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

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Social anxiety? - October 2nd 2011, 10:22 PM

I'm having a bit of a dilemma right now. I have social anxiety, which isn't really going to of away sometime soon, but I feel like the best thing to do is just to tell myself to get over it and leave my house anyways. Or else I'd be being whiny, and I would have to get mad.
However, I've recently switched schools, to a place with more formality. And one of the things is that I can't knit in class. Knitting is one of my best ways to deal with the horrible freak-out feelings I get, and I shouldn't feel this crappy about not being able to but I do. I've been spending the class time kneading my arms until they hurt and biting my tongue to keep from shaking.
But wait! The counselor there says that I could pretty easily be signed up with the Students With Disabilities, and then get special permission. So why can't I?
Because the second I think maybe it would be okay, I feel like bursting into tears and getting someone to slap me out of it, because social anxiety isn't a real disability. So if I gave in, I would be being weak and pathetic and taking attention away from the people who actually need it.
I struggle with self-harm and I know that these angry feelings would probably lead to some bad episodes.
But then it's also not that fun to have static in my head for the entire period and leave wishing I could break my own arm or something.
Does anyone have any advice for dealing with this?
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Re: Social anxiety? - October 2nd 2011, 11:47 PM

ohmygosh! First, give your self a break here, whatever it is you're calling this, it still sounds pretty strong for you, it really hurts you. In short, it's real. Step one is to acknowledge that and not add more fuel here to an already hot one by denying the extent (or reality) of this, or diminishing it by calling it 'Just' something. And, for goodness sakes, don't punish yourself! The idea that you should dismiss this 'just because' isn't right, and it won't work. If it was that easy, you would have been able to accomplish this already, and people like me would be unemployed.

What might work better is to find a therapist who can walk you thru all this and give you the reassurance you need, as well as some real coping skills (that's what's needed here). Until then, recognize that the knitting was an important way you balanced yourself and dealt with the anxiety so it didn't overwhelm you. In it's absence, you can try to devise other strategies, but the concern is that you're already in the stressful situation, and you can no longer depend on your favorite way of coping, so there's a sense of urgency here. Think: Second choice. And make it based not so much on the SA issues (that's a bigger one that might need more time and a doc) but what soothes you. Are there other things? Try those in class and see if they work.

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Re: Social anxiety? - October 3rd 2011, 01:49 AM

Hey there. I too deal with social anxiety, and I'm also disabled. Getting involved with the disabilities office is not a bad thing, it actually helps me. And something that would help you wouldn't be bad, right? I personally try to calm myself down by thinking of comforting things when I'm stressed/scared. Doing so helps me calm down, and helps me focus. Or you can try to talk to someone you trust. You shouldn't feel bad about how you feel, you are not alone in having social anxiety.

I'm going to move this thread to the Anxiety subform, as I feel it will receive more responses there. If you have any questions, feel free to let me know. :]
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Re: Social anxiety? - October 7th 2011, 03:34 PM

Thanks for responses.
I do in fact have a therapist I see about this, and she's lovely, but due to crazy scheduling we weren't able to meet for about a month around the start of school and when this was all happening.
So I ended up finally agreeing, and I was trying really hard to focus on how I was doing a good thing by asking for help instead of yelling at myself for needing it. It was pretty stressful but I was glad I did it for about a day.
And then he talked to the Office of Disability people and is still refusing to see it as a problem and won't let me do it. He was trying to be very nice and said if I could think of anything that's less "distracting" we could talk about it. And then because of the very nature of social anxiety I couldn't stick up for myself or anything and instead ended up thanking him. So now I get to feel terrible because a) he completely validated my thoughts about it not being a real thing, b) I couldn't even try to stick up for myself and just let myself be walked all over, and c) I still can't knit.
I've been trying to come up with other coping strategies, but the thing is that it's hard to get less obtrusive than knitting. I do have other stuff I do, but I doubt he'd like me bringing a pumpkin to class or coloring. I'm wracking my brain here but I really can't think of anything he'd allow.
So, yay. This is less than fun.
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Re: Social anxiety? - October 7th 2011, 03:46 PM

Can you bring a tangle toy to class?

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Re: Social anxiety? - October 7th 2011, 04:31 PM

Tell your counselor to "ramp up" his diagnosis to Avoidant Personality Disorder or Social Phobia. If he agrees, they just sound more "badass" (sorry) to people who make these decisions. And yes, I'm sure they think that way.

It's nothing to be ashamed of. Admitting you have a disability isn't giving up. I admit that diabetes prevents me from doing certain things I'd love to do (police service, traveling around the country as a hobo ), surviving without my parents' assistance, being awesome , climbing Denali without a buddy, etc.) But I don't feel weak. I feel stronger than ever (except in the squat rack )

I also have had horrible problems with social phobia, to the point where I locked myself in my room all day, convinced myself I was gay, didn't talk to people, etc. It's getting better with the aid of medication, senility , and age. For better or worse, I've stopped caring what people think of me -- I tell people openly I've suffered from depression, that I have diabetes, etc.

PM me if you wish. I'm lonely . And I love smilies.

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