crying and blushing at work

(45 Posts)
anxiousmess Sun 12-May-13 09:23:24

I have been back a work for a few months following mat leave and am at the latter end of a long stint of depression . I suffer anxiety which has become huge since having dcs and although the depression is abating the anxiety symptoms are still prevalent.

I work in a large office in a high pressured public facing job. I struggle with talking to groups and feel very 'exposed' in my role. I blush constantly, flaring up at the slightest thing, or the thought that somebody may say something challenging or embarrassing.

I live in a very small town and most days one of our customers is somebody I know which makes me feel jittery and everyday chats with colleagues can cause me to well up and it's not uncommon for a tricky subject to bring me to tears. I have been having counselling and taking meds which is why a lot of the symptoms have abated but the panic/anxiety/embarrassment symptoms remain.

I feel like such a fool, I recently had to reapply for my own job where I was a sweating, stammering, beetroot mess, I feel like the worlds biggest idiot and I dread to think what people say about me behind my back.

My boss is very understanding but she is leaving and being replaced by a man who I don't know, I also struggle to hold it together in conversation outside of work but work is where this is really affecting me.

I guess I'd like to ask you honest aibu-ers what do you really think when you see someone blushing?
And what do you think of women who cry at work?

AWEarlRivers Mon 13-May-13 13:33:26

A friend of mine swears by rescue remedy, she finds it helps.

StuntGirl Mon 13-May-13 10:41:07

If you don't wear make up often then you will look a little different. I think it's a little unfair of your husband to add additional anxiety to what could be a part-solution for you!

I think my hypnotherapy was around £40 per session, but it was four years ago so it probably costs more now. I had about six sessions.

So yes, it adds up a bit unfortunately, but it made such a positive change to my life. I dreaded social occasions because I blushed so much, and it held me back at work because I would be reluctant to speak in meetings etc. Then I got engaged and was so worried about spending the day a nervous wreck that I decided to try hypnotherapy.

I still blush occasionally, but its much rarer.

Good luck!

anxiousmess Sun 12-May-13 15:01:08

Laguardia thank you, can you recommend any particular products or methods? I have a lot of face bases but they all feel so mask like on me and my DH says 'you don't look like you'!

LaGuardia Sun 12-May-13 14:55:40

I used to be a blusher, then I learnt how to use foundation and powder to cover it, and now I don't blush because there is no point - no-one can see it! It is amazing how much extra confidence it gives you. Worth a try.

Lizzabadger Sun 12-May-13 13:56:31

I am quite fit and it still happens!!

anxiousmess Sun 12-May-13 13:53:48

Oh lizza my limbs go red when I exercise too I thought it was because I am unfit!

anxiousmess Sun 12-May-13 13:50:37

Hi guys well I have spent some time googling local therapists who offer hypnotherapy and hypno analysis in my area for my specific issues and I have emailed several and will see what transpires with these.
The Internet is a wonderful thing, it's so good hearing from you all an helping me to realise that my situation isn't unusual but that it does need some management and its great to be able to research and contact therapists on a Sunday afternoon without even picking up the phone!

I'd totally forgotten that a few years ago a manager who is also a friend had hypnotherapy for anxiety around public performance and went onto relish presentations and networking events. She has since left and we don't have much contact but I will ask her who she saw for help and whether they are still practicing in our area.

Lizzabadger Sun 12-May-13 13:02:29

P.S. I go red all over my body when I exercise. My exercise teacher likes to point out to everyone that even my legs are flushed red! I think she is quite transfixed by them.

I also light up like a beacon when I drink alcohol and sweat profusely with any degree of heat, alcohol or exercise.

I think some people's physiology is just like this.

Lizzabadger Sun 12-May-13 12:57:48

I have had people looked surprised and ask if I am OK too. I think they are just worried about me. I usually say "yes I'm fine thanks" but I think I might start saying something like "yes thanks. I'm one of those people who goes red a lot but it doesn't mean anything."

I am tempted by the hypnotherapy but I worry that it will not work as I am not a very suggestible person.

Worst case scenario there is surgery that can stop you blushing (but makes you sweat more around the middle instead). I really wouldn't advocate it but I remember thinking it was comforting that it exists as an option.

sushidave Sun 12-May-13 12:10:09
pinkaroundtheedges Sun 12-May-13 12:09:45

seriously, and I HATE this phrase, it has changed my life. I don't even think about it anymore. I got to the stage that I would flush when ALONE if I did something, like drop coins etc. If I did it in a shop it was a nightmare, I would think to myself in a split second, 'oh god l'm going to go red', I'm going to look stupid, then someones going to helpfully say 'ooh, your neck is all red' (I fecking KNOW that!) and it would happen instantly. It built up over years and years, I sought gp help 5 times and got nothing. Best £600 ever spent. Good luck with whatever you decide to try.

sushidave Sun 12-May-13 12:09:35

PPS. I remember reading on another blushing thread about a woman who dais it was the best £60 she ever spent.

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/am_i_being_unreasonable/a1651969-To-wish-at-the-age-of-40-that-I-didnt-still-blush-furiously-at-pretty-much-anything

sushidave Sun 12-May-13 12:07:50

Ps. Exciting as it is, do take your time to find the right therapist at the right price. The way I saw it was I'd lived with it for so long, what was another few months. My second choice was a hypnotherapist who charged £180 for 3 sessions, and I'd imagine rates vary regionally too.

sushidave Sun 12-May-13 12:00:32

I googled blushing hypnotherapy cityname. Good luck!

anxiousmess Sun 12-May-13 11:55:02

pinkaroundtheedges, yes sometimes I think that spending a huge amount of money is the only way to address any health problems, it's a real shame that you didn't get any support from your GP, I often wish that we hadn't moved house so that I could have stayed with my old dr who was so understanding. but if that's the way to keep my sanity I will spend the money but just giving myself a financial worry on top of everything else.
I definitely hav issues spanning decades, it's amazing that you feel so different now. I feel I owe it to myself and my family and of course my company who put a lot of faith in me.

anxiousmess Sun 12-May-13 11:50:51

Lizza your blushing triggers sound exactly like mine. Thanks for sharing, I have had lots of comments over the years and most often it's just people looking surprised or alarmed, I'm not a cute blusher either just completely crimson, not subtle at all.

Scottishmummy thanks for your reply. I am working on something which will take away some of the public facing stuff but it will ultimately mean presenting more in internal and external meetings so the pressures will be different but not removed.

I'm definitely going to tr the hypno route as its the only thing I haven't tried yet.

anxiousmess Sun 12-May-13 11:44:58

Ooh sushi that sounds really exciting , what did you google to find the right therapist?
Sorry for sporadic replies I'm multi-tasking which is never a good look for an anxious person.

pinkaroundtheedges Sun 12-May-13 11:29:32

Sorry, posted instead of preview. I went to GP not 'go'!

pinkaroundtheedges Sun 12-May-13 11:25:24

NC for fear of outing myself.

YANBU, sorry for long post.

I feel your pain, I could have written this 2 yes ago. I have a high pressure public facing role where people have no qualms about piss taking & generally being hurtful or offensive. I did it for years with no problems the began to flush. Not blush, that lovely rosy glow, an angry dark red flush which either began as burning cheeks or a creeping rash from my chest upwards.

It began to rule my life, worrying more about being embarrassed by the flushing than the trigger situation that would start it. I went to go & was fobbed off with stress etc, no meds offered, no advice. It got so bad and was stressed about being stressed & it became a self fulfilling prophecy.

I looked around for an alternative approach, I was totally sceptical but desperate and found hypno analysis. Feeling utterly ridiculous I went for a free taster session & then booked an appt. Over 12 sessions, still feeling a total twat, I let out stresses I did not know I had been harboring for years. I dealt with them by talking them through & still feeling a bit suspicious about it all, was 'released' from the sessions. I've never flushed since. I can't explain it & I didn't truly believe it would work, but it did and its changed my life and my DH's!

Turns out I was pretty much bubbling,seething, stress filled about to pop 99% of the time, this became my normal operating position is over many years. My stress levels were so high, that the smallest mount of additional pressure took me over the edge resulting in the adrenal surge, flush, shakes, dry mouth, sweats, crushing headache, the lot.

I'm still not sure if it was all mumbo jumbo, it cost me £600 but was money well spent. I'm calmer, happier, have more fun, relaxed, my DH had noticed a massive change in me, I still have the same job.

Lizzabadger Sun 12-May-13 11:08:56

I blush at work and socially when I feel put on the spot, have to talk in meetings or when I think someone will say something embarrassing. It's worse sometimes than others. I can sort of get into a rut of doing it, then get out then get back in. I blush even thinking about blushing - I am doing it now!!

Although it feels uncomfortable and makes you very self-conscious it's actually really common. About 13% of people suffer from social anxiety in their lifetimes and many of the, are blushers. If I notice someone doing it it just makes them seem more human to me. I have asked for opinions on my blushing and had remarks like "It's nice that you still can" (!!!) and "You have very translucent skin". I did get a nickname of "Plum" in one place (I go deep purple all over my face and neck) but they weren't nice people anyhow.

I think the best thing to do is just ignore it and carry on, trying to drop any safety behaviours (I am sure you will have covered these in CBT). It is very unimportant in the scheme of things.

I agree the crying is another matter and you need to find a way to stop doing this in front of colleagues.

scottishmummy Sun 12-May-13 10:59:23

gosh,you've got lot on your plate,and it clearly worries you.can alternative role be found?
there are aspects of your public role that will exacerbate the anxieties you feel
would you consider another role,something with less interface.hope ths resolves

anxiousmess Sun 12-May-13 10:54:41

2rebecca you are right about the sickness thing, I have done it before and I have witnessed what colleagues say about other people who have been signed off for stress an it's not encouraging!

I was given beta blockers by a previous GP and they worked brilliantly but I have a new surgery and none of the GPs there are keen on beta blockers they just insist on anti d as a good anxiety treatment.

My first counsellor agreed that BBs would really help in my situation and the Gp wouldn't back this up. that counsellor no longer practices in my area and the new counsellor thinks BBs aren't any good and are only a sticking plaster and I should continue with the cbt route rather than becoming reliant on drugs.

sushidave Sun 12-May-13 10:50:19

Interested in this as I've always been a pathological blusher in very specific circumstances at work (i.e. speaking in large meetings). I'd tried various relaxation techniques but didn't find them helpful so I'm actually booked in for some hypnotherapy next week. I found detailed information about the process of blushing via local hypnotherapists' websites, which was a real surprise, very interesting, and an improvement on the last time I researched it a few years ago, when the best I found were questionable links to surgical procedures!

Prices vary: I've decided to go with the most expensive in my area as after talking to the guy, he seemed to talk the most sense. He said it normally takes 2-3 sessions to see an improvement. I'll report back and let you know how it goes. From what we've talked about so far, the approach centres of shifting the focus of attention away from what others are thinking of you, and reprogramming your thought process away from the familiar path of blushing in specific circumstances. All I know is I can't wait to start feeling confident and competent in meetings: logically I know what I'm saying is worthwhile and makes sense, but the feeling of blushing just makes me feel like an idiot!

One thing which might reassure you is that hypnotherapists apparently treat blushing very often, ie many clients per week. This raises the question of why you never notice others blushing if so many people find it a problem. One answer is that the feeling of blushing is much worse than how it actually looks. I recently gave a speech at a friend's wedding and felt very hot and red but my husband told me that I was a normal colour (I trust him to tell me the truth).

Have a look in the mumsnet archives for blushing: that's what made me realise that hypnotherapy was an option.

Interested to hear others' experiences of this..

Selks Sun 12-May-13 10:50:18

People's blushing is rarely as visible to others as the blusher thinks it is.
Also even if people do notice a bit of blushing they're too busy with their own thoughts and stuff to think much about it.
In other words it hardly matters to other people.
Plus blushing can happen for all sorts of reasons. I blush but not because of anxiety. Actually I blush in a very blotchy way, mainly when I am stresses, hot or have eaten something spicy. I made myself believe that it wasn't a big deal and not to focus on it as it doesn't really matter in the wider scheme of things.
Be kind to yourself.

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