Extreme Social Anxiety

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by SarahForgot, Dec 11, 2011.

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  1. SarahForgot

    SarahForgot Member

    I tried searching around this forum for someting relating to social anxiety and didn't really find the kind I was looking for. I saw the one that had a sort of online test to tell how bad your anxiety is, but I KNOW how bad mine is, I don't need some kind of test to me. Anyway, the reason I'm posting this is that i was hoping I could find somebody to talk to who's going through the same thing I am. A lot of people when they hear about social anxiety either think it's crap or that it's able to be overcame by simply "getting out more." They don't understand that it's something that makes me, as well as other people, suicidal. I can't hold a job because of this, and I NEVER socialize. I tried last week and could only manage to stay for 10 minutes. I thought about it for the past week and how much of a failure I am for not being able to just be normal.
  2. In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place Well-Known Member

    Hi sarah,i totally understand what youve gone through.I was luck enough to be able to somehow hold down a job for 17 yrs but it was hard.At weddings,parties etc... im barely able to function if i go at all,i used to think getting drunk would "bring me out of my shell" but that does not work at all. I just wind up with chronic migraine bought on by the stress of how badly i know im doing. I wind up at the back or in a corner watching everybody enjoy themselves and wishing i could be part of it.Nowadays ive gone in for a policy of complete avoidance of any social situation which is a very desolate existence but at least i dont get the stress and sleepless nights when theres something coming up.I cant even use public toilets due to anxiety,when i think of everything ive missed out on i find it overwhelming because ive reached 39yrs old and i dont feel that ive grown as a person at all due to the sheltered life ive lead. I tried CBT and got some positive results with small achievements but as soon as i reported improvement they told me there were more needy people than me waiting to be helped. Once back on my own with no encouragement i slipped right back to how i was. Erm not sure what ive written all this for coz some say it pisses them off when somebody writes about themself on their thread but its by way of letting you know your not alone that i have written this.
  3. In a Lonely Place

    In a Lonely Place Well-Known Member

    p.s welcome to the forum
  4. Sais

    Sais Well-Known Member

    Hey, I've been reading this book that gave me hope, social anxiety can be cured, there are lots of advice, tips, and information on how to understand yourself and the way you act/think/feel, it's great, it helped me, I'm still working on it, but it's a good start:


    this is a description :
    Hope it helps you too.

    Edit: you can see some pages here :

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 11, 2011
  5. Severijn

    Severijn Well-Known Member

    Hi sarah.

    I agree that the advice of "just go out more" is not good enough. Before you go out and practice your social skills, you need to have the right knowledge, insights, goals, motivation, and mindset.

    If you just go into a social situation without special knowledge of social skills, you'll just feel anxious again, and this in turn reinforces your bad self-image.

    But in essence, "going out there" is ultimately the only way to overcome your social anxiety. But there is a good and bad way of doing this.

    When you practice social skills when you have social anxiety, you should go from small goals to a bit bigger goals. A good way to start is to make eye-contact more for like 10 minutes per day. Another that helps a lot is smiling a little more each day.

    Do you think you're up to that challenge (making eye-contact and smiling more)? Or do you think... no way I'm going to do that...?

    I suggest you go to amazon.com and buy a couple of really good self-help books. Some names to search for are:

    - First impressions - what you don't know about how others see you
    - How to make friends and influence people
    - psychology of achievement - brian tracy
    - 7 habits of highly effective people
    - the mental edge (sports book, but useful for other things too).

    I know how daunting it can be to socialize if you have social anxiety (I had strong social anxiety). But at some point you have to decide to set little social goals for yourself. Slowly and gradually expose your more and more to social situations. And at the same time constantly keep learning from mistakes (they are bound to happen in the beginning; it's all part of the learning process).

    Well take care and I hope you get well. I strongly belief social anxiety is something you can mostly cure... I've done it myself with a lot of self-help and exposing myself.
  6. joshtillb

    joshtillb Member

    hey sarah, i must say i know how you feel, ive tryed explaining it to people before and they have NO clue what its like, ive been able to keep my job but this past week its been extremly hard!! the hardest part is. i know this isnt normal, i know IM not normal, i see other people my age exceling while im just sorta stuck. i go back to school in january....i dont see how it will be possible, anywho if you ever want to talk just message me! im not on too often but i promise ill reply :)
  7. pancake111

    pancake111 Well-Known Member

    I have really bad social anxiety also. I hate crowds/parties, and I can't make small talk to save my life. There's a site called Socialanxietysupport.com (I believe there's a link somewhere near the bottom of the homepage here). It's a really good site and has a forum full of people with SA.

    PM me if you want to talk more about SA or anything in general.
  8. RumoursOfMyDemise

    RumoursOfMyDemise Well-Known Member

    Hi Sarah. I have extreme SA too, and I completely understand the way that most people don't take it seriously and think it's just normal shyness. It's the one thing which has completely ruined my life. I'm incapable of making friends (except online), being in a relationship, and even just being around people most of the time. It's utter hell. Anyway..feel free to PM anytime if you want to talk to someone else who understands how crippling SA can be.
  9. Witty_Sarcasm

    Witty_Sarcasm Eccentric writer, general weirdo, heedless heathen

    I know exactly how you feel, and I hate it when people say things like "you should get out of your shell"...I am shy but it's beyond that. I've damn near had panic attacks just from feeling closed in by crowds. You aren't a failure because you have a disorder beyond your control. But there is always help available and you can start to feel better about yourself.
  10. Tmacster1

    Tmacster1 Well-Known Member

    I hate that to because I'm always shy and a little quite out in public. I might not have SA but I definitely keep to myself in terms of what I say. I don't like people to tell me to get out my box because it's difficult for me to talk to others at first. It's just because I'm shy. I don't think your failure either because you have a disorder and that doesn't make you a looser. I also agree with Christy there's always help out there.

  11. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, the absolute only solution to social anxiety is "getting out more".

    But there's help. Drugs come to mind for particularly extreme forms, if you have a GP ask about benzos and longer-acting anxiolytics (usually antidepressants). If you don't have a GP you'll have to use a walk-in doctor, express problems with anxiety, maybe ask for an antidepressant, but do not mention benzos.

    Further, exercise will help. If you can't leave your house to do it, get an exercise bike.

    Finally, do you have any friends at all? The best time I've had when expanding my horizons is to take small steps with a good friend alongside. If you don't have any, you might be able to find someone on this forum who could help you out. It'll be very anxiety-provoking to meet a new person from online for the first time, and it will be an awkward encounter, but that's the hardest it'll be, everything is downhill from the first time.
  12. Leiavalt

    Leiavalt Member

    I suffer from Social anxiety. I am not particularly stressed out by large crowds like on arrangements and similar, but in stores, buses, dining places/cafes, I get extremely insecure. In other words places where you have to stand in line, order, or something with people waiting around you, noticing... Even if there are not that many people there, I feel the anxiety strucking me. Being nervous to make a fool of myself in a certain way, feeling people looking at me(I have low confidence about my appereance) and judging me, ....Especially when on the bus I can often get problems breathing normally. Sitting and holding it inside me, afraid of breathing at people or make a sound to be noticed. So I end up breathing heavily out when not able to withold the breath anymore.

    Also when meeting up with new people I can be extremely shy and insecure. I'd rather hope to go unnoticed and be forgotten. I feel so uncomfortable about it. I don't like living like this, I wish I could learn to relax, but If it were as easy to just "get over it" I would, just like my depressions.

    The main problem is my low-confidence about my appereance and feeling that everyone around are judging me negatively.
  13. stupidgirl

    stupidgirl New Member

    Hey. Im in the same situation. I've been to the emergency room numerous times because I have seizure like panic attacks.
    I go weeks where I can't sleep, can't breath, can't digest food. I am looking into getting on disability because I can't handle stress like a normal person.
    I can't work without sneaking drinks or using benzos because I know I will be fired if I have a full on panic attack. I want to say that I never took "anxiety disorders"seriously until I started having them. Now I am being treated like Im just lazy, or exaggerating, and that Im a weak person - which Im not.
    I was abused and raped and tormented by someone that I was financially dependent on, even though I worked 17 hour day in the film industry as a PA, and I have no family.
    My friends abandened me because they claimed I "liked the abuse". And now I have removed myself from that situation for years but cannot overcome extreme anxiety and panic disorder that is making me feel it will never get better and no one will love me, and I don't know if I can take this mental illness much longer.....I feel helpless and suicidal because it's only getting worse.
  14. gloomy

    gloomy Account Closed

    I think the worst part about it is not being able to get the jobs I should have had, or being able to handle the really tough pressure situations that really depend on being able to talk to people and appear confident. I feel like I have a lot to offer the world and other people but I can't because every time I get into that kind of situation I start trembling and saying the wrong thing, and I know it's the wrong thing but I can't stop. They're like a threat or something.

    I've met so many people-- potential girlfriends, teachers, friends, and I haven't been able to connect with them because I'm too afraid of being judged/rejected... I also seem to be afraid of people finding me attractive, or of running into people that I find attractive, messed up as that is... so whenever that happens I always manage to push them away... and then I come home and think 'why did I do that??'.. and then I avoid the places where I met those people because I'm too afraid of seeing them again and having to talk to them... because I know that if I go back there I'm not going to be able to do anything and I'll just panic and fill with fear.

    At its worse I have a hard time even walking down the street... I can't really explain it but it's sort of like I have this terrible fear that something is going to happen but I'm not completely sure what. I just really feel like I need to know exactly what's going to happen before it happens and that people are going to understand if something goes wrong, but of course there are a lot of times when I just can't do this.

    It's kind of amazing because in elementary school I was really into public speaking, and even a few years ago I was able to speak in front of huge crowds (maybe 500 people) and even improvise routines that get laughs without feeling so tense, but the second it comes down to interaction with people where I'll have to actually connect with them or rely on them somehow, I get really anxious.

    I also hate having to carry food, or to hold cups, or to pay for things and possibly touch someone's hand, standing in line at the supermarket, bumping into people... and meeting new people is almost always completely out of the question.

    And to top it all off, it's not even like I know what's causing it or I have any real reason why I'm like this that I know of... and maybe the worst part is that it doesn't even seem like it's enough of problem to be upset about, even though it's definitely having an effect on my life.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2012
  15. SaraRose

    SaraRose Well-Known Member

    I am exactly the same way. Usually the stress leads me to drinking until I am unable to feel anything. But even then I either stay alone in the corner watching everything or if I came with someone I hide near them; which then makes me feel even worse because not only am I stressed about the social event but now I'm drunk and have to worry about that. I spend days alone- yet hate every second I'm alone.

    I hate it when people I know tell me 'go out and make friends.' It's easier said then done. I want to be able to go out to my cousin's wedding and dance like a normal person- even if I have no skills. I want to be able to go out to fun events and be able to laugh with others that like the same as me. Hell I just wanna be able to laugh and joke with a cashier without getting extremely nervous and stressed.

    So to everyone with SA I know how you feel, I suffer with it everyday.
  16. morning rush

    morning rush Well-Known Member

    I totally understand what you mean, I have social phobias with generalized anxiety and depression. I rarely socialize, I have no real life friends and I spend most of my time in my apartment. I'm trying to go out 2 or 3 times a week, even if it's just to go to the corner store and browse for 10 min and then go back home, because I really want to get better. I can't hold a job either. I see a counselor every two weeks and I try to go to an information session they have during the year, like I went to the nutrition one on monday, and I had an asthma attack the entire time. But I did it. And at the end of the day I'm happy I went and survived. :)

    It is really hard to overcome the anxiety and fears of people...I've been like this for 4 years and only recently I've decided that I want to overcome this. It's hard though and it takes a heck of a lot when you try to go in social places...go slowly, like once a month, once every two weeks or something like that...you don't have to stay long...but try and go out, even if it's just to sit on the stairs in your building, or to walk to the corner and back. Or sit in a bus booth for 5 mins. It's a trial and error kind of things, you got to keep trying and then you'll notice the more you do it, the longer you can do it...it takes time though, it doesn't happen right away...
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