Dealing with Fear and Anxiety

Hello fellow ozbargainers,
I would really appreciate all of your suggestions and advices for my problem.
This is an extremely personal request and help. People who are not empathetic and people who don't care please do not post offensive or silly comments.
I am a 31 year old male married full time employed professional
Very calm and a quiet individual.
I have a problem where I can't win even even a silliest argument and I will become anxious (even on a phone call)
I can't stand up for myself and if I do it, it will look like I am impolite and rude (I don't have the knack to tell that in a subtle way) and my hearts race up and I have shivering hands and fingers. I won't sweat, Thank God for that!
When I read in the internet about it, it looks like I am not the only person and people suggest a variety of things such as diverting my mind, moving hands and legs vigorously, deep breathing etc. but those things will help me get over it at that time but I can't do anything if that issue is on a phone call
Please don't suggest like "Grow some balls" or "pull up your socks". If you suggest that way please elaborate with an example. I would be grateful :(
This is a genuine request to all kind people out there and thanks in advance.
Also I have not been to a Doctor about anxiety issues as this is my only problem and nothing else. It's all about the adrenaline and it's effects I think but please post your thoughts

closed Comments

  • +80 votes

    Speak to your GP; they can put you on a Mental Health Plan so you can speak to a professional such as a Psychologist who can provide real assistance.

    • +13 votes

      Absolutely do this. It might be daunting seeking assistance at first, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with seeking a diagnosis on what you're experiencing, ever more so if it's affecting your everyday life.

      • +10 votes

        And I know we're on OzBargain, but you don't need to wait until you have more than one complaint before seeing a GP. Any group discount you may receive isn't worth enduring ill health in the meantime.

      • +6 votes

        Thanks so much @detective pikachu. Yes I think it has always been there but now it is going to a point where I think I need to seek help.

        • +7 votes

          I'm glad to hear that you're taking positive steps to improve your everyday life. These type of symptoms often do not get diagnosed and it's heartbreaking, especially when there are a multitude of methods to assist against different levels of anxiety. Everyone is different, so an approach (e.g. medication, meditation, lifestyle change, behavioural therapy or diet) that may work for other's, does not necessarily mean it will work for you, you may even encounter a phase where you're in doubt of what some professionals suggest, so it's important to understand that it may take time for you to discover what truly works for you. As many other's have suggested, make sure you're seeking professionals that you feel, understands you and in turn you feel comfortable to seek assistance from. This is because, often the hardest step, is taking the first step to seek professional assistance and articulating in words what you're truly experiencing to the professionals. I wish you all the best! 😊

        • +3 votes

          I have a problem where I can't win even even a silliest argument and I will become anxious (even on a phone call)

          You must be the polar opposite to me!

          I once spent 20 minutes abusing a telemarketer before I realised it was my grandma calling to wish me a happy birthday.

        •  

          Good idea all so think about key thing you can say. psychologist help you with this work for my self.

    • +6 votes

      I was going to comment the same thing. Medicare will give you a certain number of psychologist sessions free each year, may as well use them!

      •  

        @Quantumcat thanks for that. I have been to a GP only a couple of times in my adulthood and that too mostly for vaccinations.

      • +10 votes

        Up to 10 free individual sessions year. However, OP's GP will have to assess him after 6 sessions to see whether it is beneficial and whether he needs more.

        Since OP is a full time professional, he should also check whether his company has an "Employee Assistance Program" which provides free counselling and psychological services to employees. Depending on the company, this could either be a face-to-face or telephone service.

      • +2 votes

        Medicare will rebate 6 visits per year, roughly $85 for a ‘registered psychologist’ and $125 for a ‘clinical psychologist.’

        Just like GPs, some psychologists bulk bill so there is no gap, others set their own higher fee so you have to pay the gap between their fee and the rebate.

        Also worth mentioning if you don’t click with the first one you’re referred to it isn’t like you are locked in for the 6 visits with them, but Medicare will only rebate you for 6 visits a year total (not per provider).

        • +2 votes

          Also don't forget, if they're really helping you, you can still pay to continue seeing them. You don't have to suddenly quit because you've run out of free sessions. Your health insurance will probably cover some.

        • +1 vote

          Medicare will rebate 10 (ten) visits per year, not 6 as stated above. But you first need your GP to draft a Mental Health Plan. After the first 6 (six) visits to a psychologist, your MHP needs to be reviewed by your GP before Medicare will rebate the additional 4 (four) visits.

          Note that the MHP is a fairly straightforward formality to satisfy Medicare. Also, if you want to see your psychologist for more than 10 visits in the one year (i.e. no more Medicare rebates), you can often negotiate a reduced fee with the psychologist.

        •  

          Is queue for bulk billing psychologists generally long?

      •  

        Free if the psychologist bulk bills. Please make sure you’re aware whether the psych you choose does this.

    • +5 votes

      This, plus know you can see different psychologists until you find a good fit

    •  

      Thanks so much @closer. Will do that asap.

    •  

      I can't agree more. Please go and speak to your GP and get a referral to a psychologist, this is so very very treatable. Making that first appointment to see a psychologist will be one of the hardest, best things you do in your life. So many of our thoughts and feelings are hidden from us by our subconscious and it takes a professional to help uncover and challenge them - but when you do, your life changes for the better, and the skills you learn can't ever be taken from you. There is something very freeing in becoming okay with yourself and where you stand - I saw a psychologist for something very similar and ended up walking out a much different, and better person to the one who initially went in. Good luck.

    •  

      Not that I am not supportive of this option but just a heads up I read this article a few years back about how it can impact insurances. But obviously dealing with your situation at hand is more important.

      Here's the article if interested:

      https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/mind/ginger-gorman-...

  • +6 votes

    Take up online gaming like Dota or PUBG or Fortnight, buy some headphones with a mic.

    It wont take long to get into an argument, or better yet go looking for it.

    You have the safety of knowing you don't need to argue face to face, they can't hurt you, no matter how bad you argue it will probably lead to a better argument & no need to feel back about their feelings; it is basically expected in these games.

      • +12 votes

        Not sure what the issue is. OP doesn't sound like they need to read self help books, OP needs practice & an open safe forum to be vocal and assertive.

        •  

          The issue is the OP needs advice (more prudently medical advice) about how to handle his anxiety so that he can deal with life's day to day situations that you and I take for granted.

          Whipping out his Razer Kraken 7.1 and logging into Players Unknown Battleground is not going to help improve the OP's quality of life.

        •  

          While practice does help, the hugely different context of face to face or even telephone conversation compared to anonymous online gaming chats, even voicechat, I think would mean that one wouldn't apply much to the other.

      • +4 votes

        That's a little harsh. I mean - no, it's not the best advice, but it wasn't mean-spirited, it wasn't even making fun of OP. At best, it seems like a genuine but misguided attempt to help and even at worst it's a joke that missed its mark, but isn't laughter the best medicine? (Again so there's no confusion - I agree it's terrible advice.)

    • +2 votes

      @cypher67: just quickly googled about them. Might be silly for a lot of you people to hear that someone has never heard of them ;) Very interesting piece of advice and thank you for that. I am not too sure about the negs for this- but I am gonna like it (not even sure whether it was sarcasm but its an awesome way to practice) Thanks!

      •  

        If you do go down that path and want someone to play with (Fortnite) to show you the ropes before you dive in, feel free to send me a message on here. Also, Fortnite is free so right in the Ozbargain zone :)

    •  

      Yes, and the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

    • +1 vote

      As a very long time League of Legends player I can safely say that this is not good advice. Free of the constraints of social norms or professional conduct the twelvies on these games drive you absolutely mad every single game, and League doesn't even have a full public voice chat function yet. People he talks to on the phone aren't even trying to upset him, so the frustration that would develop from textual chat/voice chat online would be enough to send the OP over the edge.

  • +15 votes

    Hey man, we all deal with some degree of anxiety in our lives, unfortunately we live in the age of anxiety. We can all sympathise and relate to some degree with your situation.

    I have been meditating for a few years now and it honestly is life changing if you can develop and maintain a practice. Meditation can allow you to really connect and explore your thoughts, emotions and feelings and in gaining more insight into them, paradoxically, you can distance yourself from them. I will be the first to admit that all this talk of spirituality and ego loss sounds like pseudoscience and new age crap but honestly, there is so much more to our conscious experience that we can discover if we care to look.

    I would recommend you buy "the mind illuminated" book and begin to practice. It is definitely not easy nor are results immediately obvious but it is worth sticking to. Meditation is like a cheat code in life.

    Please feel free to ask any questions or PM me any time :)

    •  

      Also I have found that delving into philosophy can also be helpful (Kierkegaard and some of the more modern existentialist philosophers like Camus and Sartre). This probably isn't the best path for everyone to go down however so if you do decide to read into philosophy and find it doesn't help then stop! haha

    •  

      @Heracles26 thanks so much for that valuable piece of advice: Yes, I have heard a lot of people saying that but I have never practiced. Will defo have a look at that book as well. Thanks heaps

    • +1 vote

      More like a cheat code to your mind, the cheat code for life is money ;P

      • +2 votes

        If that was true. The rich music star & Hollywood won’t be committing suicide. Some people have very short vision & I don’t blame you entirely.

        We’re fed the garbage every day we wake.

    •  

      I had wanted to try meditation for a while, but the different style there send to be we bewildering. What style do you practise?

  • +8 votes

    Counselling. No amount of internet research or chat board comments will help you more than that.

    • +6 votes

      This!

      The good thing about counselling is that you deal with a professional that is not biased, listens to you & notes down and gives good advice. (Considering that he/she is a renowned and great counsellor)
      Sometimes consulting your friend (I am not saying that they are all the same) can be a time waster, as they may use this against you, or not be really empathetic, or have "real" time to listen to you carefully, properly and not take your issues very seriously.
      Sometimes, consulting a family member can cause worry on their behalf so it's tricky.

      Good luck!

      Cheers

    • +1 vote

      @highanddry : Agree and will book an apt asap. Thanks :)

  • +3 votes

    There are online courses that offer treatment by email or on the phone. This can be a good way to start if you're too nervous to talk to your GP (there is a catch 22 right there, that to seek help you need the confidence to talk about it with a stranger)

    e.g. https://mindspot.org.au through Macquarie Uni

    and https://thiswayup.org.au/how-we-can-help/courses/ through St Vincents Hospital

    A certain amount is just accepting that it will be there to some degree and finding ways to cope with that.

    •  

      @Toniyellow: That's amazing. Never heard of them. Thanks so much for sharing it mate. I am sure it has helped a lot of people like me. Thanks again :) Very pleased

  •  

    Try having a read of the book, "Change Your Thinking" by Sarah Edleman
    It has a few techniques that might help you with your anxiety.

    Best of luck, and don't be nervous about seeing a GP regards anxiety, I've done it myself and it felt great to get some help.

  • +5 votes

    Toastmasters could be effective for you

    • +1 vote

      @Riczter: Thanks mate. Just googled them and Sounds fantastic. I reckon, I was living under a rock and just getting bargain stuff from ozbargain all these years !!! Phew !! Thanks again :)

  • +32 votes

    Hey OP, I thought I'd give my experience which hopefully helps. I had really bad social anxiety for a couple of years similar to what you've mentioned and got so bad I pretty much forced myself to do something about it. I would feel anxious in pretty much any situation from walking down the road when someone else was there, making a phone call to book an appointment and even buying something at a shop.

    First I saw my doctor, got the mental healthcare plan which essentially gave me free counselling sessions, and I saw someone who helped quite a lot. Even if I wasn't fully open as I was a bit stubborn at times, it really helped having something to talk to about things, who listened and got me to challenge certain irrational beliefs, which is what fuels most social anxiety, say you thinking that you would appear impolite/rude for simply giving your opinion.

    One of the biggest things that helped was to actually expose myself to stuff that made me anxious. This was one of the hardest things I've had to do as my anxiety was so bad, but I started slow, even simple stuff like asking random people on the street for directions which I already knew, to asking shopkeepers how their day was etc. It's completely fine to start slow but I could not more strongly recommend doing this, and slowly building it up. Slowly I would build up going to events where I would know no-one and be forced to socialise, and even starting conversations on public transport. I know that there were times when I was uncomfortable and awkward but everyone is super friendly and even just doing stuff like this a little bit helps a lot.

    I also implemented a personal points system for any anxiety inducing event I would encounter, e.g. Returning an item past its used by date to the supermarket, when previously I would just live with it, or asking someone for a favour. For any event like this, if I avoided it due to anxiety I would subtract two points from my score, whereas, if I challenged my anxiety and actually did it I would increase by 1 point.

    I know that there are plenty of other things out there which can help, which I did not know about at the time, such as Meetup.com groups for people with social anxiety, which might really help as you get to talk about things with other people in your situation who can empathise.

    The biggest thing I can stress is to make sure you actually do something about it and not just read on the internet. I spent a long time being miserable and researching it, but really didn't help myself until I actually started doing stuff. I can't think of two months which have had a bigger overall impact on my life today or have made me as happy as I am now, than the two months I first decided to challenge it, expose myself to situations and see a psychologist. It really does get easier quickly as well.

    • +10 votes

      @Legsweeping : Man you just nailed it!! Firstly, a big congratulations to you in identifying and seeking help.
      My anxiety issues predominantly arises only when there is an issue. Yes I admit I have some level of social anxiety (esp with what others may think of me) . Yes I have lived with it for a long time and lived with it at work sweeping it under the disguise of my good technical skills in my job and other achievements. Now when I find myself in a place where I can't hide it by something I have realised that I can't live with it for a long time.
      The strategies which you said (points system and the self challenges) sound amazing man. I am gonna try it for sure. Meet up.com sounds cool as well.
      A big thanks for your kind messsage and your time. Once I am out of this I will ensure that, I keep the kindness flowing as you did. Appreciate your time and message bro/sis.

    • +7 votes

      It's not specifically bad advice. But in the context of it still being illegal and OP being a professional, the risk of it backfiring is high, not to mention the worry of being caught would only exacerbate OP's issues.

      • +2 votes

        I agree, I apologies for the incorrect wording and advice context.

        I just can't believe how it has helped me so much. As you may laugh, it has litterly changed my life.

        I couldn't even leave the house without my heart pounding with anxiety.

        I was diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder when I was only aged 5. I struggled in school to even get up because I knew when I got to School I would feel so sick and anxious I couldn't do it.

        It has saved me, that's for sure.

        • +2 votes

          I'm glad it's helped you so much, and I actually agree - I don't think it should be illegal. At the very least, its proven therapeutic benefits warrant it being available if only by prescription.

        •  

          @HighAndDry: Agreed.

          I've been blown away how much it has changed my life, I still can't believe it.

          It should be legal in Australia, period.

          Doctors can only give out medical Marijuana prescriptions to patients who deem to have medical issues, and that's the only way it should be disturbed.

          Unfortunately, I don't see it becoming legal here in a decade.

          It has changed my life, that's for sure.

        • +2 votes

          @Kers: How often do you smoke it, may I ask?

    • +3 votes

      Learn life skills rather than medicate.

      That is the REAL way of dealing with, and overcoming problems.

      I have hardcore anxiety. Used to suffer from really bad social anxiety as a teenager but overcame them through forced exposure and needing to overcome social fears.

      I am guilty completely of exploiting the confidence-enhancing qualities of stimulants as a teen, too, and using alcohol now as an adult to dull my day to day anxieties (which are often mentally crippling), but I know they are the easy and temporary solution. The long term and lasting solution is via therapy. A good psychologist will help talk you through things and give you alternative ways of thinking and dealing with things. Re-shape the brain via behaviours.. chemicals will only 'help' so far.

      Marijuana has so many downsides it's quite dangerous to promote it as any sort of cure.

  • +1 vote

    Beta blockers could help symptoms, if you only need relief every now and then, but not the root cause.

    I guess it's a catch 22 though? You get anxious, then adrenaline kicks in and makes it worse. If you try beta blockers it could help break the cycle.

  •  

    I suffered from various medical conditions including anxiety, depression and alcohol use disorder in the past. I implore you to see your GP who can refer you to the appropriate services. In your own time, you can try mindfulness (there are many apps out there) and maybe even Baud therapy. Baud worked for me even though it looks like a scam - my doctor has never let me down in the past and I trust her completely, and I’m glad I tried Baud therapy when she suggested it.

    •  

      @niggard: Thanks for that. Glad that you are well now. Good luck man :) I have never heard about it, will look at Baud therapy.

  • +3 votes

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au

    You can find some helpfull ressources there.

    •  

      Was about to suggest this. You can reach out to the community there while seeking assistance from a GP. Talking to others that feel the same may help you.

      •  

        @jjjaar sure thing mate. Only a person who has been through that road can provide effective help :) Thanks so much

    •  

      @Fleur2lys: Thanks for that. Will check it for sure :)

  •  

    How long have you had these challenges OP?

    • +1 vote

      @Scrooge McDuck: Been with that for a long long time mate. I don't get that with family and friends. As said earlier, I swept it under my professional skills and gentle approach. Now that I have gone up the professional ladder and have some managerial responsibilities I don't want it to affect my capabilities. What a big mistake I have done all these years!!!! Anyhow as they say it's better late than never!!

  •  

    You're not alone plenty of people have gad, there are good foods such as blue berries, avocado, salmon and teas that may help. Smoke a bong if it helps too. Maybe stock up on the berries first .

  •  

    @unclesnake: Thanks for that mate. I never knew that. Will try that for sure :)

  • +5 votes

    Hi op

    If I had the answers to anxiety and depression I would be a very happy man.

    A lifetime of battle with this disease has taught me to get good professional help and keep trying others if you aren't getting results working with the person you get it from.. Note that I said working..Good sustainable mental health requires actual effort.. It took me a while to work that out.

    I know that mindfulness really helps me.. I also try to think in these terms;

    Depression.. I am thinking about the past.

    Anxiety.. I thinking about the future.

    If I am mindful I am living just for today.. I am in the now.. I find peace in the now!

    Wish you all the best with your journey.

  •  

    I agree with the first post. I've added some extra comments under Quantumcat's post.

    I have a problem where I can't win even even a silliest argument and I will become anxious (even on a phone call)

    Might be beneficial to look at some thought challenging exercises and CBT. Again, best that you're guided through this activity with a psychologist. Something very similar to page 7 and 8.

    I can't stand up for myself and if I do it, it will look like I am impolite and rude (I don't have the knack to tell that in a subtle way) and my hearts race up and I have shivering hands and fingers. I won't sweat, Thank God for that!

    Very similar to above. Your thoughts of being impolite and rude will mostly be challenged if you seek psychological services. Psychologists can also teach you how to respond and what to say so that you won't appear "impolite and rude".

    When I read in the internet about it, it looks like I am not the only person and people suggest a variety of things such as diverting my mind, moving hands and legs vigorously, deep breathing etc. but those things will help me get over it at that time but I can't do anything if that issue is on a phone call

    I recommend that you try mindfulness and progressive muscle relaxation. Headspace: meditation and mindfulness is quite effective if you're motivated to change and follow the program.

    Progressive muscle relaxation works wonders. another factsheet. Basically you close your eyes, focus on a body part, tense those muscles and hold for a few seconds, then release slowly. Here's a video to guide you through the process. Very effective if you do this before and after confronting a situation that is likely to exacerbate your anxiety.

    •  

      @fossilfuel: wow that is amazing man. Lots of valuable resources and advice. Thanks for your time and support. Take care :)

  • +1 vote

    Seek advice from a medical professional, you'll be okay : )

  • +1 vote

    Just an idea, pump some iron once or twice a week, you might feel great after it.

  • +1 vote

    You're lucky it's only affected you professionally. If you had a shitty family you'd be facing anxiety all the time.

    I think the reason most people are angry all the time (whether they admit it or not) is because it alleviates some of the side-effects of anxiety.

    •  

      @peterpumpkinpumpkin: Yes you are correct to an extent. I have been in a steady relationship for a long time and she is very understandable. Thank GOD for her! My problem is worse only with people other than family and close friends. I don't know why I left this until now, anyhow as said earlier it's better to be late than never. Now I experience that more often than before.

  •  

    In addition to the suggestions above regarding tackling your anxiety you may benefit professionally by attending a conflict resolution course and also people management courses.

  •  

    As above, a GP is the very best place to start. In addition I highly recommend looking into meditation.

    Also, I can't say enough good things about The Power of Now. It's available as a free audio book if you sign up for an Audible trial. Just remember to cancel your subscription after you've downloaded the audio file. I found reading the book first was more helpful and then listening to the audio book later.

    Personally I went to a GP, got a MHP, and saw a Psychologist for some appointments. Nowadays I meditate twice daily and frequently re-read TPoN and other similar texts.

    There's a heck of a lot of help out there and sometimes it's a matter of keeping on looking until you find something that "feels" right. You'll know it when you find it.

    Good luck.

    •  

      @hereandnow: Thanks for the awesome idea and the reminder ;) I am gonna book an apt asap for sure. I am really glad that you are able to beat it and now living happily :) Will listen to the audiobook for sure. Thanks again :)

  • +1 vote

    Sorry man, I have no healthy way of dealing with it.
    Only unhealthy ways.

  •  

    You really need to seek professional help. Start with your GP and hopefully they can help you from there. All the best!

  •  

    Haha already had a few suggestions-thanks anyway ;) Enjoy and have a good night :)

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