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In my studying, I got an anxiety/panic-disorder due to too much stress, because I worked too much. My current workplace is theoretically the same as in the past. While suffering under the anxiety/panic-disorder three years ago, I got through a hard time. I had to graduate successfully and keep this disease with me. The panic attacks utter like gastro-intestinal disease. I get the urge to visit a toilet constantly. I even did a therapy, which alleviated the symptoms, but never really cured it. When I'm stress-less, I feel close to normal, but when the stress rises, it antagonizes my mind. I feel sick and spent a lot time on the toilet.

I know, that it's very private what I am writing, but it's to give you a better picture of my life. Over the past 3 years, the stress sunk (due to graduation and save job), so that I could start having a close to normal life. On long journeys, I still have the behavior of not eating much or on vacations too, I couldn't keep it inside.

The situation came in which I had to travel around 600 kilometers twice a week, to get in a new project. Later I can work remotely, but still every 4 weeks.

At first I thought that would be no problem, but now I am feeling more and more stick and like returning to this breakdown I had 3 years ago. I was ridded from work and study for only 2 weeks, but I was sick a long time more.

It's not like I wouldn't work, it's just I feel really bad in this new situation - mental and physical. Except this part, I really like my job.

I that if I traveled less often it would be much easier to take. Forcing this possibility, I told only it would be in my interest, that I could work most part remote, but for some reason, the new supervisor (in the same company) wants me on-site, even if it's not really reasonable.

Should I tell him, the reason why I don't want to travel this often (not in detail) or should I just endure this (for me terrible) situation? How can I address this problem with my supervisor so I can avoid another breakdown while keeping my job?

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    Hey nomisk, sorry to hear that. If you should or not tell him I fear is off-topic to ask here, as that is ultimately your choice and would be asking us to make it for you. Can you consider rephrasing your post to avoid it being closed? However, I see that this situation should be addressed in some way. Have you considered other jobs that won't take such a toll on your health? You may "like your job" but if it causes this to you then you should consider modifying your lifestyle so you don't harm yourself. – DarkCygnus Jun 5 '18 at 17:11
  • I'm truly sorry about what you're going through right now. Just to make sure I'm fully understanding you, are you getting panic attacks because of the travelling? – TheRealLester Jun 5 '18 at 17:12
  • @TheRealLester, to be honest, I mostly get stress due to "normal" situations like for everyone person, but i still have this topic, to need a toilet or anything near, because these attacks are coming sudden and I always have the fear of get these hard stomachache or to vomit or anything else... there are still other factors I still haven't figured out. Travel, especially alone, is a big factor in this, too. I had holidays 8000 kilometres away with my finance, didn't feel so good, too tbh.But holidays in distance >2000km with her for example does not affect me this much. – nomisk Jun 5 '18 at 17:20
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    @DarkCygnus, thank you for improving my question. I know I can't expect that somebody would answer this question for me, but I struggle since it started if I adress this topic. – nomisk Jun 5 '18 at 17:25
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    I've had similar issues. Meditation and endurance sports were what have helped me. Good luck! – bobek Jun 6 '18 at 18:28
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Full disclaimer, I have severe panic disorder, and like you have physical symptoms.

First, talk to your psychiatrist about the possibility of drug therapy for the flareups. Be sure to tell him that this is now situational, and not constant, if that is indeed the case.

Continue with a psychotherapist to learn the skills you need to minimize the difficulties you are experiencing.

Treat this as a chronic illness as opposed to an obstacle

The good news is you sound like you have a good grip on what's going on. Since you know that your digestion is going to be disrupted, you can take an anti diahrheal drug prior to your travel, and during to stave off at least that uncomfortable symptom.

IT is --your-- responsibility to mitigate your circumstances not your boss's

After you do everything you can to treat your symptoms and underlying problems, there may come a time to communicate this to your boss.

Hey, boss, just so you know, I have a bit of a problem with all this travel, I've got it under control, and can do my job, but I just wanted to keep you in the loop, just in case a problem pops up, I've got it under control. I'm not expecting any, but I just wanted you to know.

In short, you may eventually want to let your boss in on it, but only in the context of you being on top of it, able to handle it, and are letting him know about it as a courtousy.

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    Treat this as a chronic illness as opposed to an obstacle -- this is excellent. – Mister Positive Jun 5 '18 at 18:05
  • I can just affiliate to Neo. Thanks for your response, – nomisk Jun 5 '18 at 18:31
  • Solid answer, especially the end. – Kilisi Jun 5 '18 at 23:30
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First you have to accept the bad news that there are no stressless jobs. You personally must learn how to cope with stress. Therefore it is imperative that you return to therapy.

Whether it is a good or necessary idea to disclose to your supervisor depends on several things and only you, in conjunction with a trained therapist, can evaluate your existing situation. Things to consider are:

  • Laws concerning disability in your country. The therapist should be familiar with whether the company you work for is required to make an accommodation. Being in therapy also increases the chance that they will have to consider it a disability requiring accommodation or not.

  • The personality of the supervisor. Some people are more or less likely to be helpful and some are highly likely to dismiss your concerns. Only you can evaluate how likely your boss is to be willing to listen.

  • Is an accommodation even possible? Again this concerns the exact job you have and why they think you need to work on-site.

  • How well does your therapist think you are going to be able to learn to cope with the circumstances and how quickly? Is there available medical help that can fix the symptoms while you work on learning how to cope with stress? If you can fix the symptoms, you may not need to disclose.

In general, if you can avoid talking about your extreme reaction to what does not sound like unusual workplace stress, you are likely better off. Disclose only if your therapist agrees that it is the only way to stay employed.

You must learn not to give up when faced with stress or think that one try at it means there is no fix. Panic and stress disorders are manageable. But you have to put a lot of effort into it and you will fail and need to get back up on the horse afterwards. That means you first need to learn not to run away when things are not easy.

I know I don't sound very sympathetic because sympathy is not what you need at this point. I have dealt with panic and anxiety attacks and depression for over 50 years, so I know it is not easy but it is possible to hold down a good professional job with these conditions. But only you can do the work to learn to manage it. You have a condition that makes things more difficult for you. Well, everybody has something, so that really isn't an excuse. You can learn to deal with it or you can give up.

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    You personally must learn how to cope with stress. This is not on the boss or company but on the individual. Nicely done. – Mister Positive Jun 5 '18 at 18:06
  • No, i fully understand your message, but let me say that I'm not giving up. If I would give up, I would quit the job. I always try to get over and do things I would normally avoid. But in this situation, I see no advantage of not avoiding it, since nearly anything can be done remote. To add this: I did a "behaviour therapy" - i learned to endure this situations and not avoid them. But currently i feel it's effecting my life in a much more bad way, than good (since the stress always decreased and now it's like skyrocketing). – nomisk Jun 5 '18 at 18:23
  • May I can get some tipps from someone who is sharing the same sickness for a much longer period? I am very thankful for the tipps. – nomisk Jun 5 '18 at 18:25
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Should I tell my supervisor about my anxiety/panic-disorder?

No, deal with it yourself. Never volunteer that you're 'mental', it tastes like making excuses for incompetence before they arise and gives a reason for bad performance that you might train yourself to use as a crutch rather than progressing as a person/worker/family man etc,.

Excellent answers already, so just going to hit it from an angle.

Sometimes for your health and peace of mind it's actually better to look for another job where you don't have to deal with your issue as much or at all.

There are plenty of stress free jobs which don't require travel. Some are pretty mindless but any job is what you make of it. I planted pine 10 hours a day, 7 days a week mostly on my own every planting season for years. There was zero stress, I got fitter than most athletes and I made much more money than most office workers.

Something like that might be better than therapy, time immersed in nature puts things into a different perspective which lasts the rest of your life. Lots of problems just fade away as unimportant.

Lastly if you do need to go toilet, you can just do it right where you are as often as you need to.

I am NOT a doctor or therapist or stressing the therapeutic value of pooing in the woods (it's just a bonus).

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I don't have depression/anxiety. My wife does. So this comes from someone who has lived with this.

She is a Phd in speech pathology with 33 years of clinical experience. Last year her employer of 20 years was doing everything thing they could think of to make her job sh***y so she would quit. This was not because she was doing a bad job but because she was getting 'old' (mid 50's) and was making too much money. The hospital chain has a history of doing this - instead of firing someone outright (where they would be liable for age discrimination, etc) they make the job so bad the employee just quits. Kind of sucky but that's reality.

After my wife quit (with 6 weeks of severance) her depression was at record levels. She was able to use professional contacts to some some PRN (part time) work and to start teaching part-time at a local university.

Now as to your particulars. If you are not seeing a psychiatrist and a good counselor then you need to start. NOW! What can be done by these professionals working together can be some of the most important things you do in your life.

You also need to develop a interest in something outside of your profession. Spiritual activities (church, meditation or whatever you want to call it) are essential. You need to have interests outside of work - my wife started in art about 8 years ago (me, I'm an old geek who also plays guitar & mandolin). Exercise is extremely important. Maintaining contact with others is also important.

Good luck. This tough. A good counselor can help you with specific actions up to and including a different job.

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