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Is it bad for me to obsess over improving how I sound and how I act in social situations or do I need to stop overthinking so much?

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depressed_person18

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Messages
18
Location
United Kingdom
Hi everyone. I suffer from depression but also social anxiety. Oddly enough I have friends at school with whom I tend to be comfortable around. The only thing is that I was never able to go out places with them outside of school. I think that was due to the uncertainty of what could happen and I got very panicky about that. Anyone I didn’t know in school I had major panic attacks around when I was forced into talking to them. Like when we had to join with another class for 5 minutes and talk to a younger group of people; my ability to speak was just gone, it seemed.

I often find myself questioning things such as, “If I maybe acted a certain way, or focused on my breathing, or spoke more slowly, maybe things would have went better and I could have been more composed, calm and able to speak?” but no matter what ‘strategies’ I come up with none of them seem to work or be sustainable and I also get tired of the fact that I have to overthink so much on something which would be second nature to most other people.

I think it’s therefore bad that I’m thinking too much about how I should act in social situations. It seems no matter what I always mess up and make a fool of myself. Yet around my close friends I am fine in school (in a specific well-known setting with a specific group of people). Another example of a familiar situation is my local shop I would always go to on my way back from school. I could always compose myself fine then. But for something unfamiliar like ordering a pizza, the build up and uncertainty when waiting for the person to arrive gives me bad panic attacks and I need to use the toilet like three times before they get there because my anxiety makes me need the bathroom urgently. When I talk to the person my voice is high pitched and shaky and I can’t even carefully compose the words which are coming out of my mouth and I get really frustrated at myself for that and I don’t know why.

Do I need to stop overthinking how to act and just be myself and forgive myself for being so awful at certain social situations? It’s really hard but I hate thinking X strategy will work and make me appear more confident when it ends up never doing so.
 
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bpd2020

Well-known member
Joined
May 25, 2020
Messages
797
Location
England
I think your last paragraph hit the nail on the head, yes you do need to forgive yourself. Social anxiety is not a logical condition. We can tell ourselves we should have done this or that but in the very moment the fear can be so intense it is hard to do anything about it. I really think it is wonderful you have some friends who can feel comfortable with. That is a great start. It is common to analyse situations and behaviours when we have anxiety. Please do not be hard on yourself.
 
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depressed_person18

Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Messages
18
Location
United Kingdom
I think your last paragraph hit the nail on the head, yes you do need to forgive yourself. Social anxiety is not a logical condition. We can tell ourselves we should have done this or that but in the very moment the fear can be so intense it is hard to do anything about it. I really think it is wonderful you have some friends who can feel comfortable with. That is a great start. It is common to analyse situations and behaviours when we have anxiety. Please do not be hard on yourself.
Thank you for the kind words of reassurance. I definitely needed to hear this.
 
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Nukelavee

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Messages
1,584
Location
London, ON
Ever watch Barack Obama speak? I mean, he's an awesome speaker, but, watch his mannerisms. Those pauses in his speaking are him, likely, collecting and planning his next statement. And people wait on those words.

PAusing between ideas or phrases helps remove the stress, and it makes people take you more seriously.

Try to slow down a bit, relax. You deserve to be heard - you just need to convince yourself of it.
 
FlowerBox

FlowerBox

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
488
Location
Here
I used to overthink a strategy too much too and sometimes I still do but honestly, being so hard on yourself will only make it worse I think...in general, people probably don't notice or take note of how you are acting, and let's say they notice you are nervous or something, the average person isn't going to dwell on it or judge you for it, go easy on yourself...everyone has their own obstacles 🙏 :hug1:
 
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