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Thread: Tips for leaving a toxic workplace that caused severe anxiety?

  1. #1

    Question Tips for leaving a toxic workplace that caused severe anxiety?

    Hello Everyone,

    I haven't been on here in awhile as life has gotten the best of me. My anxiety has been through the roof and it shows; my digestive system is all in knots and I am at my breaking point doing something I should have done years ago. I am making a HUGE move in my life right now- I am going to be giving my notice at my current job!

    The drama. The panic attacks. The huge, unrealistic deadlines and workloads. Being held back from my potential. Not allowing me to go anywhere or move into anything because "I am too good at what I do". This job has taken the life out of me for almost 7 years and I am struggling with how to get myself back in check. I feel like I cannot think. I haven't been sleeping either due to the workload. Food goes right through me these days and I cannot hold anything down (to the point my doctor was concerned with rapid weight loss and is keeping an eye on it). My hormones are all messed up. I used to write a lot- I write so sloppily now because of the constant rush of things. I don't know how to relax or slow down. I haven't been able to do either in almost 7 years.

    I have the support from EVERYONE in my life. My friends, family, boyfriend- everyone has seen this coming and is on board with my decision and has offered to help and support me (which I appreciate but feel guilty accepting). Iv'e held off for so long in hopes things would change and I was hoping to have something full time lined up- however due to the fact I am stuck in this position- it has held me back from pursuing other things (ie- I'm a creative person and due to the fact I am not allowed to be creative at my job and am constantly demeaned for it- I am struggling getting into a full time creative gig because my resume doesn't speak for my skills). I have some clients lined up for projects and hope to continue with my own freelance, however I obviously worry about finances.

    I know I also need to get my health in check. I find I am so overloaded with projects and things to do- I cannot keep myself afloat. My mind wanders and I cannot focus because I just think of deadlines and who I need to speak with and meet. Even when I am home- I dream about it (which makes it all WORSE!). I keep saying in my head this is the right thing. But yet I feel guilty. Then I think about how many times did I lock myself in the bathroom at work and cry, or had to have someone pick me up because I was having a panic attack due to the massive amount of projects with no end in sight or help. I think about all those times and say "enough is enough".

    When I sent the meeting invite today to discuss (Friday is the day!)- I felt a HUGE weight being lifted. Like this was the decision I have been wanting to make for years- and just never had the courage to. Now I am finally doing it. I'm nervous but also so excited. Excited because I feel like I have been held back all these years from bettering myself in a career more suited for my skills- I was hired as a designer but was put into a project managers position, which wasn't what I signed up for at all. My creativity was striped from me and I underwent many years of the mentality that "I am not creative- I am not an artist". Others were hired to do such and quickly promoted- because "It was easier to find an artist than a project manager". Yet my designs sold, the few times I was permitted to make art. Customers bought them. Oh, "but I'm not an artist. I cannot claim that I am"...

    I'm excited that maybe I won't have all this anxiety in my life and I am trying to focus on the positives. I hope maybe my digestive issues will improve- Iv'e had so much testing done with no findings. I was at the point a year ago my doctor trialed me on over 7 different anxiety meds just to get through the work day. Yoga and meditation only did so much.

    My mind is currently all over the place with "Am I making the right decision?". I know I'm going no where- so deep down in my gut, I feel it is. I also feel I am letting some team members down- as I am close with some of them. But I physically cannot take it anymore. I mentally cannot take it anymore. I am burnt out and clocked out. I wake up and dread going in. I sit at my desk and think about what I could be doing. I watch others and think "How long will I watch others do what I want to do?"... and yet, I know they will never let me do what I want to do where I am.

    Has anyone been in the same boat? I know once I give my notice and leave- I NEED to take some time to just unwind. Like, get my mind in check. I will always worry about my bills and loans, but I feel like this needs to be done- the sooner, the better. Otherwise I will do as ai have been doing- saying I will leave and have the years go by.

    I honestly have no idea how to just relax. Even my vacations were all bothered by emails and texts and phone calls. My Dad works from home and has a remote position so he's all excited to have company in my downtime as I get my act together, and is already asking if I will travel with him on his trips (travel doesn't tempt me, oddly enough). His company might be opening up a remote position which I applied to- so that would be great, if that all pans out.

    I am trying to set together a game plan on steps I need to take, but I'm struggling with the whole balance of things. What step to take first? What to focus on? How do you reset your mind and get it out of the working routine? How do you focus on you?

    Any tips/ advice is greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016

    Re: Tips for leaving a toxic workplace that caused severe anxiety?

    Iím so pleased that youíre handing in your notice, it sounds like itíll be such a relief. You can have some breathing space to think and plan.
    Your Dad sounds lovely, itís so nice that heís looking forward to having your company. Do you live at home? If so, then you have the perfect excuse to take a bit of time to regroup.

    Wishing you all the best, let us know how it goes.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Re: Tips for leaving a toxic workplace that caused severe anxiety?

    First of all, a massive congratulations for keeping on top of the anxiety. You may feel that you haven't right now, but the fact that you have remained level headed enough to still identify your stress as the cause of your anxiety and symptoms is already a huge step in the right direction.

    In terms of advice over leaving your job, I don't think there's any relevant advice that anybody can give you about that. Your decision is 100% correct and it's a done deal.

    I have been in your situation where stress absolutely overloaded me and directly caused my worst period of anxiety/depression. The most important piece of advice I can give you is expect your healing process to be slow. That's not a negative comment, but recovery does take time. Keep on top of the inevitable thoughts that too much damage has been done and you'll never recover, because you will recover. During your recovery, don't dismiss things like meditation and yoga again, they are incredibly effective in 'coming down', and the reason you found them of limited use before is that you were doing them whilst still topping up the stress on a daily basis. If your life is THAT stressful, nothing will fix it. You have to remove the stress first before you can recover, and that's what you have done. Keep on top of your diet. Feed your body the nutrients it needs to rebuild. This is a critical component of health that a lot of people dismiss.

    I would urge you to keep busy though. Not WORK busy, just occupy your day with things that you didn't have time to do before. Get out for long walks in nature, this is also incredibly important in re-centring the mind. You say you are creative, so create.... One of the worst things you can do is perceive relaxation as inactivity. This will quickly become a habit you find very difficult to break. But it doesn't sound like that's you, but still worth mentioning.

    And don't now start putting too much pressure on yourself! You've made the (potential) life changing decision, so give it time! I suspect it'll be weeks before you physically start coming down, even if your mind is already excited at the prospect of destressing.

    And good luck. Well done.

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