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Work Anxiety


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I have been working for about 8 months total now. I am curious if anyone else gets sick every day before they go to work or if it is just me. Everyday I get so scared and sick to my stomach. I shake to the point of sloshing my cup, I am all jittery and anxious/nervous and I always have to force myself to go. I really hate feeling like this. I have to talk myself out of calling in every day, then when I get to work my voice is all shaky and people look at me like I am insane. I think there have been maybe 1 or 2 days that this has not happened to me and I am tired of feeling like this. I already have anxiety issues among the rest of the problems I have so this added to it all is almost overwhelming. I don't want to quit, well yes I do, but I don't feel like I can. We really need the extra money and it makes me feel good to feel like I contribute something to the household besides cooking, cleaning and budgeting.


I have talked to T about it and we are going to address it in therapy next time I see her but that is a few weeks away. Please someone tell me I am not alone, that way when I am panicky at least I know someone else is going through this too and I can maybe try to focus on sending them strength instead of quaking in my shoes.

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When I worked at a music store in retail, every morning when I woke up before work, my stomach *hurt*. Not cramping, not aching, it literally felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. There were days when getting myself out of the house on time was almost impossible. I thought for a long time that I was having physical stomach issues - saw a doctor, tried some things, nothing helped. And the more it happened, the more stressed I felt, and the more stressed I felt, the more anxious I got. It would always fade after being at work for an hour or two - the job actually wasn't a bad one. I just found that particular brand of retail to be really anxiety provoking.


I don't get the stomach pains now that I'm working an office job, but every morning I feel a little panicky when I'm getting ready for work anyway. Now it's more like the shakes a bit. Doesn't seem to matter if I'm on time, early, late, or whatever. Just always kind of jittery until I get in the car, and then I'm okay. It gets a little hard to tell when you're *actually* sick in the morning when every morning you feel a little sick. It'll probably fade a little bit with time and experience in the job - mine has. Whenever I start a new job, it's the worst, and the more comfortable I get, the less intense it is. It's likely because the less you have to provoke anxiety, the less your anxiety gets provoked!


But no, you're definitely not alone. I think it actually may happen to a lot of people with anxiety. Especially if you have a kind of anxiety that gets irritated by the kind of work you do. Mine's socially based, so retail was pretty hard. My therapist told me it's often called "morning anxiety." You can google it and find articles on ways to maybe reduce it or deal with it a bit - it's actually common enough that websites talk about it!



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Oh JaLee, you are not alone!  I have been working at a really demanding job since the end of May and I have to do all sorts of things to get myself together to get out the door and off to work.  I used to feel like I'd be sick so I was taking dramamine (sp?) - had to be careful b/c it can make me groggy & that's the last thing I need.  I need to be really sharp and ready for anything b/c the pace is very intense.  I am grateful it is part-time. 


You know, in the very beginning I nearly fainted & it was b/c I was holding my breath!  Unbelievable.  I was able to catch that before I keeled over and then made the effort to breathe from the belly.  I have a squeaky voice @ work b/c I am so tense.  I try to relax my throat and I also carry some lozenges with me. 


JaLee & pen4alex, I really feel for you.  It is not a kind and gentle way to live, is it?  I hope things will get better for all of us as we get more accustomed to the environments we're in.  It may take longer for us but I am hoping it is possible.

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I've had my current job for almost 12 years now.

The first few years were great.

Loved coming to work more than anything

and preparing myself for work was a joy that calmed me.


The last 4 years has been a different story.

My shift is four nights ON and four nights OFF.

With that many nights OFF, I start going a little stir-crazy towards the end

yet when I realize

"OH! I go back to my rotation tomorrow."

I get butterflies in my gut,

my chest feels like there's something cold wedged in it,

blood pressure goes up,

my "home alone" drinking gets heavier

and I have the feeling that I can't get enough air - even though I have no physical health issues.

My moods all swing to dark places of short-temperedness and over-all negativity.

I start throwing mini-tantrums over the dumbest stuff

-and all this triggers ill-effects upon my very unstable marriage

giving me the feeling of being truly alone

(even though I started all this with my reaction over going to work - or is it  all about leaving the house?)


1 - 12 hours before having to go to work I begin the self-hate cycle of feelings:

I am old, fat, not good enough, mentally compromised, unloved, unlikeable, socially unexceptable, a failure pretending to be a winner...

(Only half of that is true)


The only way to combat these feelings before closing the door behind me and heading to the job is to get ready in the most extreme way;

i.e. clothes are freshly laundered,

skin is scaulded and scrubbed pink,

deordorant is as thick as spackle,

hair is pulled tight as a drum,

lunch bag looks like a professional catering job,

I have my best underwear on,

and my socks are toe-crushingly pulled up tight.


Maybe this is how MOST people go to work ANYway...

not me. I'm not the cleanest, neatest person and that makes me happy

because being triggered into the OCD side of getting ready for work feels like MORE of a disorder.

I can't win.


But there is a strong possibility that I will be losing my job in two days (it's about manditory flu shots)

and the prospect of losing my job has had positive effects on me.

I feel so much lighter and care-free now. My pulse is slow and steady and I can breathe now while I get ready for my shift.

Part of me HOPES I lose my job...

until I remember I have a tyrannical husband, 2 rats, a cat, 20 fish and a BMW in the repair shop with school starting in April.


I keep trying to remember these words...

"Once you've lost everything, you are free to do anything."

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When I feel like I have to do a job that I can't tolerate, and there's no way for me to change the situation, it's like my brain refuses to cooperate. I don't sleep the night before work or class. That produces a feeling like I'm on a buzz that carries me through the day and makes me feel okay.


I believe sleep deprivation produces this effect on me, because putting myself in a limiting physical condition temporarily reduces my higher level thoughts and needs in Maslow's Hierarchy.


When I am in normal physical condition, unattainable longings for self-actualization, esteem, love/belonging constantly bother me. But when I am sleep deprived, I can't focus on these things. I am just trying to physically make it through my day and those miserable feelings are inaccessible. My needs are reduced to the lowest level of physiological survival. Completing simple tasks like crossing the street without getting hit by a car or eating breakfast are enough to bring me fulfillment.


While I am sleep deprived, I find I am less inhibited in my actions and I can easily find humor in things. It's similar to being drunk. However the effect wears off later in the day, and then I am exhausted and unable to experience my normal emotions.


Temporarily making emotions inaccessible has the practical benefit that I can focus on lower level functions like going to work. But I think shutting myself off from higher level needs is a very unhealthy coping technique. It means I don't have access to higher functions, thoughts, or ambitions anymore. I also believe this is essentially how treatment through medication works, and as an aside - this is why I am opposed to taking medication personally.


After a few days though, my lack of sleep catches up to me. I stay up until 4 or 5 am, then I can't keep my eyes open. I try to take a short nap before work but I can't wake up. I sleep through the whole day. Sometimes I don't call out until I'm three, four hours late, sometimes not at all.

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For years I have been living this thing you describe

but not with so much congitive and mathematical awareness as you.

Thank you for putting all this into perspective.




~Oh how often I run around without my glasses looking for a proper high-powered mirror.

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