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Anxiety This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Ikigai Offline
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Anxiety with people - September 4th 2017, 11:30 AM

Hello everyone.
So I started high school today. I had changed schools only once before - from primary to junior high. I thought it would be better this time because I'm three years older and, theoretically, more sociable. But now as I can see I'm feeling similar, I don't want to go through it all again.
The thing is, my new classmates seem very friendly and stuff. Almost everyone is willing to talk to me. Our headteacher was smiling and looked as if she likes her job.
And that is my question - what was wrong? After formal schoolyear inauguration a few smaller groups in my class formed. They wanted to go somewhere to eat. I wanted to go home but I stayed a bit before they left not to seem rude/closed (wow what an accomplishment). Then I made an excuse that I have to go and went home. I was on the verge of crying all my way back, fortunately I made it home before I burst into tears completely. I don't understand this. While others seem to consider meeting and going somewhere together fun, I just want to be left alone. It was too much for me. Why am I so closed and why can't spending time with them be pleasurable for me? Especially that they're so friendly etc...
Sue
   
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Re: Anxiety with people - September 4th 2017, 12:19 PM

Hey Sue, I am extremely proud of you to have tried staying. Of course, we all have things we find more interesting (pleasurable) to do. It is perfectly okay if you want to do a different thing from them, perhaps you can try to suggest to them what you feel is most comfortable for you to do the next time everyone gets together to plan?

As for how you can overcome being "closed", maybe you can try interacting with them one at a time, perhaps pick the most comfortable face among them for a start before you take on a bigger group?

Last edited by Markus; September 4th 2017 at 12:37 PM.
   
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Re: Anxiety with people - September 4th 2017, 02:03 PM

Dear Markus, thank you for your reply, however it's not really about interests, it's about the fact that I don't enjoy hanging out with people in general.
Sue
   
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Re: Anxiety with people - September 4th 2017, 04:45 PM

I see. No worries.

Are you able to relate well to schizoid personality? You can read up on it and let me know what you think.

My personal opinion is that it is okay to dislike interactions because that's who you are. I don't think you necessarily have to change just because you are three years older now. If you can be independent and feel more comfortable/happy at the same time, I don't see why you shouldn't continue this way. There are a lot of people out there who feels more comfortable and happy alone, you are not the only one feeling this way.

But if at any one point you don't feel good about that part of you, I would recommend you to see a therapist to seek for professional directions and advices on how you can understand that part of your personality better and how you can manage your relationships better. Alright?

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Originally Posted by painkiller View Post
Dear Markus, thank you for your reply, however it's not really about interests, it's about the fact that I don't enjoy hanging out with people in general.
Sue
   
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Re: Anxiety with people - September 4th 2017, 09:43 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markus View Post
Are you able to relate well to schizoid personality? You can read up on it and let me know what you think.

We can't diagnose here and schizoid personality is rather specific. There's nothing wrong with looking up things online, but it's good to be careful to avoid self-diagnosing, especially since symptoms can be relevant to many diagnoses.

We all have different feelings regarding socialising. Some like to be the centre of attention, and others prefer to be by themselves or have interaction with a select few. There's nothing necessarily wrong with this. It's great that you did make an effort to stay with friends, even if just for a short while. I'm wondering though what thoughts and feelings you might've had before you felt like crying? If you felt overwhelmed, then it can help to think of what types of situations you feel comfortable in and start there while slowly challenging yourself to get out of your comfort zone. For example, if you feel comfortable with one or two people and doing things that don't require much socialising consider going for a move with a friend or two. Then build up to other challenging situations.

But equally, it's okay to spend some time by yourself, and you don't have to try to be someone you aren't or be very social either.

It seems like you have been struggling for a while now, so you may want to consider seeing a counsellor to help you explore your feelings and learn coping techniques so that social situations aren't so overwhelming to you.


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Re: Anxiety with people - September 7th 2017, 05:59 AM

Moving can be very stressful.

Moving to any new area, like a new school, can be stressful, as the mind isn't used to it yet, and may be on guard.

Being stressed shuts down the socializing part of the brain. The more primitive part wants to take over and get you out of the stressful situation.

(Works great if you're being chased by a tiger. That's not the time to socialize, that's the time to run away.)

When the stress abides (if it ever does), then then mind switches over to the other state, where it's no longer in "Fight or Flight" mode, and instead is in the socializing mode where we "Rest, Digest, Restore, Reproduce, & Socialize."

The trick is to learn how to mitigate stress. There are some mind exercises that can eventually slowly train the mind and it eventually learns and adjusts itself. "Mindfulness" is one simple yet effective technique.(Most people get it. A few do not.) The trick is to return your focus to the present moment, and just observe. Stop thinking, and instead notice, and just become aware. The mind tends to want to wander after about 10 seconds and start thinking again. Learn to let that thought go and return to the present moment. Keep this up for a minute. (Eventually you'll be able to do longer than one minute.)

Sometimes it's called "Mindfulness Meditation." Sometimes just "Meditation".

I don't know why it works. But people say it works. (Apparently scientists can see the results on brain imaging.)

There's also "Mindfulness Motion Exercises" such as Yoga (too many different types of Yoga. I think 9. Endless variations. It's becoming a generic term. There might be something called "Therapeutic Yoga".) Qi-Gong and Tai-Chi are also good. (It's the focusing your mind part that makes it work.)

There are apps you can download to your cell phone that are guided meditations. Many are free. ("Headspace" is one, which has some short animated videos explaining the concepts at the beginning of lessons 3,5,7,9.)

There may also be classes or groups available in any of the above. That gives me some socializing. At least I'm around other people. (Would be great if High Schools offered these.)

Buddhist places often have meditation classes, or they do chanting. It's kind of like singing. Singing itself may be a good choice if you like that. I'm not sure why or if chanting works. It may be another way to focus the mind and get it to stop thinking by filling it with chanting instead.

Meditation isn't an instant cure. It's like exercising (oh by the way, that's something that's good to do a little of once in a while. Also get out in the sun once in a while. The sunlight is good for mental health.)

If you want further reading, and some really big long words (what Mark Twain used to call "Ten Dollar Words"), you can look up the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS), and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), which are two phrases that mean "Fight or Flight" and "Rest, Digest, Restore, Reproduce, Socialize". Stress triggers the SNS mode, and relaxing switches to the PNS mode. Research things that will switch on the PNS mode. Then socializing will come more natural, as the emotional part of the brain won't feel like it needs to run away from a tiger.

(Visualizing a happy place may also work. I've read the emotional part of the brain can't tell the difference, so it's supposedly just as good as actually being there. I'll try that the next time I'm thinking about sex.)

Another term for the same idea is "Polyvagal Theory". (I think some doctor came up with that term. It's really just another phrase for the same ideas.)

A lot of people find high school to be stressful, especially if it's a really big high school with a couple thousand students. That's a lot of students! I found it difficult to relax there. (I didn't know about meditation at the time.)

The High School may have something set up for students who struggle with stress, which is probably quite a lot of them. They may have a counselor, or an organized support group, or some sort of service available. Some do, some don't.

Best wishes!
   
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Re: Anxiety with people - September 7th 2017, 05:16 PM

Thank you for your replies.
I have noticed that for some reason I find talking to the boys in my class problematic. There are 5 of them in my class of 30. I usually have no problems talking to boys (at least no more than to girls, lol) so I don't know why that is. School has started 4 days ago and I haven't talked to any of them since.
Also my interests are what is generally considered kind-of-boyish (pc games, football, IT & others), which means I probably have a higher chance of finding a male friend with similar interests than a fem friend (actually my best friend is a male and we're almost the same as far as interests are concerned, however he attends a different school now). I'm this kind of person that absolutely NEEDS to stay with other geeks in order to feel comfortable anywhere (geeks are the only social group I actually LIKE to spend time with). Which means that if I don't talk to males at all, I have a lower chance of finding someone similar to me.
Ew, this is all so complicated. I don't know why I'm having problems. Any advice why it's like that and how to overcome it?
   
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Re: Anxiety with people - September 8th 2017, 08:17 PM

Since this is a new school, maybe this might be a factor as to why you are finding it a bit difficult talking to guys? I also wouldn't totally write off female friends either as there may be girls out there with similar interests as you. Either way, it's only been a few days and since you prefer to stick with a 'geek' social group, it may be that you just haven't that group yet. I know that it can take a little while to find your group, but it will happen. Just keep looking and challenging yourself to talk to others to get to know them and I'm sure you'll make friends along the way. And definitely keep in touch with your best friend, if you can, as it can help to remember that you are able to make good friends with others


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Re: Anxiety with people - September 9th 2017, 05:06 AM

How did your first week go?

Fascinating you identify as a geek (I do too, same problem), and there tend to be more male than female geeks, and you're in a class of 30 with only 5 males!

So the odds would appear to be against you if you want to meet a man, but that's just an appearance. I was in that situation once and I ended up becoming friends half of the other gender anyway. (Unfortunately, just friends...)

I do identify with the only feeling comfortable around my own kind phenomena. I ended up discovering I was comfortable around autistic students. They weren't very bright at all, but half of them were very happy and made good friends.

I later discovered I was autistic too, just on the other end of the spectrum where the super bright nerdy intelligent people are.

I'm not sure what "autistic" means. It seems to be a catch-all category for anyone who isn't "normal", whatever that is.

Then it seems weird to have an autistic "spectrum", with super bright intelligent college students on one end, and super not-bright retarded students on the other. So they came up with levels 1,2, & 3. Super bright college students are "high functioning", or level 1, and the other end is level 3.

But we both speak the same language, which apparently isn't the language "normal" people speak. I thought since we all speak English we spoke the same language. Apparently that's not quite right. Actually, it's a different "culture" we come from, and we use the language differently. I have no problem communicating with other autistic people because we speak the same language. "Normal" people have no problem talking with other "normal" people because they speak the same language. Subtle problems ensue when autistic people talk with "normal" people. The "normal" people get upset, and think we're being rude, when we have no such intention and think we're being nice. They just don't understand our language, and I don't understand theirs.

A few quick test questions though to screen for problems: 1. Do you see "information" in other people's eyes? 2. Does the term "nonverbal communication" sound like an oxymoron? 3. Does the term "unwritten rules" sound like an oxymoron?

Anyway that's why I learned I needed to study "Body Language", because apparently normal people use that a lot, whereas I'm oblivious to it. Someone could give me an "icy cold stare" and I wouldn't notice. (Still sounds like an impossible thing for someone to do. It's some sort of metaphorical thing where ice is cold. It's like asking if I can hear the color red.)

The good news is there's probably several people out there who like you already. They may even be trying to communicate that to you using that "nonverbal communication" stuff. I had to learn what to look for.

Us geeks have it hard. Sure we do great academically, but the flip side of that is we suffer socially. We do with ease what other people find difficult, and we find difficult what other people do with ease. Because it's easy and intuitive for them, they don't realize it's not intuitive for us.

Best wishes! Thank you for writing!
   
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Re: Anxiety with people - September 10th 2017, 11:01 AM

Correct, Celyn makes a very good point.

My bad for suggesting if you can relate to that. But I am in full support of talking to a counsellor about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celyn View Post

We can't diagnose here and schizoid personality is rather specific. There's nothing wrong with looking up things online, but it's good to be careful to avoid self-diagnosing, especially since symptoms can be relevant to many diagnoses.

We all have different feelings regarding socialising. Some like to be the centre of attention, and others prefer to be by themselves or have interaction with a select few. There's nothing necessarily wrong with this. It's great that you did make an effort to stay with friends, even if just for a short while. I'm wondering though what thoughts and feelings you might've had before you felt like crying? If you felt overwhelmed, then it can help to think of what types of situations you feel comfortable in and start there while slowly challenging yourself to get out of your comfort zone. For example, if you feel comfortable with one or two people and doing things that don't require much socialising consider going for a move with a friend or two. Then build up to other challenging situations.

But equally, it's okay to spend some time by yourself, and you don't have to try to be someone you aren't or be very social either.

It seems like you have been struggling for a while now, so you may want to consider seeing a counsellor to help you explore your feelings and learn coping techniques so that social situations aren't so overwhelming to you.
   
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