How bad is your social anxiety?

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George10111

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Charliedragonfly, I'm so sorry to hear your experiences with social anxiety. That sounds extreme but you really nailed the painting to the wall there. People have been so hard on us growing up that gradually over time everything we do feels wrong. This 'social disease' is brought on by years of being ostracized for who you are, being made fun of for being different or being bullied in general, as well as over critical people who cascade you with negativity about yourself and it makes matters worse when it comes from everybody because you then truly start to feel like you are wrong and everyones right.

Teachers, family, or even friends constantly telling you everything you do is wrong. People bullying you for the way you walk, look, dress, etc, over years can cause a lot of damage to a person's self image and damage their esteem of humanity.
 
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Pony

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my SA starts when I not talk to people on the idiotic/spam/uninterested topics, but with them who I interested in or if it connected with my job
I relate to this so much. When the conversation is important or/and when I really want to build a contact and make a good impression, I struggle to make a decent sentence, vocabulary goes missing, and I'd often sound incompetent, even when very knowledgeable about the subject. It's as if I am leaving my body and watching someone I don't know using my body/voice to embarrass me but I can't reach to slap them and chase away. Then, when the conversation is over, and I regain control, I spend hours (or days) thinking about it and what I should have actually said.
 
toutatis

toutatis

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Yeah, my social anxiety disorder is quite the problem, too. And I don't know happened to me. A few years ago it just got worse and worse in spite of my best efforts to overcome it. Ended up in the darkest place, was a nightmare in which only two things helped to pull me through. 1] Going back on meds (prior to that, I was hoping I could conquer my SA once and for all without the side effects of having meds in my life) and 2] the love and trust of old friends who suddenly reappeared after a long time, just to catch up and say hi. Probably saved my life as I had planned to end it on my 50th birthday which was 2 months away.

But it showed me the healing power of love and also that although psych meds can be a bumpy haphazard ride, they can also work in my favour - the right ones. Wow.

Oh, well. We must play the cards we've been dealt.
 
Argon

Argon

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It's more like social discomfort now. as long as it's a short interaction. But the longer I am with someone the worse it gets.
 
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indigo6

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Pretty bad. There has to be an actual purpose to me being around people not just chatting and mingling. Mingling as a word..yak. I dont come across as shy. I have no trouble ordering from a menu or asking directions. Its a group of buzzing people wanting attention and weighing everyone up. I fear being judged outside and screwing up from inside. Cant win.
Ive been learning to be, just be. Silence is interesting. It keeps me calm and often even outgoing people have little to say. Ive kind of adopted the come on lets see what YOU have got. But u cant go all night or all work day .like that so....back to the first line.
 
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Rea

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To be honest I don't understand if I have it... It's something that I should discuss with my therapist because she never mentioned it.

Even if I don't have social anxiety, I am pretty sure that I have something similar.

I am able to go out my apartment, go to work and have some interaction with people, but when is the moment to have lunch I start to be always really nervous and I start to feel bad, because of the interaction with the colleagues. In general, eating in front of other people does not make me feel comfortable.

If I receive a phone call, I can panic for a quite a while before answering and, if it is possible, I don't pick up the phone and I send a message to the person later.

If I have to ask a question to an employee in a shop it takes such an effort... I spent the last two weeks going in front of a shop that was supposed to sell some stuff that I needed without being able to enter and ask the employees...
I was going there, panicking, starting to feel nervous and then going back home frustrated and feeling stupid... I am always afraid that others will think that I am stupid and that they will start to judge me.

In addition, I live in the Netherlands, I don't speak Dutch and I am always afraid that someone will start to scream and offend me because of this... When someone is stopping me in the street asking for some information in dutch, I start really to panicking because I am terrified about the reaction that the other person can have when he/she realize that I don't speak the local language.
 
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indigo6

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Ah Rea standing outside a shop. Feel for u. Its ok though u know. Its only because the way we all live and have to interact that it shows itself. U could look for the quieter, kinder looking assistant. I do this.You could find you help them.
 
hicks

hicks

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My social anxiety has always isolated me. I find it very difficult to banter, as I observe other people doing. I quite often don't have any response when someone comes out with some witty comment, expecting a similar comeback. It's like my brain isn't quick enough to return a suitable response. I'm not unintelligent, but my social verbal skills aren't that good. Over time it's got better. I think it's related to how relaxed (or not) you feel when talking to someone. With strangers I get worried that I'm boring the other person, so I don't like to talk about myself much.

Over time I've improved my social skills, with practice. Even simple things like asking someone how they are, or how they spent their weekend. I actually didn't used to do that. But I don't think I'll ever be totally comfortable with social interaction, I'm just too self-conscious. The worst thing for me, is being in a room with a set of strangers. Group social situations are really hard, and extremely draining, mentally. I avoid work social events.
 
daffy

daffy

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I fully understand what your saying hicks. It's taken me years of practising to ask open question and not just answer yes or no. When i was working i had every excuse not to go on works night out or team building exercises. They must have thought i had a really busy social calendar as i was always ‘busy’ whenever anything was on. And as for parties its a real nightmare for me. Even family gatherings are difficult even tho i know the people. I just feel that i have nothing of any interest to say to anyone.
And it a lie when people say ‘oh the more you do it the easier it will get’. Im pensioner now and its still difficult.
 
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BrianHorlicks

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Used to be really bad.
Especially when i was younger.
Didn't feel like i fitted in.
Then one day in my twenties,
Getting picked on at work,
And having stories made up about me,
Hearing these from other people,
I dont like the sound of my own voice,
F#ck it,
I thought to my self,
Sick of this,
I then turned it round,
You and everyone will know me,
Even if you dont like me,
Then that will stop the stories and the things from happening.
And it worked,
Im not the same person
I was then.
 
hicks

hicks

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I fully understand what your saying hicks. It's taken me years of practising to ask open question and not just answer yes or no. When i was working i had every excuse not to go on works night out or team building exercises. They must have thought i had a really busy social calendar as i was always ‘busy’ whenever anything was on. And as for parties its a real nightmare for me. Even family gatherings are difficult even tho i know the people. I just feel that i have nothing of any interest to say to anyone.
And it a lie when people say ‘oh the more you do it the easier it will get’. Im pensioner now and its still difficult.
I think it may be down to personal circumstances. Speaking from my own experience, I've gone through life being socially ostracised. Only when I got to 50 (I'm now 52), have I started to 'loosen' up a bit. I can now hold a sociable and relaxed conversation with someone 1-to-1, but only with people I'm very comfortable talking to. I do believe that is partly down to me forcing myself to engage with people more. It has become more relaxed.

On a related note to this - what about schools actively teaching social skills? Rather than the kids being sent into the playground to work it out. Shall I tell you what I did as a small kid in the playground? I stayed in a corner waiting until the bell rang, and spoke to virtually nobody. Oh those were long drawn out minutes (seemed like hours) of awkwardness. How did that in any way teach me how to socialise? And worse, it got me bullied for being a loner.

So instead of making kids take 10 subjects of mostly crap which they'll never need in their lives, why not (for those that need/want it) timetable some kind of constructive social sessions. Talking freely with people is an essential life skill. Build confidence instead of knocking it down.

Oh yeah, and the school I think, tried to get me 'out of my shell', by putting me in school plays. Hmmm how do you think being the centre of attention on a stage with an audience looking at me made me feel? This was all decided btw without any consultation with either me or parents. Looking back I can see now what they were trying to do, but went about it in completely the wrong way.

Sorry about the rant, hope I didn't bore you :D
 
daffy

daffy

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For me i went to all girls schools till i was almost 15 . Then we moved house and i had to go to a co-ed school. I didn’t know how to speak to boys as friends at all. So i ended up with the quiet girls that didn’t mingle and was not quite bullied but teased no end by the boys because i wouldnt retaliate. It got so bad that one teacher even came to my house to speak to my parents about how timid i was. When i left school things improved and i got a good mixed circle of friends. But my anxiety stayed with me all my life.
Your so right about them not teaching social skills at school. It’s so important that kids learn to socialise normally. Not pointing them out and forcing them into activities that they find impossible.
 
hicks

hicks

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Here's an idea I had - why not have a full time counselor/therapist in all schools? I'm pretty sure there would be enough work to keep them occupied. And I've heard teachers complaining that they are increasingly having to fulfill the role of a counselor/psychologist, for which they are completely untrained.
Having a professional counselor in schools would not only help individual kids who have problems, they could also facilitate social sessions, in which conversational skills are practiced and improved.
 
daffy

daffy

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Here's an idea I had - why not have a full time counselor/therapist in all schools? I'm pretty sure there would be enough work to keep them occupied. And I've heard teachers complaining that they are increasingly having to fulfill the role of a counselor/psychologist, for which they are completely untrained.
Having a professional counselor in schools would not only help individual kids who have problems, they could also facilitate social sessions, in which conversational skills are practiced and improved.
They have them in colleges and universities so surely having one in schools would be a good idea. Even if they were only there one day a week would be better than nothing
 
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indigo6

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Like the idea of nurturing children rather than forcing them to tough it out. This is where it hierarchies, the cliques?
No way should a child have to be put through this. Its hard enough when you are adult.
The quieter, introverted children should be watched over. Teaching social skills to a certin level but quiet gentle thoughtful children should be celebrated.
Hicks and Daffy thank you for sharing. If I had been your teacher Id have been watching over you.
Im embarrassed to say I was a bit outgoing as a child. I had a late speaking sibling who I took charge of and my Father made me out to be a genius so I was a show off somewhat. I never was unkind to my peers though. It seems the older Ive got the more socially awkward Ive become. I think being hyenad (I made that up, my new word for bullied) as an adult has altered me for good. That and learning silence is perfectly fine.
 
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indigo6

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*peer/classmate not teacher. Doh.
 
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