Welcome to the group! I’ll try to add a few thoughts to what everyone else has already contributed, in hopes that they help a bit.
Regarding exercise, far be it from me to do anything other than extol its virtues. I just got back from a long trail run, getting away from the density of people in Silicon Valley to where I can enjoy the flowers, trees, and vistas. Just getting up and moving helps me focus afterwards. But enough people have already opined on that topic….
Regarding mobbing at work, please know that you are not responsible. While I haven’t gone through anything that severe, I have had experiences where I was the target of the silent treatment from a coworker I considered a friend. I tried to ignore it, but it hurt. One thing that helped me immensely was reading Kipling Willam’s book, “Ostracism: The Power of Silence.” The biggest messages I got from it were that
- Yes, it really hurts. Many targets of both ostracism and physical violence would take physical violence over ostracism.
- I wasn’t responsible, and
- (this wasn’t so nice) There was little I could do about it while still there. I’m not there any more.
Controlling your fear. Amanda Ripley, in her book “The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – And Why,” states: “There are simpler ways to train the fear response. One of the most surprising tactics, taught in all seriousness to some of the scariest, gun-wielding men in the world, is breathing. Over and over again, when I ask combat trainers how people can master their fear, this is what they talk about. Of course, they will call it ‘combat breathing’ or ‘tactical breathing’ when they teach it to Green Berets and FBI agents. But it’s the same basic concept taught in yoga and Lamaze classes. One version taught to police works like this: breathe in for four counts; hold for four counts; breathe out for four counts; hold for four; start again. That’s it….
“How could something so simple be so powerful? The breath is one of the few functions that reside in both our somatic nervous system (which we can consciously control) and our autonomic system (which includes our heartbeat and other actions we cannot easily access. So the breath is a bridge between the two. … By slowing down the breath, we can de-escalate the primal fear response that otherwise takes over.”
With a bit of a sense of calm, it can be easier to look at things from a different perspective. In our efforts as humans to improve ourselves, our focus on ourselves tends to be on our imperfections. “I’m not very good at A or B. And James is better than me at X, and Amanda is better at Y, …” Yes, it is useful to understand where we can improve, but it is also important to appreciate our strengths as well. Look at that when you are calm. You don’t have to be the best in the world for something to be a strength. What do your close and trusted friends think about you? In these days of global connectivity, you can ask friends this, even if they aren’t physically within hundreds of miles of you. Remember that you consider them friends because they have traits that you like. They are likely to think similarly of you. My ADHD doctor reminded me of this yesterday. In your case, one immediate thing that came to mind is: “Spanish, living in Germany, and writing clearly about a difficult topic in English.” I’m impressed.
And just like some of us need glasses to perform well, others need ADHD or depression medications to help correct physiological imbalances. Listen to doctors and therapists as well – I certainly don’t pretend to be one.
Try to push your boundaries a little bit so you can try different approaches to this. I hope things begin to clear up!