Work has me Crippled with Anxiety. Is it Time to Quit? (2023)

Work has me Crippled with Anxiety. Is it Time to Quit? (1)

I saw a quote on Instagram recently from Charles Bukowski’s book, Factotum, which piqued my interest;

Work has me Crippled with Anxiety. Is it Time to Quit? (2)

Like me, I’m sure there are millions that would find themselves nodding along in agreement. It should be noted Bukowski was a self-confessed alcoholic bum with no ambition. The below quote is that which precedes the above one:

“It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved.”

(Video) The one factor causing depression and anxiety in the workplace | Johann Hari | Big Think

That’s an aside; I have no doubt there isn’t a soul reading this lacking in ambition. It did, however, bring my attention to the epidemic which sees many fall victim to anxiety and depression due to work pressures. Therein lies the narrative that one should be grateful for their job (regardless if it costs them their health and happiness), giving rise to guilt on top of a condition so devastating it can cause a man to take his life.

According to the WHO, the number of people suffering from depression and/or anxiety has increased by nearly 50% between 1990 and 2013.

That statistic is insane. And not exactly one we should expect those suffering day in, day out to be grateful for. But why do we appear to be accepting this as a new reality? I hear many people say, “oh that’s just the way the world is.” As if we’re supposed to be impervious to world hunger, climate change, and war fuelled by hate, greed, and ego.

Let’s take it back a few steps and focus solely on anxiety and depression, which stems from the workplace, to deconstruct and modernize what Bukowski wrote 42 years ago because, well, times have changed. For one, technology. Secondly, whiskey was far more affordable back then.

Yes, practicing gratitude is incredibly powerful because it opens up a world taken for granted and helps to overcome the brain’s hard-wired negativity bias (as discussed by Dr. Rick Hansen during his TEDx talk on Hardwiring Happiness).

Gratitude aside. For most people, the bulk of their waking hours is spent commuting, working, and thinking about work. For a growing portion of society, this existence is represented by a job that makes them miserable with the expectation that they should be grateful for it. I could dive into the semantics, but it’s irrelevant. Especially if you’re working for an ungrateful boss who’s all in on modern-day slavery.

Nobody has managed to say something so profound in as few words as The Dalai Lama when asked what surprised him most about humanity;

(Video) Why I Quit My Job | Dealing with Anxiety & Depression | Life Update

“Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

I’ve lost count of the number of highly educated and talented individuals with “envious” jobs making great money who hate everything about what they do — day in, day out! The pressure to perform at such a high level has crippled them to the point where anxiety has taken over ALL aspects of their life — a life they’ve been told they should aspire to live!

When I ask them how long they’ve been living like this, the answer is never a few months — it’s years. It’s incredibly sad to see just how much punishment one is prepared to take to conform. All that stress for somebody else’s benefit. So I ask them, ‘why don’t you quit?’ To which they usually respond, “I’m too scared!” Such is the enormity of the fear injected by society. Ain’t that a bitch!

I can certainly relate — changing anything attached to so much stress that has been left to manifest for years is daunting because, to some degree, within it lies some comfort — I can hear Alanis Morisette singing, “isn’t it ironic,” as I type. And she’s right. Because our fear of failure is polarizing, the comfort lies in not having to try, which eradicates any potential for failure while being held hostage in one’s mind — a double-edged prick stick for so many lacking belief in their undeniable potential.

Unfortunately, it’s not (yet) possible to pull a magic wand out your ass, wave it while saying, “abracadabra,” and all of sudden — BOOM — WHOOP-DE-DOO — life is sweet again! I can’t wait till J.K. Rowling figures out how to bring her Wizardry fiction to life either, but until then, the only person that can make change happen is you.

1. Address the issue with your boss to see if you can come to a resolution that ensures you don’t dread every day ahead. Sure, this will be scary, but if you go in there with some suggestions and solutions, you might just find yourself leaving with a big fat smile on your face. I know lots of people that have done this, and it has completely transformed their working lives because, contrary to popular belief, many employers actually care. If you managed to end up with a bad one, fear not because you can always move on to option two.

2. Quit. Just do it, but be strategic about it. There’s a narrative in the world right now being sold all over social media telling you to do what you love. Ideologies are lovely, but this one just might be setting your expectations too high. This is not to say you can’t drastically improve the quality of your life — it’s merely a reminder that your options span beyond something you love 24/7 or bust! Your options are endless.

(Video) how I thrive when life is too much - overcoming crippling anxiety one day at a time (a gentle story)

Setting up your own gig will bring with it many challenges. It’s marketed as simple, but in reality, it’s not. It requires a healthy dose of madness, passion, and obsession, to name a few. But if that’s something you desire - go for it!

A slightly less stressful option would be to get a job doing something similar or slightly different to your current role using the many skills you’ve acquired over the years for a company that actually appreciates you.

Execute on either, and in all likelihood your happiness index will shoot up as depression and anxiety levels fall way off!

3. Your third option is horrific. And terrifyingly, it’s the most popular. Unfortunately, if you’ve been suffering from debilitating anxiety for many years — your mind has been fine-tuned to f*ck you, and you know this because the third option is to remain depressed while hoping for a miracle!

I’m not saying you’ve ticked a box opting for depression, but without sugar-coating it, that’s pretty much what’s happening on an unconscious level. And hopefully — by drawing your awareness to it — you’ll choose to live the life you deserve by choosing options one or two.

If I were you, and this has been your reality for years — I’d shoot with option two. And I’d get to work on formulating a plan to execute immediately. Not tomorrow. Today. Rope a loved one in to hold you accountable so you don’t fall back into your old ways. It’s time for your resurrection. The second you definitively decide to take your life back, you will immediately begin to feel liberated and empowered by your decision.

The decision needs to be for you and nobody else. It’s your life, so you choose — nobody else should be granted such authority when it comes to your health. While it’s conceivable you’re taking others as well as yourself into consideration with options one & two, it’s inconceivable to think you’re only taking yourself into consideration if you opt to continue down your current path.

(Video) Workplace Mental Health - all you need to know (for now) | Tom Oxley | TEDxNorwichED

Sure, you might come up against some resistance and opposition, but what are they opposing? Your health? Your happiness? It’s not like they understand — the only people on this planet that really understand are those that have lived it, so try not to take it personally. Regardless, do you really want to grant them that right?

Work has me Crippled with Anxiety. Is it Time to Quit? (3)

This is your mental health. Not the board game RISK or a game of Jenga. Mental Health deteriorates when ignored. The first step in the process to better health lies in a decision, and depending on the severity of your condition, it might just be the last because that one decision can make everything better. Sometimes the grass is greener — if it’s currently reminiscent of a silage pit, then why not find out?

One decision has the potential to drastically change your life for the better. It can cause a ripple effect of positivity throughout every facet of your life. And that’s a pretty exciting prospect if you ask me.

If you enjoyed this story, please click the 👏 button and share to help others find it! Feel free to leave a comment below.

The Mission publishes stories, videos, and podcasts that make smart people smarter. You can subscribe to get them here.

(Video) How I Eliminated Work Anxiety


Should I quit my job if its causing anxiety? ›

If your job is causing you so much stress that it's starting to affect your health, then it may be time to consider quitting or perhaps even asking for fewer responsibilities. You may need to take a simple break from work if stress is impacting you from outside your job.

What happens when you have too much anxiety at work? ›

Talk to someone you trust

If you feel too anxious to work, it is likely that your anxiety is impacting on other areas of your life too. Don't try to keep what you are going through to yourself. Speak to the people you are close to. Talking through anxiety can be a good way of processing your overwhelming emotions.

What happens if you can't work due to anxiety? ›

Your Anxiety Disorder Disability Case

If you are disabled because of an anxiety disorder that prevents you from working, you may very well be entitled to Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits.

When should I stop working with anxiety? ›

When should someone take time off work for mental health? Someone should take a mental health leave from work when they feel overwhelmed due to stress and feel that they can't function properly. The time off can be used to take a breather and focus on self-care, while getting away from the source of the stress.

How do I resign due to anxiety? ›

I am therefore resigning to focus on my mental health. Thank you for all your help and the opportunities you have given me during my time with the company, and thank you for understanding my situation. If there is anything I can do to help make this transition easier, please do not hesitate to reach out.


1. Overcoming Crippling Depression by Resetting My Brain
(Loma Linda University Health)
2. Are You Stuck in Freeze Mode? How to Turn off the Freeze Response
(Therapy in a Nutshell)
3. The ONLY CURE for Crippling Anxiety (with @TheDrJohnDelonyShow)
(The Minimalists)
4. What It's Like To Live With Chronic Anxiety
(New York Magazine)
5. What's normal anxiety -- and what's an anxiety disorder? | Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter
6. How to cope with anxiety | Olivia Remes | TEDxUHasselt
(TEDx Talks)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Arline Emard IV

Last Updated: 03/30/2023

Views: 6022

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Arline Emard IV

Birthday: 1996-07-10

Address: 8912 Hintz Shore, West Louie, AZ 69363-0747

Phone: +13454700762376

Job: Administration Technician

Hobby: Paintball, Horseback riding, Cycling, Running, Macrame, Playing musical instruments, Soapmaking

Introduction: My name is Arline Emard IV, I am a cheerful, gorgeous, colorful, joyous, excited, super, inquisitive person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.