Social anxiety stopping me going to work

I tried to go back to work last week and only lasted a day and a half, I think I have social anxiety, I made a few mistakes in the job and I couldn't take it, I went home at lunch and rang my boss, she was understanding, I feel like I'm sinking. This role was given to me as I had to swap departments because of bullying and harassment in the workplace, yet I feel worse than ever, my husband is saying why can't I go ? He does understand but I need help getting back into work slowly with a mentor. I don't know if this is normal behaviour. I think that the people before that were nasty have left a bad experience with me

30 Replies

  • Hi Goldish how are doing? Are you feeling any better?


  • Hi there I agree with Goldish that the more you put off going back the worse it will become. You will have to try and face your fears before it becomes a pattern and then any work issue will trigger that fight or flight response.

    So what if you make a few mistakes, you need to conquer this or you will never get back to work and that itself could cause more problems long term.


  • It's not a new job I have been moved I had a perfectly good job before

  • Hi AM I agree with Hannah and Goldish. You should be on a graduated return to work scheme and not expected to go back to your full hours straight away. You need to ask your employer for this. If you are working in a new job then you are bound to make mistakes at first so don't be so hard on yourself. Why not ask work for more training and/or a mentor to help you ease yourself back in?

    Another thing you can ask for is an extra break when you need it. I know in my last job I got very anxious and stressed and following sick leave I was given 2 15 minute breaks extra to take as and when I needed. I would take myself to a quiet area where I could sit and regather my thoughts. I sometimes went out in the fresh air and tried to breathe deeply and get myself together. You need to find a way to break the anxiety cycle before it gets too full blown. x

  • Ah Cough you made me laugh calling Goldfish "Goldsmith". I know it was a typo but it just tickled me. Gemma :)

    I think AngelMarrow you're a sensitive person and it's always hard for us sensitive ones coping with different people's behaviours. It's easy for me to tell you to develop better defenses against such things but it is much easier said than done I know as I'm a terrible worrier over that sort of thing. I don't think it's a good idea to keep avoiding things though; if you can confront the situation it will be better in the long run. If someone is annoying you then stand up for yourself and tell them so but not in an aggressive way. Try and stick up for yourself a bit more.

    Wishing you all the best,

    Gemma X

  • Arrgh never realied until now. Anyway you are just as bad Gemma as it's Goldish not Goldfish :) I am going to amend it now. Bev x

  • Ha ha I will let you off

  • Is it goldfish ?? Or goldish

  • Goldish. x

  • Gemma his name is Goldish NOT Goldfish lol.


  • Oh yeah! Funny how I never noticed the "f" was missing. I've always called him "Goldfish" like someone swimming round and round in a bowl and getting nowhere; that's why I thought it was that username. Sorry everyone; now it's my time to apologise lol xx

  • :) ;) Gemma xx

  • Sorry I called you by the wrong name Goldfish_. I have changed it now. x

  • Hello Angelmarrow , I am very sad for you that the new post has n't started very well, maybe you tried to return to work before you were ready. Anyone would have social anxiety about returning to work in a new post ,created for you because of the bullying and harassment you suffered in your previous post. You would need a skin like a rhino not to feel anxious about it and the support you are getting at home ,or the lack of it, is not helping either.

    However I presume you felt ready to return to work despite knowing it would n't be easy. Your employer has been pretty reasonable in finding you a new post that should have eased your return to work, with a sympathetic boss and now must be wondering what more they can do for you. Every time you run when things get difficult, it makes it harder to face a return to work. You have to make a decision as to whether you are well enough to return to work. If the answer is yes then you have to commit to persevering when things get uncomfortable for you.

    If the answer is no then returning to work ,running ,feeling worse , running again is a route that will probably end badly , with the result you 'll probably need a much longer spell off work or a new job. Right now a new job might sound attractive but any new job is likely to go much better if you can make a success of the one you have, without running when things get difficult. That would be a bad habit to take to any new job.

    I do hope that the courage you showed in returning to work comes back to you , but if you feel that your anxiety has to be less before you can return to work, my feeling is you would be better taking additional time out of work until you can make a success of any new post.


  • I don't know where to turn really it's hard for me

  • Don't turn, just keep going. It will get better. One step at a time, that's the way to do it. Try ringing the boss and tell her what you said about how you felt, and ask if you can have a bit more support, just to get you past the first few days. See if you can aim for doing at least three days. Then maybe just one more the next week, and see how it goes. What do you have to lose by trying?

  • How's things going with your job situation now findingme. Did you manage to sort things out? Gemma x

  • Did you mean me ? Or Findingme

  • Oh, you, Angel, sorry if it was not clear.

  • Not a problem xx

  • Hm, i'll tell you later in the week. He has been off on hols this week.

  • Well either really Angelmarrow. I had meant Finding me as I know she had problems at work last week as she posted up about it, but i know it's a bit rude to post up about someone else on someone's post, so apologies for that. How are you now?


  • No it's fine thanks for asking though still trying, not sure yet I think I need to ring my boss and explain, the trouble is I am not going ahead with my grievance and they at still going to look into it but not including me now I have raised concerns they have a duty of care. It's just been really hard, I knew my job inside out and then I get moved I am out my comfort zone, I just freaked out last week, I am constantly worried I will see one of my ex work colleagues in this building. I only lasted 1 and a half days, I either need to leave the trust or stay there in another job which I can cope with

  • I know I m trying to get the best result possible xx

  • Angelmarrow. I think it was for the best you did n't go ahead with the extra stress of the grievance procedure. Many things were much better and easier when I worked but on the other hand not many employers at that time ,certainly in the competitive private sector, worried too much about "a duty of care". However I am very glad for you that your employer considers this.

    You will be outside your comfort zone inevitably in a new post but this will soon hopefully become your comfort zone . After all your employer did n't move you out of the old post of their own choice, it was more because of the bad interaction between yourself and your own colleagues.

    Of course you will eventually see one of your ex work colleagues . What are you going to do then ? "Freak out" and go home again ? What do you think they will do to you ? Be sensible.Brace yourself for it before it happens and brace yourself for the fact you could hardly know your new job inside out after a day and a half.

    You did well with your current problems to last 1 1/2 days. Ring your boss and next time resolve you will last a minimum of 1 1/2 weeks , hopefully for much much longer. The alternative is that things must deteriorate at home , and you will have the difficulty of finding a new job , which might be difficult if you have n't made a success of this one. What do you expect your employer to do now, find you a third job which you may be able to cope with ? And then another if you run from that after 1 1/2 days.

    You are at a fairly critical point in your life and if you don't show the courage you showed in returning to work then I fear that things will continue to deteriorate for you. Better to show your persistence and courage now before you reach a stage where even more is required.

    I do feel for you and wish I could do a few weeks for you but you know this is something only you can do. I can't tell you how glad we all will be when you succeed in it ,but the person who will feel best is you.

    A big hug and lots of luck. Let us know what happens.


  • Thank you so much this is sound advice just I need help with it I need to leave I think and go to the Shaw Trust who can help me get back into work, in order to do this I will have to leave. The shaw trust do get you into paid employment. I ve caused such a mess

  • Angelmarrow , in my opinion the Shaw trust is a good back up plan but you will feel so much better (eventually) if you give this job your best shot and succeed. That will be very difficult and may be beyond you in your present state of health but I have faith in you. I don't really feel you have given this your very best shot,but if you have and can do no more C'est la vie and move on.

    Yes it is all a bit of a mess but you should n't feel too bad about that as you are operating under very trying health problems. If you don't succeed at least learn something from this episode which is that whatever the stress running and hiding always ,always makes it worse. Make your mind up you will never run and hide again.If that sounds hard just remember that most people realise that facing the music is very tough but not facing it makes things even tougher.

    If a T.Rex breaks into your office I would allow running and hiding, but even then I would expect you to try and scare it off to save your colleagues. Keep a firework in your handbag. You have to learn that when you walk in even the darkest valley you are not scared because you are the toughest thing in the valley and the bullies and everything else should tremble at your approach.

    Best of luck Olderal

  • It does sound like a difficult situation but if you give yourself time then I think it will come to you the best way to handle it and what to do. x

  • My husband says I'm wound up like a spring, I'm so tense when he walks in, I had an awful argument with him I just cried I just want to get out of this life, I couldn't get his tea ready in time and I panicked, no wonder I have problems, he said how you got a job is beyond me, I need to toughen up, he didn't mean it

  • Hi Angelmarrow, You sound like a really decent, very nice person... somehow, in some way, things WILL work out OK for you. My advice is for you to go to your Dr and ask if you could be assigned to visit with a therapist.... Someone who you could talk to without hesitation and worrying about 'saying or doing the wrong this.' I also say this because of the trouble with bullying in your last job... what in the world!?

    So would you please consider this? I think you need a bit of professional 'reinforcement' to help you out. You deserve help. Please consider doing this for yourself, OK? OK! Best wishes to you.

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