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I am avoiding everyone/ everything: the fear is real

  • 27-07-2022 9:27am
    Registered Users Posts: 22

    I go through these periods where I just zone out of life. It has got far worse since Covid, and meds and therapy don't seem to be helping. If anything, things are getting worse.

    I find transitions difficult, and I was on annual leave- headed down to see some pals/ family for a couple of weeks and it was great. Couldn't stop thinking/ fretting about work. Since I have been back I haven't been able to work properly, transition back into "real life" and work. I have this irrational fear of logging on, and the longer it goes on (over a week now), the worse it gets. I am dialling it in, and I can't get my head back in the game at all.

    Looking to the future, and I am a very future focused, don't live in the present person: the thoughts of working for another 35 years yawning out in front of me, with no relief.

    On top of this, and this has been going on for ages, but is getting worse as well, I am avoiding doing anything or seeing anyone. So I am ignoring all my WhatsApp groups for my hobbies, and feeling like crap about it. I am avoiding friends up here to the point where I have muted them so I don't have to engage, and I have even done this to my siblings. One of them is going through a tough time at the moment, and normally leans on me. But I feel I am just not able for it at the moment, and was short and grumpy with them, so now I am avoiding them because I know I will end up causing a row over my annoyances with them, most of which are trivial, unfair and selfish.

    They are hurt by this, I know, but I can't face them and again, the longer this goes on, the worse it gets as I imagine I have now fractured our relationship.

    I just randomly fill up with tears, or cry. There are days when the feelings of overwhelm and anxiety get so much that it becomes almost unbearable and I want to run away to Timbuktu, tear all my skin off (not literally, but just to get rid of this hideous feeling if that makes sense)

    I have discussed all this with my therapist who is great at helping me make practical lists (they are nominally successful), but I can't even follow those at the moment. I feel like they are not understanding the severity of how I am feeling at the moment. I have felt this before- I get bouts of it, and then I am ok-ish again, sometimes I even get a big bout of energy.

    All I seem to be able to do is wander around the house like a zombie, surfing the net and eating ice cream. I mean, obviously, I am able to go to meetings at work, get dressed, go to the therapist, go shopping and so on. But as far as functioning in life goes, nada.

    I have never had this level of anxiety before the last couple of years, and it is getting worse, I wake up with the sweats at the same time every morning irrespective of what time I went to bed and I feel exhausted all the time. The funny thing is that at the moment, my life should be relatively stress free. I have less draws on my time than before Covid, as I have whittled a lot down due to this- I used to be running around like a mad thing, always up to the nines. Now I can't seem to cope with the simplest thing- a visit to the dentist and it feels like I have committed to climbing Everest, and I feel sick, anxious, overwhelmed.

    I can't go on feeling like this, it is absolutely horrific. I used to look forward to things like Christmas, summer holidays, and so on. Now they just stretch out in my mind, Christmas after Christmas. it all feels like a fake charade, like I have peeked behind the curtain and it is all nonsense. The thoughts of feeling like this, anxious and overwhelmed, and like there is nothing magic left in the world upsets and terrifies me.


  • Registered Users Posts: 930 ✭✭✭TheadoreT

    Sort your diet out first and you'll feel immeasurably better. Having an unhealthy gut biome has massive correlations to depression and anxiety. Cut out most sugars and stodgy carbs and exercise every day.

    These things are never nice to hear when you're down but probably the biggest contributing factor to poor mental health. Good luck

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,100 ✭✭✭SuperBowserWorld

    Yes, it's a horrible way to be.

    I agree with what the previous poster said.

    Also, cut out Online/Internet/video games/social media/news/advertising/consumerism ... as these take up even more space in your brain and add more anxiety.

    Only use your brain for essential stuff, don't be wasting your brain energy worrying about stuff, thinking about social media, ... ruminating ...

    All easier said than done of course, but the idea here is to give your brain a complete rest and unlearn bad habits.

    Drop coffee, alcohol, caffeine.

    Good sleep habits ...

    This lays the foundation you can build on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,901 ✭✭✭✭Purple Mountain

    I read somewhere recently about many people not being able to adjust to "reality" now due to the various lockdowns.

    That doing say a full week's work in an office now seems mammoth because we spent so long in a safe little cocoon.

    You say at the minute you have a big fear around your job. I wonder if that's one area you need to reevaluate? Do you dread going to work?

    While it's great you have a therapist to talk this stuff through with, would you go back to your gp and really articulate how bad the fear has gotten? You might need referral into the psychiatric system for evaluation.

    But don't let it go any longer. You should like you're in purgatory.

    I think you should open up to someone you trust and tell them how bad you feel. Even just one person.

    To thine own self be true

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,197 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    I second what @Purple Mountain said, please do go to your GP, asap. They would be best placed to help whether it is via a further referral, medication or whatever is required.

    Mind yourself.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,887 Mod ✭✭✭✭shesty

    Do go to your GP.Maybe making lists isn't what you need right now.

    In addition, I would suggest cutting off the internet or severely limiting it and trying to get out for a walk each day.It won't wave a magic wand but over time it will contribute to you feeling better.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Sorry to read your post OP.......there is a great thread on boards " depression / anxiety " thread.....well worth a read../ good information there

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭Irish_rat

    Working in a office job can do that I think. A lot of time interacting via teams over actual social engagement. I've found that from moving from an actively physical system repair setting to a software development position. It has a feeling of life is the same everyday and you lose the social aspect, the physical aspect also and your body isn't tired enough at the end of the day.

    In my opinion it's only suitable for certain people. I'm actually aiming to get out of it in the future as its monotonous.

    Also just speculating sounds you have faced maybe burnout? I've hit that before in my current job and I still have that fear of logging in to the pc in the mornings. The environment is better now but I have scars from what I've been through.

  • Registered Users Posts: 22 StressedOot

    thanks everyone. I went to my GP and he said it's burnout. Good call Irish rat

    I feel very trapped by my commitments.

    In order to make it onto the management team in work, you can't be seen to take too much sick leave or be shown to be the weakest link, albeit the latter is probably becoming apparent. I have to work or there is no money coming in to pay bills.

    I have family that rely on me and I couldn't just head to Timbuktu. I have taken short breaks, weekends away, but they feel like a sticking plaster on a gaping wound. I feel good for a short while after but then the inability to get my game face back on ends up erasing any relaxation.

    At the moment, I feel like even a year in Timbuktu wouldn't suffice.

    My family isn't talking to me at the moment because I wasn't there for that person mentioned above. It was mean of me, but I was so low and angry at the time, I would have ended up saying things I regret. It was a rock and a hard place situation. Of course, that isn't helping my stress levels, however, it is also a welcome break from someone who I love but is also very draining.

    Venting to the GP released a bit of a pressure valve and I am not as incredibly low. He changed my meds as well so hopefully those start to kick in soon.

    If anyone has any ideas on how to help with burnout or how to climb out of the trenches, it would be appreciated.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,860 ✭✭✭Pissy Missy

    Hi OP, correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you need to change jobs as the one you're in currently is filling you with dread.

    In regards to your family member, you can't pour from an empty cup. Might be no harm in texting them explaining your situation so there's no ambiguity.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,887 Mod ✭✭✭✭shesty

    I would recommend changing job at this point if it is doing this much damage to your mental health.

    Would that be possible?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 22 StressedOot

    I did this and it became a game of "in the year XXXX you did/ I did" and "who is the bigger victim". I just cut off after a few texts saying that I wasn't going to go back and forth on this. They felt let down by me and won't speak to me. I said I took 2 days albeit the timing was not good, but that wasn't accepted.

    re the job, I have taken a sideways move for a short period, which is possible currently. So that relieves some of the pressure.

    I am just starting to feel like I am the issue here. I can't seem to handle the vagaries of life at all any more. I have very few pals, I clearly suck at my job, my family aren't speaking to me and I am not able for any sort of leisure activities/ hobbies. My therapist says I am being self critical, but they aren't paid to say "Well, yes, you are one of those unlikeable, feckless sort of people".

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,860 ✭✭✭Pissy Missy

    It sounds like you tried to explain and did what you could. If they're not speaking to you after that, then that's their problem and its on them. If they're worth it, they'll come around. I'm sorry your family aren't speaking to you, that's stress you don't need. But if that's how they treat you knowing you are going through your own problems, then they're not much of a family to begin with. Just focus on you and on getting better because we can't control what's outside of us.

    I'm not sure what a sideways move is but if it's relieved some of the pressure, that's great, I'm glad to hear it.

    Okay so you've named your issues here, so how can we improve/resolve them?

    Do you want new pals? The pals that you do have, are they great and supportive or just okay? Why do you clearly suck at your job-like what's the evidence that suggests that? Do you love the job that you're in? Are your colleagues lovely and supportive? You're not able for leisure activities/hobbies - what about going for a walk or would you even enjoy that? Why are you not able for them?

    Being a therapist, the job is to be compassionate and non judgemental, if you sense they do think this of you, then maybe you should go to a different therapist you can trust. On the other hand, if you truly believe you're an unlikeable feckless sort of person, how can you expect someone else to convince you otherwise if that's what you truly believe.

    And it makes me think, if you are truly this way, then how do you have friends? Clearly you are likeable

    I used to have loads of friends in my 20s,then I figured out they weren't all reliable supportive friends and now I have very few pals who I would consider good friends, and I'm very blessed to have them in my life, its about quality, not quantity.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,553 ✭✭✭Irish_rat

    In my unprofessional opinion OP and I'll speak the facts straight. Your original post sounds like something I'd even say, no joke!

    You need to leave that job now or at some point in the not too distant future.

    First, try and save your butt off every month to get a bit of a buffer to the point when you want to call it quits.

    The usual advice is to get something else while you are working but I'd suggest a few months break before something new.

    Work stress and overwhelming feelings have taken over your life and now is spilling into anger to your close family.

    Literally feel the same and it's not sustainable for anyone.