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I had an anxiety attack at work and now have a week off...feel guilty

Community Member

So some personal things have happened through the years: both my parents passed away in 2014 and 2015, my brother sueing us for the inheritance...recently my partner tried a new job to an area with hopes we can buy a house there but the job didn't work out and now we're lost not being able to afford a house.

That all has passed and I work in a job I'm ok with, but difficult to balance full-time work and life. It has been a year and last week was stressful, people kept coming to me about mistakes I made every day, then one day my supervisor mentions a mistake AND that I am working too slow, I lost it.

I ran to the bathroom trying to do breathing exercises, but the body wouldn't listen and tears started pushing through until I just let it out.

I washed my eyes and continued work, but quiet and people knew something was wrong. At the end of the day I called in sick for the next day and saw a doctor who gave me a week off for stress leave, I have already been off a few times this year and seeing a doctor and a psychologist again today but the guilt of not being able to cope is overwhelming.

I keep thinking of the future, where and how can we afford a home without renting? How am I able to function in the real world? What is the point of it all?... I was on medication and it has helped through the year, now taking another medication so I can sleep at night, but anxious dreams still come up though able to fall asleep in less than an hour at least.

I'm trying so hard not to loose it, yes I should relax and it is a disease, but in real life nobody will give you a break and it makes you a loser for it.

I have been thinking of just working as a cashier again part-time, but feel like a loser. Especially since I always wanted to sell my art but nobody buys it even with paid advertisement so now I don't know what to do in my life.

I don't have anything to look forward to, nothing excites me anymore and my passion for life has run dry.

45 Replies 45

That Other Guy
Community Member

I'm sorry to hear life is tough. Don't feel guilty for being human. I am 53 and I can't imagine being in my 20s and trying to get started in the world as it is now, it's obviously stressful. If you're able to take a week of stress leave then hopefully that means your work is supportive, can you talk to them about ways to make work easier for you? Not that you don't want to work but that the ways you're being talked to now, degrades the quality of your work and is bad for everyone?

I don't see any way past the issue of housing unaffordability, I think we're entering a world where people don't automatically assume they will own a home. That's out of your control. I'm sure you're doing the best you can, and that's all anyone can ask of you.

There's been a lot of talk about mental health, society is changing and most people take it seriously nowadays I would hope?

Community Member

I guess you need to try and look at the rational side and take some constructive criticism..

Ask work what you seem slow on, ask them about the mistakes your making and ask them to retrain you in certain areas, or for advice on how to future proof making those same mistakes.

Try to be proactive and the rest will come.

Thank you, it actually makes me feel better that others can see how difficult it is to survive mentally in this day and age.

Sadly I don't think my work will be very supportive, I don't have money troubles as I do get a small income as an inheritance, and I am prepared that I may be fired due to so many days I've been taking off.

As I said, maybe I just am not physically capable of working full-time and will look for a part-time or casual job, but it still makes me sad in self-esteem wise that I haven't made it to sell as an artist or a career.

Community Member

Don’t give up on your dreams. Keep doing your art. Someone, some day will appreciate what you do.

I totally understand that you feel that your employer or workplace will not be very supportive. I have worked in very stressful corporate environments in the past and anyone who had any issues where seen as a liability.

You are not very happy with the work place and this is evident in your performance lately.

I agree that you hang in there, if you can until something more suitable comes up. Don’t stop looking for a more suitable work place.

Life can feel overwhelming at times and I was fortunate enough to have my Dad around when my children were young. Although he never helped financially, his moral support was enough.

You need a rest and a recharge. You will get that passion for life again.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hey Jessksch,

Welcome to the forums! The others have said a fair bit about how life can just be really overwhelming and it's okay to feel stressed and anxious, because things really are tough. It sucks that work may not be very supportive, and whatever happens, I hope it works out for the better. Sometimes, it is even better to get out of an unsupportive job, than stay stuck in it.

What you said in your latest post about feeling sad self-esteem wise about not being able to sell your art stuck out to me. I have a friend whose parents are both arty and made that their career, and is an artist himself. When we spoke a number of years ago, my friend also expressed similar thoughts because it was so hard to sell art. I think a large part of that is that people just don't buy art anymore, so you end up putting so much of your time and effort and hopes into something that people just don't really understand or respect. It's a really tough gig.

For me, I would like to write for a career but I feel like there are so many hopeful authors that I just wouldn't get a look in. I worry that I wouldn't be good enough, and I worry about the feeling of disappointment in myself if I tried and failed. It's tough, and I don't really know the answer. But I know it's a mental burden that kind of sticks around and I really hope you can use this week off to really just recharge and rest. There's enough going on as it is to then add guilt on top of it all, especially when you are taking time off for very legitimate and real reasons.


Oh I do! I really do and I apologize for my mistakes! The problem is I have a huge work load and to edit like 150 photographs, each with 5-7 people whose heads I have to edit in, and remove things from the environment. I have to do things quickly and correctly the first time. One or two mistakes will come up and they will tell me and I apologize and try to work a bit slower so I can check on mistakes, but now I'm being too slow...

I have only been working in this industry in a year, and suddenly last month things have just not been good.

Community Member

Thank you all for the loving support, it means a lot to me that I'm not the only one going through this struggle when everyone around me in real life seems totally normal and unemotional, able to cope with it all.

I'm talking to my psychologist today and hopefully she can give me some insight about everything.

Community Member

Ah dear, due to a misscommunication, somehow I received an appointment confirmation by email for today for my psychologist, but it's her day off! So even the centre didn't have in their system and no reply from the psychologist.

I don't blame her, it is her day off, though pretty disappointed that I won't be able to talk to someone now.

I have higher and higher anxieties as soon as Friday comes up again for my back to work day, that I have to face them being angry I took the week off (I did write and email but never got a reply).

I just don't know what to do, I just want to do a job where I can concentrate on work and not worry about getting along with people, not so much pressure and make a living while still having time for a life.

I should be able to cope with a full-time job as many have survived, but I just seem to be too weak for it.

Hi Jessksch,

Feeling like your supports and networks have dropped out from you unexpectedly can be huge - good of you to show understanding that no one can be available all the time, and that even healers need days off. Nevertheless, we acknowledge that it is frustrating when the anxiety voice likes to co-opt aloneness and quiet.

Please be very cautious though, around once again letting the 'Black Wolf" voice tell you that your frustration and concern is 'weakness' or that you are too weak to navigate a job full-time.
Jobs all have their good and bad points - and some you will be compatible with, and some you will not. It isn't shame or weakness to not feel like something is right for you - but be careful that, again, the voice of Anxiety isn't just corrupting an opportunity for the sake of keeping you where you are.

As always, if you need someone to talk to, you are always welcome to reach out to us here -1300 22 4636. We are happy to be here for you, 24/7!

Don't give up on yourself, and please reach out whenever you need to!


Sophie M