You Cannot Worry Your Way Into Wholeness: Chasing Anxiety With Workaholism
anonymous Asks ...
I am a CPA who was just made partner. By most standards I am very well off. I can see rationally that at this point in my life --37-- I have sufficient resources to handle most situations. However, I have a constant sense of worry that something terrible is going to happen and the only thing I can do is work harder now so I can have more and so I will be OK. I have had panic attacks about this. It is not something that I can put into words very well and I am not adequately capturing the essence of it. It is like an unformed dread that comes upon me and the only way I know how to chase the feeling away is by putting my head down and working even harder. If I stay busy enough I can outrun the feeling but the obvious problem with this is that I am missing a lot, especially with family, by working so much. I know I need to change and that I should change but it is very difficult because as soon as I ease off the dread and fear starts creeping in. I think a sudden big change will be too hard for me but when I try to make gradual changes to work less I never stick with it. Do you have any advice for what I should do?
Dr. Richard Schultz Says ...
Hello and thank you very much for addressing this question to me.
I have great compassion for the exhausting and unending treadmill upon which you are stuck.
You are describing symptoms commonly associated with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) combined with the possible presence of Panic Disorder (PD).
I have provided replies to several other readers on these topics in the past, and will, in order to respond to your question most expeditiously, refer you to those questions and answers. These will provide guidelines on understanding and treating the very same conditions (with common variation in presentation and severity).
Reading through these questions and answers will give you a good primer on understanding what you are experiencing and how to seek assistance for it. If, after reading these replies, you have unanswered questions, feel free to address them to me.
Also, in case it is not suggested specifically by any of my prior replies, I highly recommend that you obtain and read "When Panic Attacks" by Dr. David Burns as soon as you possibly can. It will be tremendously useful. For more resources and information, you may visit my website (http://drschultz.org/page6.html), my Twitter feed (@mindsetdoc) and my blog (mindsetdoc.com).
Thank you again for writing to me, I hope some of what I have written is of help to you, and please keep me posted on your progress. That will help you, me, and other readers who are facing related challenges.
I wish you great peace and courage in traveling the healing path.
Richard E. Schultz, Ph.D.