Any tips for holding a job? - Anxiety and Depre...

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Any tips for holding a job?

sgirard1991 profile image

Anyone got tips on how to hold a job with anxiety and depression? I can ace the interview, but when it comes to actually going to the first day and starting the job I can’t do it. I’ll pack my lunch, dress appropriately, and leave the house excited and ready to go. Halfway through the drive the panic sets in. There’s been times I’ve had to pull over and vomit on the side of the road because the anxiety was so extreme.

I want/need to work so badly. We have two kids and I can’t keep letting my wife support us all I want to do my part.

What do you do to make it through work? Any tips to subside these symptoms, or overcome them?

15 Replies

Hi! What kind of things are you telling yourself when you're on your way to the job? What are the things you fear will happen on the job or that you fear the job will cause?

I try to reassure myself that it’ll be good. I know some of the people (I live in a rather small town, so I know a majority of the people), I know what I’m supposed to do and where to go. Just for some reason I cannot physically go.

I also try to assure myself “get through the first few hours and you’ll be good to go”.

Hi sgirard - I'm sorry for my slow reply! Actually, what I'm asking, is what is it that you fear is going to happen? Basically, what is causing you you anxiety? What is it that you thing might happen at the job? Are you worried about how you'll perform, or worried about how you'll be treated? Or maybe you're worried about how your family will treat you because of getting a job? Sometimes in dysfunctional families -- they will make you feel "bad" or guilty for doing things to better yourself, like getting a job, etc.

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Is it work in general or something specific, one you identify what is triggering the response then you can come up with solutions?

Also practice a routine when you are calm which you can invoke when you start to feel the anxiety, it doesn't matter whether it's a breathing exercise or singing row row row your boat, something that works for you, but if you can get the family into it too it can help you to reflect apon them instead of other things. Anything to change the mindset


sgirard1991 profile image
sgirard1991 in reply to Hidden

It’s work in general. I’m not sure what’s exactly triggering it. I just physically can’t get in the door to start. I even try to assure myself, ok get through the first few hours and you’ll be fine.

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Hidden in reply to sgirard1991

Have you got any buddies or advocates in your area that might accompany you on your first day ?

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Rather than the grin and bear approach maybe try to remind yourself of the end goal, not just the end of the day, "like with more money coming in we can spend more time enjoying family time and not stressing " ?

Mr.1991, What do you do to make it through work? Sit back, take a deep breath, and I'll tell you. Not easy.

You just go ahead and pull the car over and vomit, clean yourself up and go further, pull the car over if you need to again and vomit, clean yourself up again and go further until you get to work. Keep plenty of fluids available for your stomach, a toothbrush and toothpaste, washcloth and something from the pharmacy in a bottle to coat your stomach in your car and in office and learn where the closest restroom is where no one will hear you if you need it. Keep a fresh set of clothes hanging in your car or office or where ever so you have them if needed. And man's travel bag with deodorant, soap, air freshener for your office, work area and car, you get the idea... Make certain you get regular haircuts and manicure if you work with your hands and the get dirty....keep some mechanics soap to keep your hands looking clean from the grease or dirt that can get in your hands that regular soap would take care of.

You are going into battle, and just like George Washington, you will win if you survive. And you can survive. I did. Some people will try to offer you soft calming words of support, but the bottom line you are going into your own battle and you need to prepare yourself to survive.

I am a woman who worked as a trial attorney in this very strong era of "glass ceilings" for women. Never knew what professional "sword" I would be having to deal with each day. No mentor or help from another attorney. Only three female attorneys in a firm of 70-80 attorneys.

Trial law is not like TV; it is literally a battleground and I kept showing up and doing my damnest to do what was demanded of me until the partners knew my work ethic and agreed to certain simple accommodations that made life a bit easier for me to deal with my anxiety and chronic pain. And that saved my teeth too. (If you vomit too much the acid eventually is going to rot your teeth.) If you are grinding your teeth due to anxiety, try one of the inexpensive bite guards to wear at night to keep the grinding from ruining your teeth in your sleep. I have a professionally made one that has last 20 years and it helps big time.

In my situation, I saw I could arrive at the office several hours before anyone else, and leave earlier than many to avoid the rush hour traffic home and I could take several hours of work with me to do at home that evening instead by avoiding that anxiety type of traffic.

I avoided driving 1 1/2 hours of bumper to bumper anxiety traffic each way; reduced to 30 minutes each way with very little traffic.

And If occasionally I needed to telecommute from home rather than drive, the firm was ok with that. They looked like a shining example of a firm accommodating an associate with a disability under the ADA when it was a new law. While I would never not have anxiety, I had a meaningful career where I could make a difference for representing or defending clients in my situation. In fact, if I didn't feel anxiety, I knew there was something I should be doing in my job that I might have missed.

So basically I was you, and in a job that always added more stress to what you and I already deal with (with the chronic pain)

Have no idea if this helps you. I don't know if this will give you some ideas how to help you stay on the job long enough for you to develop a reputation of an employee that could be counted upon so you could figure out what accommodations would make work easier with your anxiety, but I hope so.

IF YOU ARE IN THE US, If you should have a doctor treating you to back you, and if you can do the ESSENTIAL RESPONSIBILITIES of your job in spite of your anxiety, the modification of the nonessential parts under law is available to you. And your employer may get some brownie points from the US government for cooperating with the requirements under the ADA.

Good.luck. You can do this, If I could, you can. And I did pull the car over sometimes.:)

And I wasn't the only attorney keeping a bottle of Pepto Bismol in a drawer. Avoid coffee and anything with caffeine. Sometimes you may feel that you are living to work, instead of working to live.....that happens....but it passes...and then it happens again..... that's life.

Let me know what and how you do. PM me if you want. I mean that. I was really in your shoes, I think I understand, but you have a supportive spouse, so you have one great advantage I did not have. :)

And....after a few short years, an attorney admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States submitted a motion to the Court to admit me as an attorney and counselor of the Court. (In spite of the anxiety and pain and vomiting. :)

The document from the Supreme Court arrived at my home, 9 months after a very large truck had hit and destroyed my car and nearly me......and my ability to practice law.

Bittersweet as that is, my now husband found it in the back of a closet a few weeks ago, unwrapped it and ask what it was. I just said it was something that didn't matter anymore, as I can't do that work anymore. He said he was proud of it even if I wasn't and should be on a wall in my small home office. He put it up one day when I was not home.


Feather127 profile image
Feather127 in reply to HearYou

First off, thank you. Thank you for sharing your story, perspective, and your suggestions.

I've been having a very hard time holding a job, but, I think how you put it is beautiful, and will help me very much if I keep it in mind. I've never really been driven by "spite", so to say. But, everybody is telling me that I can't do it, that I'm failing at being an adult. So, I think my motivation is to prove them wrong. I believe that is "my battle". As is actually going to work, and making the money that is needed for a semi-decent life in the US.

Going into battle is such an excellent way to think of it. I think that is motivation that will help me keep a job! I won't let these illnesses, and how they affect me, win. I won't let the people who are calling me a failure/disappointment win. Thank you so much, my friend.

It sounds like you are putting A LOT of pressure on yourself over something you have complete control over especially since you ace the interview. You have already passed the hardest part! These people want you to work for them. They trust you to represent their company. They want to see you there. You are a kind, talented, and considerate person. Who wouldn't want to see you each day?!

I have had panic attacks before on the way to work and the only way I got over them was to stand up to my fears (a bully) head are being"bullied" by something and this "something" is threatening the livelihood of your family. Now, are you going to just sit there and take it. NOPE! We are going to stand up to it and protect our family and stand up for ourselves because we've worked too damn hard to get to this point. This something won't back down until we stand up to it. I believe you can do it and I bet your family does too!

Additional suggestions:

1.) can you put yourself back in the mindset you use when you go into the interview...where "your the man!" and your willing to defy your bully to prove to yourself that you can do it!

2.) sometimes I will write down and rehearse who I want to be or how I want to be perceived and then go into the day with that character in mind. Essentially...I am acting to myself but no one else will realize this. People will see you for you not the thoughts you have in your head. Dress the part/act the part and no-one will be the wiser. They will never know your doubts unless you tell them (which you won't)

A good character is a "bell-man"..sounds funny right? yep thats is the guy/woman who holds the door for you and greets with a big smile when you enter a hotel lobby. He/she is there to be nice and to please everyone. Everyone likes a nice person who goes out of there way to assist you! Take the pressure off yourself for a day and be someone else...

3.) You could tell yourself that you are just volunteering and are just going in to help out and see what you can do to help others. With your main goal just being to see if you have a role /purpose to fill and if you can be of service.

After you get your first paycheck- buy your wife or child something nice because you did this for them, not their hero!

I believe in you!

Another thing: I do not know what your field is- but obviously you are qualified or you would not get hired. Perhaps you can go to a career center and get some training on the modern work life- I am sure you'll meet others who have gone through issues as well including getting fired or laid off. Is it this the duties of the job, the responsibility of a schedule or the social aspects? Only you know for sure. You say you live in a small town- where everyone practically knows everyone else- so hopefully you have a lot of support. I hope again that you see a doctor to see if there is anything physically going on there. Perhaps you can also take pictures of your wife and kids and leave them in your car as inspiration. Think about the end game. Also, perhaps you could try some volunteer work- something that is structured.

Another matter- pardon me. It sounds like you've worked but you also have had trouble staying on the job? I remember going to a nueropsych to get some testing because alzeimers runs in the family. Well, I do not have that ( well that is good), but he uncovered what might be called a spatial challenge. it sort of confirmed something else for me. I went in for one thing and came out with another. At one point the person asked if I could ride a bike? I said yes even at my old age! By the time I got done saying some of the physical and processing things I have done he was surprised. The point is: sometimes some testing can show some clues as to what is going on inside of you. Also, you can surprise yourself!

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I would suggest talking to a therapist to find out what is going on. I found out yesterday there is something called ergophobia which is the fear of work. I think not being afraid to let the fear go ahead and be just breathing your way through it. I also learned from someone in another support group that anxiety is caused by over sensitized nerves. Once you allow the anxiety to take place without getting anxious about the anxiety you nerves will get less sensitive and the anxiety will eventually subside. I pray that God give you the strength to push your way through.

An it to or are a PARENT! You already have and have been doing the arguably hardest job that exists. Tell yourself this and believe it because I don't know of a more difficult job. And congratulations by the way! small feat!

While I love my family, compared to parenting - work gives me a sense of control because I do not have to rely on the reasoning of a child to accomplish something. You may actually find it therapeutic.

And One thing I discovered about myself and you may want to find this out about yourself. I work better on my own than I do with teams of people. Look for a job that meets your work style.

But other than that I still believe you can do it!

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