I think I may have social anxiety--advice

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~Kristin~
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Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 597
   Posted 3/18/2007 3:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone!

I am a regular member at the UC forum and have recently been lurking around here because my symptoms of anxiety are becoming increasingly unbearable. I may as well jump into it and give you a little bit of my background. I would appreciate any help or words of wisdom that you all can share with me to let me know I'm not alone and that this is treatable, because I'm scared and fed up.

I have always been an incredibly shy person and very quiet, even as a child. I can't really remember this being a huge problem for me as I always made friends and my shyness never really caused me any difficulties.

Within the past year, however, this has begun to change...I find it increasingly difficult and nerve-racking to have conversations with ANYONE, including my good friends. I either shy away, say the wrong thing, or engage in nervous-babble. I avoid most phone calls because they SCARE me. I dont know why, and I will tell myself to just suck up and make or answer a call, and things will be fine. But the next time my phone will ring I still get that nervous sensation. I am even afraid to call to get food delivered or to make reservations at a restaurants. Just the knowledge that someone will be talkint to me on the line scares me. I know that sounds pathetic, but honestly, it's true. I never really truly feel comfortable in social gatherings, even small ones, unless there is alcohol involved, which I know is not a good thing.

I've only really recognized and wanted to improve my condition after graduating college and being in the professional world. I have an awesome job, but I am constantly plagued by my feelings of social anxiety. Every social encounter I have I replay in my head afterwards, thinking about how I said the wrong things and how everyone must think I am so awkward. I am a good looking girl, but not overly-friendly because I am so shy. For this reason I am sure I come off as completely selfish and cold, and that is the last thing I am or want to come off as.

I don't really know what I'm looking for here besides advice on what I should do, how I should go about looking for a doctor (therapist? psychologist? psychiatrist? how do you choose?). How do YOU cope?? Is there hope for me with this?

Thanks for listening everyone. It felt good to FINALLY tell someone about this---and even typing this was difficult. :)
~Kristin~
Pancolitis Diagnosed 11/28/05
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wannabbetter
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 3/18/2007 3:56 PM (GMT -7)   
:-)  Hello Kristin, I read your post and i too think i have this problem. I can totally sympathize with you. This is a new condition for me. I have suffered from anxiety, panic disorder and depression for 13 years. I would consider my self to be quiet around people i really don't know. When i was younger i was outgoing and like you said a little more relaxed when having some drinks.I would say within the last 9 months this social anxiety hit me like a ton of rocks. out of know where, if i was in the middle of a conversaion i would have this incredible feeling of running away. it was a panic attack. i just thought it  was a normal panic attack nothing to do with talking to anybody. then i noticed that it was happening more often. i would have panic attacks anytime i would run into anybody.then the phone call thing. i would get panic attacks while talking on the phone to my girlfriend, mom and dad, and any type of business calls or anything, ,  even when the phone rings i get this surge in my body. i shake. for a long time i avoided the calls, and let the answering machine pick up. the only time i could talk on the phone was  if my husband or son were home. i felt safe. so now i have tried talking with out them here. well today, i picked up the phone, and in the middle of the conversation my voice stared to crack i started to shake then the full blown panic attack. i dont know why this is happening. Do you get panic attacks? what kind of feelings do you get? Maybe i have had this social anxiety for a while and now it is showing up in the form of panic attacks. i do remeber when i was a little girl i would get so anxious to speak in front of the class room. I hate public speaking.That would not be a problem now because i would never put my self in a postion to get up in front of  a whole group of people. but the problem is now that when i need to make a phone call or answere the phone there is no way around it. i feel so limited to what i can do. at this time i can not drive. i have problems leaving my home, and when i am home i am scared to be home alone. i am always concerned of what people think of me, and i always think about what i say in my conversations.did i say something wrong. i do get nervous, and sometimes i think i am rambling, and get nervous to voice my opinions. also people who are not very nice and have a stern face i get nervous with also. I dont know how to cope with this problem also. hopefully we can learn from eachother.its a good thing for emails. talk soon. God Bless

debaser
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 3/18/2007 4:16 PM (GMT -7)   
I think I may have had social anxiety for most of my life. Maybe it's a mild form of anxiety disorder that may or may not get worse over time?

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 3/19/2007 3:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Welcome to this forum Kristin
You can ask your family doc for a referral to a PDoc or Therapist to try and get this rolling and I am sure you will be able to talk about what is going on and what has made you finally able to talk about this and know you have a disorder
Never think you are alone with any aspect of this DD we all have or are going thru the same thing
Many peeps here have the EXACT same thing( phobia) you do with the phone
Cognitive behavioural Therapy may help you as well there is a free online one we can give you if you care to try it I do CBT and for me it was and is a great help
There are so many self help books out there as well
Claire Weeks has a couple of excellent ones check HW resources for them at the side in yellow
You did awesome coming here you took the first step
So proud of you and I am glad we are here for you
Please do stay with us here and get the support you need for this disorder I have crons and many other illness as well as A/P so I am all over the boards lol
I know you will feel the care and support from here straight away
Please do stay with us and let us know how things are going I am sure more will have input
LYN
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normalsnofun
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Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 2500
   Posted 3/20/2007 10:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Kristen...You are totally not alone...The phone thing...me too...not so much on incoming calls but dont ask me to call places cause i get all flustered and have issues with it. I think alot of it stems from my fear of sounding like a bumbling idiot. I dont leave voice mails unless I have to and I dont make phone calls unless I know that only 1 or 2 people would answer the phone or its someone I know well. Practice and youll get there...therapy might help too
--Michelle
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sloan
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 3/22/2007 11:31 PM (GMT -7)   
I too do some of these things. I always replay conversations in my head and think about what I said and how it was taken. Other times I get nervous and say something stupid or get intimidated to talk to peolpe. Even small talk. I've done the replaying in my head so much that even after I review it later on hours later part of the coversation will pop in my head and I will analize it.

wannabbetter
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 3/23/2007 4:28 AM (GMT -7)   
oh my gosh....sloan, yes i totally get like how you described it, even a night i will wake up i am still thinking about  it. i wish we could just let it go and just be able to have a normal conversation and feel good about it. i am always worried about what the other person thinks of me and my family.thanks for your input. have a great day ...god bless

Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 3/23/2007 4:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Great input all ........
LYN
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sloan
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 3/23/2007 11:35 PM (GMT -7)   
wannabbetter, Yes it would be nice to let it all go. I have been trying to do it. I recently found out my sister does the exact same thing I do. Exactly the same. It's weird. If you have any success in this area be sure to let me know how you did it. I could go on about more but it's ebarassing. When I was in high school I did not seem to be this way. Maybe shy at times but other times I was the class clown and very outgoing. Take care.

Post Edited (sloan) : 3/24/2007 12:37:40 AM (GMT-6)


wannabbetter
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 3/24/2007 5:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sloan, Yes i will definitely let you know if i learn any tecniques or more about this problem. I was thinking about it yesterday, i guess sometimes we should have the  i dont care attitude what people think or say about us. we just need to know who we really are and accept ourselves the way we are and know that we are good people inside. Thats all that really matters. well i hope we can all get over this problem. i will keep you posted on anything sloan....have a great day. lets try the i dont care attitude...God bless

sloan
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 3/27/2007 2:24 AM (GMT -7)   
Cool thanks wannabbetter, I am trying the don't care attitude. I am going through a lot now and that makes it harder I think. Have a good day also.
Sloan


sloan
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 4/21/2007 9:26 AM (GMT -7)   
wannabbbetter,
How have you been doing?
Sloan


wannabbetter
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 4/21/2007 4:43 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sloan , so nice to ask me that. i have my good and bad days. lately a little better, but then i had my yearly physical with the gyno and mamogram done, had to have a ultrasound done on my breast and now need to see a surgeon for another opinion. they say it is a benign lymp node in my breast but want to make sure. also abnormal cells on cervix have to do another test, so now i am so nervous but have not really talked to anyone about it because i get nervous to think or talk about it. so these tests are with in one month. so how are you doing. hope better. have you been out lately? i tried going to walmart to make a credit payment, and i wasnt even in there 5 minutes and i started to have a panic attack. it was awful, had to run out and get my husband to take care of it for me. i thought i was able to but couldnt. the phone thing still happens, at times i can answer then i cant. do you get this?I have been trying to have the i dont care attituted, of what people think of me, and i try not to make conversations if i dont have to. before i would think that i had to say something or talk to people to make them like me, so they would not think i was a snot or something, but i found that i would start stumbling on my words an get nervous.so now i  dont voluntary start a conversation and try to keep it short and happy.its been working so far. also instead of making phone calls i do emails now. i find that much easier. what have you been doing? sloan you made me feel very good inside to ask how i was doing. thank you so much for keeping in touch. talk soon okay....god bless

Post Edited (wannabbetter) : 4/21/2007 5:48:37 PM (GMT-6)


sloan
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 4/30/2007 5:07 AM (GMT -7)   
wannabbetter,
Sorry to hear about your new situation. I don't know anything about benign limp nodes. I hope the tests go well and they take good care of you whatever they have to do. Hopefully the month will go by quickly and you can get done with it fast whatever they have to do. I have a lot going on now and am not sleeping. Doctor put me on lexapro and ativan. I have had some really bad days but compared to what you have to worry about I shouldn't complain. My aunt last year had 3 anurisms(I can't spell.) In her brain and it is a miracle she lived. But if she lived and almost fully recoverd. there is a very good chance you'll be fine. So don't lose faith. It might be something they can take care of easily. Like I said I don't know really anything about limphs so I don't know how serious it is. If you want to tell me you can.

I get the phone thing too. If I don't recognize the number on the caller ID I either let the answering machine get it or I answer in a funny voice. If they ask for me I say he's not here. I don't know why. I have been getting panic attacks at night and can't sleep and when I first get to work. I have been interacting with people a little better. I told myself that they aren't perfect either and that helps me. I find that if I'm more friendly that for the most part they are too. Some people I am nervous to talk to though and still avoid. Sometimes it helps to let them talk first and just react to what they say. And as time goes on I find I ad a little to the conversation and it seems ok. But if I try too hard I stumble. If I accept myself more I find I am accepted better in some cases. I think the key is not to try too hard but I don't know. I find that talking about things with people that are a common interest of both of you breaks the ice too. Like a person I work with that I was nervous around got a puppy around the same time I did and if I ask about puppy stuff we have an ok conversation where as before it was hi and bye. Now if there is nothing in common the weather outside can only take you so far. So what I do is try to seek out people I have things in common with. Like you and I talk about our weeknesses. Emails are easier ,sometimes on the phone with someone I don't know well there is an awkward silence. I still replay conversations in my head and all. What have I been doing. That would take all day and I can't remember what I told you so I'll give you a quick rundown. My wife wants divorce. I don't and am not taking it well. Also I am having problems with a tenant I rent to who has been my friend since 2nd grade. I want him out. It would take forever to write it all but things are hard now. Let me know how things go with you and good luck with everything. about the phone call also. I would always try to get my wife to make any calls that I had to make but she won't anymore.
Sloan


wannabbetter
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 4/30/2007 6:32 AM (GMT -7)   
hi sloan, i hope you are in better spirits today. i am so sorry to hear that your wife wants a divorce. i hope things work out for you. have you tried counseling together? maybe that can change things for the both of you. sorry about your friend giving you the short end of the stick. it is so hard to be  a landlord or be in business with friends or family. that is why i stay away from any type of situations. i have learned the hard way. lost a 7 year relationship with a friend over something so stupid because of a car sale. anyway, i hope all works out in the end for you. i know how you feel about the phone calls. i have my husband make the calls for me. at times he wont because he wants me to be strong. at times it is so difficult for me, especially when i am home alone. today i have that appointment with the surgeon for the breast thing. i am so nervous. the only thing that gives me peace is when i think of God and ask him to give me peace and stength to get thru this. i have to continuously pray.i have to leave it in the lords hands. sloan, i will pray for you for god to protect you and to get thru this difficult time in your life, and to touch your wifes heart to change her mind about the divorce and to change the marriage for the better. divorce is a horrible life expirience. i have not been thru one but have seen my borthers and sisters go thru it. its not nice. sloan you are right about not trying so hard to talk to people, i have tried not to try so hard, and just trying to be myself. if people like me they do, if not there is nothing i can do about it. i just accept my self on who i am. my personality is to please people and i cant do that no more. it makes me feel inadequate when i feel i cant please everyone. i guess thats when the anxiety kicks in on how i think people think of me. at this point in my life i have to try not to really care anymore. i hope you do better with the social anxiety. i'll let you know how things turn out when i get back from the drs visit. have a great day. you are in my prayers. take care, god bless

sloan
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 5/1/2007 1:22 AM (GMT -7)   
wannabetter, Today was a little better. We went to counseling twice and she was made I dragged her there. Her mind seems made up. When I can afford to I go alone because I like it. Making calls is hard for me too. I would have my wife call me off of work too so I wouldn't have to talk to them. And other calls too because I feel the people will give me a hard time. Let me know how the surgeon goes. I pray to God too but my faith is shaken now. Thanks for praying for me and the wife. I will pray for your appointment and the follow ups to go well. Someone else on here and I pray for each other too. We should get a prayer group going or something. Maybe we can have more power in numbers. I still get nervouse around people and pick who to talk to at work who I feel more comfortable with but I see a small improvement. What I do now is in public if it's a friendly environment I try saying kind things to people I don't know. It seems to help a little. I don't strike up conversations or anything but I try to be friendly where as before I walked around with a scowl on my face so people wouldn't try to talk to me. I hate the anxiety part of it all. Definatly I feel and like you said ya can't try too hard. I think it makes people nervous because they sense I'm nervous. I am insecure and that is what I'm trying to work on. You have been added to my notebook of people I pray for. I sometimes forget to pray but I try every night. Thanks again for praying for me. Every bit helps. You can't please everyone but if you look around you can find people you can please. That's how I feel anyway. Good luck at the appointment.
Sloan


wannabbetter
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 5/1/2007 8:28 AM (GMT -7)   
hi sloan. im glad your feeling a little better.hopefully as days go on you will get better as each passing day goes.im sorry that your wife has basically made up her mind on the divorce. i dont know the situation of the marraige, but i beleive that prayer can change things. prayer is so powerfull. i have prayed for you and your wife and i will continue to do so.Dont loose faith, ask the lord to change your wifes heart for you. do you have children. how long married? can i ask why she wants the divorce. not being nosey, just wanted to know the circumstances. you dont have to tell me if you dont feel like sharing. i would totally understand and respect your decision on not sharing. thank you for praying for me. i sincerly appreciate it. it would be nice to get a prayer group together somehow.it would be great!!!!! i have good news.went to the dr. was very nercous but thankfully my husband went with me. i am not very good at drs office, i usually get full blown panic attacks. did not get the attack but nervous. blood presure high but i guess that comes with being nervous. anyway the surgeon said there is nothing to worry about. its not cancer. just a lymp node in the breast, but that i should continue to do annual mamograms. what a relief!!!!thanks so much for your sincere thoughts and prayers. now i have another appointment with the gyno for the abnormal cells on the cervix. LORD willing it will be okay. Sloan do you get panic attacks. How have they been. hope well. are you on meds. not me. dont like them...have a problem with taking medicines. i guess its part of the ocd, and anxiety. its a nice day here. sunny. how about where you live? okay we will talk soon. have a great day. God Bless YOU. 

sloan
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 5/1/2007 11:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi wannabbetter,
I'm glad your appointment went well. I bet you are relieved. Hope your other appointment goes just as well. Thanks again for praying for the wife to change her heart. I never prayed for the Lord to change her heart. I only pray for the marriage to get better. Maybe your on to something there. She told me today she wants a separation though. I'm not proud of it but I will give you the circumstances. For years I didn't appreciate her and she did all the cooking,dishes,laundry,cleaning, and packed my lunch. I cut grass and shovelled snow in the winter. She got sick of it and griped and it made me not want to the the housework more. When I was at work we would talk on the phone for hours. But she started playing an online video game and made friends. Eventually she didn't want to talk to me on the phone anymore. I have anxiety and one time heard her saying real mean things about me to someone on the computer with her headset. It was like she hated me. I became resentful and upset that the internet game came first and me second so we fought about it all the time. She plays 40 to 50 hours a week and I don't feel I can compete with that and being she talks to guys a lot I get jealouse. Well she's sick of fighting and want a divorce now. Sometimes she says separation but she always says she don't want to be my wife at all. We have been married 16 years. We have no children just dogs. I have anxiety/depression dissorder and ensomnia. And that is another reason she can't take it anymore. I get panic attacks. At night or when I just get to work usually. I have been on medication off and on since 1999. Right now I'm on lexapro and ativan. I don't like to take them either but right now I need them to survive. It was raining here today pretty much all day. A little thunder too. Thanks for your concern and I'm glad your appointment went good.


Sloan

Post Edited (sloan) : 5/2/2007 12:08:45 AM (GMT-6)


keegans_mommy
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 5/3/2007 8:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Chiming in to say I have these issues too and have had them since I can remember. I am 34. I hate using the phone! HATE IT! When we want to order a pizza, my DH will ask me to do it and I will find ANY excuse to not do it so he does it everytime. It's embarrassing!

I will not leave my house, unless it's to drive somewhere. I feel "safe" in my house and in my truck but not with other people. I am too afraid of what negative things they are thinking about me. I even felt that way when we had our first baby and she would look me in the eyes! I was actually shy to her! What a strange thing huh?

Anyway, you aren't alone as I suffer from that (and other things) too :)

wannabbetter
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 5/3/2007 4:55 PM (GMT -7)   
hey sloan. how are things? hope better. i have been praying for you and your wife. you have been on my mind and thinking about your situation and feeling bad that your wife wants a divorce. doesnt she remember her vows? Through hard times and good times? there is a book, "what every man wants in a woman, what every  woman wants in a man, it is by
john and diana hagee. maybe you should both read it. it is christain based.sloan, i am sure that you are not the only one going through this so please dont blame your self. it takes two to make things work. i know we are all guilty of taking someone for granted. now you see this and hopefully you and the wife can talk things out and change things in the relationship life is way to short...if you really love eachother you will make it work and with God in your lives he can change anything, even a horrible marriage. 16 years is along time just to throw things away. so anyway i hope things work out for the best. how are you feeling today? hope well. write when you can. god bless you....talk soon 

sloan
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 5/3/2007 11:14 PM (GMT -7)   
wannabbetter,
Things are so so. Thanks for praying. I ask her about the vows and God. And she just says she can't be what I want her to be. I have a few marriage books that are good but she won't read them at all. I know it takes two. The couselor pointed out some things she was doing wrong and she never went back. I have my share of blame definatly too though. She says she has been unhappy for years. She wants to move out and that's that. Then she says she'll have a clear head to see if she misses me. The thing is I remember many good years. All I can do is go with the flow and if I have to get a second job to keep the house I guess I will have to adapt. Thanks for your support and prayers. I'll let you know how it goes. Hope your doing well too.
Sloan


wannabbetter
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 5/16/2007 5:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi there Sloan, thinking about you and wondering how things are going for you, still in my prayers. Hope things are going better for you. hope you are well. keep in touch. talk soon.God bless

scorpio2
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/17/2007 9:44 AM (GMT -7)   

hello,

         you are not alone in your anxiety nightmare.  i too am in a similar position.  it started in my early teens and i have never confronted it seriously.  it directs and controls my thoughts especially before the onset of, and after a  social gathering.


Clare29
New Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 5/17/2007 9:54 AM (GMT -7)   
ANXIETY DOES GO AWAY. I felt like I had a vice around my heart for about three yers straight, it was very hard to get me out of the house, I was socially phobic. Anxiety meds Didn't help But after three years, the anxiety just went away. ANd now I hae Tourette's, Schizo-affective Disorder, Exhaustion, Muscle Spasms and paralysis, and I'm total unself-concious and non-anxious.

sloan
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 5/17/2007 10:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello wannabbetter,
Things are about the same. Thanks for praying for me. Your on my list too. I am drinking more water for my kidneys. My left fingertips are numb so the doctor had me get x rays of my neck today. I think an MRI is next. The wife hasn't left yet. I have been a little uncomfortable around people at work again. I don't know why. I just feel like avoiding them. Some days I get good vibes some days bad. There is so much going on with me now. I have been listening to my bible cds. I put them on my mp3 player at work and listen to them. Please keep praying and I will too. How are things with you? Have your doctor appointments been going ok? Thank you for asking how things are going. Take care.
Sloan

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