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Anxiety prevents me from getting my life in order

Shenon

Shenon

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I feel social anxiety will always prevent me from getting my life in some kind of order. It affects entirely stupid things -- today, some minor administrative issue related to rubbish collection in our town. It seems that no matter what you want to do, you have to talk to people, or even worse, get on the phone to someone (which I am completely paralyzed about). I go to great lengths to avoid it, or at least to avoid the phone... often by wasting several hours actually walking somewhere to talk to someone in person rather than call them -- which is still very anxiety-inducing but a little better. When I need a doctor, I often ignore my symptoms for weeks (sometimes years!) so that I don't have to call the doctor's office. Some places now offer services online, or at least some email address you can write to, but where I live, it is still fairly underdeveloped. So lots of things remain unsolved in my day-to-day life, which increases my anxiety even more and makes me feel everything is out of control. I also feel that one day, something will come crashing on me and will think "What an idiot! I could completely have avoided this by taking to so-and-so two years ago. Why didn't I?" But I can't.
 
Anime-Alchemy

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I'm sorry to read about how disabling your social anxiety is. Are you taking any medication? or seeing a mental health worker? Doctor?
 
Shenon

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Thanks very much for replying! I'm in a bit of a tricky situation because I live mostly in country A but my job (and therefore health insurance) is in country B. It makes it difficult to get access to the type of 'regular' health services you need for mental health issues because I am not insured in A (and can't pay for private healthcare), while I have very irregular physical presence in B. I have seriously been thinking of quitting my job. I've had to live across two countries for the last 15 years (not even the same two!) and it is really not the right lifestyle for someone with anxiety... If I quit, I would start regular therapy again. I had some a long time ago and it did help a little, although not that much with the social anxiety side of things. Weird that you have to see someone in order to fix your not wanting to see anybody :D
 
Anime-Alchemy

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That is a tricky situation to be in. I would say that your mental health comes first and it should, but it's not easy if you have to quit your job, since your job is a source of income for your life and daily living.
 
jajingna

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Yes, it is a hard thing to live with each day. Do you have any little "tricks" you can do to calm down a bit? It's important to have a relaxed body and mind, if possible, but of course that's the whole difficulty with anxiety -- that state of relaxation and calm is frequently not there.
 
Shenon

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Thank you, Anime-Alchemy and jajingna!

About the job: I'm still trying to figure out what I would do if I quit. The ironic thing is that, all things considered, it is quite a good job for people with social anxiety, as I can work alone a lot.

And yes, I try to meditate to relax. Some days, it helps more than others. But you are right that both body and mind can get so affected. I often have lots of pains everywhere, just from being anxious.

But anyway, I've ranted enough for today :) Take care, both!
 
Joe57

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I’m not a fan of talking on the phone, either. I rely heavily on visual cues when communicating with someone, which obviously can’t be done on the phone. I don’t care for using zoom either. In-person conversation works better for me.

is there a specific cause for your anxiety? Just curious, I understand perfectly if you don’t care to share.

I had trouble with anxiety a long time ago, not so much these days. My problem stemmed from my inability to stay focused, and losing the thread of conversations. It was embarrassing. Also early on, I didn’t know how “normal” people made “small talk”, so that was another source of discomfort. But I eventually devised a strategy to deal with that. Moral of the story is….in my experience…..these issues can be managed, if not neutralized.
 
Shenon

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Thanks a lot, Joe57! I am really glad to hear you got over your anxiety, it's nice to know some of us manage :)

I do have issues focusing when doing small talk, mostly because I get utterly bored. But more generally, I'd say the problem is that I feel completely powerless. When it comes to administrative things, I never assume that talking to someone will fix my problem. Rather, I assume that it will cause infinite new issues: the person will be angry at me, they will tell me I should have done X and Y long before, they will tell me I need to talk to ten more people to fix things, they will suggest something that is incompatible with something else that some other official person told me, etc etc. In those situations, my brain gets completely muddled and I forget to say things I wanted to say, or ask things I should ask. Or I say entirely the wrong thing.

It wasn't helped in the last years by some bad experiences. Cross-country health insurance is a complete nightmare. At some point, I failed to return a piece of paperwork which, one year later, ended up costing me all my savings. It seems I could have fought the case with a lawyer, but now that's too late. I am still counting the number of therapy hours I could have got for that amount of money.
 
Joe57

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Yeah I never found small talk that interesting either. But my solution was to change my approach to chitchatting. With the singleness of purpose of a homing pigeon, I took a sincere interest in whatever the subject, especially those involving their personal matters, and let them do 80% of the talking. Over time, I earned a reputation as a good listener. That made me feel good. It made me more like able, too…..which made my work life a little bit better. It was a WIN-WIN! Don’t you just love a story with a happy ending? Hahaha

I don’t know what to think about the other things. Have you tried doing a search for “Bureaucracy survival skills”? Hmmmmm or maybe find a mentor to give you feedback on your issues. Locally, there is an organization called SCORE……Service Corps Of Retired Executives. It’s a small group of experienced people, mostly private sector, some government, whose mission is to help fledgling entrepreneurs. They are nice people who want to “give back”. If you have access to a similar organization, maybe you could find a mentor that’d be happy to give you feedback on your workplace issues. I know that may not be a possibility, but wanted to put it out there anyway.

I’m sorry to learn about your “paperwork” problem. I trust you’ve already talked to an attorney about that? Even if a lawyer can’t help, there’s a chance your local representative may be able to work some magic, and make things right. Tell them if they can fix things for you, then you will help them in the next election campaign…….

not sure what’s possible for you, just wanted to throw some ideas out there. I wish you the best.
 
Shenon

Shenon

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Hope you’re doing okay Shenon
Hi Joe, thanks for checking on me, that's very kind! Indeed, last days were not so great. Kept waking up at night and not sleeping. I'm worried about this coming week because it's going to be very full and unsettled -- travelling, partner away, leaving dog behind for a few days. Well, we'll see how it goes.

Thank you for your previous reply to my post. This...

Have you tried doing a search for “Bureaucracy survival skills”?
made me laugh :D I think I would need one of those assistants that rich and famous people have, who deal with all their administrative business. But, oh, damn, I'm not rich and famous. (The latter is probably a good thing -- imagine being famous and having social anxiety!)

Regarding small talk: I agree with you that letting other people talk is easier. But I still find it tedious. I guess small talk is one of those things in life you have to do, like brushing your teeth.

Anyhow, thanks again. I hope you are doing okay!
 
Joe57

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yeah, you gotta smile a lot, engage in small talk, wear sensible shoes, brush your teeth….and don’t forget to floss!

I hope this coming week has the best possible outcome for you.
 
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