only managed to put in 2.5 hours. I was anxious today but stayed until I finished the work assigned to me (but didn't make an effort to seek more work) and put in 4.5 hours.

I'm feeling pretty confident about tomorrow. I was in a really anxious and irritable mood all night, but Ativan seems to have done the trick and has be in a relaxed state of mind. I'm hoping to be able to stay tomorrow for the full day, and do the same on Friday. If I can do this, it is going to be a huge step for me. It will be the first thing in the last year that I can feel proud about, and it's a really exciting feeling!


Although I was relaxed when I went to bed last night, I woke up feeling really anxious this morning and wasn't able to get past it. I had to call my dad and tell him I'm not able to come in today. I feel so guilty, even though I know I did everything right and this isn't something I can control.

I'm going to have to try and get lost in a book today, because if I just sit home alone I'm going to feel like s*** about this all day.

Why is it that I can't just make myself go, even though I'm feeling anxious? I tell myself - 'just go in and work even though you're anxious, the worst thing that can happen is that maybe you'll work a little slower and feel miserable, but you're just going to feel miserable if you stay at home anyway', but I guess using reason and rational thinking doesn't really work with anxiety.

I've finally managed to taper myself off of Cymbalta, and have avoided getting my new prescription for Effexor filled, but I guess it's time to re-evaluate that.


eggsprog, i really feel for you. First, get on that Effexor and keep taking it, don't stop taking meds without doctor consultation. Second, good for you for having the strength to at least try to get out there. But! Don't put yourself in a position of wanting to work more than wanting to fully recover. Recovery doesn't equal work. Recovery means feeling well enough that we can work with little to no symptoms! Don't forget that! And keep telling yourself "I have an illness and I will get better. I am on Recovery Road, and I will not always suffer."

do you have any counsellor to talk to, or anybody in the mental health field that can talk to you about your efforts to reintigrate into a job?

i talked to the recovery facilitator with my company today. yes, i feel spoiled. the company i work for actually pays a guy to help me. he doesn't help me just to get back to work as soon as possible. he actually tries to help me get better, with no pressure to go back to work until i feel i am able. he is there to help me recover, and he said 'screw work, you need to focus on getting better'. he said it would take 6 months to 1 year, he figures, for me to be anywhere near even thinking about returning to work!! i was shocked.

recovery takes time. we need to be kinder to ourselves. you have challenged yourself to work, and i know exactly what you feel like. i worked through GAD and depression for 4 years with no time off due to those factors. i can't do it anymore. i can't work through it anymore, i have to stop and get healthy in every way. at first i felt terrible for letting everyone at work down, and for not working. i thought not working meant i was a failure. BUT. my counsellor, recovery facilitator, and family have helped me to see that i'm no good to anyone if i let things get even worse. yes, i could try to slog through work, try to make it, try to show up at least and put in time (there's a word for this in the HR world called 'presenteeism'), fail catastrophically and surely get fired. at least this way i keep my job and will go back to it once i am better.

eggsprog, i think you should take more time away from work, just be easier on yourself, keep taking the medications as directed by your doctor and go see the doctor if they are not working for you. you said you have employment insurance. is it the sick leave kind? have you used up your weeks of 'sickness' insurance? can you talk to the EI office and tell them what you are suffering and get back onto another sickness claim, instead of merely and unemployment claim? you know what? i want to become an advocate for people in our position! it's just not fair that we are left to flail around by ourselves out there in the world, with no help. hmmm. maybe when i am feeling better i will look at becoming a recovery facilitator for people on EI or something... something to think about, because i feel passionately that you, eggsprog, deserve to be supported through these hard times.

(((hugs)))

sorry if i've repeated questions you've answered already. i have some trouble remembering things with my depression and GAD. please know i am thinking of you and want to help in any way i can.

Edited by gemstar, 16 June 2011 - 02:47 PM.

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#12 kirkwuk

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 04:33 PM

Eggsprog,

Have you considered CBT? Sounds like it's woodwork but Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I had similar issues to you for a long time, but CBT has taught me how to deal with anxiety without the need of medication. I really think you should consider it. It really helps you focus on what is making you anxious and your brain learns, over time, to not respond to stigma.

Please look into it. Dust yourself off and get back in the game.
Beating depression since 2007






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From: Unable To Work Today Due To My Anxiety

By eggsprog in me vs. my brain, on 11 October 2011 - 09:30 AM

Originally posted: 01 June 2011
A little background about me - I'm currently unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits from the government. My unemployment started when I had to leave my job last fall due to severe anxiety (and I was at that job because I dropped out of school, also due to...

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