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Anxiety giving me hiding ATM

Dean07
Community Member

Hello everyone.

I'm self employed and in the process of moving my work to a new premises. I'm finding all the decisions around finding a place and sorting a lease very stressful. Also the logistic and purchasing of new equipment.

I have a history of anxiety over the the last 50 years. Sometimes I'm on top of it other times I struggle.

I'm currently seeing a psychologist to help. I've been seeing him for a while and he has been helpful in the past.

His current advise is to write things down and proceed based on the evidence, not on how I feel about it. How I feel about the event and how it turns out has historically been wrong most of the time. Most time things work out really well. I know this but I keep trusting my feeling over the likely outcome. The feelings are much louder and I find them impossible to ignore. (I'm not hearing voice just having thoughts).

It's as though I don't learn from the previous outcomes.

Does anyone have any suggestion for coping with the intrusive thoughts?

10 Replies 10

Daniel_LK91
Community Member

Maybe just take some time out for yourself instead of focusing and stressing over the thing that you have to get done and just trust that it will all work out the way it needs to work out.

I find that exercise helps me a lot. Try go for a walk around the block on a daily basis and see if that changes anything.

Dont be so hard on yourself too.

Daniel.

yggdrasil
Community Member

Hi Dean07,

Thank you so much for posting on here. I relate a lot to what you've written. The thing that helped me deal with the overwhelming, intense emotional instincts related to certain tasks or "triggers" was something called "Schema Therapy". It involves a version of the exercise your psychologist has suggested - writing things down and rationalising them - but it also involves trying to understand where these strong emotional instincts came from, e.g. whether they actually served some important purpose in the past. Schema is widely used on psych wards where many patients have really strong, entrenched emotional patterns that are not serving them well (this is where I first encountered it.) I was very skeptical at first, but I believe it did make a difference in my case. Over time you gradually get better at catching the dangerous, spiralling thoughts and emotions, reminding yourself they're likely related to something from the past and not relevant to your current problem, and moving past them before they get out of control.

It's great you're seeing a psychologist, and they may have experience in Schema Therapy if it sounds like something that could be useful for you. There's also heaps of resources and worksheets for it online. My psychologist isn't a Schema expert (like I said it tends to be the clinical psychs working in psych wards who are most familiar with it), but we were still able to talk about the concepts together, and she was able to help guide me in using it effectively.

The other thing I have found with work anxiety is the essential importance of letting things go as much as possible, and not working yourself too hard. I found when problems arise I tend to entire "firefighting mode" and find it difficult to stop work for the day until the problems are solved. This quickly leads to spiraling anxiety and burnout. Now I'm extremely disciplined at just working an 8 hour day, and leaving any problems until tomorrow (most things are not as urgent as they may "feel", although I realise this may not be possible for all jobs!)

Take care of yourself mate, and well done again for posting on here.

Hi Daniel

Thanks for the reply. Good Advice.

As it happens I took the day off. Walked the dog and tried to have a break.

I feel much better for it. I sorted a couple of the major decisions yesterday so this is probably helping too.

Trusting that it will work out had been the problem. My psychologist has asked me to find situations that have worked out without me worrying about them beforehand. They happen frequently but I generally discount them as just luck.

I'll try to take time to relax.

Dean07
Community Member

Hi yggdrasil.

I have heard of Schema therapy before. I read one on Subjugation and it was like someone had written a manual on how I think. It was very helpful but it also demonstrated to me how powerful Schemas can be. Difficult things to change as they are entrenched patterns that we go back to in difficult times. Thank you for reminding me of them. I will have a look online to see what I can find. I'm sure this is not the only Schema that is in play ATM.

I go into "firefighting mode" too. This current work situation has a deadline that I have little control over. I find making decisions difficult at times. Your comment about triggers hits the mark. I have had to move work before and it triggers a major anxiety reaction. Once I'm triggered my rational side get swamped with feelings of panic and loss of control.

Thank you for your post. It has been really helpful and given me something to follow up.

Dean

yggdrasil
Community Member
Excellent that's good to hear. In case they're useful, I use the Schema Therapy worksheets from this website (https://positivepsychology.com/), particularly the "mode triggering logbook" worksheet, although they may no longer be free, I'm not sure. I also found the "client's guide to schema" document on this website (http://www.schematherapy.com/id201.htm) helpful. Your psych may have other resources on it that are more up to date/relevant. All the best.

Petal22
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Dean07,

I understand that anxiety and intrusive thoughts can be difficult.

I had Severe anxiety OCD the intrusive thoughts I had were very repetitive and I’d always get stuck in an OCD cycle which was vicious.

When I’d have an intrusive thought i learned to not follow it…..

When you have an intrusive thought just allow it to be there and try not to put your attention on it…… don’t question it or analyse it.

Instead focus on something in the present moment.

Meditation is great have you ever tried it? It taught me that I’m not my thoughts but the watcher of my thoughts.

I like what Meditation taught you.

I'm getting anxious about going to stay with my family for 10 days as I live alone. I'm so used to living alone for the past 17 years. I have a mix of feelings. I feel guilty for feeling anxious as it's my family but it's the thought of being with a group for so long. I'm a total introvert. And need so much alone time. When I disappear up there in the afternoon for a few hours I feel guilty. A few years ago they had other relatives there that arrived at 11am and left at 11pm. I couldn't be with everyone for that long. I escaped a couple of times. They'll be there this Christmas too.

I go thru this anxiety every year before I go there. Friday I was at a 2.5 hours lunch with people and was totally exhausted after. All of this drives me nuts. Sorry if I went on too long.

Dean07
Community Member

Hi yggdrasil.

Thanks for the links!

I looked around but was having trouble finding material.

I'll give them a go.

Dean07
Community Member

Hi Petal22.

Thanks for the response.

I wrote "intrusive thoughts" but it's intrusive feelings I'm troubled by I think. The feelings are probably the result of thoughts that are so ingrained that I don't realize I'm having them. Coming onto this forum has helped as I am getting ideas from other members that have given me a different way of looking at the problem.

I have tried meditation in the past but found it difficult to keep my mind on the task. I guess it is a practice thing.

I have been trying to thinking about the particular task at hand rather than get swamped by the emotions. Getting some results with this method.

My psychologist said to expect the move to induce anxiety but to keep ticking off tasks that can be sorted as I go.

I think what really causes me anxiety is trying to see/feel what the new workspace will be like before I actually move in. I'm told that it is impossible to know and I should look at previous scenarios as a guide to the likely outcome. Almost all these scenarios turned out much better that I was expecting. I think this is the worst part of having anxiety. Not trusting/learning from past experiences.

Does the meditation help with relaxation or a way of desensitizing the power of the thoughts?