To ask what job you do if you have social anxiety?

(59 Posts)
hexagonal Mon 13-May-13 16:02:37

Also if you don't have a degree (dropped out because of the anxiety).

Everything I've done before involved working around people and I'm not sure if I can handle that anymore, I had a bit of a breakdown last year because of it.

I'd love to do something like proofreading but not sure about freelance work, also don't think I would get any since I don't have experience or a degree.

So, if you have social anxiety, or even if you just hate people, what do you do?

LesserOfTwoWeevils Wed 22-May-13 12:46:34

I have crippling social anxiety that makes it hard for me to go out/call/spend time with my (very few) friends and family. I'm horribly lonely and have no social life.
But I run a department of over 50 people. Very successfully.
I used to be freelance, worked from home and found it very depressing and stressful because I saw so few people.
It's possible for social anxiety to affect you in some areas of your life and not others. Socially I feel completely incompetent and overwhelmed by fright. But in my work life I have loads of experience, I've done well in spite of my social anxiety and I know I'm good at what I do.
Some of the people I work with don't understand me and think I'm unapproachable; others have realised that I'm fine if they approach me and don't wait for me to make the first move.
And they don't need to like me (although of course it's nicer if they do). They respect me as a professional,and that's all that's necessary in the work environment.
If this sounds weird, I find it very weird too. But it shows that SA doesn't have to be an insurmountable obstacle in every part of your life.

LarvalFormOfOddSock Wed 22-May-13 12:37:38

Momsnetcurtains, I'm really glad that you've found something that's helped with your anxiety. However, I really have to disagree with your assertion that doctors who say it's not proven are spouting crap.

There is no robust evidence that it works for anxiety. A systematic review of the studies done so far reveals this www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17641561.

Even the British Acupuncture Council concede that's there's no compelling research for its treatment of anxiety (apart from pre-operative anxiety).

And plenty of GPs DO make money from acupuncture indirectly. So "alternative medicine" is hardly free from capitalism and money grabbers. Our GP's wife is an acupuncturist and, guess what? He inadvertently recommends acupuncture for pretty much anything non-life threatening.

It's fine to give it a go if you have the money to spend but please don't distort the facts.

MomsNetCurtains Tue 21-May-13 19:34:51

Please, please hex have a go at acupuncture. It cost me around £40 per go....but, and it's a HUGE but it was and is fabulous.

Don't go with the doctor spin that it is not proven - that is a lot of crap. They say that as they don't get any money from it. GPs only get money from the drug companies - nothing really wrong with that as they also work, but they fail to acknowledge the Chinese methods. I am FAR from arty farty, but please do give it a go. I was so sceptical you have no idea. But do please try it.

PM me if you want some advice - I have tried everything over 11 years, I'm good for advice and I would be more than happy to talk to you, really!

I wish you the very best. xxxx

Potteresque97 Tue 21-May-13 18:14:31

Keep trying with the admin jobs, I've heard at my firm it's normal to get 400 applicants for a position in admin so don't let it get you down, temping is a good way into admin jobs for some people too.

hexagonal Mon 20-May-13 20:44:35

I would love to get an admin job too, glamstretchmarks. I've been applying to loads but getting no replies at all.

I'm hoping to start CBT soon as well. Just really want this part of my life to be over sad

glamstretchmarks Mon 20-May-13 16:55:46

I have social anxiety and depression and have been getting CBT for a year. It is fantastic and I have improved so so much I can't tell you... I have gone from being nearly housebound to having a good social life and actually tackling things I struggle with (unimaginable only a year ago!!!)

I am doing my degree with the Open uni so I don't see anyone else. I struggle to deal with pressure too so they two times it has all gotten too much I have dropped the courses and then picked them up again the following year.

I have just got a job in admin and am thrilled. (this totally outs me if anyone on here knows me in RL too)

hexagonal Mon 20-May-13 16:45:41

I haven't looked into acupuncture before, from what I know about it it's pretty expensive and there's not much evidence for it. I was on citalopram for over a year and it didn't do much for me, I've just changed to mirtazapine and so far I just feel tired and irritable.

MomsNetCurtains Mon 20-May-13 13:41:19

Have you tried acupuncture? It's working for me after 11 yrs with d&a. That and citalopram.

I work in sales/marketing, but have considered becoming a remedial/sports masseuse so that I can work from home 50% and work in a clinic the other 50%.

I also write.

Going to bed now (Aus) but will check thread tomorrow.

Potteresque97 Mon 20-May-13 13:33:35

Ps if everyone that had excellent communicator on their cv really was one, the world would be a different place...

Potteresque97 Mon 20-May-13 13:32:25

Just saw this, try getting into software testing. You can do iseb courses, although its not essential, I do a lot of testing (functional) and it is good for anxiety as code is either right or its wrong and as long as you clearly document what you are doing...Take advice on the best/cheapest way to get into it though, it recruiters may be able to give some guidance, can't help with. That as had a conventional path into it.

LarvalFormOfOddSock Mon 20-May-13 13:31:02

Good luck with the volunteering OP! I agree that the job market is very skewed towards extroverts but keep trying...I hope you find something that you enjoy.

hexagonal Mon 20-May-13 13:26:57

Hi again, I've read everyone's replies. I've thought some more about working with children but I really don't think it's for me. I think that amount of responsibility would be really stressful. I've also had a look at volunteering at animal shelters , unfortunately the ones closest to me would be quite difficult to get to, and they don't refund travel costs.

I've had a few job interviews in the last week, two of them have already turned me down and I don't have much hope for the others. All the vacancies I see seem to want people who are outgoing and 'great communicators', whatever that means. I've also signed up to a recruitment agency but haven't heard anything back.

I do have an interview for volunteering coming up which I'm really hoping to get, if only to prevent me from sitting at home feeling utterly useless all the time.

LarvalFormOfOddSock Tue 14-May-13 12:34:46

Hi OP. Just want to add that you're not alone, if it's any help. I have panic disorder and it's really curtailed my life in so many ways. I was lucky enough that it didn't hit me until mid 20s though, so I got a degree and travelled etc before that.

Of course,it's best to try to overcome the illness, but like you say, sometimes the support just isn't there and it's more practical to focus on what you can actually do without starting on the road to another breakdown.

Strangely enough, in a previous life (pre DS) I was a careers adviser so I'll have a bit of a think and see if I can come up with anything more useful! At the moment I'm struggling to do my one day a week volunteering or even leave the house some days. It's so frustrating as I began the volunteering for the benefit of my mental health and it's doing nothing but adding to the anxiety and feeling of incompetence at the moment.

chillynose Tue 14-May-13 11:26:25

I work as a checkout assistant in a supermarket and i suffer from anxiety

shumway Tue 14-May-13 11:25:38

Library assistant.

ElenorRigby Tue 14-May-13 11:19:59

I suffered from social phobia/anxiety from my teens into my thirties and was very disabled by it.

hexagonal are there any SA support groups near you? For example Triumph over Phobia or Self help services

I found support groups helped me even more than CBT or medication.

As for my work, its geeky, I'm an electronics geek, fixing stuff, which means I'm a back room person.

FunkyDiamonds Tue 14-May-13 10:53:57

Op, I think it's amazing that you are working around your social anxiety. I wish I could too, I've suffered since my mid teens and because of it I haven't worked at all.. In fact I avoid leaving the house as much as possible. It's been over ten years now and I can't see things changing, I wish I could do what you do but the longer it goes on, the more it feels like a downward spiral and nobody would want somebody without qualifications AND zero experience in anything! I just wanted to say I admire you and anyone who is strong enough to work through it and good luck in the future x

raisah Tue 14-May-13 03:05:56

Try signing up to a temping agency such as Brook St (they are national & online) as they also supply temps to unis & NHS for a variety of dfferent roles. It will give you a chance to try different roles in diverse companies to see what suits you. All the temps at my workplace come from brook st & 2 have a condition similar to yours & seem to cope ok.

stickytoes Mon 13-May-13 23:39:43

I have had social anxiety pretty much all my life (am also on the autism spectrum), I'm a sahm. Weirdly I used to be a waitress, I could manage that as it became a ritual. I was never very chatty, but was happy to have a standard list of set questions/responses. Have also done shop work and telephone work, and cope with those because they were basically routine jobs. I don't think I could do those jobs now though.

Being a sahm is probably my ideal though, just having to manage my own DH and dc! Even that gets a bit much sometimes, as I find it hard to deal with some institutional contact, like with medical/education staff or other mums. I am doing a degree p/t and the social aspects of it are hard, but I try to stay invisible during things like seminars and make up for it by excelling at written work. My lecturers have been brilliantly supportive, so if you can find a way to get funding to finish your degree, I think that would be a good idea.

I am not sure if I'll ever work after I graduate, I really like the stimulation of education and I might continue with an MA, but I think employers are just too unsympathetic towards conditions like ours. I do get DLA at the moment, and DH is able to/happy to support us, so there is no need to push myself into work as such.

iworemyfringelikerogermcguinns Mon 13-May-13 22:37:19

I teach in HE. It's interesting to see that so many other people also work well where they adopt a "role" and can prepare, even though they struggle where expectations and interactions are less controlled.

HoppinMad Mon 13-May-13 22:27:48

Too many buts in my post, sorry horrified reading back blush sahm for too long

HoppinMad Mon 13-May-13 22:22:09

Nothing sensible to add, but wanted to say I can sympathize. I am sahm so cannot really help with job suggestions but I have social anxiety also but in the past managed to do shop assistant work which really helped my confidence. I think what really helped was I knew I had the knowledge of the products we sold and the customers were coming to ask me about them.

I still cannot do speaking in groups or any public speaking. Get the whole blushing face, shaky voice sweats. Its the reason becoming a sahm was such a relief as I dont have to worry about all that. Unfortunately its the reason I initially didnt go on to attend uni aswell sad my best friend and I were pretty similar academically, passed gcses with flying colours. She is now a doctor and me, well I am where I am. It saddens me alot that this anxiety held me back in life to such an extent. I would love to deal with it, but I dont think they do funding for MIND anymore? My DH was referred by GP for cbt but they never got back to him.

PariahHairy Mon 13-May-13 22:19:20

I'm very socially anxious, yet found caring jobs mostly ok, I was a HCA. It's totally different from free form social interaction, you mostly know what is expected of you, with regards to conversation. Obviously some patients will initiate chats, which was nice, but it's different because it's a controlled environment and you have a specific role.

If you drive, there are lot's of caring jobs visiting people at home, I would love this because you are basically working alone and also get breaks from the full on interaction. Sadly I don't drive.

hexagonal Mon 13-May-13 22:16:16

Nope, no money. Just about enough for rent this month. I'm trying to get any job I can as soon as possible so I don't have to deal with the Jobcentre twats anymore. I cried all the way home after my last appointment.

PimpMyHippo Mon 13-May-13 21:54:39

sad It is so difficult to get a job at the moment even without the added stress of anxiety, I really feel for you. Do you have the option to take a short break from job hunting and regroup a bit, or are there time/money constraints preventing that?

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