From the U.S.: I have been working as a Respiratory Therapist for about a year and a half now. I graduated one year ago. Ever since day one on the job, I have been under a lot of stress and anxiety at the hospital that I work at due to my social anxiety problems. It has become very excruciating for me to enter into my patient’s room and administer Respiratory Therapy, especially when there are family members in the room. Calling the attending physician about test results, speaking with other hospital staff members, and even speaking to the patient and their family members has become a mental burden on me.
My parents don’t want me to quit and transition to another career that does not cause as much anxiety and distress that this job is causing me now. They are my only source of social support and they are not concerned about my mental state of health. I have seen my Physician and he has prescribed me 50 mg of Zoloft for this issue. I don’t believe that the mediction is working for me because I am still anxious at work. How should I go about in dealing with this situation?Should I Let Social Anxiety Make Me Change My Career?
Should I Let Social Anxiety Make Me Change My Career?
Thank you for writing. You have put a great deal of time, money and heart into becoming a respiratory therapist. Before you give up on it, I hope you will do more to handle the social anxiety. The anxiety will follow you to whatever you do so you might as well take it on now. I doubt that your folks don’t care about your mental health. It is more likely that they want you to conquer your fear instead of giving in to it.
Medication alone is rarely enough to manage social anxiety. The treatment of choice is medication for at least a while plus talk therapy. I also urge people to get into group therapy where they can get immediate feedback about how they interact with others and tips for doing things differently. Make an appointment with a mental health counselor who specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is one method that has been shown to have strong positive results.
You can do it. You studied hard to get certified in your profession. That wasn’t easy. If you put the same time and effort into getting comfortable with others, it is likely that you will succeed in that endeavor too.
I wish you well.