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social anxiety at work(2 Posts)
I keep getting very socially anxious at work. I've been in my current job around 6 months but during that time there's been a lot of change, line management changes, team changes. So there has not been a lot of stability.
I keep fearing that I'm being judged. Whenever anyone says anything that could be perceived as anything less than positive I tie myself up in knots stressing about it. It feels like being back at school again and being found out as the 'weird kid'
Eg I was in a meeting the other day with my boss, there was a slot for an update from our department. I'd done all the prep but asked my boss to sit with me, as I was presuming she'd want to be involved in the q and a afterwards.
She made a big fuss later to my colleague (but in front of me) saying I'd made her sit next to me when she hadn't done any work and felt silly that she was just sitting there. It was done in a jokey way, but to me it was more snidey than jokey. Obviously she had a problem with it. So I misunderstood the situation there.
It doesn't help that I'm on an extended probation period not because of anything I've done but simply because my line manager left before my original probation period ended so they extended it to give the new manager time to assess me. Which made me feel like being judged all over again.
I guess my greatest fear is that people will see me as weird and reject me. There is a lot of emphasis on 'behaviours' at work and if you don't have the right 'behaviours' you are deemed wrong for the job.
I'm ok at home or with friends, but at work where there are so many unwritten rules and social protocols, I can never seem to get it right.
Can anyone identify with this at all?
I totally relate to what you are saying, I have suffered from social anxiety for many years and have been taking beta blockers to help me fend off panic attacks for about 10 years (since I was at university). It started with general social situations but is worse when at work because like you, I find all the unwritten 'expected behavior' rules difficult to comprehend. Despite this I still have managed to get a job I love and it would seem I have been 'successful' on paper.
Unfortunately I can't offer much advice as I am not over this problem myself. I have tried counselling and CBT, both helped a little but both times I never stuck with it long enough to feel the full effects.
All I can suggest is that you discuss this with your GP who may arrange some CBT sessions for you if you want to give that a try. They may suggest medication, this can help but it should only be seen as a short term solution to help get through the day to day and avoid panic attacks (if you have these). However they do not help you solve the problem, they just make things a little easier for a short time.
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