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Should I do something?

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S0me0ne

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Apr 15, 2021
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Hi, I think I might have social anxiety. I often have trouble communicating with people, even when they are close to me and I can be very nervous and afraid they might judge me. I never suffer from serious physical symptoms though. I dont know if I sound tell anyone or see a doctor, because im afraid people might (silently) judge me even more for having a disorder and not including me in conversations because they dont understand that I WANT to participatie, but that I'm just terrified. Can anyone tell me what they think I should do? Do you think people will understand? Or should I keep it to myself?
Thanks so much if you answer!
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Hi, welcome to the forum. This is a common problem but I'm not sure if most people can understand it. People don't seem to be real good at understanding things that they don't experience for themselves. Yet because it is a common problem we all have interacted with other socially anxious people even if we didn't know they had the problem too. So common, yet so often unrecognized. And not enough people are getting any treatment for it. I think also that people can underestimate what a serious issue this can be. We're talking about having quality relationships and jobs, and just being comfortable to be yourself each day.

I'm not sure what you should do. I've never said to anyone "I have an anxiety disorder" even though I have had social phobia for decades. It's a sneaky problem that people just call their personality. Really, the anxiety denies us the opportunity to express our real personalities more openly. Social fears are inhibiting us from expressing ourselves.
 
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S0me0ne

New member
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
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Hi, welcome to the forum. This is a common problem but I'm not sure if most people can understand it. People don't seem to be real good at understanding things that they don't experience for themselves. Yet because it is a common problem we all have interacted with other socially anxious people even if we didn't know they had the problem too. So common, yet so often unrecognized. And not enough people are getting any treatment for it. I think also that people can underestimate what a serious issue this can be. We're talking about having quality relationships and jobs, and just being comfortable to be yourself each day.

I'm not sure what you should do. I've never said to anyone "I have an anxiety disorder" even though I have had social phobia for decades. It's a sneaky problem that people just call their personality. Really, the anxiety denies us the opportunity to express our real personalities more openly. Social fears are inhibiting us from expressing ourselves.
 
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S0me0ne

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Apr 15, 2021
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Thank you for your answer. I don't think I'm planning on telling anyone like that. Sometimes I just wish they would stop complaining about how I should do more in life and enjoy parties and people etc. I guess you're right, they will probably always asume that it's just who I am. Maybe I should learn to live with that. Or find the courage to express myself to close friends or family someday...
Thanks again and have a nice day!
 
Schwarzen

Schwarzen

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Everything you wrote screams social anxiety, which I'd say is most often characterized by an irrational and elevated level of self awareness in social contexts.

Now I have no idea what kind of person you're surrounded by but reasonable people won't judge someone over seeking medical care. But even if they don't you may perceive that they do because again that's what social anxiety often causes.

This sort of stuff tends to get worse and worse over time so it's always recommended to attack it early and hard even if you instinct is to avoid anything that may make you feel judged. Just don't tell people until you feel comfortable or if you must tell them just make it vague, say you're just having a rough time because of the pandemic, the general state of the world or whatever and you're just learning to cope better. If they give you actual shit over that then maybe you need better people in your life anyway.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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most often characterized by an irrational and elevated level of self awareness in social contexts.
Absolutely. That and more, making it a complex issue. I think it's mainly about feeling safe to be yourself. For whatever reason that safe and secure feeling is not there enough. We are sensing threats to our emotional well-being and trying to protect ourselves from possibly being hurt. But the price for doing this constantly is a steep price to pay. In a way our brain is doing too good a job at protecting us because it doesn't accurately assess threats. It makes a big deal out of too many social situations that are really harmless most of the time. So, "deactivating" that sense of threat or danger somehow, is key to being more at ease and more able to just be who you are.
 
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S0me0ne

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I think I will give it some time. There are people in my life who I can trust and who will probably support me if they understand what's going on. I myself don't fully understand all of my feelings yet and which ones are rational, more or less, and which ones are caused by the anxiety. And what that anxiety actually means. It all sounds just so serious when you say 'anxiety disorder'. I hope I can deactivate that sense of threat without therapy or anything, but I think if it gets worse like Schwartzen said, I think I might need it anyway.
Thanks again for the answers, they are very helpful.
 
P

Purpleplum

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I'd see a doctor...only tell people you trust. It's not that people would judge you but they'd be afraid to interact with you because of being worried that you'd panic if they did.
In my experience, keep disorders to yourself but get help/work on it in private.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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It all sounds just so serious when you say 'anxiety disorder'
Yeah, I had some trouble accepting that it is a disorder for me. After many years though it became more clear. Well, if you look at it as something you don't choose, because who really wants to be this way? -- then there must be something going on that is beyond your ability to manage, or else you'd have managed it already.

You can keep on learning about it, thinking about it, trying to understand it, and all that might help a bit, but doubtfully will it resolve the problem. Understanding why you feel as you do is useful, but it doesn't really change how you feel. To me that means something deeper is going on.

So, I'm OK with calling it a disorder, but it took me a long while to get there. This is why I doubt others without the issue will understand much about it. Because even after struggling with it for so long, it is still hard for me to comprehend. A really complicated disorder, in my opinion.
 
Empish

Empish

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Uk
Yes you have social anxiety disorder but there are plenty of things you can try before going to the doctors for medication, that should be a last resort (in my opinion).

There seems to be quite a lot of people on these sites who don't realise that caffeine makes anxiety worse and by simply eliminating this from your diet it will make a big difference.

Caffeine is in...

1. Chocolate (you don't have to give it up completely, just have it occasionally when you have nothing going on in your day).

2. Coffee, black tea, green tea.

3. Decaf coffee and decaf tea also has a little caffeine in as it is impossible to extract all of it.

4. Coke, pepsi and any other type of cola.

5. Redbull/energy type fizzy drinks.

Some other fizzy drinks....check the ingredients on the side of the can.

Some painkillers and other medications....check the ingredients.

The next thing you should do is buy a good quality multivitamin and mineral tablet that contains lots of B vitamins especially B5. Don't buy a cheap brand from your local chemist, go to a health food store or buy online. You are in Amsterdam so I don't know what brands will be good in Holland. Solgar is a worldwide well recommended brand but you could ask in the health food shop they will know. Say you want a multivitamin and mineral tablet that contains high B vitamins. Say it's for stress they will know what's best. This will definitely bring your anxiety down a notch or two. It might sound like something as simple as a vitamin wouldn't be able to make much difference but they do and they are used in places like rehabs and mental health hospitals.

Next you can try some lavender or bergamot essential oil or see an aromatherapist if money is no problem for you.

Just add two drops of lavender to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil (any kind of vegetable oil will do or you could buy some almond oil if you prefer) and massage it into your abdomen (where the nervous system is). Lavender relaxing and is also good for insomnia. If you don't feel any effect after about 3 hours then try another drop in half a teaspoon. Bergamot is another good oil for anxiety and is also good for confidence and depression. Do some experimenting and see which best suits you. It can also be massaged into your thighs and lower back. Always dilute the essential oils though as they are very strong and NEVER TAKE THEM INTERNALLY. You might feel a little weird for the first two hours after you use them but this will pass. Look up Aromatherapy online for more advice. You could also just add 8 -10 drops of lavender to a bath for an easier method.

For long term help I can't recommend Yoga enough. There are lots of youtube videos on the net especially for anxiety and stress. If you go to a class make sure it's class for stress not a hot yoga class which is more focused for people who want to get super fit.

Learn some simple meditation exercises. It is so simple once you have got the hang of it and just 15 minutes of good quality meditation is very helpful. You might not feel the benefit until a few hours after you meditate so don't get disheartened if it doesn't work immediately.

Also self help books for anxiety are also good. I will write another time to discuss those.
 
Empish

Empish

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I forgot to say it would be a good idea to go to your doctor to see if you can have counselling or some kind of talking therapy but I would hold off taking medication and try the above mentioned things first. And don't be too hard on yourself..millions of people have these kind of problems you just need to work out what will help you best.
 
jajingna

jajingna

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I think green tea (decaf) is mostly good and helps relieve anxiety a bit.
 
Empish

Empish

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Camomile tea is very soothing but don't have more than 5 cups a day. Rooibos tea is caffeine free and tastes good with a splash of milk.

I'm not sure about the green tea decaf, personally I would stay away from anything that once contained caffeine because I heard they can't get all of it out. Maybe if you stay off all caffeine for a week or two then try the decaf green you can gauge how it affects you.
 
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