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struggling with anxiety feelings.

H

hiddenharvestmouse

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2010
Messages
47
Location
South East Anglia
Hi, this is my first post and i apologise if its long, i dont know how long ive suffered with anxiety, but its got worse and worse over the last 5 or so years, and its really getting me down. I wish i could go back to how i was years ago, without the anxiety.

Ive always been shy but that was just personality, id say i was shy but not to the point where it was a social disorder, i got through school, college and university. But over the last 7 years my confidence and self esteem have been shattered, and there was also the fact that alcohol played a part in my life.

A few years ago i started drinking more and more, to give me confidence, and to help me feel good, id go on massive binges and then feel like a complete wreck on a monday morning. My confidence gradually ebbed away, and i have low self esteem. I now would say i have some sort of anxiety/social disorder.

Ive gone back to college, and tried to do the things i want to, but the anxiety, and disorder has got worse and worse. ITs not even because of the drink now, ive stopped having drink binges now, only have the odd pint. But the feelings of anxiety come and go. But stopping the binges has helped reduce my anxiety fears and i do have more control.

For instance today i had what i call a 'meltdown' at college today, i was sat in classroom and all of a sudden felt anxious and thought everyone was staring at me, then felt twitchy, and then felt like i was going to cry right there, it was awful, i could feel my expression and it was terrible. I just let it pass, but it does happen, i cant stop it.

Sometimes I get it in situations where im driving, and feel nervous, in stopped traffic, i want to be invisible, heaven forbid i would ever draw attention to myself. I hate it when people talk to me as well, sometimes i just get by, but other times i just cant be comfortable and and squirming.

I thought i was getting a bit better, and some days i do manage to get through a day like a normal person, without the awkward moments, l but they are rare. Sometimes my confidence comes back fleetingly, but it goes so quickly. Also now, im constantly thinking about the anxiety, and then i think 'what if i have another meltdown', and it makes it worse.

Ive tried reading books, and took some positive techniques from the books, but its just not that easy sometimes and when you have a bad day all you want to do is hide away from the whole world, even my family. On a bad day it can take me ages to syke myself up to do something simple like go to the shop, or fill my car up with petrol. On a good day, i am like my old self but its just so up and down from day to day.

One reason i think my confidence/self esteem is so low is ive never had a proper relationship. Ive only had a few drunken one night stands, and the fact that im 27 and still not had a proper girlfriend gets me down. Its like a constant reminder that im not normal. It never used to bother me, when i was say 21, i thought im still young and just thought it would happen, but it just never has.

Im so up and down, and im struggling, i was on medication last year, it did not help me much but i dont want to be back on it anyway. I think that i have to change my life to improve confidence and self esteem.

If anyone can relate to this id like to hear from them, any other comments are welcome.
 
C

coraline1664

Guest
hi

I have had similar problems to what you describe.

I have always been shy and anxious about certain social situations and my self esteem only seemed to get lower, but I managed to struggle through things until my mid teens. Around that time I became so socially anxious that i used to feel tension in my neck so that i felt unable to turn my head when talking to people, I was tense in my whole body and used get to the point in school of being afraid to cough and found it hard to breathe properly, I had a strong sense that my facial expressions always looked 'out of place' or 'abnormal' for situations and that i looked 'weird'.

I also felt an intense awareness of my body where you just can't relax it and are inwardly scrutinizing every body movement you make. I really understand where you're coming from and how it is of course a feeling that you can't simply 'snap out of' and being told to 'be more chatty' and that sort of thing only seems to fuel the anxiety and the pressure you put onto yourself to be calm, which seems to start a vicious circle. I understand how incredibly uncomfortable it can be, and as some degree of anxiety and shyness is of course experienced by everyone, sometimes it can be hard to be understood if you try and explain these things to people.
Conversations can be hard when you feel like this because you can focus so strongly on how you are appearing to the other person that you forget to listen to what they are saying.

I still get waves of this now 6-7 years later (I'm a few years younger than you.) Sometimes it fades sometimes it is more intense, but of course the more you know where you are and aren't bothered about other's opinions of you the easier it will be.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has proved helpful for many suffering with all sorts of anxieties, as you learn to challenge your previous thoughts and understand when your worries are exaggerated or distorted. You look at the worst that could happen in a situation and the benefits, and all sorts of other things. I recommend "Free Yourself From Anxiety" by Emma Fletcher and Martha Langley which is aimed at all sort of anxieties including social anxiety.
Even things such as breathing exercises and relaxation can help, although I understand you can't really practise those in college(!) I still feel they are useful things to be able to do as you have more control over physical sensations than you think, working on your breathing and thoughts can really minimise these uncomfortable tense and panicky feelings.

With any situation you can never go back how you were before, as every experience in your life is going to change you but you can work through it,

Apologies for such a long post I hope it reads ok.
I wish you the best of luck and I empathise.

Elizabeth
 
H

hiddenharvestmouse

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2010
Messages
47
Location
South East Anglia
thanks for the reply Elizabeth, im glad that other people can relate to it, i suppose everyones situation is slightly different, sometimes i take encouragement from seeing other people having a moment, it does happen, i know other people that are shy and have those awkward moments, even the most cool and confident person can have a moment where they feel like it.

I suppose the problem we have is that the part of the brain that would normally not be used or affected when we are in our comfort zone, is switched on all the time, in a state of anxiety, and like you said you think about every little thing.

Ive found that im much better whn i just do something, rather than thin kabout it, i mean say im in a pub, if i just go straight in and up to the bar and get a drink im ok, but if i build it up and start thinking too much i then make it into a massive deal.

I know what you mean about tensing up, that happends to me sometimes, its when i feel trapped, like in a situation where im in a close place. If im outside i feel much more at ease and can pretty much talk to anyone normally. But a situation where i have to drive with someone as a passenger can be awkward for me.
 
M

Martha

New member
Joined
Mar 29, 2010
Messages
1
there is hope

Hi I'm the co-author of Free Yourself from Anxiety which Elizabeth mentioned in her post - I'm glad it's helping. Also it's good the way you all support each other, there are so many people suffering from social phobia and yet you always feel like you're the only one. There are two good helplines in the UK that you could try, No Panic and First Steps to Freedom. The FSTF number is 0845 120 2916, it's open every day including weekends, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Whatever else you do, don't give up, you can deal with this problem.
 
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