Anxiety attacks are starting to affect my day to day life

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I have been suffering with anxiety and panic attacks for over a year now but the last 4 months they have become unbearable.

My life seems like I am on auto pilot at the moment. I wake up 3/4am most mornings worrying and stressing about work. I then get up at 6am still thinking about work. I dread going into work every day and force myself to go in. Sometimes I get myself so worked up I will be sick and hide in the toilets. I sit at my desk trying to work out what work is more important but can't priortise and my mind is so cluttered I can't make decisions so the work just builds up. This stresses me out even more and I get angry with myself for not being able to cope with the work.

I come home from work late most evenings and then worry about the next day. Go to bed stressed and the cycle continues

I do work in quite a stressful department and my job is a project manager but at the moment I cant manage myself never mind 6 projects and 10 people. I feel guilty because I feel I am letting the team down because I can't contribute or keep on top of things.

I had 2 weeks stress leave in Feb and came back hoping things would be different but I have now been back for 10 weeks and I feel the same hopeless, no confidence, always worrying and that I am drowning in the workload.

I have spoken to my boss about other less stressful roles but he can not offer me anything at the moment.

I think I have got 2 choices:

1. go on stress leave again and take some time out - feel guilty for dumping my team in again and having to cover my workload

2. Hand in my notice now and look for a less stressful job

Has anyone been in a similar situation to me and what option would you take above?

Thank you in advance



2 likes, 14 replies

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi there smile

    I've been suffering with Anxiety and Panic attacks for a year too. And work is mostly now the trigger for my attacks, I went on leave for about 2 weeks and like you thought it would do me the world of good but after I went back, I was still having attacks and having trouble of my colleagues hasn't helped much at all.

    I am currently thinking about handing in my notice also, but the thing is all jobs can be stressful at times, I'm considering things carefully.

    Have you been to see your GP? Xx

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  • Posted

    hi Dan. my sympathies are with u in this v. difficult time/situation. u sound v. strong & resourcesful to have withstood the situation for so long.

    for starters, i'd suggest a visit to ur GP for some help in the form of meds to help break the viscous cycle of automated anxiety response. follow this with taking some time out from the work place. is it possible to take a couple of months out from work whether for 'stress leave' or sick leave. accessing some counselling in the form of CBT or other approaches to help manage the stress response, and to retrain your body/brain to respond to the stress/pressure more productively. CBT can be accessed by self-referral or via ur GP from the Improved Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) national program.. just google it and u should be able to connect with your local regional department. meditation is also a good means of focusing the mind. getting a much help/support from family/friends/colleagues etc. as it helps to put things in perspective. i wish i could help more. remember this will pass. and be kind to yourself during this very difficult time.

    best wishes


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    • Posted

      Thank you Caitlin for your kind words.

      I try to stay strong and positive for my wife and son as I don't like them to see me down and depressed.

      I have managed to get an earlier doctors appointment and I am going tonight now.

      Thank you again for your advice

      I like the sound of CBT but I am a little nervous of taking medication but I will do anything if it gives me and the family a better quality of life.

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  • Posted

    From what you say it certainly does seem that you have a problem with stress, anxiety or some other related problem.

    I would certainly not hand in your notice and try to find another job at this time, as that could be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

    I realise that when we feel we are letting our colleagues down that can put us on an unwelcome guilt-trip, but it may also be syptomatic of an underlying mental health issue.

    If I were you I would be tempted to discuss things with your doctor as soon as possible, without holding back any of the facts.

    If you are ill, then you are ill and pushing yourself to the limit might make you a lot worse. 

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    • Posted

      Hi archemedes

      Thank you for your response and advice.

      I know handing in my notice is not the answer but I am very confused at the moment and the job is the key indicator that is making my anxiety worse. The problem is that I have explored other less stressful roles at the company and I can't think of any. The longer I stay at the job then the worse my anxiety gets. I know all jobs are stressful but I want to find a job that has less responsibility and pressure,

      I will see the GP and go from there

      Thanks again

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  • Posted

    I have similar feelings.  My job isn't overly difficult, but my employer is a text book narcissist with very bad A.D.H.D.  

    I was able to get some extended time off, not health related, and now that my time is almost up I am dreading my return to work.  I've been off for 4 months but have not been able to get control of my anxiety.  My anxiety is not caused by work, or my employer, but he sure as hell makes it a lot worse.

    I've been looking for a new job, and have actively been persuing an entirely new career.  I could probably get some time off for stress leave, but I feel really guilty and embarrassed about it; like I don't deserve it because everything is in my head.

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    • Posted

      Hi Mike

      Thanks for replying back. Going back to work after a period of absence can be scared but remember your manger and company has a duty of care for your well being. Your manager has to make allowances when you go back to work and amend some of your duties to accommodate your anxiety and stress issues. The problem I had is my manager thought I was back to normal when I returned from work and didn't reduce my workload. Hence the reason I back in the same place I was before I went off with stress leave.

      Good luck with everything and I sure things will work out

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  • Posted

    Hiya Dan,

    I've been in a similar position to you and im only 22.

    Last year I came down with an illness (not anxiety related etc) and absolutely fought and battled at my job and had the same thoughts as you, not wanting to let anyone down etc. I loved my job etc, But I was getting horrific anxiety and panic attacks too, which was all connected to my job. I walked in one day and that was it, I had to get out of there permanently, so spoke to my boss and H.R and I was allowed to leave immediately because of the way I was. I had completely burnt myself out to the core!! It was a tough decision, but it was well needed.

    you need to listen carefully to your body, I kept pushing and pushing myself, but there's only so much one can take. X

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    • Posted

      Thanks leopard for your response.

      Sounds like you went through a tough period but have come through it.

      Your right I do need to listen to my body. I keep on pushing myself each day as I keep telling myself that there is nothing wrong with me and that I am over reacting. I know that my anxiety and stress issues are not going to get better in the working environment I am in so I best to find a job that is less stressful and suits my personality and makes me happy.

      I wish you all th best


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  • Posted

    I have been where you are so I wish you all the best. The problem with simply changing jobs is that you will take the anxiety with you. It is better to get into a position where you can handle whatever life can throw at you.

    Exasperated at my inability to cope with my anxieties I developed a simple technique that has allowed me to gain a sense of normality in my life. I am a different person from who I was a couple of years ago.

    This technique uses a simple form of visualisation where I take myself out of the equation and work only with the anxiety. This is different to most available therapies in that it isn’t about changing my outlook. I don’t have years of research and a cabinet full of case studies to support my self-developed technique but I do have a level of inner peace that a couple of years ago I would have never thought possible. As this has had a massive impact on my life I am wondering whether it can do the same for you. I am curious as to whether this is something worth developing.

    I am not selling anything instead asking whether you will give this a try before letting me know the outcome. I hope it can help. Obviously I can’t guarantee this but there is the chance that it will.

    The technique is based on the premise that anxiety is an energy echo of a previous event, which will disperse when we allow it. The problem is that we deny the anxiety the opportunity to leave us alone because we think we have to be in control and have the answers.

    We don't! Only the anxiety knows what it needs to disperse so my technique is based around allowing this to happen.

    This is what I did:

    I looked at the anxiety as separate from me and when faced with an unpleasant level of anxiety I said to it: “I don’t know what you are saying or need so I am going to allow you to do and say whatever you want”.

    I then visualised stepping away from the anxiety. In my mind I separated from my physical body leaving the anxiety behind to express in whatever way it wanted. I did nothing to interfere. I gave it the freedom to do whatever it wanted. I didn’t speak with it, debate with it or try to control it. Instead I simply stood back and observed.

    At first the idea of letting the anxiety run riot was scary but instead of causing more problems the anxiety had its say then went. After an initial rush, it took seconds for the energy to disperse. After repeating this technique with every subsequent anxiety attack it didn’t take long before my life became calm enough to engage again.

    I am not sure whether you can visualise stepping away in the same way as I can, so I am not sure how this will work for you. I have discovered an alternative way of stepping back but I want to see how well the visualisation method works first. I am also here to offer advice.

    The key is stepping back and allowing the anxiety to express in whatever way it wants. DO NOT INTERFERE!

    I hope this works for others in the way it has worked for me and please let me know if you require more information.

    Take care and I wish you all the best.

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