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Strange and very frightening Social Anxiety?

C

coraline1664

Guest
Does anyone experience social anxiety where they feel they can't really control their body and expressions and that they come out 'wrong', combined with a very strong paranoia?
I experience this almost all of the time, and I know it must be stupid, but of course that doesn't change a thing. It's become a very learned behaviour and I can't 'turn it off.' I feel fine in the house, but as soon as I leave I feel very awkward and have problems with my vision and neck gonig completely stiff. Every single thing I do with my posture etc I am very aware of, and it feels really odd, as if I am doing something very strange. I don't know what to do around people at all. Nothing is natural.

This had disappeared in many aspects a while ago, but slowly creeped back and I've been suffering with it the second time for a couple of years.
it can be absolute hell and I never know when I am being paranoid or not. I don't think I am all the time.

I hate the fact that I am ok inside but I don't know what to do to show myself on the outside. I don't even know what exactly I am nervous about before I leave the house or see someone anymore. It's just a set of strange behaviours that kick in automatically.
 
lal10

lal10

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Messages
133
Location
Cheshire
Hi Coraline

Yes I have similar problems, I'm always over aware of how i'm walking/standing/sitting what expression I have on my face. I think I've always been like that as I can't remember a time when I wasn't. I always think people are looking at me and judging what I'm doing even when I'm sitting still in my GP's waiting room for example, I think my legs must be at the wrong angle or than I'm looking at the wall/floor/anything too much and that I must stick out like a sore thumb! I never feel comfortable around other people and I think I must look strange as I spend more time worrying about what to do around them that I can't concentrate on what they are saying, maybe I come across as uninterested or distracted or plain bonkers I'm not sure really!

Does anyone know how to overcome this, or at least minimise it?

Love and happy thought to all

Lal
xx
 
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coraline1664

Guest
-

Hi Lal,

Thanks for your reply. I completely identify with the example you gave about sitting in the GP's waiting room. I'll make a very conscious decision to start looking at the posters, and then think, "Will someone see I'm not actually reading them and just see me staring? Shall I just read it? How long shall i do this for? Shall I shift my gaze to the leaflets in the little plastic boxes?! Am I touching my face or hair too much without realising?" If I catch someone's eye I might panic and quickly look away as if the eye contact was burning me. I can't remember when this started up it was so long ago.

I'd just seen another of your posts where you mention feeling anxious and down from a very young age, I was very similar. I always felt vulnerable and singled out from others. I was pretty intelligent for that age, I could read before I could walk and did very well in school, I was also very creative. I have always been a sensitive person, I was in tune to things around me and noticed a lot. I was bullied at school, and I became disillusioned, uninterested and detached. I took everything much harder than everyone else and my lack of self esteem meant I was very submissive so I let the bullying happen.
Those sorts of feelings never went away, and at the age of just 15 I couldn't take anymore and had some sort of breakdown. I completely dropped out of school, got admitted to hospital for a year with severe depression and have never been quite right since. ;)
A lot of the build up has been because I carry the past around with me I think, when someone says to me I will subconsciously analyse it and I always end up thinking the worst and feeling like a little child again.


I think often I am in urgent need of perspective. I too want to get into mindfullness regularly, I find it very useful and then an event or just a change of mood will hit me very hard and i'll just let go. Practise practise practise I think.

Thanks again and best of luck.

Liz
 
lal10

lal10

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 23, 2010
Messages
133
Location
Cheshire
I'm the same when it comes to mindfulness, I have a module at uni called mindfulness in practice which I've found very helpful but also very hard to keep up with when i'm at home. It is a skill for life but thinking about it realistically it takes a lifetime to learn! I'm determined to keep going with it as I've experienced some great results so know it will help me so much if i give it time.

I've been thinking a lot about my childhood too, whether or not something happened that caused me to be this way or whether it's the curse of what is called trait anxiety, where it's just who u are, but if it is why are we like this? I don't expect to answer everything but I was wondering if anyone else has made any progress on the same line of thinking? My thoughts are as follows: I can't remember ever feeling 'normal', my mum even told me that when I was a toddler I'd get stressed about the weather, being late etc. But when my mum was pregnant with my brother she had a tumour and as soon as he was born she went in for major surgery and I think this was my first memory, arriving at my gran's house and staying over because mummy was poorly and daddy was upset, everything I remember was shrouded in darkness, like it was taking place at night with no or few lights in the house. I also grew up in a very small village surrounded by serious money (we're talking lords and ladies, also new brash money) but was brought up not to be pretentious like the kids I knew. I remember I couldn't handle moving from there, I loved it, being allowed to roam freely in the countryside without any worry about strangers, traffic etc, but maybe that's why I don't know who I am or how to act around people, maybe I grew up too soon to help my parents during my mum's illness (i was only 2 and a half then). Even at nursery age I would talk to everyone about my grandad's death, i told everyone that he was sick then he died because his heart was poorly but he would be ok now and would make sure that me and my family were ok from heaven. Maybe it's a mixture of all this or maybe it is just who I am or a defect somewhere in my brain. After typing all this I'm starting to think, does it matter why, we just need to find out how to get better! It's time to start practising mindfulness fast I think!!
 
P

philmriv

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2009
Messages
52
Location
Hawaii
Yes I used to have almost that exact same problem.

It really can get better.

I know it's hard, but understanding the 'symptoms' won't help you nearly so much as will focusing on the tools of recovery.

One of the things about anxiety symptoms is they are unsettling, but can also be sort of 'fascinating'.

The problem is, getting too focused on the symptoms will tend to make them worse. Whereas focusing on how to get better will help reduce the symptoms.


Does anyone experience social anxiety where they feel they can't really control their body and expressions and that they come out 'wrong', combined with a very strong paranoia?
I experience this almost all of the time, and I know it must be stupid, but of course that doesn't change a thing. It's become a very learned behaviour and I can't 'turn it off.' I feel fine in the house, but as soon as I leave I feel very awkward and have problems with my vision and neck gonig completely stiff. Every single thing I do with my posture etc I am very aware of, and it feels really odd, as if I am doing something very strange. I don't know what to do around people at all. Nothing is natural.

This had disappeared in many aspects a while ago, but slowly creeped back and I've been suffering with it the second time for a couple of years.
it can be absolute hell and I never know when I am being paranoid or not. I don't think I am all the time.

I hate the fact that I am ok inside but I don't know what to do to show myself on the outside. I don't even know what exactly I am nervous about before I leave the house or see someone anymore. It's just a set of strange behaviours that kick in automatically.
 
C

coraline1664

Guest
Yes I used to have almost that exact same problem.

It really can get better.

I know it's hard, but understanding the 'symptoms' won't help you nearly so much as will focusing on the tools of recovery.

One of the things about anxiety symptoms is they are unsettling, but can also be sort of 'fascinating'.

The problem is, getting too focused on the symptoms will tend to make them worse. Whereas focusing on how to get better will help reduce the symptoms.
Your advice proved very helpful philmriv. The more I look at things logically and put things in a perspective that I am more comfortable with the more the symptoms ease off. I cannot do this all the time yet- it can still be extremely difficult, but it is becoming slightly easier at times. You definitely can make things a lot stranger by concentrating on the symptoms. I really had created quite a few delusions by doing this.

I think with anxiety we always feel like the exception. 'My anxiety means something more serious', 'I really do need the anxiety to keep myself safe', or 'something bad really will happen to me, the anxiety is justified'- even though we know this is never true in anyone else. The more we can practise discarding these things the better.

Working on my self esteem and re evaluating what is important to me also helps.
 
F

fazza33

New member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Messages
4
Please go to the website www.anxietynomore.co.uk and really read it. I suffered anxiety for years and am now fully recovered. This website set me on the road to recovery. You can buy a book from the site called 'At last a Life' (you don't have to) but I recommend that you do. I cried with relief when I found this website and you will see from other sufferers (there is a blog) that they did too. Please, please check it out as I hate what anxiety does and I am proof that full recovery really is possible.
 
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