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

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Social anxiety affecting me - October 8th 2017, 04:06 PM

I'm at a point where I'm talking and interacting but before+after is what's hard. I start to feel very embarrassed of myself and very insecure. I replay everything over and over and get down about any perceived mistakes or things I did wrong or awkward.
I also get some kind of anxiety attack. I get numb and overwhelmed at the same time. I get really quiet and slow about processing. If I do talk my voice changes into a very timid and scared tone.

During the actual event when I'm interacting I might sound really stutter-y (not an official stutter disorder though I was in speech therapy for a different speech problem having to do with pronunciation, lisp, articulation etc) or i might shut down.
Or I might talk at first and shut down midway or I might semi shut down

There's also a lot of trauma relating to people and me being quiet is associated with all that as both making me a target and for having it as an outcome of an event which makes me a target for it to perpetuate

So yeah I really don't know what to do. I'm working on it by going to social situations I'm giving myself practice but sometimes it backfires


Social phobia is one of those things that can't truly be avoided. So I don't physically avoid all the time. Sometimes I hide in the bathroom at an event but other times i have other defenses that go up



Also I'm realizing the nurse practioner asked me if I have any phobias but I guess I do but with not as tangible things like abandonment, intimacy, social.
I might be averted to things like the sound of fireworks both me but I don't have a fear of it. I'm averted and find it triggering to other things that I fear as reminders but not a fear. I feel like social anxiety is like encompassing a few different fears at least personally. Like it triggers fear of rejection and other things but that's when I stop to think about it. At the moment I'm more physically afraid as in my body goes unto a response and my mind goes a bit numb but not necessarily 100% numb like I can still interact. I might appear awkward or quiet but I get through it.
It is after when I breakdown in various degrees. After it is over it is like my anxious thoughts come back.

It can affect my decision making, qhwther i stabd up for nyself and if i do try to it isnt as effective because while I wouldnt really be feeling trusting towards that person if I thought about it, I would do things that signal I trust or I become passive and timid and follow what is asked of me/being communicated without even stopping to really care for how I feel and I can lose the sense of assertion that I have tried to build up. I feel like especially with men. I have noticed with the last man I met, it was a scary situation and I thought he was going to harm me and I remember internally freaking out but I followed him anyway. This was last week Tuesday. I was going to walk with a friend and he wanted to join st first but then wanted to make his own plans to the point that my friend left saying she will hang out with me another time because I seem to want to hang out with the guy. Then we were alone and I felt so uncomfortable. I kind of dismissed my need to hang out in a group setting when it comes to men. This has become my instinct feeling. To keep in a group when it comes to men I don't know well. But I didn't follow through with it.

Other times I feel so embarrassed of myself that I self harm. The insecurity I'd aggravated when I'm in social settings but so is when I'm isolated and hiding

Thank you for listening
   
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Re: Social anxiety affecting me - October 9th 2017, 08:43 AM

I fully understand.

I've done the same thing in the past.

The bathroom Yes! and I've read that is very common for introverts.

Plus the ruminating after a conversation, replaying it, as if I could learn something by reexamining every detail.

I've learned my limit at a party or social gathering is 1 hour. After that I'm toast. I've learned to graciously leave after that. some excuse I have to go, Wonder Woman needs my help, or whatever excuse I cash make up.

(Hey this spelling corrector is altering my words!)

Meditation helped me over time. I think if slowly lowered my anxiety.
   
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Re: Social anxiety affecting me - October 10th 2017, 09:33 PM

I have had similar issues when talking to others and feeling anxious, before and after as well as the anxiety attacks and slow processing speed. Not sure what to suggest for the latter, but I think it can help to remember that even though we might worry about our 'mistakes' it's likely that the other person hasn't noticed. Also, try to distract yourself rather than continuing with the anxious thoughts since it may only make you feel worse.

I think that given the trauma of not relating to others, and being quiet, that it's understandable in conversations you would get anxious, which in turn makes you have a slight stutter. However, it is really good that you are working on it though and putting yourself into these situations, even if they don't go so well- it's still a positive step forward!

Anxiety can definitely leave us worrying about getting rejected, and there can be a lot of physical responses with anxiety as well. These things can affect socialising and decision making, since our minds are usually busy worrying about all the physical symptoms and anxiety, that we aren't able to pay attention to the conversation or make clear decisions. I'm not sure if it will help you but I try to avoid making decisions when anxious, and instead try to make a note of anything important that was discussed in the conversation (times, dates, places, names etc) so I can come back to it when I feel more calm and collected.

It's good that your strategy is to stay in a group setting when it comes to men you don't know well, especially if you feel scared. But it can be difficult when someone is persistent and you go along with it, rather than sticking by your rule of being in a group. If you feel really unsafe, maybe you can come up with an excuse to leave the situation? Not all men are going to hurt you, but it can be good to make sure that whoever you are with, you trust and feel safe. If not, then you can try to casually leave the situation or make sure that you are in a public area with other people around to help make you feel safe when you can't be in a group.

Most of all though, keep practicing. Like with many things, it can get easier, the more you practice social skills. But if you have a difficult day, and get anxious a lot, remember that it's okay to feel this way, and try not to be harsh on yourself.


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