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Mental Health Use this forum to share your mental health concerns and to seek advice.

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Confused - September 3rd 2020, 02:55 PM

[FONT=""][COLOR=""][SIZE=""][FONT=""][COLOR=""][SIZE=""]I'm don't know if what i have is a mental health issue but I would like to ask for some advice anyway.
I'm not sure how to describe it exactly but I find it very hard to act "normal" in public and around people. It also takes me about 5 minutes to work up the courage to ask a a stranger something e.g asking a worker in a store if they have an article of clothing in my size. Anytime that I go and speak to someone (e.g in the shop or to the driver on the bus) I start to panic because I feel like I'm going to do something wrong or make myself look weird. Sometimes it means I can't speak properly (i mess up words , my grammar is really bad and even omit words- I am a native English speaker btw) and sometimes I can't speak -my mouth will be moving but no sound will come out. Other times, I will have a mind blank and completely forget what to say. Usually when I make these mistakes, I end up thinking about it all day and I make t worse in my head.

A couple of days ago, I went to meet up with my friends and I had to get on the bus. I was so nervous about asking the bus driver for a ticket that I asked my mom what I should say and I practiced it over an over in my head so I wouldn't get it wrong. Of course, I had my usual mind blank thing where I stood there for a second, not knowing what I was supposed to do. The bus driver was obviously very busy that day and he was pretty impatient. I really panicked and I felt as though everyone on the bus thought I was stupid. I kept thinking about it for an hour while I waited for my friends to arrive (my friends were running late and I accidentally got on a really early bus bc I was so panicked about talking to the bus driver) After I was with my friends, I relaxed and calmed down but as soon as we said goodbye and I had to get on the bus again, I started panicking and the exact same thing happened again.
Recently, I feel like everyone is looking at me or judging me and it's got to the extent that people walking behind me on the street will be laughing and I'll start thinking they're laughing at me.
At school, I constantly feel like people are judging me or secretly making fun of me behind my back even though I know deep down that I'm just being paranoid.
When I have to order something at a restaurant with friends or something similar with a group of people all in the same situation, I always have to watch people going first with their order etc so that I can remember their exact words and repeat them so that I won't make a mistake.
With all these things, I am aware that I'm being stupid and paranoid but I can't stop myself from panicking or getting nervous. I don't know what to do[/size][/color][/font][/size][/color][/font]
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Re: Confused - September 7th 2020, 07:35 AM

Hello Lyra,

Thank you so much for reaching out to us and sharing your story with us. I am truly sorry that you are going through this difficulty.

Some people are naturally born or grow up to be introverted and shy, and that is totally okay. All types of personality are beautiful, unique, and crucial for diversity and betterment of humankind. But problems come when that "shyness" part becomes incessantly persistent and brings too much frustration, anxiety, and stress over your daily life. From your description, you experience anxiety and fear of judgement and mocking during daily social interaction, you are too anxious sometimes that your language skills are affected. You also experience symptoms such as having mind blanks, being overly self-conscious. These sound very much like the symptoms of social anxiety, but I am not the expert to tell you what exactly you are experiencing. However if you truly want to improve your circumstance, you should talk to a therapist/psychologist and see what her/his opinions are and what to do to make you feel better in daily social interactions.

I highly suggest you talk about this in detail with trusted adults, then try to seek professional help. If you find organizing your words and expressing them orally in front of people difficult, you could write a well-organized and detailed letter and hand it to them. During your daily activities, you could try to stop worrying about others’ thoughts about you and start to focus more on things at hand, and there is no way you can change how others think about you and mere thoughts cannot hurt you unless they turn into action or words, but that’s a different case. I know it’s going to be hard, but try to be easy on yourself. It’s okay to make mistakes. It is okay to be different. It is okay to not do everything perfectly. The important thing is that you get to experience this world in your unique way and enjoy your life without constantly worrying about how others think about you.

A book helped me tremendously at that time and it is called "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life”. It is basically about not giving a fuck to what other has to think about you because everyone is essentially busy with their own business. Usually, a huge mistake in your eyes might be just a background scene in others’ mind on which they will spend 0.001s , and they will spend the whole day thinking about what’s for dinner.

I really hope your situation improves and you could always PM me if you want to chat.
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