Some direction please

I have been of work 7 weeks now after I came to the point where I was so anxious that I could not face work or fuction properly. I have a managers role and have had for over 12 years and have had acute problems with anxiety and depression for at least the last 3 years but up until now have only had a few days absence from work due to this. I have finally worked out that I have a social anxiety disorder and most probably have had this since my mid teens. I know now that I have been using loads of strategies to get threw, including a lot of years where I drank heavy. I have constant negative thoughts that come from nowhere. I am majorly self conscious/critical and as a result have very low self esteem/confidence and my world has shrunk to nothing and I am depressed - the depression that comes with no feelings and difficulty getting motivated to do normal activities. I was on Trazodon for months and am now on Mirtazaprine (stepped up from 15 to 45Mg over the last 2 months) and 25mg Chlopromazine and feeling no better. although I get 6 hours sleep but feel like I can sleep all day. I need something to lift my mood to give me a chance of fighting this condition. I am extremely worried that I will not be able to return to work soon as I will loose everything, the house and my wife (who is physically unwell herself)the lot as I need to work. It frightens me that now having an understanding of the cause of my anxiety & depression is only making me feel worse. I believe that my anxiety worsened over the last few years as I had to engage regularly with 40-50 customers and a growing staff and my social anxiety just got worse and worse to the point that I become withdrawn as a manager and only communicated with staff situated next door, by emails and minimised or rushed any interaction I had with them. I constantly feel judged by everyone around me and this feeling normally triggers panic in me. I have tried some of the DIY CBT and attended group CBT sessions - info only, but my mind races and always talks me out of any progress I feel I make. I just want a chance to recover but feel this may be a long road and I may not be able to function in my job role. Has anybody out there been in or in the same situation and have come across a helpful strategy or therapy that had effective results reducing anxiety - especially the mad like ANTs that constantly plague me and how to deal with work. Any advice much appreciated.

8 Replies

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  • Hi : ) You sound just about at the end of your tether. I don't think I will be much use to you but I hear what you are saying loud and clear. I too have a social anxiety problem and once was a heavy drinker to try and seek relief. Do you realise how much you have achieved???. This crackers world demands so much off us that if you are sensitive or prone to anxiety it is doubly hard to survive.. Please hold on till someone with more experience can speak to you. Shouldn't be long , they are fantastic on here. If you have suffered since been in your teenage years you have traveled a long road my friend. I do know that people are more important than possessions any day. You are running before you can walk comfortably. I can understand the "no feelings" depression. You feel as if you have been run over with a steam roller. The ants are just that.... ants......useless creatures that run around driving themselves crazy but not harming anyone.....Good Luck You Deserve it xxx

  • Thanks for the response. I know that there isn't a happy pill out there and I am confused with some of the information out there as it does contradicts itself. with one camp saying face your fears - desensitise and another saying dont fight the fears just ride them out and through time things will get better. NHS are taking there time getting around to offering me any talk therapy and I am thinking about buying some counselling therapy myself. I have always been unable to accept positive praise and blush and become tongue-tied when in social situations. I was a musician during my early adulthood and extremely nervous when having to perform solo. I have taken on new staff and unfortunately I have a go-getter, experience manager working under me who I feel is picking up on any mistakes I make and causing me further anxiety - or is it just my paranoia.

    Again unfortunately mental health problems run in my family, with both mum (in and out of hospital) and dad having problems as well as my late brother and late son who were both schizophrenic.

  • Hi

    I m sorry u have to go through this..it must be hard!have u seen any improvements with your medications??cause if not u might be on the wrong ones.if u get the right ones u would see improvement fairly quickly..I was on the wrong ones so I went back to my doc ,changed them and I feel much better now..it is amazing what drugs can do to our brain..I know you have a difficult family situation(like me!)but there s a time when u should stop the world and look after yourself before anybody else.last summer i had to give up my job..it was a nightmare but i seriously thought i was going crazy!!and yes i had a lots of financial worries but i coudn t function at all,I wasn't t well!!recovery road is very long but i needed just 3 months to go back on truck( well at least to the basics).for the financial bits u can ask to citizen advice bureau or be signed sick from your gp so u can apply for ESA.be strong and be strong..you are in my thoughts.best wishes.

  • HI futurehope,

    Some good advice from above posts. If I can add anything it would be to seek CBT with a therapist. Most anxiety, (especially social anxiety is exascerbated by irrational and negative thoughts and beliefs). A CBT therapist can help you challenge these thoughts and replace them for more positive and grounded thoughts that won't cause you the same anxiety. They can also teach you lots of coping skills. 'Positive' self talk is what is needed and this takes practise and perseverance. If you find the waiting list for therapy on the NHS too long why not have it through Anxiety UK? It's fast and much cheaper than going private. Best wishes

  • Hello there you seem to be like me you have the full set of symptoms and like me your dubious about meds although some take a while to work but for some of us they dont work your not sure about cbt although I'm trying it at the minute iv had sessions with a councillor and she thinks I'm coping fine although the night of our last session I ended up in AnE after a huge panic attack although I must say I have had a heart attack so I am a bit wary with chest pains ect cbt does interest me and I am reading what I can about it I have occasional agrophobia but its got me taking my dog out for longer walks going to do some shopping you do have to face some of these things and thoughts down I'm afraid as regards your family history you seem fearful it runs in the family not necessarily so you've worked a stressful life I worked a stressful life dealing with people some of whom make me wonder why more of us don't suffer with social phobia and try not to think negatively about yourself we're all our own worst judges of ourselves perhaps you like me feel burnt out because its a hard life out there at the moment when I was at work I had someone who used me as a stepping stone to get on although I knew he wasn't any better at the job than I was in the end I just walked away i didn't need the hassle and now I'm feeling better I'm taking control back I choose what I do and when I do it I hope your bad times pass and you get back to enjoying life all the best mate ....Mel

  • hi fh,

    if you need more time off then you need it. Everyone is different and different meds and therapies help different people, it's only by trying them we find out. I find CBT helps me.

    I followed a course called "beating the blues" which is computer based. you sit at a pc and wear headphones, everyone works at their own pace and you can repeat each session if you want to. you get to follow 5 people and learn techniques and ideas. While it didn't "heal" me, it gave me some good ideas and made me rethink some things. It's worth asking or a referral.

    I'd like to ask you to do something.

    imagine I wrote your letter. now read it and think how you you would reply, maybe write it down. I bet you'd be full of praise and support as to how much I'd dealt with, with all I'd had to manage.

    just a thought, could you manage financially on jobs hare or dropping back from management - maybe keeping it as an option to return to in the future?

    Try to do small things at your own pace. I am sending you positive thoughts.

    regards,

    sandra.

  • Thanks everyone for the advice and support. I am thinking about buying counselling therapy as NHS are going to take forever before I can access their Talk Therapy. I am hoping my GP will give me a further medical certificate as am am not ready to return to work. Looking at my meds I feel I am on medication that is just as good if not better as most antidepressants out there. I could do with something to stablise my mood as the meds are not really effective, although it does give me a sleep. I do knwo that returning to work is going to be the biggest hurdle to clear but I need to be ready to do this as I would hate to return and end up back ill again. Tnanks again for all the support.

  • Hi Fh,

    A lot of sensible stuff here already but just wanted to add brief couple of points. The NHS therapy you are waiting for - is this an Improving access to psycholoogical therapy service? IAPT? Check the list here and see if you can self-refer-> iapt.nhs.uk/services

    A lot of GPs don't know about it so you might have been put of a different wiating list. But yes waiting lists on NHS IAPT can be bad too in many areas. Some have links to additional employment support services and should be able to give specific work re;ated advice.

    Where waiting lists are too long you could get relatively cheap therapy from anxiety uk -http://www.anxityuk.org.uk . One to one therapy is means tested and from £10- £50 an hour for those working. Cheaper rates for phone or webcam-based therapies. They will arrange therapy for members within 2 weeks, and you will have to pay for membership- no more than £30ish per year.

    Your GP should have offered you talking therapy, and not just given you meds. He/she should also review and discuss your current meds, including therapy options.

    In everyday life, a best friend is where most people go to talk, so if you haven't got one or find friends are shutting you out at the moment, be open to the idea of talking about yourself when you get the chance. You might be surpirsed how many other people are in the same boat, especially when it comes to their work situations!

    Hope you can make progress soon, and make the most of some down time if you can get signed off.

    D.

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