Phobias, Anxieties and Work
Sometimes, those with bipolar disorder can wake up in the middle of the night, their heart is racing, sweating profusely, maybe feeling very dizzy and they're sure they are going to die. They might be shaking all over and don't understand why.
Another person may have difficulties with speaking in public or even small groups. In a business meeting their throat may tense up, palms get sweaty and they do not make a comment because they are sure someone will shoot down their idea or worse, make fun of them.
These are just two of the examples of anxiety and anxiety disorder. Anxiety is inevitable part of social human life. There are situations that are reasonable to have anxieties. Here are just two examples; crossing a busy street or coming unprepared for a business meeting. Anxiety disorders are differentiated from everyday type of anxiety. Those experiencing depression or bipolar symptoms can have anxiety disorders where the sensations of anxiety are more intense, last longer, (even up to several months) and can lead to phobias that interfere with daily life.
Phobias, Anxieties and Work - Part 2
The most effective way to overcome a phobia is to face it. Avoiding a situation that alarms you is what keeps a phobia as a living, breathing and frightening phantom. It may appear to be an impossible task to face, that certain situation you have been eluding for years. When entering this phobic situation it doesn't have to be done all at once but in a series of small steps. You can also confront the situation in your imagination first as a “safe” tool to help yourself without actually being in the stressful situation. This is imagery desensitization.
Desensitization is the method of unlearning the connection between a phobia or anxiety and triggered or associated with a particular situation. The method is an exercise where you imagine yourself in a phobic situation and you can remain relatively calm and relaxed. Phobic situations can range from public speaking to driving to a business appointment, commuting to work or simply making a phone call. All of these can have a negative effect on your on-the-job success and a driving dilemma could prevent you from even getting to work.
If you had a high anxiety circumstance, as most bipolar individuals have experienced. You acquired a powerful and fearful identification of that situation and been anxious. Since the memory of being in or sometimes just thinking about that situation brings on anxiety. Your connection with this anxious circumstance is automatic and your avoidance of repeating the situation can be rewarded by your “little voice” inside. When you reach a point when you always avoid that situation, you have advanced from anxiety into a full fledged phobia. How many times has your little voice talked you out of doing or completing a task?
Those with bipolar who suffer from phobias, anxiety or panic attacks are particularly susceptible to engaging in negative self-talk. There are several types of negative self-talk. To the bipolar individual, the “Critic” inside you constantly evaluates and judges your behavior. Your flaws and limitations are pointed out intentionally by “The Critic”. Sometimes you compare yourself with others and sees others in favorable light. “The Critic” voice of the bipolar individual ignores your positive qualities and focuses on your inadequacies. Everyone has the critic inside, but bipolar individuals don't always deal with the voice or dwell on it and get stuck on what they are doing.
Zawistowski, P. (2011, April 14). Phobias, Anxieties and Work, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, March 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/workandbipolarordepression/2011/04/phobias-anxieties-and-work
Author: Peter Zawistowski
Anxiety is debilitating and when coupled with an unusually strong "inner-critic," it can take over an individual's life. Even without bi-polar, chronic anxiety and a harsh inner-critic can paralyze one and certainly makes living with joy and purpose difficult. I work with people with anxiety and depression and find that art therapy, methods of finding inner-peace, and a supportive environment can be most helpful.