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Social anxiety is crippling

T

Turqouise

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Oct 25, 2020
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1
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Melbourne
feel like my social anxiety is getting out of control and really affecting my life.
And I'm so scared that I'm going to feel like this for life.

It's gotten worse with lockdown restrictions easing. Me and my partner have been meeting his friends and although they're all nice, I just can't relax and enjoy myself. I feel like I look anxious and then I panic because I haven't said anything for a while and I just feel like I'm going to be known as the boring one.

It's so frustrating because I have a bubbly personality, I just find it impossible to show in a group setting with new people. It's making me dread the weekends because I know we'll be seeing people.

I actually find it easier meeting strangers for example rather than with my partner and his friends because I feel so embarrassed him seeing me like that.

I think I've come to a point where I know I should go to therapy, but I'm so scared that it won't work and that's my last hope. I'm generally a happy person, but the social anxiety is making me depressed. I just wish I could fake looking confident, but I know I just sit there looking nervous, which in turn makes me more nervous.

I'd say I've had social anxiety for 15 years maybe, but it's definitely getting worse. I just want to enjoy life, I feel so sad to think I'm spending all my time worrying about future social events, then worrying about how I looked after.

It's so crippling and I just wish there was a quick fix. I've spoken to my partner about it but I know he thinks it isn't that bad. Maybe because we haven't had to be in many social situations the last few months.

I'm from the UK and once restrictions ease I plan to join some groups and put myself out there. Although I know I'll just be a shell of myself. I just want to be happy and carefree again.
Any advice
 
Talina

Talina

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It’s good that you are trying to get help to handle your social anxiety. There never a fast fix and therapy can be a good first step for you.

I think putting yourself out there make it a bit easier to handle and will be a good step. Myself aren’t at my worse but I’ve gotten better at talking with new people compared how I was before. But it have been a slow process at least I don’t start crying and have a breakdown. For me it have helped putting myself out there slowly and going outside my comfort zone. Like I’ve been trying to wire myself it will be all okay.

But social aniexty truly is a restriction and can be crippling.
 
hicks

hicks

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A galaxy, far far away..
Are you better at talking to people on a one to one basis?
I'm still very anxious about group social situations, hate being the centre of attention, and get nervous when everyone's looking at me.
I can identify with that feeling of being perceived as boring. I know it probably doesn't help if I say that it's just your own mind convincing you that this is the case, and the other people really don't think that.
And also, if you're naturally introverted, you may find this kind of situation mentally draining. Extroverts are the other way around, and become energised by social contact.
 
OCDguy

OCDguy

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Jun 13, 2016
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1,589
I think it's great that you have mentioned this to your partner, you have broken the ice on the subject, he just now needs to realise how severe it is... Prentending to be something you aren't isn't healthy and can become exhausting very quickly. If you aren't feeling 100% just be honest about it, it reduces your expectation (you should feel less stressed) and the expectation of others'. You may even find they will show empathy towards you and support you. Through the support and encouragement of others' we have the potential to grow. I think Therapy and a trip to your Doctor's is a great idea. You certainly aren't the first to struggle and I get the impression you are looking for positive change. Hope this helps :)
 
jajingna

jajingna

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Joined
Jul 31, 2020
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2,018
Location
Canada
Hi, welcome to the forum. I've had a sort of lifelong battle with it as well. It's a strange thing to experience sometimes. Feel like I've missed out somehow but cannot retrieve anything past. Sometimes it has caused me a kind of trouble even. Others might not get the extent which this can affect someone. Some of my actions make/made little sense to me and I'd wonder why I acted one way and not another. I guess there was some sort of self-protection going on, wanting to not feel embarrassed or criticized or rejected mainly. I had so much unpleasantness growing up in a broken home it still affects me decades later.

Anyway, welcome.
 
D

Dispatch

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
529
Location
USA
feel like my social anxiety is getting out of control and really affecting my life.
And I'm so scared that I'm going to feel like this for life.

It's gotten worse with lockdown restrictions easing. Me and my partner have been meeting his friends and although they're all nice, I just can't relax and enjoy myself. I feel like I look anxious and then I panic because I haven't said anything for a while and I just feel like I'm going to be known as the boring one.

It's so frustrating because I have a bubbly personality, I just find it impossible to show in a group setting with new people. It's making me dread the weekends because I know we'll be seeing people.

I actually find it easier meeting strangers for example rather than with my partner and his friends because I feel so embarrassed him seeing me like that.

I think I've come to a point where I know I should go to therapy, but I'm so scared that it won't work and that's my last hope. I'm generally a happy person, but the social anxiety is making me depressed. I just wish I could fake looking confident, but I know I just sit there looking nervous, which in turn makes me more nervous.

I'd say I've had social anxiety for 15 years maybe, but it's definitely getting worse. I just want to enjoy life, I feel so sad to think I'm spending all my time worrying about future social events, then worrying about how I looked after.

It's so crippling and I just wish there was a quick fix. I've spoken to my partner about it but I know he thinks it isn't that bad. Maybe because we haven't had to be in many social situations the last few months.

I'm from the UK and once restrictions ease I plan to join some groups and put myself out there. Although I know I'll just be a shell of myself. I just want to be happy and carefree again.
Any advice
Hi welcome. Your post really struck a cord with me. Our minds convince us that people are going to be sitting there watching everything we do and are judging us, which turns out is never the case, but we can’t seem to shake the thoughts. My anxiety really hits a few hours prior to going to the event. I’ll pace, change my clothes a few times, try my relaxation techniques, deep breathing, etc ... then, when it’s time to leave for the event, that’s the critical time ... it’s do or die time , I have to make a decision. If I decide I’m going, I get there and usually end up having a pretty good time. From years of going through this, I KNOW that’s usually what happens, right ? ... but, I go through basically the whole thing again the when the next social thing comes up ... or in other words, it happens daily with me.
I think it’s a good idea to talk with your therapist and doctor about this as they very well may be able to prescribe something for you to help take the edge off and help you stay calm. But, as was in my case, I came to depend on my pill to be a fix all , which of course it wasn’t. These days I take a combination of different vitamins and supplements that I researched online, that are known to help with anxiety. These do help me during my day to day interactions at work for instance but I still go through the pacing, racing thoughts, changing what I’m wearing, etc if there’s an event going on ... but, not nearly as bad if I’m not taking anything at all.
So, to conclude, the thing that really seems to help is to convince myself that the people I’m going to be socializing with are not in the least bit concerned whether I seem nervous, shy, or whatever my mind had cooked up for me to worry about. Once I can establish that thought in my mind, I usually calm down and have a good time.
I don’t have a cure all for you, I wish I did, but since we do have to socialize we have to find someway to make it as easy as possible for us.
It may not work every time, but just tell yourself nobody cares or is thinking ANY of those thoughts your mind is telling you , they’re just happy you’re there.
I hope this helps , you’re not alone that’s for sure. 🙂
 
OCDguy

OCDguy

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Jun 13, 2016
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1,589
I wonder by worrying about what clothes we are going to wear etc. and spending time mulling over those things we are in fact indulging the fear/anxiety, which means we are always facing that last moment of fear/anxiousness (do I go/don't I go) instead of becoming insensitised to it. I think it's been said the more we expose ourself to something, the less impact it has on us.
 
D

Dispatch

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
529
Location
USA
I wonder by worrying about what clothes we are going to wear etc. and spending time mulling over those things we are in fact indulging the fear/anxiety, which means we are always facing that last moment of fear/anxiousness (do I go/don't I go) instead of becoming insensitised to it. I think it's been said the more we expose ourself to something, the less impact it has on us.
that’s a really good point and makes sense , but all I know is if I’m wearing the wrong shirt or whatever my mind is telling me looks wrong when I look in the mirror, I have to keep changing until I feel comfortable with what I’m wearing, often times coming back to the same shirt I initially had put on. It’d be comical if I didn’t have to go through this almost every time. Anyways, I’m determined to stop missing out on things , especially things like family gatherings. Thanksgivings coming up then right into Christmas so here we go ... lol
 
OCDguy

OCDguy

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Jun 13, 2016
Messages
1,589
I totally understand what you are saying :) The looking through shirts etc. though in my opinion distracts (is a distraction) from the initial anxiousness, so it's always fresh at the last minute... Feeling comfortable in what you are wearing though as you rightly say is key :)
 
D

Dispatch

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Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
529
Location
USA
Anyways turquoise, as you know, everyone is different , hopefully you can find what works best for you. Please keep us posted ok 😊
 
OCDguy

OCDguy

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Joined
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Messages
1,589
What has worked best for me is keeping things manageable. Going beyond that, when things become unmanageable (could be anything), I find having strategies gives a element of control, or brings things into a more controllable environment. Strategies come in many shapes and forms, it's finding what works for the individual. When forming a strategy someone needs to take into account the reason for the strategy (in the case of Social Anxiety it needs to be broken down into what someone's worse fears are). For example it could be speaking in a group of people at a party. Then forming strategies for dealing with the said problem(s). Strategies could be thinking of things to say before hand, subjects/interests to talk about (which might even include observations of the venue etc.), questions to ask to break the ice, joining the group with a friend to take some of the pressure off, to even having a escape plan (the need for the loo could be one). Hope this helps :)
 
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