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is it social phobia, fear of intimacy or ??

F

Firewind

Guest
For decades now I have assumed I have social phobia
and yet when I read about the symptoms, something
doesn't quite ring true. I very well may have it but over
the last few weeks I've been wondering about something.

I am very comfortable with strangers. I can talk to any
stranger anywhere about almost anything from chit chat
to pretty intimate things if it is not inappropriate. I've
had a lot of therapy and I think because of that I went
from someone who kept everything inside to someone who
feels comfortable talking about almost anything.

The problem comes if, say, I begin to see and speak with the
same person
in the store over and over. It begins to become more
uncomfortable for me. I might even change the store I go to.
:unsure:
My mom seems to have something similiar altho I didn't know
it til recently (I've lived most of my life in a different area from
my parents). She goes to a really big church and will sit in an
area for a while til she starts to get to know the people and then
she will have to move to another part of the church she is so
uncomfortable.

My mom likes people and is good with people and the odd thing is
both of us prefer "people" jobs. Jobs where we actually work with
the public, like in a dept. store or customer service. And both of
us always get along with our co-workers better than most people
do even the people that most people can't get along with.

She has been married for almost 60 years so it's not a commitment
problem. I don't believe mine is about commitment either. I've been
in two long term relationships in my life and I am 60 now. I was
married for over 30 years to the same man.

I didn't know that my mom had these same symtoms til I moved
over here to her area. The symptoms we have (and there are
many more along the same line) are almost exactly alike and neither
of us knew it til I moved here and we began to talk to each other
more in depth.

I began to wonder if it is fear of intimacy, altho in a way that doesn't
seem right either as I really prefer emotional intimacy in friendships and
other close relationships. That is one difference in me and my mom.
But she didn't have years of therapy like I did. I used to hate intimacy
like she does. I was very private as she is and didn't really want people
to get too close. I've changed that part because of the therapy I feel.

So then I become even more confused. For me, anyway, I love emotional
intimacy so that doesn't make sense either.

But these strange symptoms that my mom and I do share. I don't know
what they really are. Maybe they are social phobia, just a different kind
than fit into what is usually listed as the typical symptoms. I do go into
a panic at the thought of going to church or other places like that. And
I do know that it has something to do with the people because thinking
about going to an empty church is not a problem lol.

As background I have had on and off problems with agoraphobia, driving phobias, panic attacks, and very bad almost continual high anxiety at various times of my life. I've also had on and off problems with depression which is controlled now thru antidepressants. I also have PTSD from a lot
of childhood things and some adult traumas.

If anyone has any ideas about this odd thing (or at least odd to me to try to put a name to) I'd appreciate :unsure:
 
D

Dollit

Guest
I sometimes feel more comfortable with people I don't know that well. When I go to buy my groceries I don't go out to make friends with people - I just want to do my shopping and go home. I have a small circle of people that I would trust my life with, then I have another circle that I know well but I'm not that close to and then the people on the periphery. But if you ask anyone they will probably tell you the same thing.

Often we're the way we are just because that's who we are. Anything that doesn't fit into the norm isn't necessarily an illness but often just a personality trait.
 
F

Firewind

Guest
a little more info

some of the other things that have to do with this

these are some things that kind of go along with this

I peek out the window before taking out the garbage to
see if anyone is around before going out

I go thru huge amts of time when I just can't answer my
phone

There are times I can't look at my email because something
might require personal interaction

My mom doesn't have to change where she sits just because
she goes to church to hear the minister and doesnt' want
to be bothered. She moves because she is beginning to get
to know the people and something about that makes it
kind of excruiating to her.

I actually love talking to people when I go to the store
strangers anyway. I am not one of those people with
tunnel vision, or that goal oriented. I enjoy the journey
of life, not just the destination. Going to the grocery store
is a little adventure for me which for me includes light
interaction with the people there, including both shoppers
and friendly interaction with cashiers.

I desperately want to go to church or other things where I
could create community with others. I really need this and
want it very much. I have the perfect church, one I love
the denomination, two blocks from me but in the two years
I've lived here every time I think about trying to go I feel
panic coming on.

I'd love to go to take local classes in painting or learning a
language. ditto everything I said about the church. I very
much would like to make some friends. I've lived in this city
for 6 years and this...social phobia...fear of intimacy..or what
ever it and the panic that insues when I think of doing some
of the things that would help me meet people and make friends
has left me alone, lonely, no friends. I'm a likable person with
a good personality so I know I could make friends if I could
just get myself to go to places where I could meet some
people.

I am shy and I am an intervert and I do like to spend a lot of
time alone so this would be bothering me a lot more if I were
an extrovert, outgoing and couldn't stand to spend much time
by myself. But after 6 years, I'm getting pretty lonely not
having any friends or just not being able to go to church even
if I didn't make any friends. Even if I could just go places where
there is community, even if I was just there, it would satisfy a
lot of my feelings of never being around people.

My friends are all in the place I moved from and the only reason
I met them was in therapeutic support groups. Otherwise, I
probably wouldn't have any friends at all.

My parents are here and I do see them about once a week so I
am not totally isolated, but I really need a little more. Just to be
able to go to church, or even one friend that I got together with
even once a month.

Maybe I didn't explain it correctly in my first post but this is having
a huge impact on my life. The more time I spend alone, the more
I become, I don't know how to explain it, but it feels as tho I become
more and more "odd" after spending almost 6 years just seeing my parents
maybe 3 times a month. I guess that sounds strange, but I'm beginning
to realize that so much time alone is changing me too much. I don't
think humans were meant to be alone this much. It changes your
thinking and the way you feel...at least that seems to be what is
happening to me.

My mom has my dad or I think she would be more like me. If anything
happened to my dad, God forbid, I think she would be having some of
the same problems. I don't believe she would continue to go to church
which is the only real place she is around people.

Neither of us work any longer. She is elderly. I am extremely disabled.
I could work from home and am working on doing that but that doesn't
fix my main problem as I would still be here alone.

Maybe it is just a personality trait, but it wasn't the way I used to be
when I was younger. I had I guess the kernels of this as a young woman
but now its...well...I'm alone, lonely and after 6 years I really need very
much to be around more people than just my parents who I share no
ways of thinking with, so even tho I see them, I can never be myself around them. The only time I am who I really am is online.

Being able to be online saved me after I moved away from my friends,phone calls with them, but sometimes you just need to sit across from an actual
human face and interact. The pc helps a lot. Without it, I think I'd just go completely "the famous aviator guy who stopped clipping his nails lol" forget his name.

I've tried every medication my drs have given me to try to overcome this, I've tried cognitive and every therapy I can think of. I've read a zillion self-help books. I've tried desensitization. Truthfully, a lot of these did work temporarily. But then they would stop working.

At this point, I know that I go on very heavy medication and probably go to the church. But the medication would have to be so strong that it would effect the quality of life I have the other "how-ever many hours there is in a week subtracting 2 hours at church." And except for this problem, I enjoy my life. But this is a BIG problem. lol

sigh...maybe it is just some form of social phobia that doesn't quite fit into the regular list of symptoms. Maybe I'm not willing to be so heavily sedated that I can't enjoy the rest of my time and I do enjoy it except for this problem. I have copd and I think this feels more important because altho I'm sure I still have several years where I can get around with oxygen and do things and go out and have lunch with someone or go to the museum with someone, the copd has changed my perspective. I've known for many years about the copd but now, it's getting worse so I guess, knowing, really knowing, not just an intellectual construct that my time is limited on the planet, I wish I
could fix this, but because of the copd and the fact that I do enjoy my life except for this I am not willing to take heavy sedating medication that would steal the enjoyment that I do have in life except for this problem. I want to enjoy the time I have left and I do except for this.

I know it sounds very complicated, at least it does from where I'm sitting, and
if it really is just that simple, that it is social phobia and that if I have to decide if I want to spend the rest of my time on the planet sedated, but able to have a social life, or not heavily sedated and enjoy most of the several years I have left, maybe it's just a matter of making that decision and living with it. I can do that.

It has made me feel a lot better to just write all this out. It gives me a clearer view that I am making a decision in this and maybe that's
all I really needed all along. lol Sometimes talk therapy does work :):flowers:
 
keepsafe

keepsafe

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Messages
13,625
Hello Firewind

I don;t know whether you have a social phobia or not - the only thing I can say is I have withdrawn too but I think it is part of the depression I am suffering - I know the longer I stay away from contact with the outside world if you like - the harder things become, everyday things just seem quite impossible - so the longer you stay on your own (talking about myself) the more this reinforces the action and then it becomes like a vicious circle.

I'm glad you feel a little better for writing it all down anyway. I have the issue of not being able to talk to anyone close - only strangers, working on it though.

I do have an online friend who has helped me a lot and being on here also helps

KS
:D
 
F

Firewind

Guest
thank you Keepsafe

Thank you for posting. I didn't know there were others who
might feel more comfortable talking to strangers than people
they knew. I'm sorry for your problems. I wish you some
healing and movement toward the life you want. I'm glad you have
found a friend online to help a little. Every little bit helps,
that's for sure. I hope today you are able to find at least a
tiny bit of joy in your day. I'm lucky in that my depression is
under control so I'm able to sort of collect "nice moments" the way others
collect stamps. lol I make a list of them, too. My memory is kind
of bad, so if I can't think of something to create another "nice
moment" to add to my "collection" I just go to my growing list
and pick something from there to do again. lol I wish you blessings today.
Warmly, fw:hug:
 
keepsafe

keepsafe

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Messages
13,625
Oh thats a really good thing to do - write down a list of nice things and then if you can't find something - go back to the list an pick one off there, wow - thats cool, maybe I will be able to do that one day - soon maybe.
Hope you are having a pleasant day.
KS

Yes some nice messages gave me a smile this morning, so that was really nice and warm feeling. Something good, there are some lovely people on here.
:)
 
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F

Firewind

Guest
hi on Tuesday

Hi KS, It felt good to get your post.
a warm moment for me. Today, the
"nice moment" I gave myself was to
fix an extra special coffee this morning.
It's my favorite. I put in a tsp of instant
decaf, 3 heaping tsps Hershy's dark cocoa,
12 little taps of cinnamon, pour in just boiling water
then I top it with
that Kraft Lite frozen Cool Whip, about 3 tbspns,
and then I sprinkle a little more cinnamon on that.

I make sure I fix it in a clear mug so I can see it.
It looks so pretty to me. I enjoy all the smells of
the coffee and the cinnamon as I put them in...
and oh....that first taste! yummmmmmm

It was a wonderful way to start my day today.
(Don't tell anyone, but I even made a 2nd one
after I finished the first lol) so I had a double
set of "nice moments" (licking my lips just remembering
how yummy and warm and comforting it was:) ).

I'm glad you had some warm moments too. Even if
you don't list them they could be some of your "nice
moments" for today. I just like to make lists. It's the
Aquarian in me lol.

Warmly, fw:)
 
keepsafe

keepsafe

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Messages
13,625
Oh I am having a bit of trouble at the moment
Read your psot though - coffee sounds yum
Glad your day a good one
:hug:
 
F

Firewind

Guest
thinking of you

Just a little note to let you know that
I am thinking of you. And saying a
little prayer if that is ok. I send you
a hug and a wish for things to
be better soon, at least a little. :hug: fw
 
ms_P

ms_P

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
3,067
Location
BeNeLux
Being shy and/or an introvert doesn't make you sick. It's your character, for better or worse. I'm the same although not many know it until I tell them.
Chin up. You're allowed to be you. :hug:
 
KP1

KP1

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
Messages
1,500
I think it is very common to worry about talking to other people and probably to do with lack of self confidence and generally feeling awkward.I've found it easier over the years when I am working and dealing with the public than when i am privately meeting people. Something to do with carrying out my job and being in role I think. I worry about what other people think of me then think its stupid to worry about what everyone thinks its the people who are close to me that really matter. I think its easy to then put up protective barriers to avoid being hurt,rejected or laughed at. Moving around in the church could be this sort of behaviour.
Kp
 
F

Firewind

Guest
hi there

Thank you for your posts. I know I did so much
better when I worked. I'm disabled with copd
or I would try to get a little part time job that
was around people. I think that would actually
work for me. I'm trying to stay away from that
kind of daily interaction so I don't get as many
upper respiratory infections which is one of the
things that shorten your life with copd.

I do go to the store and see my family. I don't
isolate totally because of the copd but I just don't
think it wise for me to purposely put myself in a
situation that would put me at higher
odds of getting infections. That is so very unfortunate,
tho, because I really do feel that it would help fix
this problem for me. I use to love people jobs and
it might be a little hard at first but I think that natural
part of me would kick back in. life is full of irony
sometimes :)

You are probably right about this just being part of
my character. I probably inherited that lovely gene
lol from my mom, bless her heart.

I've been a little off-kilter the last few days and am
going to the dr today to up my medication. Who knows,
maybe by upping it I would not get so panicky trying to
go to the church near me. You all please send me good
energy or a prayer if you wouldn't mind til I get over this
little bump in the road. I'm going to be a little zombie like
for a few days when I go back on the Depakote so don't
know if I'll just be sleeping. But I do so appreciate that
this website is here and people to get feedback from.

Feedback is so important in life. I gues it isn't something
people ususally think about but when you are alone too
much and not getting that often enough you can begin to
get a little "odd" if you know what I mean lol.

I am alone far more than a human should be alone and I
really need to do something about that soon. I'm not
sure what. I don't have a car which makes it difficult.
Sometimes I wake up and have a day where I feel like
my old self. If I had a car on those days I could go out
and do some kind of socializing. Before I moved here 6
years ago I did have one and I would do that on those
days when I woke feeling totally normal and not scared
to go out and be around people. It happened often enough
to keep what has happened here away.

Well, please say a little prayer if you don't mind as I get
thru these next few days and thank you all so very much
for taking the time to write. warmly, sharon:grouphug:
 
B

bluedog13

New member
Joined
Apr 16, 2009
Messages
3
For decades now I have assumed I have social phobia
and yet when I read about the symptoms, something
doesn't quite ring true. I very well may have it but over
the last few weeks I've been wondering about something.

I am very comfortable with strangers. I can talk to any
stranger anywhere about almost anything from chit chat
to pretty intimate things if it is not inappropriate. I've
had a lot of therapy and I think because of that I went
from someone who kept everything inside to someone who
feels comfortable talking about almost anything.

The problem comes if, say, I begin to see and speak with the
same person

If anyone has any ideas about this odd thing (or at least odd to me to try to put a name to) I'd appreciate :unsure:
Hello Firewind
I hope I'm not too late to join this thread, as I've only just found this forum. I can relate 100% to what you say about not being comfortable with people you have to keep seeing, whereas you can be comfortable with strangers. I think I'm a lot like you, and I also tend to work with people, in my case, elderly people. I wonder a lot about this quirk of mine, as, like you said, I don't fit into the general description of social anxiety. I don't blush and stammer. I'm fine in crowds of people, but I don't like being 'trapped' in a room with people, especially if its hard to leave inconsicuously.

I'm fine at making conversation. I like people. But I can't stand being in a situation where I can't easily leave. Thats interesting you mention church, too, because I had a similar experience. It started getting to me that every week I sat in the back row, and the lady who sat in the same row liked to chat with me after church, as I passed her going out. It started to bother me that I HAD to chat with her. I never felt like it. She was a perfectly nice lady, and she thought a lot of me, for some reason.

Also it started to get to me that in church you can't just get up and go out for no reason, unless youre feeling faint or sick! It would be hard to explain to the person at the door that I was feeling, just. very very tense and agitated for no reason. Actually, the reason I want to leave is because I can't leave, I mean, because its not the done thing to leave, and nobody else does. That makes me feel trapped, and I can't bear that feeling of being trapped, and at other people's mercy. I have a huge aversion to it, and it limits me in many many ways.

Hope you are still here, because I'd like to discuss this more.
All the best
Offplanet
 
M

Monkey74

New member
Joined
Apr 16, 2009
Messages
1
something similar

I have exactly the same problem as this. No problem at all with
strangers, giving presentations at work, leading meetings etc, in fact i work with the public.
With friends or people who are becoming friends its another matter - i feel nervous, sick, can't eat in social situations, waves of panic come over me - even with people i have known a long time. I feel more comfortable with some friends than others
I think I know the issue - with strangers and colleagues the relationship is completely transient. When I was with my girlfriend for a few years and the problems eased, mainly as i had a good excuse if i wanted to avoid certain situations. Now i am single again i feel compelled to force myself to become more sociable - but the more i face my fears the more ill i feel - does that make any sense? As described below i feel happier in situations where i don't feel trapped - so going for a pub quiz for a couple of hours fine. However, i am going for a long weekend soon for a friends wedding where there will be people i know, lots of drinking and eating and there will be no escape.
I hate feeling like this and feel like a freak - whenever i have tried to talk to people about it they didn't understand and now i just suffer internally.
Just want to be able to get over it and be normal but don't know how.
monkey74
 
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B

bluedog13

New member
Joined
Apr 16, 2009
Messages
3
I have exactly the same problem as this. No problem at all with
strangers, giving presentations at work, leading meetings etc, in fact i work with the public.
With friends or people who are becoming friends its another matter - i feel nervous, sick, can't eat in social situations, waves of panic come over me - even with people i have known a long time. I feel more comfortable with some friends than others
I think I know the issue - with strangers and colleagues the relationship is completely transient. When I was with my girlfriend for a few years and the problems eased, mainly as i had a good excuse if i wanted to avoid certain situations. Now i am single again i feel compelled to force myself to become more sociable - but the more i face my fears the more ill i feel - does that make any sense? As described below i feel happier in situations where i don't feel trapped - so going for a pub quiz for a couple of hours fine. However, i am going for a long weekend soon for a friends wedding where there will be people i know, lots of drinking and eating and there will be no escape.
I hate feeling like this and feel like a freak - whenever i have tried to talk to people about it they didn't understand and now i just suffer internally.
Just want to be able to get over it and be normal but don't know how.
monkey74
Yes, this is the hard part, that nobody knows what you're talking about, and there doesn't seem to be any way of explaining it without seeming weird, or like you're just making excuses for not wanting to accept invitations. If I could come up with a reasonable sounding explanation for saying no to invitations which involve being 'trapped', my life would be a lot lot easier. As it is, I have simply become a bit of a recluse, and avoid getting at all involved with people, so that I wont be invited anywhere, or have people call in on me.

It doesn't seem fair that one has to come across as weird, just for not liking being trapped. Isn't it reasonable to not like being trapped? I don't know why anyone likes it. Think of the situation where people drop in at your house. You're there happily absorbed in some activity, in your own little world, and suddenly you have to get into a different mode, and suddenly have to drop what you're doing and get into a friendly sociable mode. You have no idea how long they will stay, thats completely up to them. It could be a few hours! Meanwhile you have to pretend to be happy they're here,and interested in the conversation, which you're not, because you're filled with tension and feeling upset inside, just longing for them to go so you can get back to your happy little world. It's not the done thing to say "Can you please just go now, I can't stand this a minute longer" !! Yet why not? It's true. We 'have' to pretend, which is a weird thing in itself, I think.

As I've got older, and more tired of the stress, I've come to openly discourage people from calling on me, and it feels great. Apart from my grown children I don't encourage anyone to come to my home, and I don't go to any social gatherings.

I know what you mean about being able to go for a certain time to the pub, because its easy to leave without causing a sensation. You go there, stay, and leave, all at your own free choice, not because of anyone else's expectation.

Why I'm so sensitive to being bound by anyone else's expection, I don't know. Maybe it's to do with having a weak sense of self, which means that being driven by complying with other people's expectations, instead of by my own wishes, makes me feel worthless. I want to be my own personality, but that personality is a bit too fragile.

How could I explain that??:drool:



offplanet
 
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