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Anxiety and Self-Sabotage

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I was the smart one. I was the responsible one. I was the first in my family to attend university. I was destined to be “successful.”

So why do I feel like a failure?

The answer: Self-sabotage.

I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life. And somewhere along the line I figured it was easier to run or push away good opportunities rather than to work through periods of anxiety and depression.

I often hear, “Don’t be silly, you’re a great co-worker, employee, friend,” but in my head it’s all lies. At times I convince myself I have made mistakes or have done harm to the organization I am working for. The fear is terrifying. During an attack I obsess over every detail… check, double check, triple check my work then repeat until I find something that could have, should have been done differently.

Then the catastrophizing sets in. I am consumed by the “what ifs” and the harm it’s going to cause the company. Before I know it in my mind I am the worst employee the company has ever hired and feel the only option is to quit or be fired. Trying to rationalize these thoughts just doesn’t seem possible… or at least for a long time they didn’t.

But things are slowly starting to change. With the help of my therapist, I’m learning about self-compassion and how to let go of my perfectionism tendencies. I’m learning a lot of growth can come from making mistakes and I’m slowly starting to love myself.

It’s not easy. There are good days and bad, but I figure if I can try something new each week and fail a little along the way, I can learn how to embrace challenges in a work environment and stop the self-sabotage.

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Photo via Unsplash, by Christopher Sardegna

Originally published: April 24, 2017
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