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Social Anxiety?

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#1 Kaktus

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 05:18 PM

It's really getting out of hand. I have sat here alone all weekend because of it. And I just don't imagine how it'll get better.

I was invited to go to some dinner with my friend Rhonda. I couldn't. I was invited to go play softball with her family. I couldn't. I was invited to a 50th wedding anniversary for some dear, old friends. I freaked and didn't go.
OMG, I couldn't even walk into a classroom the PTA was using to sell dirt-cheap valentine's gifts to the kids to buy my daughter a rose! I had to ask my friend Rhonda to do it! I couldn't bear the thought of the three ladies in there looking at me...and then whispering who-knows-what as I left.
On my birthday, I could hardly stand to sit there and eat the dinner and cake they brought me at school. I just wanted to run away and hide in my room. It was horrible and awkward.
The office ladies (which includes me) were all given free pedicure certificates. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't stand it. The thought of some poor lady having to touch my horrid feet and then to be among all those pretty, good-smelling, blonde, normal ladies...here I am, a sasquatch, sitting amongst them. No. No. No.
Birthday parties? Forget it. Baby showers? Nope. I just can't do it. I finally got away from this un believably horrible man and am free to do as I like and now THIS!
Can anything even be done about this? What if I can't bring myself to even go to a psychologist, doctor or whatever? As it is, I haven't been to an actual doctor since I had my baby girl 11 years ago. The only two trips I've made to the doctor were for bus-driver physicals and it was because I was REQUIRED to go.
This really sucks. It sucks because I am sitting here KNOWING how stupid it is and yet, when the time comes to attend some social function of some sort, I freak. I always just want to cry. I'm on the edge of tears until I can get away from whatever it is and then I'm fine. I feel such a HUGE amount of relief and am so glad when I get to my home. It's gotten much worse in the past few months. I wasn't this bad last year.
I wonder if I am going to eventually be unable to leave my house at all! Bleah.

#2 FuzzyFuture

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 05:58 PM

-Our own negative "self talk" tells us negative things about us, many of which aren't true and therefore even *if* an observer is prone to form an opinion it will likely not be the negative one you think he/she will form.

-Most people have a lot going on in their own minds. At the grocery store this morning, I was thinking:
"what kind of mushroom soup does this list mean?" and the criticism that would ensue if I got the wrong thing;
the lack of a job and financial worry is a constant, prominent stream of thought;
"do I really have to go to the 2nd store?" "I hate lines"
"why won't she let us get generics"
"there's the product that my old company makes"
"sh*t, forgot X, got to go back across the store for it"

*If, today or tomorrow I saw someone I passed by in the store, I'd probably at best have a vague impression I had seen them before, but not know where, and they might not have registered at all.

While people you know or at a party may have more time to observe you, the principal that most people are worried about their own problems still holds. Part of their mind will be on the party (not you specifically though), but the rest on problems, goals, the pain in their left knee, etc.

-You could try to decide that you don't care what people think about you. I tend to be that way (although not in my career, where i've been too sensitive). (Because of my anxiety/sensitity to criticism at work, I actually have a dx of social anxiety, but it doesn't affect me in general public.)

You got to the physicals, so hopefully you can get to the dr or psychologist to talk about your anxiety. Remember they've heard it all, and you will not be a unique case. A dr (or psychiatrist) could give you some kind of anti-anxiety medicine; a psychologist could presumably work with you to beat the fears. Since you said it is getting worse, it'd probably be a good idea to see someone?

#3 glassslipper

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 07:18 PM

Hi Kaktus

This sounds so very familiar to me, was in the same place about 2/3 years ago. I had two very understanding friends who knew I was in a 'unique' emtional state. They tried to help, but were quite baffled by the confident humorous me being this way. You have so eloquently explained how I felt, I wish I'd had your words at the time. They invited me to family do's, parties, BBQs etc, but at one I had to tell her 'I need to go, cos I feel so wobbily', it was that or run out screaming like a banshee, which I think would have upset all the kids. I got inside and cried my heart out feeling so pathetc, I'd let her down, I wasnt even stringing two words together. I might add that only the people that knew me, knew somat was up, relative strangers would have seen the 'Public' me. I had got worse and worse over the months and being sociable and extrovert, I got invited and badgered to go to so many social functions I was crawling around on my hands and knees so people wouldnt know I was in!! Everytime I had to socialise I treated it like some sort of army exercise, it was so complicated and yet before I would take ten minutes to get ready and just step out the door, simple!!! But it wasnt when I felt like you do now it was so comlicated, stressful, so much to think about etc.

I do wonder now if I was like that cos so much was happening on the inside, maybe I couldnt cope with external input? Maybe I thought the 'tribe' would spot I was vunerable. I think it must be some sort of primitive survival mechanism, but whatever it is, its awful.

Who ever this horrible man was, you have done well to get away from him. Dont castigate yourself for this, its something that can be dealt with!!! Stress isnt necessarily brought on by bad things, it can be brought on by good things, cos they are new and unknown. Maybe this is part of your anxiety, though goodness knows I would love to experience the stress of a lottery win right now! haha.

I dont think it will be a bad thing to go to the docs. Are you one of these people that have the constitution of a horse and dont need to see a doctor or do you just not like them?

Dont be afraid to try some medication, lots of them are designed to get us over a hump for a short period. Thats what I used and they took a few days to kick in and I could go into the shops without acting like I was about to do a ram raid and wanting to push anyone who dared dithered for a nano second in my intended path!!

Have you thought about counselling? Cos who ever this HM (horrible man) was could have affected you as well, cos stress tends to build up and if there is no suitable vent it busts out at the most inconvenient moments. One of the things it does affect is sleep either too much or too little and that can lead to complications.

Lots can be done to make this better for you, a good start would be the docs. Finding this forum is good as well, cos you can read lots of things and get some feedback/advice, it wont make you feel so odd, cos we have all been there!!

Maria x

#4 Kaktus

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 09:13 PM

Thanks for reading Fuzzy and Maria.
Fuzzy, you are so right, bu logically, I know that most everyone is paying almost NO attention to me. I know people have more important things on their mind. This is what frustrates me. I know I'm being ridiculous. And yet, when the time comes to actually BE in a social situation, all my logic just goes ape-shit.
I believe I will TRY to get myself to a doctor for this...I have to, before it gets so bad there is nothing to be done. Funny, when I am required by some authority to do things, I do them. But if there is nothing saying I HAVE to, then I won't.
Maria, I am glad to hear that you found something to help you with your anxiety. Makes me feel hopeful. If your at all curious about the HM, lol, check out my blog right here on BtB. I'm sure much of it is still up.

#5 Tantalus


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Posted 22 February 2010 - 02:55 AM

I get the same way sometimes too. Like you, I know I'm being ridiculous and it frustrates me too. Logic seems to fly out the window when it comes to social anxiety though, it's the emotions that take over. It's a lot like stage-fright with me, I feel as if I'm stepping into the spotlight and would rather poke myself in the eye with a fork than step out on that stage.

We both know that people do indeed notice us, we also know they are probably so self absorbed that they really aren't giving us much thought. When the feeling hits it all seems so real though, I can 'feel' the eyes upon me, I can 'hear' their thoughts about me. It's nuts and I know it is, even as it's happening, but it doesn't make the feeling any easier to deal with. I honestly believe that others never judge us as harshly as we judge ourselves, I try to keep that in mind when my social anxiety hits me hard...and yeah, that isn't easy, doesn't always work, but sometimes I can talk some sense into myself. :P

Anyway, enough of my babble. I really just wanted to say that I hate to hear this is happening to you. You gained so much when you got away from hubby, I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for you to have to deal with this. You should be enjoying your freedom, instead you get smacked with this crap (((((kaktus))))) I hope you can manage to get some help for this. I'm in a similar position, I need to talk to my doc but don't wanna. I keep telling myself I will wake up tomorrow and call him, the thoughts of it scares me though, don't wanna deal with it at all.

If you will call your doc, I will call my doc. :D

#6 Apple Blossom

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 03:00 PM


I'm kind of the same way. Afew years ago I was really, really bad about this- I would speak to absolutely noone in school, and try to avoid hanging out with whatever little friends I had. What got me out of it? I forced myself. Dragged myself kicking, screaming and crying, to a new school where I knew noone, and noone knew me as 'that chick who sits in the corner and doesn't say a word'. It provided me with an oppurtunity to start anew, and allthough I've never been to a big party, or on a date, I'm ok with having a few friends to hang out with every now and again. My suggestion? Instead of a doctor, maybe try seeing a therapist? Mine helped a ton a while back... Maybe surround yourself with people you feel at ease around, people who, when you're with them, make you think 'ok, maybe those people won't whisper about me when my friends are around' like your friend Rhonda sounds great, or just have people over instead of going out? Starting small will help, too- hell, this website is perfect because you may never see any of us in real life, just tell yourself that people are too busy and too absorbed in their own anxieties to notice anything wrong or worth whispering about, and maybe, just maybe, they're whispering good things?

Hope you pull through!

Apple :bighug: