How does one function as an adult and a professional with anxiety?

On a daily basis I battle with generalised anxiety (GAD) and social anxiety (SAD). It is exhausting. I am consumed with low self-belief, non-existant self-worth, low self-esteem, a fear of daily conversation with people I’m not comfortable with, fear of walking into a room of people, fear of blushing, fear of not being liked, fear of being watched and judged and a fear of public speaking. All of which I have convinced myself is what has caused my current employer to still not give me a permanent work contract.

Staff meetings are torture. I do not, and feel I cannot, volunteer to speak for the sake of sharing ideas etc. This makes me feel like a useless employee and I am awaiting the day my employer sends me packing. The mere mention of my name and attention being drawn to me will leave me writhing in the spotlight, unable to breathe or speak and most likely blushing. This is odd behaviour to many who don’t understand anxiety, but, to me, its my own personal hell.

I will constantly overthink and worry about everything. I will obsess over what people have said to me and how I responded and whether my words were appropriate or not and what people thought of me when I said them. Did they see me blush? What do they think of me? Do they think I’m weird? I also obsess over what I am going to say in conversations that haven’t happened yet.

Put me 1:1 or in a small group of like-minded people will happily chat away and feel relaxed. As soon as I feel slightly judged or in not-so-friendly company or in too big a group, the anxiety is switched on and I am overwhelmed.

I’m told that I appear strong and that I don’t seem anxious and, as a teacher and a MFL graduate, I am no stranger to delivering presentations and I speak a lot ‘publicly’…except in the staff room, which defeats me every time. I’m told I’m a good actress and if you’d just met me, you probably wouldn’t have guess my turmoil. I often see myself as a duck…floating serenely over calm waters looking peaceful, whilst beneath the surface of the water my feet are frantically paddling.

My whole life I’ve felt like a fraud in my own mind and body just waiting for someone to catch me out and call my bluff!

I agree that I am a strong person in so many ways and I actually do like myself. I believe that my anxiety is deeply entrenched within me and stems from childhood experiences that are at the core of who I am and how I have been conditioned to see myself. The though processes arising from this are merely habitual but, after almost 3 decades of existence, I still haven’t managed to conquer and break this cycle no matter how much I achieve in life.

This is me.

If any of my life or struggles resonates with you, feel free to comment or contact privately. Talking definitely helps. Let’s experience this journey together!

Peace and love.

2 Comments
  1. bridgie101 2 years ago

    definitely resonate. I remember I used to have to push my fingernails into the palm of my hand trying desperately to remember the beginning of the boss’ sentence by the end.

    Incapable of making the most straightforward comments, silent, panic so bad I’d kick peristalsis off.

    My cure: medication, and time, and a work environment in which one feels safe and valued.

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  2. tribelled2 2 years ago

    I can relate to this…But i am amazed at how much you accomplished degrees and working a job with meetings… I am a widowed mom of kid dults 21-24 basic ed. and getting back into the work force My anxiety is ours… you describe it so eloquently. I hope you find the safe space you need.

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