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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Skyline Offline
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Exclamation turns out it IS socil anxiety !! - June 10th 2017, 12:32 PM

It may seem strange that I'm so happy knowing that I have social anxiety, but honestly it's such a relief to know that it's a diagnosable mental issue and not just me having an over-dramatic, self-pitying personality. It feels more tangible now and I feel less insane.
As long as I can remember I've always been shy, and these past 3 years as I've matured and changed environments I've noticed my issues with socialising more and more, and for a while I've suspected that something was off and that I was just a bit too extreme in that sense, as none of my close friends could relate to my feelings.
To summarise it, what happens is that in any social situation where I'm in a group of more than 5 people, I feel completely apart from the conversation, all of my insecurities surface and I draw into myself and wallow in this feeling that I'm dumb, that I'm boring, that I'm dull, that I'm not wanted, etc. and it ususally culminates into a big outburst of sadness and anger and despair, and I'll either cry or binge on candy or (sometimes, but much rarely these days) harm myself. Usually I just cry for the whole evening and feel shit. This happens even when all of the people I'm with are good friends of mine, say, at a birthday party.

Anyways yesterday was the graduation ceremony, meaning there were lots of people and noise and commotion and heat and from the get go it all felt very chaotic, so I knew I was going to be affected by it in some way. When the ceremony ended and all of the parents, siblings and graduates went to the buffet I saw my friends go from person to person, chatting and joking around and I went into that spiral of thoughts poking at my insecurities and making me feel "less than"; I went to the room where all our bags were being kept and cried for a while (and one of my closest friends and my bf comforted me, which i'm so grateful for. often what happens is that my reaction is to draw away from people and I'll say I want to be left alone when really what I need is just one or two people who I trust to sit with me and comfort me, try to cheer me up. It helped a lot.)
After that I spoke to my mum about it, going into detail about exactly how these social situations made me feel for the 1st time; before then I would just tell her I was feeling "peopled-out" or "emotional". I've know for a while that my mother has social anxiety and takes medication for it, so i've always wondered if it's possible that I may have that predisposition to have mental instability, but I always told myself that what I was experiencing wasn't serious enough to be a medically diagnosable issue and that I was just overreacting and being self-pitiful. Turns out, once I explained in detail everything that I felt, my mum told me that that's exactly what she experiences and that it's all due to social anxiety...

And thus we've concluded that I have social anxiety. I don't have much more to say on the matter; I don't want to go on any medication, so for now I'm going to try to deal with my own means. For now just knowing that I have Social Anxiety is extremely relieving, because instead of the problem being me, I know that it's simply that it's in me but ultimately it's apart from me.


"You shall love your crooked neighbour / with your crooked heart."
   
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Re: turns out it IS socil anxiety !! - June 11th 2017, 06:25 AM

Thank you for the wonderful explanation. I greatly appreciate it.

I do understand the part about the difference between having a problem and being the problem.

(I recently told a friend recovering from drug addiction, "Don't call yourself a "drug addict", instead call yourself "a person who has a problem with drug addiction". It's the difference between being the problem, and having a problem. If you are a "drug addict", then you are the problem, and there's nothing anyone can do except get rid of you, because you are the problem. On the other hand, if you have a problem, the problem becomes something you can deal with. You can have a problem, and still be a person. The problem can be dealt with.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
what I need is just one or two people who I trust to sit with me and comfort me

This is really good to know. This would be really good to educate others so they know how to react in a helpful way when they see you need help. Educating others in what sort of response will help you can be very helpful to others. Since everyone is different, what one person thinks they would like if they were in your place, might be completely different from what you would like.

There's a book called Wellness Action Recovery Plan (WRAP) which can help with building this type of "educating my support team" in how to best respond and support me when I need it. (https://www.wrapandrecoverybooks.com/store/wrap.html)

So you do OK in very small groups, less than 5 people?

I have noticed the dynamics of a group change when the group is below that size, and also when the group is above 10 people.

Best wishes! Thank you for writing. You write very well.

(I actually find it ironic that I found your story very interesting to read, about how you see yourself as the opposite of interesting!)
   
  (#3 (permalink)) Old
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Re: turns out it IS socil anxiety !! - June 11th 2017, 07:43 AM

Thank you for your response!

Quote:
Educating others in what sort of response will help you can be very helpful to others
I know this, and the frustrating thing about this situation is that I also have an intense fear that when I'm hanging out with someone they don't actually want to be with me and they're just being nice. So I know I won't go straight up to my friends/bf and tell them that when I get that way it helps most to have one of them there, because I would then feel like I was imposing this on them. Also, when I start retreating into myself and feeling anxious I often genuinely believe that I want to be totally by myself, so if someone were to offer help I may decline and I'll only realize later on that I really need someone there but I've already turned them down. I suppose I'll learn to get help better as I experience this more and more. (And in some strange way, the knowledge that I can completely isolate myself is very comforting at first... so maybe it's necessary for me to have that possibility instead of knowing that if one of my friends notices they'll immediately join me. This is just a hypothesis though, I really don't know.)

Quote:
So you do OK in very small groups, less than 5 people?

I have noticed the dynamics of a group change when the group is below that size, and also when the group is above 10 people.
Really it's just that I get uncomfortable whenever I feel like someone isn't acting "genuinely" and being their casual self... I'm not sure if I can explain this quite right but I'll try. What I mean is that if people's behaviour changes because of a social situation (as you pointed out, the dynamics change quite often depending on the size) and they start putting on (what feels to me like) more of an "act" instead of being calm and open and collected, I get unsettled and anxious, partly because I can't relate to that change of behaviour and it feels like they're being fake and partly because I start to doubt myself and think that maybe I'm the weird one and that it's strange that I'm not more hyped than any of them are and I feel like I'm not interesting (athough the sheer number of people and noise in itself is overwhelming for me, so it isn't just about how people are acting but it's a big part of it).
Basically it seems to me that if you have two people talking together and they're both completely alone, no matter what their relationship they will act more "naturally" and will allow themselves to be more vulnerable and will be more contemplative instead of just talking for the sake of talking, but if you have people conversing as part of a large group (say 10 people) it's as if they talk for their ego as opposed to their "true selves", and they try to be loud and fun and entertaining. I have this one friend (he's more like a friend of my close friends though, I don't know him that well) who I've noticed is naturally a bit of a jokester and likes to entertain people, but as soon as we're more than 4 people with him it's like that aspect of his personality gets magnified ten times and it seems to me like he feels this need to be the center of attention and be the funniest person in the room, so I find it extremely difficult to be comfortable around him. I also notice that one of my closest friends will go into Gossip Mode when they're with more than a couple of people and they try to tell these sensational stories by exaggerating what really happened and it's almost like they've changed into a different person.
Part of it is also that when you're in a bi group of people it's like you're expected to be constantly chatting, when if you wre being "natural" and were with a close friend you would be comfortable being silent and now and again bring something up when you genuinely have a desire to talk about it. So as someone who is especially quiet, it's like my quietness is emphasized in these situations where you're expected to do just the opposite and my mind races for something to say when really I'm happy sitting back and observing and mulling over things by myself.
I know that I'm looking at this in a really cynical way, but I don't mean to say that it's their fault or anything and that they're doing it consciously, because I know that usually when you do something like that to gain attention it's because subconsciously you must have some insecurities so you feel the need to show yourself as this fun, entertaining person. And I don't mean to say that they're being completely fake and that they shouldn't act this way, because I imagine that if you're able to get into that kind of mood it must feel very exciting and fun.

So as a general rule I do much better in small groups, although there are still times when for whatever reason I'm already in an anxious mood and I'll find things to be insecure about no matter what and I'll compare myself to everyone for no reason.
Basically if I'm with a group of more than 5 people I can guarantee that 99% of the time at some point I'll feel anxious (and usually once I start it's hard tos top), whereas with a group of just 4 people or less I'll only be anxious if someone is acting particularly superficial or if I'm already in that anxious head space.

Quote:
(I actually find it ironic that I found your story very interesting to read, about how you see yourself as the opposite of interesting!)
Thank you so much, that's really one of the best things someone could say to me I really enjoy writing and I find I can express myself much more clearly when writing.

Best wishes to you too!


"You shall love your crooked neighbour / with your crooked heart."
   
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Re: turns out it IS socil anxiety !! - June 11th 2017, 08:54 AM

Hi Skye.
Firstly, love your attitude on taking this! Well done!

Secondly, naturally you'd want help with making this problem not be a problem with you. Its great your mum is supportive. Maybe asking her to take you to a therapist to get a formal assessment is a good idea. Medication and other strategies will definitely help!

Also, since you mentioned you'd like a few people to help cheer you up, talk to your partner and friend. I'm sure they will be more than willing to help. Maybe set up a code word, or phrase that will let them know you need help.

I think meditation may help. It may just help you cope with stressful scenarios. This and this are some resources you can look into. Also the app store/play store have heaps and heaps of free apps you can use.

Hope this helps a bit. You're welcome to PM me anytime you like.
Best of luck! And keep your head up mate, like you're already doing.


PM me if you ever wanna talk. Send a message my way.
And remember, you matter. You're awesome. You're beautiful. Stay strong, the world will get better.

May The Force be With You.
   
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Re: turns out it IS socil anxiety !! - June 12th 2017, 08:35 AM

Thank you for the kind reply.

May I ask a question? I'm hazarding a guess at which of the 4 basic personality types you might identify with, and I'm guessing it might be the "Idealist" personality type, which is quite special, about 10% of the population. These people are very concerned with being their "authentic" selves. It's something the other 3 personality types don't really pay much attention to, and even something which doesn't make much sense to them, but for the Idealist, it is very important for them to always be "authentic".

The other thing is I am often very bad at guessing! I probably have only a 10% chance of being right on this!

Anyway, there's a description here:
http://keirsey.com/4temps/idealist_overview.asp

Only you can say if you identify with this or not.

If this happens to be a match, this could help explain many of the issues you have been facing (though not all of them).

(Let me know if I should plan a trip to Las Vegas, or hold off on that because I'm still very bad at guessing.)


(I also agree with aguy that Meditation can be good for reversing anxiety.)
   
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