View Full Version : is it social anxiety?


Pixelatedmind
02-07-16, 01:57 PM
The highlight of my social problems was not failing to fit in, but fitting in anywhere with any type of people, I didn't know how to define myself or where do I fit in more.

The only type of people I couldn't fit in with was the church community, being born and raised a Christian, I always felt alien in that community. Until I grew up and formed my own understanding of things, but I still kept a few friends from this community today.

I have many friends, I always did. Neighbors and school friends I grew up with. I grew up in a francophone school community, been active in Mej, scout et guides and many other activities.

Having friends as a kid was easy, I never felt alone or left out. Being impulsive and hyperactive, the only observation was that I never tried to make or keep friends, people always befriended me and I never thought about it this way.

I lost many friends and connections due to the fact that I never made any effort to keep them, or maybe I don't know how to.

I do regret losing some special friends, when they moved out or went away for whatever reason, they would call and communicate and try to keep the connection, but I never did the same. I'm not sure why. Whoever is out of sight is out of mind.

I had friends of all types and classes, stoners, geeks, party and drug abusers, intelligent high achievers, losers, professional connections, nerds, crazy risk takers. I enjoy and respect everyone, even though many of them would never get along with the others.

The only thing in common here, is I either became friends with them because of common interests, common friends, growing up together, or they simply initiated the friendship.

Even almost all of my romantic relationships were initiated by the girl, the few times I initiated a relationship was after many repeated cues and signals by the girl, that took me time to get and gather the confidence to initiate.

When I'm around friends and people I'm used to I am comfortable, outgoing, crazy, fun, impulsive and sociable in any situation. I can tell that people who know me like me and respect me and care about keeping my friendship.

When I'm alone in any social situation or a new environment, I'm anxious, quiet, awkward and I struggle to make a good impression or make friends and connections.

I avoid confrontations all the time. If I'm mad at someone I will just ignore them and internalize until I forget all about it.

If someone say conned me, be a jerk to me or done me any kind of bad with a nice (probably fake) attitude, I'd convince myself with any excuse for them to just let it go and ignore it. I wouldn't be sure if I should excuse them or not so I just avoid it. People say I'm too kind or careless.

I am not good at picking social cues, but I can instinctively tell if someone is genuinely nice and good, others often confuse me, but I always assume that everyone is good until proven otherwise.

I read too much to absorb or understand about social anxiety, introversion and extroversion, ADHD and HFA. Yet I do not understand where my problem fits in. It made me even more confused.

It is confusing enough that I can't even lay out my problem and communicate it to my psych, but maybe that's the ADHD at play here.

I joined college when I was 17 and back then I was surrounded by too many friends. I enjoyed college, I was comfortable, made jokes in class, studied in groups and interacted naturally and confidently. I grew up popular at school and I was used to it.

I'm 26 years old now and still in college, all my friends graduated one by one and moved on with their lives even the younger ones that I knew from before or from AIESEC or other activites I participated in, I do still hangout frequently with the few who work in the same city and still unmarried, but my social disability has finally surfaced.

I fail to make any new friends at college, even when people approach me I come up awkward, quiet and maybe weird. So I end up isolating myself and avoiding interactions.

I go to college and I don't know anyone. I feel lonely, alien and awkward. I don't have any connections there except for the worker that runs a small cafeteria that I go socialize with when I'm bored or escape lectures, he likes me for the big tips.

Even at work, following my long time passion I joined a startup when I was 19, made many friends and professional connections, struggled at first with social anxiety but then it was made easy by my proven success, talent and passion and how they saw me as a cool young designer. I became comfortable and acted myself and proved myself in the local scene of the field. I had a successful creative role that deteriorated within a few years because of my ADHD challenges and passive personality. I lost my connections gradually with it, work friends moved on, done their MSc, PHD, made their own startups or joined big companies from Amazon to Apple, and I'm still where I am.

The bottom line is that I am socially awkward and anxious when I am alone. People take time to get used to me and only then do they like me and do I become comfortable, sociable, natural, crazy and fun in my impulsive/automatic way.

Things were easier when I was younger, because everyone was boarding the same train of life, less complications, less responsibilities and slower pace.

Now that I have missed on that train compared to everyone around me, When I had to rely on social skills to survive and keep going that I fail and realize how socially disabled I am.

I am sorry about the long post, I started with a simple question in mind and ended up writing everything that came to my mind.

Sorry If I deviated from the point. I was hoping if someone could give me insight/experience. Is the root problem some sort of social anxiety?

Greyhound1
02-07-16, 02:15 PM
I would think the root cause is probably ADHD and it's causing anxiety.

I had a similar experience as yours. Life was all fun and excitement when I was a child. The difficulty for me began when I was forced to conform and be responsible. The pressure continued to mount every day, week and year and so did my concern and anxiety.

I learned to use anxiety as a bad coping skill for my ADHD I didn't even know, I had. It eventually, manifested into panic attacks, tachycardia and OCD. Being diagnosed and treated at age 45 for ADHD is the only thing that significantly helped my anxiety. I wasted over a decade seeking help and being treated only for anxiety and depression.

Best wishes getting it under control. I know how difficult it can be.

Pixelatedmind
02-07-16, 02:24 PM
I also forgot to add, that I struggle with eye contact with almost anyone, teachers, friends, relatives. especially when I think about it. It never comes natural to me.

I repeat conversations in my mind, even small interactions with random strangers, wondering if I said the right thing or left the right impression, or making sure I didn't say anything wrong. Feel weird/bad/mad when I notice I said something stupid or didn't say what I should have said or acted awkwardly, notice that I know the right answer but I didn't have it on mind on the spot. Feel good and congratulate myself if I reacted well or said the right thing. While most people would just forget about it and not give it a second thought.

Greyhound1
02-07-16, 02:42 PM
I am great with eye contact but I am usually just looking right through them thinking about a million other things.

I also ruminate over conversations and replay them over and over in my head. I analyze everything I said or should of said and worry about it. I often have a fear of being misunderstood. It's a very unhealthy way of thinking.

I have been practicing mindfulness and it seems to help only if I can catch myself before going down the rabbit hole of worried thoughts.


I like your signature about labels!

Pixelatedmind
02-07-16, 02:46 PM
I would think the root cause is probably ADHD and it's causing anxiety.

I had a similar experience as yours. Life was all fun and excitement when I was a child. The difficulty for me began when I was forced to conform and be responsible. The pressure continued to mount every day, week and year and so did my concern and anxiety.

I learned to use anxiety as a bad coping skill for my ADHD I didn't even know, I had. It eventually, manifested into panic attacks, tachycardia and OCD. Being diagnosed and treated at age 45 for ADHD is the only thing that significantly helped my anxiety. I wasted over a decade seeking help and being treated only for anxiety and depression.

Best wishes getting it under control. I know how difficult it can be.

I did get treatment for anxiety that didn't work out before I was diagnosed with ADHD.

My recent psych has the same opinion as you do, that the anxiety is caused by the ADHD symptoms, I do find that to make sense, but I have not noticed any improvements. I feel that learning that I have some kind of disability/difference would make me feel more awkward.

Starting the new semester in a couple of weeks, I hope things go better and smoother. Maybe when I start making progress and small successes?

Thank you for the wishes =)

windsoul
02-07-16, 02:53 PM
I also forgot to add, that I struggle with eye contact with almost anyone, teachers, friends, relatives. especially when I think about it. It never comes natural to me.

I repeat conversations in my mind, even small interactions with random strangers, wondering if I said the right thing or left the right impression, or making sure I didn't say anything wrong. Feel weird/bad/mad when I notice I said something stupid or didn't say what I should have said or acted awkwardly, notice that I know the right answer but I didn't have it on mind on the spot. Feel good and congratulate myself if I reacted well or said the right thing. While most people would just forget about it and not give it a second thought.

sounds like me, and the eye contact thing too.

I actually started looking into SCT (Sluggish Cognitive Tempo) last year or about 2 years ago due to all this happening for me.

At the same time, the irony of the 'repeating things to yourself' which i do too.. correlates to Pure-O Ocd.

So, as you can see.. I am confused and mixed between which is which and my doctors don't want to use 'Labels' which only keeps me further away from a proper understanding of myself. I can see their intention but you understand the oxymoron I'm sure.

Initially was diagnosed with Ocd, but now I suspect ADD/Adhd (which i have over the years) but nobody believed me because i think SCT wasn't something the docs were aware off at the time, or rather hasn't come into the mainstream health news.

I'm still looking into treatment options. feel free to PM me for further discussion. Cheers

Pixelatedmind
02-07-16, 03:56 PM
I am great with eye contact but I am usually just looking right through them thinking about a million other things.

I also ruminate over conversations and replay them over and over in my head. I analyze everything I said or should of said and worry about it. I often have a fear of being misunderstood. It's a very unhealthy way of thinking.

I have been practicing mindfulness and it seems to help only if I can catch myself before going down the rabbit hole of worried thoughts.


I like your signature about labels!

I will try to look into mindfulness. It sure is near-impossible to stop yourself and analyze/think before you act or react. You know you're not stupid, but It's always one step behind when you've got your mind on the right thought and remember what you should have reminded yourself to do.

Thank you!

sounds like me, and the eye contact thing too.

I actually started looking into SCT (Sluggish Cognitive Tempo) last year or about 2 years ago due to all this happening for me.

At the same time, the irony of the 'repeating things to yourself' which i do too.. correlates to Pure-O Ocd.

So, as you can see.. I am confused and mixed between which is which and my doctors don't want to use 'Labels' which only keeps me further away from a proper understanding of myself. I can see their intention but you understand the oxymoron I'm sure.

Initially was diagnosed with Ocd, but now I suspect ADD/Adhd (which i have over the years) but nobody believed me because i think SCT wasn't something the docs were aware off at the time, or rather hasn't come into the mainstream health news.

I'm still looking into treatment options. feel free to PM me for further discussion. Cheers

I do have some OCD but they are more of coping mechanism, uncertain perfectionism, repeating actions and rechecking things to make sure I did it, as a kid I used to compulsively draw a cross over my chest dozen times when I was sitting alone or anxious then I started doing it randomly without noticing even when I was not religious/believer... They are annoying but I could minimize them on my own, they were not disabling enough to require primary treatment.

I read about SCT and I considered it, but I ditched it for 2 reasons:

First, it's not recognized yet as a separate disorder, and it's just another label treated with the same medications for ADHD if I'm not mistaken.

Second, I can focus on certain novel tasks if I am interested in them, while SCT is said to cause inability to engage in any specific task. Plus as a kid I was very energetic and always on the run, I only became lethargic and more prone to feeling tired and lazy as an Adult.

Why do you think your problem is SCT and not ADHD?

windsoul
02-10-16, 12:23 PM
I will try to look into mindfulness. It sure is near-impossible to stop yourself and analyze/think before you act or react. You know you're not stupid, but It's always one step behind when you've got your mind on the right thought and remember what you should have reminded yourself to do.

Thank you!



I do have some OCD but they are more of coping mechanism, uncertain perfectionism, repeating actions and rechecking things to make sure I did it, as a kid I used to compulsively draw a cross over my chest dozen times when I was sitting alone or anxious then I started doing it randomly without noticing even when I was not religious/believer... They are annoying but I could minimize them on my own, they were not disabling enough to require primary treatment.

I read about SCT and I considered it, but I ditched it for 2 reasons:

First, it's not recognized yet as a separate disorder, and it's just another label treated with the same medications for ADHD if I'm not mistaken.

Second, I can focus on certain novel tasks if I am interested in them, while SCT is said to cause inability to engage in any specific task. Plus as a kid I was very energetic and always on the run, I only became lethargic and more prone to feeling tired and lazy as an Adult.

Why do you think your problem is SCT and not ADHD?

yea im at a crossroads now about it. it does present itself clearly at times; the symptoms of 'sct'.

not too sure what else to respond at this moment, going to sleep soon too. thanks though

check back another time when im clearer head i suppose

windsoul
02-11-16, 10:53 AM
I will try to look into mindfulness. It sure is near-impossible to stop yourself and analyze/think before you act or react. You know you're not stupid, but It's always one step behind when you've got your mind on the right thought and remember what you should have reminded yourself to do.

Thank you!



I do have some OCD but they are more of coping mechanism, uncertain perfectionism, repeating actions and rechecking things to make sure I did it, as a kid I used to compulsively draw a cross over my chest dozen times when I was sitting alone or anxious then I started doing it randomly without noticing even when I was not religious/believer... They are annoying but I could minimize them on my own, they were not disabling enough to require primary treatment.

I read about SCT and I considered it, but I ditched it for 2 reasons:

First, it's not recognized yet as a separate disorder, and it's just another label treated with the same medications for ADHD if I'm not mistaken.

Second, I can focus on certain novel tasks if I am interested in them, while SCT is said to cause inability to engage in any specific task. Plus as a kid I was very energetic and always on the run, I only became lethargic and more prone to feeling tired and lazy as an Adult.

Why do you think your problem is SCT and not ADHD?

Hi I'm back.

I agree with you on the labels aspect - but the seriously persisting blank mind, even during daily living or walking home etc, loss of interest in what I initially planned (all without any hyperactivity) has led me to come on to it more especially after hearing the descriptions given by Dr. Russell Barkley.

except my problem comes along with some Pure-O Ocd which does confuse me in my quest of understanding myself. ruminations - which my doctor did say contributed to me being "obsessed" with having ADD etc because i read a little bit more into it.

But I am the only person who knows myself, and over the year have come to a point where it is clearer and feel that this "lingering" thing which could be SCT or something else hasnt been treated properly leaving me 'handicapped' in life to a certain extent and I do not like it at all.

I feel i have so much potential but unable to tap into it.

Using Concerta at the moment to help. Ritalin Short-Acting affects and ruins my sleep.

I am at a point in life of Needing to understand myself, so finding the proper symptoms and knowing what to treat is highly necessary - which i know my doctor will say I may only be doing this because I am obsessing/ocd,

which i have come to conclude that doctors are quite the idiots at times only pushing THEIR meds instead of learning to treat you or refer you to a specialist who understands you better.

now im seeing another doctor of course and am working on my own nutrition and balance. difficult.

thanks for responding to my post. i look forward to your positive add-ons/sharing

Pixelatedmind
02-11-16, 11:27 PM
Hi I'm back.

I agree with you on the labels aspect - but the seriously persisting blank mind, even during daily living or walking home etc, loss of interest in what I initially planned (all without any hyperactivity) has led me to come on to it more especially after hearing the descriptions given by Dr. Russell Barkley.

except my problem comes along with some Pure-O Ocd which does confuse me in my quest of understanding myself. ruminations - which my doctor did say contributed to me being "obsessed" with having ADD etc because i read a little bit more into it.

But I am the only person who knows myself, and over the year have come to a point where it is clearer and feel that this "lingering" thing which could be SCT or something else hasnt been treated properly leaving me 'handicapped' in life to a certain extent and I do not like it at all.

I feel i have so much potential but unable to tap into it.

Using Concerta at the moment to help. Ritalin Short-Acting affects and ruins my sleep.

I am at a point in life of Needing to understand myself, so finding the proper symptoms and knowing what to treat is highly necessary - which i know my doctor will say I may only be doing this because I am obsessing/ocd,

which i have come to conclude that doctors are quite the idiots at times only pushing THEIR meds instead of learning to treat you or refer you to a specialist who understands you better.

now im seeing another doctor of course and am working on my own nutrition and balance. difficult.

thanks for responding to my post. i look forward to your positive add-ons/sharing

I can say that I'm stuck by how your words relate to a thought I was having recently.

I too struggle to understand myself, like nothing is going to work unless I understand my symptoms, get a hang of my conscious and subconscious mind and find the right treatment and skills that I need.

I am obsessing about my symptoms and introspection, reading too much, writing my observations and notes so that I do not forget them, and try to document and organize what I want to communicate to my doctor, because whenever I'm in there discussing myself my mind goes blank, I don't have the thoughts and conclusions I had sometime before, I certainly don't have them now, so writing them down once I have a clear thought is my only way, but my doctor pointed out that I'm obsessing about it and should focus on my studies.

Sometimes I have a clear understanding of something that I want to communicate/discuss with my doctor, I even imagine myself explaining it to the doc, but once I move on the next thought or activity, that clear thought is lost in oblivion.

I had some good points to write in this post while reading before I hit the post reply button, now my mind is going blank trying to remember them.

On the other hand, because of repeated mind going blank, failing to remember something I just studied, failing to recall information I know I learned, randomness and irritation by the chaos I always have around me, I have built a little obsession/compulsion to be a perfectionist, organized, neat understand things deeply, connects things to get an overview to reinforce the information in my memory by connecting everything together, keep track of where I am from the bigger picture, write ideas down before I forgot them, understand and acquire all the important materials related to what I am studying.

While this might sound like OCD, I don't have any rituals, heck I don't even succeed at organizing anything, my notes end up scattered, materials lost, my mind disorganized... No matter how hard I try to control things I fail and end up random and chaotic.

Ritalin helps me feel more energetic, much less fatigued, less anxious, very calm, more attended, less distracted, less bored, it fine tunes my mind to one single task/thought at a time, or two if I'm not that lucky.

Strange enough, it does not give me a clear mind that doesn't go blank trying to concentrate on something. I don't know how to explain it, I am not even sure I understand it, but It doesn't help me reach the state of clarity and mind that I know I should achieve.

I used to question my ADHD diagnosis, but based on my instinct from the amount of information I learned and thinking I did (I always have an instinct, or a blurred feeling, rather than a clear conclusion or point) I have confidence that my main problem is ADHD but there's something else making it worse, be it OCD, SAD, SCT, Stress or something I don't know yet. It's just too hard to understand myself and corner the problem and have a clear strategy to get better.

Thank you for your sharing =)

Pixelatedmind
02-12-16, 12:07 AM
except my problem comes along with some Pure-O Ocd which does confuse me in my quest of understanding myself. ruminations - which my doctor did say contributed to me being "obsessed" with having ADD etc because i read a little bit more into it.


Earlier I did not understand what you meant by Pure-O OCD (I read it pure OCD), reading further on Primarily Obsessional OCD, I'd say it does shed some light on things for me, this could be why I was wrongly diagnosed with GAD before. I'll definitely discuss this with my doctor on the next appointment.

aeon
02-12-16, 12:48 AM
I lost many friends and connections due to the fact that I never made any effort to keep them, or maybe I don't know how to.

I do regret losing some special friends, when they moved out or went away for whatever reason, they would call and communicate and try to keep the connection, but I never did the same. I'm not sure why. Whoever is out of sight is out of mind.

I had friends of all types and classes, stoners, geeks, party and drug abusers, intelligent high achievers, losers, professional connections, nerds, crazy risk takers. I enjoy and respect everyone, even though many of them would never get along with the others.

When I'm around friends and people I'm used to I am comfortable, outgoing, crazy, fun, impulsive and sociable in any situation. I can tell that people who know me like me and respect me and care about keeping my friendship.

I am not good at picking social cues, but I can instinctively tell if someone is genuinely nice and good, others often confuse me, but I always assume that everyone is good until proven otherwise.

I could have written the above quoted lines. Well, replace “outgoing, crazy, fun” with “engaging, playful, teasing.” ;)

I am sorry about the long post, I started with a simple question in mind and ended up writing everything that came to my mind.

No apology needed, I very much enjoyed reading it.

Sorry If I deviated from the point. I was hoping if someone could give me insight/experience. Is the root problem some sort of social anxiety?

In your case, I do not know, but based on what you said, my sense is no. I think most of it can be understood as a result of the deficits that are part of ADHD.

Speaking for myself, I thought I had some kind of social anxiety. As I learned more, I came to understand I have anxiety in general, and I am anxious about certain social situations, but I do not have social anxiety in the classic sense.

Before I was Dx’d and Rx’d for my ADHD, I thought I had some kind of social anxiety because I always felt anxious about being in a group of people. Actually, I was anxious because my ADHD meant I could not properly follow a group conversation, or participate in one because my ADHD resulted in me saying the “wrong” thing at the wrong time. A long history of that with the associated embarrassment and hurt led to me being anxious about groups and avoiding them when possible.

Dexedrine has changed that in a big way. Dex’s pro-social quality, combined with the fact I can now follow the conversation and participate in a way that people seem to appreciate has meant I now enjoy groups for the first time in my life.

I’ve got other things contributing to my social reticence that are not part of ADHD, but for sure, ADHD has been, is, and will be an additional challenge affecting all things social.

And for sure, all those years with undiagnosed ADHD, and the situations it contributed to, has left me full of self-doubts and less sure of myself than I would like.

Anyway, I do the best I can, and think I do OK in spite of all my worry. That’s probably true about me for most things.

---

Teasing someone in a way that gives them reason to feel good or better about their self and being playful-mischievous in a positive way such that I seem to be up to something—something good—that might just make someone smile...well, that feels good to me, and if I get to know someone well enough, they will be on the receiving end of that...and I’m kinda shameless about my efforts to hear people laugh on account of their heart being light in that moment because I gave them cause to forget their worries.

And my ADHD be damned for every time it got in the way of that.


Blesséd Be,
Ian

Pixelatedmind
02-14-16, 05:56 AM
I could have written the above quoted lines. Well, replace “outgoing, crazy, fun” with “engaging, playful, teasing.” ;)


I could pretty much use your re-wording :D


In your case, I do not know, but based on what you said, my sense is no. I think most of it can be understood as a result of the deficits that are part of ADHD.

Speaking for myself, I thought I had some kind of social anxiety. As I learned more, I came to understand I have anxiety in general, and I am anxious about certain social situations, but I do not have social anxiety in the classic sense.

Before I was Dx’d and Rx’d for my ADHD, I thought I had some kind of social anxiety because I always felt anxious about being in a group of people. Actually, I was anxious because my ADHD meant I could not properly follow a group conversation, or participate in one because my ADHD resulted in me saying the “wrong” thing at the wrong time. A long history of that with the associated embarrassment and hurt led to me being anxious about groups and avoiding them when possible.

Dexedrine has changed that in a big way. Dex’s pro-social quality, combined with the fact I can now follow the conversation and participate in a way that people seem to appreciate has meant I now enjoy groups for the first time in my life.

I’ve got other things contributing to my social reticence that are not part of ADHD, but for sure, ADHD has been, is, and will be an additional challenge affecting all things social.

And for sure, all those years with undiagnosed ADHD, and the situations it contributed to, has left me full of self-doubts and less sure of myself than I would like.

Anyway, I do the best I can, and think I do OK in spite of all my worry. That’s probably true about me for most things.


Sounds about right. I'm glad your medication helped your social problems!

I agree that not following conversations, zoning out, not saying the right thing, slow/confused reaction due to inattention, leaving wrong impressions and negative situations on the long run contributes significantly to anxiety, and in my case mild obsessive worry about my social interactions.

My current medication strategy (Rx's by my doctor) and limited supply, only allows me to be medicated for a few hours in studying/working days. I don't get to be medicated in social settings. While in a 2 hour work meeting I was pretty attentive and for the first time listened to the whole conversation, engaged and even took notes!

So I guess the only way my ADHD treatment would help me socially is by boosting my self assertiveness on the long run.

windsoul
02-20-16, 02:27 PM
Earlier I did not understand what you meant by Pure-O OCD (I read it pure OCD), reading further on Primarily Obsessional OCD, I'd say it does shed some light on things for me, this could be why I was wrongly diagnosed with GAD before. I'll definitely discuss this with my doctor on the next appointment.

awesome! kudos to you

windsoul
02-20-16, 02:28 PM
I could pretty much use your re-wording :D



Sounds about right. I'm glad your medication helped your social problems!

I agree that not following conversations, zoning out, not saying the right thing, slow/confused reaction due to inattention, leaving wrong impressions and negative situations on the long run contributes significantly to anxiety, and in my case mild obsessive worry about my social interactions.

My current medication strategy (Rx's by my doctor) and limited supply, only allows me to be medicated for a few hours in studying/working days. I don't get to be medicated in social settings. While in a 2 hour work meeting I was pretty attentive and for the first time listened to the whole conversation, engaged and even took notes!

So I guess the only way my ADHD treatment would help me socially is by boosting my self assertiveness on the long run.

right about what i am going through now too (in bold)