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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I would like Kate McCoy to answer this question Today I was

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I would like Kate McCoy to answer this question
Today I was out sick from work, after spending much of yesterday finishing a project. I checked my work email to learn that there were a few things that weren't worked out yesterday, even though I thought they were.
I've been sick today and yesterday, yet I jumped out of bed to get on the phone and resolve the issue. Psychologically, I was afraid that if I didn't I wouldn't be able to sleep tonight.
What is this condition called, and what can I do about it?
Just being anxious about work and having an unfinished project on your mind is not necessarily a condition in itself. It could be that you felt bothered by it and just wanted it off your mind. Some people are more intense in personality and might be bothered enough by something like an unfinished project. Or you just could be very responsible as a person and leaving something undone until the next day bothers you. On the other hand, someone who was laid back in personality might be able to ignore the work. There is not anything wrong with that, it is just a difference in personality.
On the other end of the scale, doing something like that might indicate a high level of anxiety or even OCD (a bit of a stretch, but possible). Anxious people tend to think the worst about everything and would therefore make sure they finish the project so something "worse" doesn't happen. And someone with OCD may do the task just because leaving it undone would bring up too much anxiety.
Even if what you did indicated anxiety, that is not a bad thing. Anxiety can be dealt with. And making sure you got a job done is not harmful. It's actually a good thing.
Being fearful that you would not sleep if you didn't get the job done probably ties into what you have been experiencing over the past week or so. You have indicated that you are very focused on your sleep patterns so anything that interferes with your chance at a good night's sleep would make you feel anxious. So getting the work done would get that out of the way so you would not have to worry about it bothering you and interfering in your sleep.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I sent off the final documentation in order to ensure it would be done, but I haven't gotten a confirmation email that it's bee completed. Is that why I still feel a bit tense and edgy, even though I sent the work in?

Do you thing my ability to handle something minor like this will improve once I get a full night's sleep and return to my normal sleeping patterns?

I do tend to be very neat freaky with my papers and making sure there's a proper amount of space between items or that they're stacked nicely. It sounds kinda like OCD, but I'm wondering what you think. My doctor gave me xanax and a muscle relaxer. Are any of those considered "treatments" for OCD?

Is it possible to have more than one anxiety disorder at a time?

If they haven't sent the confirmation that could be the reason you still feel tense and edgy. But keep in mind, most people who are responsible in nature will feel just as you do. So don't put too much into there being something wrong with what you are feeling.
Yes, I do believe that once you get your sleep patterns under control, you will be able to control your emotions easier. Sleep always helps you cope better.
Xanax can help with the anxiety you are feeling but muscle relaxers are not usually prescribed for anxiety or OCD. OCD treatment involves therapy and anti anxiety medications. Self help is also an option. Here is a resource to help you:
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I would like Kate McCoy to answer this question.

Kate, something very interesting happened to me today. I told you about the project that I didn't finish and was getting nervous and anxious about it. Well, it grew into a panic attack. It wasn't as bad of a panic attack as I've had in the last week, but it was definitely noticeable.

As I was pacing around, I started thinking of what the trigger could be. I kept thinking to myself that I resolved the issue with the celebrity I'm a fan of. I convinced myself that she's ok, and I believe she's ok, and will continue to be ok. But the panic was still there.

Then I started thinking about work. I work as a librarian at a community college, and last semester, the dean of our library gave me a really big project to do, and I was under the impression she said she wanted it done by the time the semester ended. I worked and I worked and I worked on that project all semester. Actually, it was the only thing I worked on. Then the semester ended and I was on semester break for a full month (Dec. 14 - Jan 14). Also, during the semester, new projects were dumped on me while I was trying to work on the one the dean gave me.

I also thought about how I was usually tired at the end of every semester, and came back to the next semester completely refreshed and ready to tackle things. Well, at the end of the semester where I was working on my project, I felt like TOAST. I was more burned out than I think I've ever been at that job. And when I came back, I felt better, but not as refreshed as I normally do.

I also had a few sleep disturbances over the break, one coming on Christmas eve, and then the one where I started worrying about the celebrity.

But the thing I noticed most of all, is that when I acknowledged how tired I was from the project I was doing, and how exhausting it was, and how stressed out I was over it, MY PANIC WENT AWAY! It stopped cold in its tracks. I was nervous today from approximately 1:30 pm today until 6:45 pm. and 6:45 is when I came to my realization.

Does it mean something if a panic attack stops dead in its tracks like that?

Do you think that maybe the celebrity wasn't the problem at all and that she was simply a trigger to explode all the built up tension and frustration from working on that project for so long?

Usually it means that your mind is so distracted by something you are thinking about or doing, you cannot focus on the anxiety. So it goes away until you are done with what you are concerned with then it comes back. Anxiety is based on thoughts. And when you change those thoughts, you can stop the anxiety.
The celebrity was most likely a trigger, I agree. Sometimes it can be something minor that causes the anxiety to turn into panic and other times it is a traumatic event.
I would be more than happy to continue working with you on any new questions you have. All I ask is that you remember to rate my answers for each new/different question you ask. Thanks!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I thought the rating function was suppose to be used only after the entire topic/question is resolved?

I wanted to know if you thought the real problem was the project I was working on, and what I could do to cope with stress like that.

If you are asking about the same question, yes.
If you felt over stressed by the project, yes it could have been the cause. To handle stress, you can do the following:
Exercise- most people has some trouble considering this option because the thought of exercise sounds so unappealing, but exercise serves two purposes: one, it helps you get out your physical energy which gets pent up when you experience strong emotions like anxiety. And two, you promote good chemicals in your brain (endorphines) which automatically lifts your mood. You can do anything from take a walk to punching the heck out of a punching bag. Picking an activity that you like helps motivate you.
Yelling into a pillow helps, talking to someone about how you feel, writing out your feelings are all ways to express your feelings.
Sharing how you feel takes the burden off you and has stress reducing effects.
Guided imagery is also good. Imagine yourself floating through a cloud or in water. Picture yourself on a tranquil beach. Listen to the sounds of the ocean, taste the salt air and smell the breeze. By imaging yourself in these situations. your thoughts will help you relax and you will be more centered.
Listening to music is very helpful. It may sound simple, but music has the ability to change your mood, and you can choose the mood. Classical is relaxing, rock is energy producing, and sad music can help you get in touch with unexpressed tears.
Also, the progressive relaxation link I gave you can help a lot. Keep doing it until you feel you can easily relax.
I will be going off line for the evening. Good night!
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