I'm a researcher at a university and work in a shared office, where the placement of my desk gives the people moving behind my back an unrestricted view to my screen and papers. I'm self-conscious when reading or writing, especially if it's any kind of planning or note taking. I'm concerned that anyone seeing my unfinished work would think that I'm stupid and incompetent. I feel the same in meetings and seminars, where I would like to make notes of what is presented, but there's always people sitting next to me, seeing my notes.
My anxiety for being watched also makes me unable to use headphones to block the usual office noises, as it would make me unaware of my surroundings. Unable to concentrate and think, my work has reduced to mechanical tinkering with irrelevant details.
I cannot move my desk and there's no other office space available. I've tried working later than my office mates, but when I finally have the office to myself I'm too exhausted to be productive anymore. I've tried working at home, but I would not have access to all the resources I need and I would loose my only social environment.
Yes, every psychologist and self-help book would say that everyone is too occupied with their own work to care about mine. I don't doubt that's true, but that does nothing to ease my anxiety.
Can you suggest anything? I would like to go to therapy, but I can't afford it. I'm not even entitled to the occupational health services or assistance from my superiors, as I'm technically not employed by the university (it's complicated, please don't ask me to explain).