Everyone gets anxious from time to time. Public speaking and first dates are classic examples. But for some of us, it can get out of hand.
I was once hospitalised in the belief that I was having a heart attack. Truth was it was severe anxiety – and I hadn’t had a first date in 30 years.
My anxiety was primarily triggered by my work. I was the king of negative thinking and terrified of failure. Outwardly, I was a confident, successful young professional. Inwardly, I was as dumb as a box of rocks.
Why? Because rather than seeking help, I devised my own plan for beating anxiety.
I would work harder. Doing so would supposedly my job safer along with everything I had built on it: family, home, holidays and dog. And once all that was safe, I could relax. So I devoted more and more time to my work. Start times got earlier, knock-offs later and weekends would whistle by without me.
It worked perfectly – for my bosses. They adored me and showered me with bonuses, pay-rises and pats-on-the-back. My wife and kids, however, got to wondering who I was and the dog would growl uncertainly at me when I walked through the door.
As for my anxiety? It blossomed. I reached a point where I felt that if I could just work Saturday and Sunday nights without my wife killing me, I might find that goddamned serenity I so desperately sought.
Years later, I am wise. Well, wiser. I know that health and happiness cannot be sacrificed today as an investment for tomorrow. There is no savings plan, no compounding interest. My plan was a recipe for regret.
Yes, work plays a large part in a satisfying life. But so too does relaxation, friends and family. What I should’ve learned all those years ago, was to have worked less and meditated more. Or managed my overpowering need to please. Or consulted a psychologist. Any one of which would have been a far better investment, than sacrificing yet another weekend to needless work.
You can never know too much about anxiety so here is Beyond Blue to help:
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