High stress job

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medved
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 1094
   Posted 11/27/2017 9:19 AM (GMT -7)   
I raised this in the weekly check in thread, but I did not want to monopolize that thread. So I am starting a new one.

I have a high stress job. The pay is good, but the stakes and expectations are extraordinarily high. I have been doing it for a long time, so you would think I would be used to it. But the anxiety, when combined with this job, makes it quite difficult. (Years ago, before my anxiety manifested itself, I used to work very hard, but I did not let the stress get to me as much; these days the stress hits me much harder and interferes with my sleep and QoL; even when I’m notworking - I’m worrying about it or castigating myself. for less than optimal performance)

The easy answer would be to retire or find a lower stress job. But I do not want to feel like I am “giving in” to the anxiety. Plus this job provides well for my family.

Does anyone here have a very hard working and high stress job? Maybe something like investment banker, trial lawyer, CLevel executive, or trauma surgeon, for example. How do you deal with the anxiety combined with job stress?

Scaredy Cat
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 27126
   Posted 11/27/2017 10:22 AM (GMT -7)   
MV,

I am sorry to hear of the struggles that your chosen vocation has started posing for you.

Unfortunately, once the anxiety trigger has been flipped...previous stressful circumstances that once presented no issue for us...can become problematic.

However, I agree that backing out of situation because it is challenging us, is not a good practice...at least not initially.

Continuing to do all you can...including therapy, use of an Rx (if indicated and chosen) and daily self help practices, should be the management/coping goal.

Remebering the reasons for choosing, and the passion that you have for your career choice will also be key in working through the challenges it presents.

You mentioned talking to your therapist about this...

...can you continue to work specifically with him/her in this area? Targeting your treatment could be key in getting through this.

Wishing you much progress...and sending encouragement for your work situation! Keep us updated, so we can keep you in support.

S.C.
Moderator:Anxiety/Panic

"Courage is not the abscence of fear, it is feeling afraid and doing it anyway!"

"Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles...it empties today of its strength."
Corrie Ten Boom

Panic Syndrome recovery due to CBT

AnxiousTexan
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2014
Total Posts : 363
   Posted 11/27/2017 4:14 PM (GMT -7)   
I have a pretty high stress VP level insurance job with my company and like you over time it has gotten harder in many ways. I think because my overall excitement and enthusiasm has waned over the years, now I see all the crap I have to do and it's pretty scary (and amazing too the level of expertise gained over the years and what I can accomplish...I try to keep that in mind too).

Maybe we are just burned out? Perhaps need more vacation? This year for example I forwent my usual Labor Day week off and it has been so hard since then. Good news is I'm taking two weeks off for Christmas!
Anxiety Sufferer Since the 1980s

Medications:
Lexapro @ 10mg per day
Trazodone as needed for sleep

panicgirly
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 284
   Posted 11/27/2017 4:26 PM (GMT -7)   
I have a pretty stressful job as well and can't help but wonder why it's affecting me in ways it never did before.

I think life in general has become more stressful because social media projects all these images of people doing it all and we're trying to keep up.

As well, we're reachable 24/7 and don't get the opportunity to shut off completely. People expect answers and results immediately because of technology.

We're also getting older and the fear of someone younger without children who can work all hours without stress is always waiting in the wings.

Well, these are things I'm chalking my increased stress to.
Knowing them is one thing but truly shutting them out is another.

I can relate and hope your ongoing therapy can help. We're all here to vent to anyhow. 😊

medved
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 1094
   Posted 11/28/2017 3:09 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree the 24/7 nature of business these days adds to stress levels. If I don't respond to an email within two hours, people think I must have passed away. Moving so quickly also creates more opportunity for mistakes.

Anxious Scientist
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 206
   Posted 11/29/2017 9:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Haha oh yes. I have really struggled at times being in science and having anxiety/panic & bipolar disorder.

There is nothing scarier than having a panic attack or a bipolar episode at work and fearing for your job.

I don't have much advice for dealing with the stress. Honestly, I have just pushed through again and again. When I was really sick for 14 months, I pushed through each day. I may have thrown up four times in the morning, I may have made it in a little late to work - but I still came in each day and pushed hard each day. I may have had an experiment and had to pause to throw up, then go back to the experiment.

In my first job, my boss did not understand it at all. When I was first going through medication trials when they first gave me the diagnosis of bipolar, I was a total mess. I had to go out on medical leave for two weeks. When I came back, my boss had completely turned around like a snake and all of a sudden I was number one on his crap list. It was a true case of discrimination, but I couldn't prove it. I left the company and went elsewhere. I have been at my job now for almost five years.

At my job now, it may have taken a lot of guts and it was certainly a risky thing to do, but I took the honesty approach. It helps that I work at a neuroscience company and my boss is a pharmacokineticist with experience in CNS medications. My boss is also an extremely sweet person, charismatic, and sees the quality of my work. I told him what my condition was, I told him the medications I was withdrawing off of and the medications I was being put on. I informed him when I wasn't feeling well. I informed him that I was having trouble with my time as I was sick and dizzy in the morning and not able to drive in quite yet. I even made it known to my director that I was very ill, but doing all I could.

I guess the bottom line is I communicated my issues and worked around them. I don't know how this would work in other areas of specialty. Again, since I am in neuroscience and the potency/potential toxicities of the CNS medications is well known by my superior, I feel that gave me an edge in communication. I think it would be harder to explain to a manager who doesn't have the knowledge of the drugs and conditions. The stigma about mental illness is still so bad and getting worse with recent events. It is still kind of a crap shoot when it comes to "sharing" this confidential medical information.

I've been trying to be an advocate about sharing this information, for us not to remain in the dark any longer. I've found that a lot of scientists really do stick to the "fine line between genius and insanity." All of us have something wrong in our heads. smile
Diagnosed With: Bipolar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder
Treatment: Lithium Carbonate ER (450 mg), Sertraline (100 mg), Cyproheptadine (2 mg)

medved
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 1094
   Posted 12/3/2017 6:38 PM (GMT -7)   
I could see how it might be easier in neuroscience -- at least your colleagues would have some appreciation for the biochemistry (and psychopharmacology) issues.

In other fields, such as finance, I think people are more inclined to think someone who has significant anxiety is just "nuts" or "unable to handle things."

Or they are not able to differentiate between normal stress ("yea, this job is stressful; that's why I like to go get a beer after work") and stress that rises to the level of pathology -- and is not really "cured" by having a beer after work!

Anxious Scientist
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 206
   Posted 12/4/2017 8:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes I can definitely understand that. In finance an anxiety "disorder" and it's effect is not even going to be at the forefront of their minds. If someone has a problem at work and they go, "yep, just got diagnosed with anxiety disorder," is met with compassion and empathy rather than a "oh geeze, why you worried now? So and so can't handle this and that."

I think mental illnesses in the workplace is coming to a brighter light nowadays, but the stigma is going to take a long time to crush. People on the whole, are still very sheltered and uneducated when it comes to mental illness.

I'm actually a smoker and that helps me at times. All of us smokers go out and have one together and vent. If you don't smoke (and don't start now if you don't), just try and grab your close work friends a few times a day and go out on a break together. Go walk around the building, go talk/vent for 15 minutes - or whatever your work will allow. If you have that trusted group of friends/people on the same page as you, with the same frustrations - it helps immensely getting through the day.
Diagnosed With: Bipolar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder
Treatment: Lithium Carbonate ER (450 mg), Sertraline (100 mg), Cyproheptadine (2 mg)

medved
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 1094
   Posted 12/4/2017 3:20 PM (GMT -7)   
I can take breaks and chat with some friends. But there is nobody at work with whom I could have a candid discussion about anxiety. They would hear it as "Hi, did you know that I am an insane person?" That is just the environment.... I am sure there are others who suffer from anxiety, or depression. It is a very high stress atmosphere. But everyone keeps these things to themselves.

Anxious Scientist
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 206
   Posted 12/7/2017 8:35 AM (GMT -7)   
Well if there is a friend at work, even one, whom you can talk to, then do so. It will give you some peace of mind, only if just in the slightest bit, that you have someone there who knows what you are going through!
Diagnosed With: Bipolar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder
Treatment: Lithium Carbonate ER (450 mg), Sertraline (100 mg), Cyproheptadine (2 mg)
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