Whenever I have to leave my house I start to feel sick. My heartbeat speeds up and my throat gets tight. I constantly feel like I’m about to throw up and I gag a lot. It started off when I would go to visit my girlfriend in another city. But it’s gotten worse and now it’s pretty much whenever I leave my house for anything. It’s really severe when I have to do something important, like a job interview. I’m starting to cancel on people just to avoid throwing up.
I have some financial problems and I’m trying to get my life together and move on to real adulthood. My mom has been helping me out but she doesn’t work so I hate asking her for help. I haven’t told my family about my anxiety/feeling sick because I know they’d think that I could control it if I wanted to. I feel like I don’t have anyone to turn to. I have friends that I know would help me but I can’t bring myself to ask them because I’d feel like such a loser for not being able to make it on my own. I’ve been at home for a year and I’ve been trying to find a job for a year but with no luck.
I used to be really religious while I was in college but now that I’ve graduated, I’ve lost most of my faith. Now I’m just angry and feel abandoned. I feel like I’ve messed my life up and I don’t know what to do. How can I get rid of this sick feeling? Is it something I can do on my own? I feel like I should be able to, after all there are a lot of people with worse problems than me.
A: What you are describing may be social phobia. Social phobia is a persistent and irrational fear of situations that may involve scrutiny or judgment by others. You’re discouraged about your ability to find a job. Apparently, you’ve been rejected a few times. It makes sense that you would be reluctant to put yourself out there where you might be rejected — again. Unfortunately, the only way to find a job (or someone to love, by the way) is to put yourself out there many, many times, knowing that the chances of being rejected are pretty good. The economy stinks. Lots of young people are having trouble finding work. It’s easy to take it personally when not finding a job may well be because the competition is so stiff.
My advice? Volunteer! If you can’t make money, start building your resume in other ways. Look for something related to your field and volunteer a good hunk of time every week. You’ll be putting yourself into the work you trained for. You’ll be making contacts. And you’ll be deconditioning yourself from your fears. Also — be willing to take a part-time job if that’s what you can find. Some work is better than no work. It’s at least a little money. It does help your resume. And employers are more likely to hire someone who is already in the workforce.
Still anxious? You may need a little short term treatment to settle yourself down. Consider seeing a mental health professional for an evaluation. An anti-anxiety medication will keep you from throwing up. Some cognitive-behavioral therapy will help you relearn how to master your anxiety without medication.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Dec 2011
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Anxious and Nauseous All the Time. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 19, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/12/30/anxious-and-nauseous-all-the-time/