A Sense of Dread

One of the things we have trouble seeing is the cumulative effects of pretty much anything in our lives. It is usually not doing something for one hour, or one day or even a few weeks that has significant impacts on our lives, it is what we do or face day after day after day.

One of the cumulative effects of stress I noticed personally was a “sense of dread.” For about two years I was in a work environment with organizational financial distress and unavoidable dealings with a few very negative people. Naturally, I had to fight the dread of facing these stressors each day, but after some time I had an almost constant sense of dread in the back of my mind. This made it difficult to relax during times such as holidays or the rare vacation.

Even after getting out of this environment, it took a long time for this sense of dread to go away. I guess one might say it took time to heal from the stress and negativity.

My advice is to get out of the stressful environment you are in. Life is too short to choose to spend your time in dysfunctional places or with dysfunctional people. If you cannot get out right away, make an exit strategy and plan, then start moving in that direction.


Too often people stay too long at places or with people because of some sense of duty. Do not think you can change deeply ingrained or institutionalized patterns of behavior. The truth is, you will not keep people from returning to their default position.

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8 thoughts on “A Sense of Dread

  1. Hi Terry,
    Kim B. here, a new friend of Denise’s thru Fidos and newsletter… (wry grin) … I think I really needed to read what you wrote today, it is speaking to me loudly, Thank You. (you and Denise have such a positive impact on my life in both direct and indirect ways.) I’ve gotta remind myself, it’s okay to be “happier”, and to heed the last paragraph of your blog. (sometimes, I listen to a misplaced sense of “duty” out of “guilt — obligation — wanting to help” … you know the story.) Thanks for writing and posting your blog.

  2. you know that feeling of hopelessness, disorientation, not knowing what next step to take….all coupled with the sense of dread? I often chalked it up as being part of life, part of turning 40. Isn’t it normal to question every fiber of your being, your existence, wondering and wishing you knew how to put it all in perspective? This morning I woke and felt compelled to google “sense of dread”. I came across your website. And two paragraphs…your words..your thoughts… gave me that perspective I was looking for.

    The last two paragraphs of your post spoke loud and clear to me. Whatever your spiritual belief is, whether you have one or not; I believe I was suppose to come across your post. Sounds dramatic right? It is what it is.

    We don’t stop long enough to let people know how they’ve impacted our life based on a few simple words. Yet we experience every day. Your words made a difference. They make sense…common sense…but are somehow more profound by reading them then by me thinking it. So thank you, thank you for these words.

  3. Thanks, Terry, for that. Amazingly, I think that’s how I was feeling right before I was laid off.
    I feel much better, even though I am unemployed. :-)

  4. Like Amanda said above, I woke up this morning with that horrible sense of dread, something very unusual for me and strong enough to send me looking for answers. I too googled, “sense of dread” and opened this blog first. The entire blog, but the last paragraph strongly spoke to me. I work in very stressful environment, where I work daily with other peoples problems and I believe that it is getting to me. It is something I have always truly loved doing but I don’t think I can do this anymore. I thought I was shutting it off when I left work everyday, but I am not. I am internalizing the trauma in these people’s lives and it is building and building and it has just gotten to be to much. Thank you for posting this, it really put words to my thoughts.

  5. I am glad you wrote this, I related to it as it sounds like many others have. I have had this feeling that I have only been able to describe as an impending sense of doom. I was working within an environment where it seems like everyone, from the top down all hated eachother. I only worked remotely so only heard peoples voices and would only be able to chat with them through instant messenger. Over time the unfriendly environment, the politics and the negativity became too much for me to handle. It felt like daily I was walking into a war zone. It took so much for me to get my job done, so much effort and so much for me just to cope and deal with each day. I began working harder and longer hours and eventually just melted down.

    I am only 2 weeks from the experience ending and while I have alot of anxiety, I think I am beginning to see some hope.

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