Work Place Anxiety

Nothing encapsulates a Sunday day in Britain than the smell of piping hot duck fat poured over potatoes as part of a roast dinner, watching multi-millionaire footballers on the television and a cheeky pint or two at the local public house.

Nothing encapsulates a Sunday night in my life than the rest of my body struggling to keep up with my increased heartbeat, a face that gains an extra 6 lbs in weight due to excess cold sweat and a brain hotwired to replay every scenario that could possibly happen at my workplace in about 8 hours’ time.

“What if I accidentally annoyed or upset a co-worker who I’m good friends with?” I ask my feeble brain as I toss back and forth in my bed, “what, if in the two days over the weekend that I haven’t been at work, I have offended every single person in the office and now my boss wants to fire me?”. These thoughts rings from ear to ear, causing me to check my watch and see it’s nearly 3:30am and I have yet to sleep because of worry. This is my Sunday evening through to Monday morning and it has happened every week since I first started work after I graduated University.

You see, I have suffered with anxiety since I was a teenager. I say ‘suffered from’ rather than ‘have’ anxiety because it’s a part of my mental illness which is constantly dictating how I lead my life; from one on one communication with a friend through to walking into a busy supermarket – it’s always there. However, I can normally get through these circumstances but when it comes to work; it takes my anxiety to a whole new level.

It’s not as if my job is that important. I mean, it’s important (just in case my boss is reading) as it helps members of the community to have a voice but it’s not life or death. I don’t have to put out a house fire, drive an ambulance, and speak to a family about a loved one’s death – important things which, from the outside looking in, can be seen as ‘proper’ anxiety-inducing jobs.

But that’s one of the most grotesque aspects of work anxiety/anxiety in general. It doesn’t care if your job is to defend queen and country or work in an off-licence; it will seep into your mind and cause you to worry about every single aspect of your working day. Things that will make you physically laugh out loud when you repeat them – what if I knock someone’s chair when I get up to put something in the bin? What if I send an email that the receiver may find a bit abrupt or rude when it really isn’t meant to be? HOW RIDICULOUS DO THOSE THINGS SOUND! But they are the sort of things that keep me, and thousands of other people who suffer with anxiety, up every Sunday night (or every night on occasions).

Like I mentioned above, the grotesque aspect of anxiety is also the reason why I am writing this; to help others but more selfishly help myself to realise that I’m definitely not alone in this. Thousands, if not millions, or other individuals all over the country suffer what I suffer every Sunday night. They replay conversations had weeks or months before; over-analyse job performance when no one has once mentioned any issues with their work. It is never as bad as I, or anyone else, anticipates. No one has blown up out of the blue; the work systems have not combusted because I spent a little too much time on the BBC Website.

It’s going to be okay, guys. – @helloimdanjames