Every job has its own level of stress attached to it. Even if you truly love your job, or think your job is too easy to be stressful, don’t be fooled! There is always a small level of pressure on an unconscious level. Being part of the LGBT usually brings it’s own level of stress: maybe you feel the need to be closeted or at-least hide parts of who you are. But even without the added pressure of being part of the LGBT family the little things can sometimes be a strain.
Little things like:
- Having to get up at the same time each day to go to the same place.
- There could be someone you do not really get on with but have to put up with on a daily basis.
- The food may be off.
- An unexpected request for overtime.
- And so it goes on.
Those are minor annoyances that can disrupt us and may put pressure on us. That feeling of dread and pressure that just seems to follow us and keeps creeping into our bodies. You start to feel that you are not accomplishing anything, as the day drags on or goes too fast. You begin to feel disconnected and grumpy. Nagging thoughts creep up on you. You start to think that there is no way you can get anything done now, and do it all on automatic pilot.
That is a real bad day.
Now think; how often do you feel this way?
There are many people who have these feelings every day and this group just keeps growing.
When anxiety is stress related it is hard to “get rid of it” as some might say. Work means having to be there day after day. So many people facing work stress feel as if they are descending into the gates of hell the moment they get up to get ready for another day at work. Then, at the end of the day, when the doors of their job close behind them there is no joy. There is only the continuous monotonous voice that tells them that “tomorrow will be exactly the same and so will the day after that, and the day after that, and …”
These days the work floor is more competitive than ever. You have to work hard to stand out and be noticed. Overwork, trying to prove yourself, aiming for promotion and the fear of losing your job have made that many workers suffer extreme anxiety.
You might recognise the symptoms in you or in someone you know:
Thoughts of death
Feeling of dread
Feeling out of control
This is not how work should make you feel. If you recognise this in yourself or see it in others, try to get them, or yourself, help.
The biggest problem is the fear of talking about it. You may be afraid that people will think the responsibility of your job is too much for you when admitting to feeling anxious. You may fear it might cost you your job. This is not likely, and in any event: if your symptoms get worse this could lead to making errors or a complete crash and burn and that is far more serious than just trying to get help.
The best thing to do is find an independent counsellor and ask him or her for advise. You might wonder; What can a counsellor do for me? They can’t do my job for me, can they? Sadly no, they are unable to do that. But there is a lot that they can do to improve the quality of your life: Research has shown that when it comes to treating anxiety disorders counselling and therapy are usually the most effective options. This is because the focus is placed not just on the symptoms, but on all the underlying problems. Your anxiety and stress did not just appear out of no-where, there was a build up to it that needs to be found. Counselling can also help you manage panic attacks, build your self esteem and endurance and help you return to a more normal way of life.
What if my problems are LGBT related? (Like being closeted, or semi hiding, as we mentioned earlier.) It is weird that in this day and age many counsellors are still not fully equipped to deal with LGBT related problems, but we are getting there. If you do an online search there are several counsellors that are either specialised in LGBT problems or sympathetic. Hopefully the number will grow and become a standard and not a bonus in the future.
If you are aware of anxiety building in your life or that of a loved one, don’t think “well, I’m not making any mistakes yet.” Or “Other people can handle this, why can’t I?” Many people have gone before you that thought the same. They just wanted to “finish this project”, felt that one more all-nighter wouldn’t matter, they could “do it” all, no problem. They were wrong and it often led to serious consequences that they regret to this day.
So why hold out on finding help until you have reached that wall, that point of no return? Why wait until you do have that accident or make that completely preventable screw up?
Understand that there is no harm in seeking help, no shame. We seek help and treatment for all other parts of our body when they are in pain. Your brain is a part of your body and could be suffering its own form of pain right now. If you cut yourself you put a band aid on it before the wound becomes infected. If you pull a muscle when jogging you stop running for the day. Your brain is like a muscle that has been working too hard. Give it the band aid or break it needs. Counselling is always there for you to help you do this.
Dannii Cohen is a stand-up comedian (drag name Divine Varod) and comedy writer turned author, psychologist, professional counselor, life coach and self-help expert. Specialized in LGBT issues, anxiety, empowerment, children’s issues and bullying.
Published works include children’s books about childhood depression and the importance of being yourself (When Clouds Hide The Sun and Christopher the Lonely Bear) and an easy to use self help manual 50 Things To Know To Have A Better Life: Self-Improvement Made Easy.