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Anxiety Disorders, OCD & PTSD A forum to discuss Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Simple Phobias, and Social Anxiety Disorder

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Old 08-14-04, 03:44 PM
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Unhappy Social Anxiety & Me!

This is very hard for me so bare with me OK.

I've suffered from social anxiety since I was 8 years old. For the most part it is due to not feeling like I will be accepted in a social environment, and will ultimately embarrass myself.

I avoid crowds just about at all cost. Even a simple trip to Wal-mart makes me so anxious that i have panic attacks. So thankfully they are open 24 hours a day and I can go in the middle of the night when most ppl are asleep.
Hubby does most of the grocery shopping in town here or I drive by several time waiting on the parking lot to become empty. It's hard enough coming in contact with the store employees. It sounds weird I know but I worry about what people think about the items in my cart. My biggest fear is that they think I'm not feeding my family the nutritious meals they should have. Silly I know but that is how I feel.

I know where this all stems from after mega bucks being spent on psycho therapy. It all started when I was a child. My father is an abusive alcoholic. I was never good enough in his eyes, he not only physically abused me but mentally tore me down to the point that I feel un-worthy to be around other people. My mother was never there for me, even to this day it's always all about her and to hell with me. Hard to swallow sometimes since I'm now the one taking care of her, after her never really playing a role in my life. I raised myself & my sister through the loving guidance of my grandmother and the many phone calls to her for advice. I would not be here today if it wasn't for her.

Since June of last year my social anxiety as blown off the chart. I had a small wedding at my place for some friends and everything went OK at first. After the wedding though I received a letter saying that I ruined this wedding with very lame excuses as the reason. I have not to this day recovered from this. I don't want to be around people nor do I want to become close to people ever again. The fear of not being worthy enough is driving me insane.

I can sit here at this computer and chat with people all day long as long as I don't have to let them into the depths of my life. I try to keep the conversation about them, giving advice here and there and being a good listener. A few here know me on a more personal level, and know the struggles I have day to day, but for the most part I portray myself as a very happy go lucky person when inside I feel like I really don't belong here, and I'll just end up embarrassing myself once again.

I'm very lonely for friendship, but the fear of not being worthy keeps me at home alone. That and the panic attacks I get from it. There has been so many times I really needed someone to talk to when things have went terrible wrong, but then there is the fear of what if this person thinks it's all in my head and I'm making it all up. Man I hate these thoughts.

The few times I have reached out and made friends have become disastrous. I'm sure I played a major roll in the friendship falling apart, maybe not consciously but I seem to self destruct everything in life.

I have found one outlet though and that is massive multiple person online role play games. There I can interact with people and keep my personal life to myself without worrying about what others think. I keep mainly to game topic, other than doing silly things like telling jokes or typing out actions like *poke* etc. It has helped me at least interact with other people, but at the same time I'm still alone. Although the escape from reality is nice once in a while.
I also chat, but mainly focus on other people and try to keep me out of the conversation. I like to help others but I prefer to remain a mystery to them. Once again that fear of not being accepted or embarrassing myself. And I have embarrassed myself numerous times in chat because I would be told something by someone and believe it to be true only to put my foot in my mouth and ask that person that I was told something about if it was true. Then it starts, I've started a squabble and I didn't even mean to. So I disappear for a while to regain strength to come back and try again. I wish I would learn when to keep my mouth shut, but at the same time I hate vicious gossiping.

I wish I could figure all this out and fix it. I would love to function in society normally, but to date it's hide behind my walls and avoid social contact at all cost.

I hope this helps explain what someone with social anxiety deals with on a day to day basis. All comments are welcome whether they are negative or positive. I need both if I'm ever going to work through this.

Huggz to all
La Donna
Be what you want. Do as you may. But always remember those around you may not approve.
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Old 08-15-04, 12:58 AM
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Spirit thanks for the post.
I'm no expert but I have suffered from what I'd guess was a social anxiety.

I was beaten up pretty badly in my last year of high school by a burly biker and for years afterward I couldn't stay on a bus and sometimes had to ring off the route miles too early with panic attacks. I avoided people like they carried the plague.

It all came to a head one day when I was working. I travelled and was alone for extended periods. I was driving, sitting in a left hand turn lane waiting for the light to change. I ended up standing on the lane divider with a panic attack in full swing, with people really ticked at me for holding up the traffic. I was plenty frightend by the event.

I had read somewhere that exercise could sometimes help psychological problems so I went directly out and bought a pair of running shoes and began to run and made it a regular thing from that day onward.

It did help me a lot and I kept it up for several years but as the panic attacks dissapeared I lost interest in the workouts and it all faded into the past. I haven't had a panic attack in a very long time gratefully.

I have had to relearn the benefits of a good hard workout this year but I once again participate in a good sweat three and four times a week. But I think if I had the troubles you describe I'd also be deliberately trying to identify the smallest step forward that I could find and begin systematically to push back some of the limits that have crept in and become increasingly restrictive.

I have difficulties with medical procedures and submitting to dentists and such and that method is the way I have gained my best results. I was to the point of not being able to make an appointment and that wasn't acceptable to me. I could only imagine that these people are trying to help me! I should at least be able to co-operate. I explored the limits of my fears with a therapist and we began a process of exposing me to small steps toward the goal of submitting to blood tests and the like.

I watched real live emergency room shows on TV among other approaches, and ended up giving a saline injection to my therapist. It was very encouraging to know I could change some of these hopelessly blocked fears.

I have relaxed my exposure over the last year and I see my dentist on Tuesday. Hmmm maybe I should have kept it up.. lol Seriously I'm a bit anxious about the appointment but I will go and I'll be fine.

I hope you can glean some hope from this. I don't know if any of it is relevant to your situation but in telling our stories I'd hope to join you in a better way of living for us both.

Hugzz to you too Spirit.
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Old 08-15-04, 04:14 AM
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It sounds very frustrating Spirit.
I've never had this problem anywhere near the degree you have it. So whatever I say is from ignorance about this issue. But I want to write as I am so touched my your sharing.
I appologise in advance if what I say is not helpful, off topic or belittling.

I can relate to the part of making a fool of oneself. I have done that all my life. Well actually I don't see it that way anymore. I have learned to laugh at myself, or just not care or forgive myself.
I used to just worry all the time about what people thought. I was very defensive and I was misunderstood for a good portion of my life.
I don't know exactly what clicked that got me over the hump. I think it had to do with my becomming more aware of other folks imperfections.

When I was little I used to remind myself that I was just another ant on this planet, and that everyone was so caught up in their day to day existance, that what I did was not a big deal to anyone else but me. Basically I was wasting my time.

I was very nervous going to any school functions, etc.. and never fit in. I still feel a little or a lot weird going places. But it varies from one week to the next.

I examine other peoples behavior and see the imperfections in it and I enjoy it, when it concerns me I rarely take it personal. It reminds me that I can be myself too. I always try to make them comfortable when they blunder as I would like to be made in social situations. The less I make what they think my problem, the less they seem to be judging me. Kind of a vicious circle. Kind of like If you don't care they don't.

I pick and choose my battles, if I really offended someone then I try to fix it. But, most of the time my blunders are just passing moments that are covered by the next moment, so I move on.

I think being oppositional has it's rewards. You just can't and don't fit in. I just accepted it and relished in my differentness.

I am really silly inside but have stage fright very badly, so when I am wearing a disguise I feel freer, and then can let go fully.

Some people thrive of making others uncomfortable, throwing others off balance. It is just another way to steal energy. And thus they feel better. These people, like maybe the person who said you had ruined the wedding, are not worth the worry. If this person was caring she/he wouldn't have insulted your efforts after the fact. This person was likely jealous of your success or knew of your insecurities and capitalized on them to put you off balance, energy vampire. A lower life form.

Once I had my first party in a home we were building. The next day someone said that they heard from so and so that it was a weird party. I secretly thought so too , as sometimes people just don't gell together as well as other times. So I hadn't worried about it much until this person told me that. I didn't show it but I was crushed and very embarased for a long time secretly.

Maybe looking at others imperfections, weird or unhealthy items in their shopping carts will help you to know it doesn't really matter. Are you judging strangers as harshly as you fear they are judging you? We are each just another Ant on this panet.

Hang in there. Please continue to share yourself. It is very validating and therfore helpfull in overcomming all obstacles.
"Time flies like the wind,
fruit flies like a banana."
(bar bathroom wisdom)
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Old 08-22-04, 08:52 PM
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Thank you to the both of you!

I'm so glad I finally posted this. It has been on my mind for quite sometime now. I hate this shell I have created around me. But for now it feels safe, so until I can crack it open and peek outside and make up my mind that the world is really not (with the exception of a few people) trying to get me, I will remain closed off.

It is very frustrating at times to wake up day after day, and the first thoughts that come to mind are: Wonder whom I'll encounter today? Will they like me for who I am, or pass judgment on me because they only see me as this over weight person, not understanding how I became this way. Or take something I said out of context, or I've stated it wrong and it was perceived wrong.

I think the biggest key here is feeling rejected time and time again. I really need to work on this if I'm ever going to function in society like everyone else.

I would love to achieve that attitude of who cares what other people think, but when society judges you on what the majority perceives as what you should conform too, it will be a difficult task to just throw those thoughts to the wind and become free of all these feelings of worthlessness.

OK I'm rambling, but it feels good to put these thoughts down and re-read them out loud. Some how it's all starting to make sense to me, so maybe now I can come up with a solution.

Hmmm..something to ponder that isn't the same ol'stuff.
La Donna
Be what you want. Do as you may. But always remember those around you may not approve.

Last edited by Spirit; 08-22-04 at 08:54 PM.. Reason: changed word from through to throw
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Old 08-22-04, 09:38 PM
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I thought I was the only one who felt this way. I was actually a very social person until a very bad eight year marriage and after that I had very bad trust issues about anyone. After my divorce I had anxiety attacks and suicidal thoughts. I have remarried to a wonderful understanding woman, but still she can't understand how I feel at times. I feel alone most of the time.

I am trying to come out of this by forcing myself to be an extrovert, or at least trying to think of others needs. I am learning Vietnamese and have been accepted by the Vietnamese community. The culture is very family oriented and that is helping me because I have no close ties to my family.

It is a slow process that is being helped by a strong support group.
"Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors."
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"It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."
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Old 08-27-04, 06:57 PM
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I can totally relate to the bad marriage..I spent 1 1/2 years with the first one. He was a drug addict. The second one was a drug addict/alcoholic and would get quite abusive especially during football season.

Thankfully I broke the cycle with husband no.3. He is totally opposite of the first 2. But he is also very out going and loves to talk to just about anybody. He would be a mothers worst nightmare as he knows no strangers.

I'm glad to hear you are coming along, and that you have a great strong support group. I wish that was the case here, but unfortunately, all my family and friends think it's all in my head.

Good luck with learning Vietnamese.
La Donna
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