How do I get my anxiety under control? Will it ever go away?

My anxiety started around 18 months ago when I started a new job, I experienced my first panic attack. I attribute it to mostly to work as I struggle with the volume of work, the style of my manager and the expectations of the role and company being too much. Before this, i had never experienced physical symptoms and didn’t struggle with anxiety that much. I really want to get it under control so I don’t have the physical symptoms, I want to feel more freedom in life from work and be in a happier place.
Asked by Felicia

What Changed?

What do you notice is being affected by the pressures at work? Why now, and why are you letting it bother you more now than in the past? The type of work or money you make, has that changed? It isn't always the immediate circumstance that affects us, but what that reminds us of, or what is triggered inside. For example, if you notice that you are feeling pressured to keep this new job because it pays so well, that can add to the pressure of the work and the fear of the manager. Or, let's say you have troubles at home; then yes, there would be more pressure to make a name for yourself at this new, and less established place. Ask yourself, what is work triggering in me that may have already been there? Or what else is going on putting more pressure on work? 

Inadequacy, in general, is a topic worth addressing when it comes to workplace anxiety. If we have an inadequacy, then there can be more pressure to perform at our jobs as a way to overcompensate. With our work quality, recognition leads to promotion, which to an inadequate person will validate us and make us finally feel safe. However, the mind tries to tell you; you are OK, but it will not be OK unless you make peace with all parts of yourself. 

Now, I am basing this next topic on an assumption of inadequacy; however, in my clinical experience, this is a common theme among people who struggle at work. When the pressure is so significant that we have physical ailments, then we know something deep inside is being triggered; we are being threatened at a vulnerable state. Your job could be what you attach to in providing your identity and your reassurance. So then, the job isn't what matters, but what it does to bolster the self-conscious. Remember, your job hat is just one hat you wear, not your entirety. Being defined by any one thing is setting you up for failure, especially on a bad day at work, or feeling new and inadequate at your qualify of work. 

Work on noticing thoughts that get you anxious. Notice that you have thoughts and that these are provoked at times in life or at work. Now, as I stated before, the context makes incidents more significant. So then, it is important to note not just the immediate situation, but what else is going on in life. What else are you experiencing that is causing you to feel such pressure? Then, notice your thoughts and how they are getting your attention.

Often I hear people say things like, "I can't leave this job."  This is usually followed by "I need the money" or "this is temporary on the road to something greater." Yet, we are willing to put our body in a health detriment in service to a career? That shows too much identity, attachment, and reliance on a job and money to make our life happy. That thought/belief is cancer, and it is what you can address by distancing from thoughts while in the moment at work. 

First step: Notice your thoughts, and what they reveal about you. If you decide to work with a therapist, make sure the topic stays on what you notice, and what you are experiencing, and articulate the abstract in your mind. Do not do or fix anything; notice thoughts and allow them to exist. This will remind you that you have thoughts and that you don't have to act on these thoughts. You have emotions, but you don't need to fix them or get away from them either. Let it all be without fixing or attending to all things. 

Anxiety is a part of life; it doesn't go away. Accept it, work with it, and the pressure to rid yourself of it will dissipate.