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Social Anxiety in my twenties. Need some help and tips

S

Sarah Wui

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
7
Location
Vancouver BC
I was at a help organization today to get free lunch. I got my plate of food and sat down at a table with 5 other woman. One of which I know. The young woman in front of me I saw was in her twenties as well. I get social anxiety and fearful when I am around people my age. I feel they will reject me and belittle and bully me. These experiences were especially intense when I was in high school ten years ago. The young woman sitting in front of me evoked fear out of me. She reminded me of how a couple girl look exactly like when I did get bullied in my adolescence. I was frozen. I ate as fast as I could and talked the best I could with my social anxiety running in my head to the girl I know at the same table. The young woman that emits anxiety out of me started talking to us as well because she overheard our conversation. I was so very nervous when she asked me for my age. I felt she was the cause of my anxiety. Any help what to do? I don't have a job right now. I don't know what to do, how to work if my coworkers are young and in their twenties and it evokes social anxiety out of me, I couldn't run away from the job if I had one. Anyone have any suggestions for me?
 
Annelis

Annelis

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 26, 2019
Messages
205
Location
Slovakia
You must have had a very hard time, eating your lunch, but even worse back at school. You should know that you aren't the only person experiencing this. Even though the society might try to prevent bullying at school, there are really many people who undergo bullying and yes, it can have terrible effect on people.
You ask for suggestions, well, perhaps explaining to yourself in your mind that this person isn't the one who hurt you long ago might help, though I know it might seem impossible to understand for a frightened mind.
Or maybe try to find one nice person of your age and if you get an experience of not being hurt it might help you believe that there are other nice people too. Also I know it's easier said than done.
When you say it would be hard for you if you had a job, well there are jobs which don't really require you to be in much contact with people in twenties. Or, what I experienced is, that when under the pressure of knowing that I'm at work, I find it a bit easier to manage anxiety and continue working. Like if it can be avoided, I sometimes give up having ice cream so I don't have to talk to the person selling it, but when I'm at work, I can force myself to call people, or meet them and talk to them (something I thought was impossible before getting the job) and then I'm proud of myself that I did it! .. and when I leave work I go back to my antisocial life :D probably it doesn't work like this for everyone, but it's worth trying, isn't it? I mean even if you run away from work, the worst thing that could happen would be the employer firing you and than you would be the same unemployed as now, so I think you don't have much to lose if you try.
 
S

Sarah Wui

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
7
Location
Vancouver BC
You must have had a very hard time, eating your lunch, but even worse back at school. You should know that you aren't the only person experiencing this. Even though the society might try to prevent bullying at school, there are really many people who undergo bullying and yes, it can have terrible effect on people.
You ask for suggestions, well, perhaps explaining to yourself in your mind that this person isn't the one who hurt you long ago might help, though I know it might seem impossible to understand for a frightened mind.
Or maybe try to find one nice person of your age and if you get an experience of not being hurt it might help you believe that there are other nice people too. Also I know it's easier said than done.
When you say it would be hard for you if you had a job, well there are jobs which don't really require you to be in much contact with people in twenties. Or, what I experienced is, that when under the pressure of knowing that I'm at work, I find it a bit easier to manage anxiety and continue working. Like if it can be avoided, I sometimes give up having ice cream so I don't have to talk to the person selling it, but when I'm at work, I can force myself to call people, or meet them and talk to them (something I thought was impossible before getting the job) and then I'm proud of myself that I did it! .. and when I leave work I go back to my antisocial life :D probably it doesn't work like this for everyone, but it's worth trying, isn't it? I mean even if you run away from work, the worst thing that could happen would be the employer firing you and than you would be the same unemployed as now, so I think you don't have much to lose if you try.
Good point you make. I am unemployed. So the worst that could happen would be I get fired and I will be unemployed again. There isn't any loss in trying. I never thought about it in that way until I read this. It's kind of funny actually. Thanks Annelis for the feedback!
 
Lady in Blue

Lady in Blue

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2019
Messages
80
Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Sarah, I can relate to social anxiety around youth. I was afraid of my peers when I was your age and still am uncomfortable around them at the other end of the life continuum. I was also bullied on my way to school almost every day for a number of years. If I saw a group of two or more youth it was a gang, and I would hide until they passed or cross to the other side of the street. The one advantage is that the older you get, the better chances you have of interacting with more mature adults. I always felt more comfortable with older people or children (sometimes, although they can be intimidating as well - they tend to develop attitude quite early these days). Peer pressure is a tremendous force to reckon with, but the older you get, the less influential it will be. Setting boundaries is important. For example, I am always teased for wearing a hat in fall/winter. One day recently, this person crossed my path once too often and I was just not in the mood. So I told him in no uncertain terms that I resented his remark and it was unacceptable. Of course he became defensive and tried to make me look like I was being oversensitive, but his reaction confirmed that my message was received, and I set my boundary. In terms of employment, working with older people or maybe home based employment might be an option for you.
 
S

Sarah Wui

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
7
Location
Vancouver BC
Tha
Sarah, I can relate to social anxiety around youth. I was afraid of my peers when I was your age and still am uncomfortable around them at the other end of the life continuum. I was also bullied on my way to school almost every day for a number of years. If I saw a group of two or more youth it was a gang, and I would hide until they passed or cross to the other side of the street. The one advantage is that the older you get, the better chances you have of interacting with more mature adults. I always felt more comfortable with older people or children (sometimes, although they can be intimidating as well - they tend to develop attitude quite early these days). Peer pressure is a tremendous force to reckon with, but the older you get, the less influential it will be. Setting boundaries is important. For example, I am always teased for wearing a hat in fall/winter. One day recently, this person crossed my path once too often and I was just not in the mood. So I told him in no uncertain terms that I resented his remark and it was unacceptable. Of course he became defensive and tried to make me look like I was being oversensitive, but his reaction confirmed that my message was received, and I set my boundary. In terms of employment, working with older people or maybe home based employment might be an option for you.
thanks for sharing.
 
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