A Tightness in my Chest

It has been week number something since I’ve been working at home, it’s really not that bad. Since I am not interacting with any of my coworkers in-person, I have had fewer social dilemmas which has been nice. And by social dilemmas I mean asking myself whether I should talk to somebody or if they expect me to have a conversation with them. #socialanxiety

But during my time at home, I have been frequently having this tightness in my chest. Not like I’m having an asthma or panic attack, but like all of the anxiety in my body is tensing up in my chest. I’ve had this happen in the past, it’s just become more frequent.

The only thing that seems to help is doing deep breathing exercises. Sometimes I will go out on my porch to do this. It’s still chilly where I live so I enjoy the cool air, it’s refreshing.

It can be stressful for me to be existing, working, attempting productivity for once in my life then I get the stress in my chest. I feel like it takes many minutes to finally relax so I feel like it’s taking away from my time doing other things.

How do I prevent this from happening? I have been doing yoga nearly every morning this month so it’s not that, hahaha. I feel everybody says, “meditate, do yoga” to fix stress. They are not the cure for everything.

My life isn’t all that stressful and my mental health has been decent this week so I’m not sure what is going on. I’m going to try to have breathing breaks each hour to see if that is helpful.

Do you feel your anxiety in your body?

Why am I enjoying this?

My introverted self who prefers to self-isolate in general is enjoying quarantine. It scares me a bit though. Shouldn’t I be miserable or something?

Yesterday I asked my boss about whether everyone would be heading back to the office next week since many of us were working from home for the last two weeks. She said staff can go back on Monday and she asked if I wanted to return.

My heart sank. My brain screamed, “I’m not ready to go back!!”

Thankfully with this boss I feel comfortable being honest with her. I told her for the time being I would like to keep working from home since there isn’t anything at the office I need. Which is true, everything I need to work is on my work computer.

She said it was fine which made me glad!

But what was alarming to me was my immediate fear that I would have to return to the office. It’s not that I dislike my coworkers or my job, it’s the social anxiety that continues to plague me. I thought I was doing pretty well socially at work before I began working from home. Now I’m back to square one.

I have really been enjoying the time I am able to take for self care each morning. I get up usually feeling well rested then choose to either read, write, learn or exercise. Beginning the day in a positive way has been great! It’s usually the best part of my day.

I don’t get up dreading the day because I know that I have something I enjoy waiting for me when I get out of bed.

Should I not be so content about being locked up at home? Is this normal? I really don’t know but making the best of any situation always seem like a good option.

Hurting Myself

** This post is about self harm! If this post may trigger you, please skip this one. **

Most days my depression is concocting ways that I can hurt myself without resorting to cutting. Recently I can’t get those thoughts out of my head.

Yesterday I almost caved. I unintentionally distracted myself by cooking and watching YouTube so that worked out. But today I can’t shake the desire to hurt myself.

This past week I forced myself to eat shitty food because I know I shouldn’t. So. Much. Ice cream. Beyond that I have thought about doing things to myself that make me feel like I’m absolutely fucking insane.

Today I can’t stop thinking about drinking myself into a state tonight. I don’t even like drinking very much and getting drunk isn’t something I enjoy either. It usually makes me feel uncomfortable. But today the thought of drowning my destructive thoughts in a destructive way sounds great.

Would these thoughts ease up if I gave in to my desire to cut? Or would they get worse? Is it worth throwing away my clean streak of almost 2 years to find a few moments of relief?

Don’t worry, I’m seeing my therapist on Wednesday.

Facing Failure

When your fears become a reality it’s scary. My stomach drops and I want to crawl under my desk to hide.

I started a new initiative at work that I was excited about. My boss was excited too. I spoke to all of the parties who would be involved with the initiative before the launch so everyone was on the same page.

The day came and everyone was blind sided somehow. I come in to emails that they are confused and frustrated even though I told everyone the launch date and they were to work shit out themselves.

Now it is on pause. I’m still the newbie at work so I feel like an idiot. I feel stupid for trying to do something innovative.

I can only blame myself for my failure. I clearly missed the mark on communication.

Having my worries realized feels like a win for my anxiety. I can already hear it saying, “of course you failed” and “now nobody is going to want to work with you again. They already don’t like you and now they have another reason why the think you’re shit.”

Is it 5 o’clock yet?

Is it ok to walk around the office with a paper bag over my head?

Fear of Failing

I have begun a massive project at work which is good for me but also giving me boat loads of anxiety.

I have been kinda bored at work because I don’t have any pressure put on me or any deadlines to meet. I’m a journalist by trade so I will probably forever have the mentality of a reporter even though I’m sadly not in that line of work right now.

My supervisor asked me in December to look into online scheduling for a testing service we provide for the community. There are 2 offices, the one I’m at has a full staff and space to do the testing. The other one is small and doesn’t have many staff members to carry the work load.

So I diligently did my work and found a great fit for the organization. But now that the wheels are in motion to make this a real thing, my anxiety is clawing at my insides.

Staff at the second office voiced concerns that made me doubt myself even though they were legit questions. I felt nervous and attacked even though that wasn’t the case at all.

Nobody enjoys failure but I am terrified of falling flat on my ass in front of all my coworkers. My boss sought me out to work here, I would hate to disappoint her by failing at my first big project.

I’m worried about every little bump in the road that could derail everything.

Yes, failing in life is part of life but I have always been afraid of it. If I fail, it confirms that I’m not good enough. It fuels my depression and anxiety.

Are you afraid of failure? How do you cope if you do fail?

Finding Balance or Perfection?

Since September I have been telling myself that I need to find balance. That I am not able to balance everything going on in my life plus the things I need/want to have in my life.

My entire theme of 2020 was going to be about finding balance. During some reflection, I realized that deep down it’s about finding perfection, not balance.

I know I will never be perfect but I have struggled for a long time about wanting to be perfect. To be the perfect writer, girlfriend, daughter, sister, friend and all around human.

A balanced life is a perfect life in my eyes. Being able to juggle everything without having a meltdown every other week would be great! (Yeah that’s something I need to talk to my therapist about.)

I think I’ve been kidding myself with all this talk of balance. Yes I do want to have a more balanced life but I need to remind myself that I will never achieve a perfect life (or even a perfectly balanced one).

With this refreshed thought process about balance I need to reevaluate the word. How can I strive for balance without being swallowed whole by anxiety then dropped at the bottom of a hole with my depression?

Sigh. I left a message for my therapist so I hope I can get in next week.

Do you have anything you’re striving to achieve in 2020? Leave me a comment and tell me!

Update on Social Anxiety

Hey everyone I hope you’re surviving the holiday season! I know that this can be a very difficult time for people. I am sending you all the positive energy my soul can muster!

Anyway, I’ve been at my new job for exactly 1 month. I have my good days and I have my bad days in regards to my social anxiety and depression.

Yesterday I sat alone in my office for over half the day. I could barely focus on my work so I did a lot of scrolling on my phone to pass the time.

But on the plus side one of my basement dwelling coworkers invited me to join his wife and others for a Dungeons and Dragons campaign! This is something I enjoy playing and am not afraid to share it with you all. If you haven’t judged me yet I think I can share this tidbit about myself.

Being in the basement allows me to hear the muffled conversations happening above me. I kept hearing my one coworker laugh and felt two ways at once: I wanted to be up there laughing too but also I wanted to curl up and hide. It’s challenging to find a balance of sitting alone doing my work and being social with my coworkers.

I wish all of this was easier for me.

We have a holiday party on Friday and I’m getting nervous about it. I’m worried if I’ll have anybody to talk to. At my last two jobs our holiday parties were always outside of the office. The newspaper sent us over to a hotel restaurant (the food is always bad) and my most recent job at the women’s shelter, we went out to dinner as well. We got to bring guests so I always had someone to speak with!

This time around I know it will be awkward. Maybe they’ll let me bring my dog in so then I’ll at least have some company. I can’t bring my two cats, they’re too evil to be out in public, hahaha!

How do you manage holiday work parties if you have social anxiety? Do you have any tricks that help you relax?