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To be fed up of my social anxiety?

(27 Posts)
BookATable Mon 01-Aug-16 09:41:01

Im really struggling these past few weeks. I don't know why tbh. I think sometimes it just feels like it's too much hard work to try to be positive and just get on with life. I don't have the energy to feel positive. I want to stay in bed, eat chocolate and drink wine and have my own pity party.

I hate myself, who I am. I don't like myself and don't expect others to either. What's wrong with me. I wish I was something else. Ive been made with a massive fault that everyone hates. It's held me back in everything and is the reason I'm behind socially than everybody else. Kids are better than me. I'm ashamed of myself.

I know I shouldn't but I can't help but to look at others' lives - the bits I struggle with I compare. How easy and effortless it comes to them- talking.
Most people might compare others cars, houses, money, career etc but I envy anyone who has the freedom to be themselves, to speak, to relax and have fun in social interactions.

It's a horrible thing. I feel I am being punished, a life sentence of never being able to break free.

I have never known a life without it and cannot bear to think about the rest of my life with it.

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Mon 01-Aug-16 09:45:58

I'm sorry, I have no advice, except to say that it sucks and I'm sorry! I hope someone more helpful appears to support you.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Mon 01-Aug-16 09:51:02

Bookatable flowers I feel for you. DS suffers from this too and it's debilitating.

Are you drinking a lot of wine? Because that acts as a depressant especially long term.

Take it slowly and give yourself incremental goals like joining a book club and going prepared with what you're going to say..

Also I'm sure you are not justified in hating yourself! Being shy doesn't make you a bad person, far from it - the world is full of noisy people!

logosthecat Mon 01-Aug-16 09:51:34

Oh you poor thing. flowers

I just wanted to say that I know what a burden social anxiety is, and what a battle. But I think it is a fight that can be won, slowly but surely, with the right kind of help and support. While life with it will never be a level playing field with those who don't suffer from it, there are ways of making interactions more bearable and even more enjoyable eventually! Self-help books, counselling, therapeutic techniques, support groups can all help.

IceRoadDucker Mon 01-Aug-16 09:56:36


Have you asked for help? It took me many years to pluck up the courage, and when I finally did it changed my life. I'm never going to be a social butterfly but I now am generally only anxious a "normal" amount about things it's "normal" to be anxious about. Citalopram was the answer for me.

mrsfuzzy Mon 01-Aug-16 10:04:09

thanks for advice given to op - my ds 3 [19] has this problem and he finds it difficult to talk to anyone, think job hunting total nightmare for him, he tried 'time to talk' over the phone but has given up on that as he felt awkward, will suggest he goes back to gp about things.

BookATable Mon 01-Aug-16 10:04:27

I went to my gp a few months ago to get help and am doing CBT therapy on the NHS which was a massive thing to do- just talking to the GP, I was so so nervous.

Unfortunately, I don't think it's really working. The therapist just wants me to change my thoughts but I just can't do it

Logo that's exactly how life feels- like it's not a level playing field. I have all the other life's problems too but this makes things s hundred times harder.

Theydontknow I can't imagine joining a book club or similar. I think it would make me feel worse.
I'm Not actually drinking wine!

BernadetteMatthews Mon 01-Aug-16 10:07:23

Have you tried medication OP? Beta blockers have changed my life.

BookATable Mon 01-Aug-16 10:09:54

Bernadette mini haven't tried medication. Gp suggested I finish therapy and come back if I needed more help.

Are you taking the beta blockers for SA?

IceRoadDucker Mon 01-Aug-16 10:15:35

BookATable CBT didn't work for me either, but the citalopram is a god send. I know some people see it as a failure to rely on medication but I don't feel like that about citalopram any more than I do about my insulin. Both of them allow me to function as a normal human.

BernadetteMatthews Mon 01-Aug-16 10:16:18

I'm taking them for general anxiety. They don't stop the anxious thoughts but stop all of the physical symptoms, so when I have a bad thought, my brain searches my body for a reaction (racing heart, crushing chest, dry mouth etc) and when it doesn't find one, it helps relax me.

Sounds odd but, my God, the difference in me is amazing. I feel quite peaceful and can cope with life.

They aren't addictive and don't affect your head at all.

yellowvan Mon 01-Aug-16 10:21:39

i really feel for you. I have this also. unfortunately i have found that for me, the only cure is to just get out there and do it. Small steps at first, a good morning to someone at the bus stop, a comment about the weather to the check-out person, a compliment to a cute baby or dog. I think of it as like eating sprouts- i don't like doing it but it is good for me. It does get easier the more you do, honestly.

Also, exercise, outside if pos, and if you don't like the idea of taking anti-ds (I don't) then omega 3 fish oil is meant to be equally as good when coupled with exercise.

Good luck. Please just try a good morning to a dog walker as a start off. You will feel pleased with just this one small step.

mrsfuzzy Mon 01-Aug-16 10:22:28

bernadette and book thanks for your input on this thread re; meds am going to mention this to ds, it's heart breaking to see him struggling so much, you've both given me hope for him. flowers

BookATable Mon 01-Aug-16 10:41:28

mrsfuzzy I have had SA since I can remember. I didnt realise it was a recognised illness till I was at college. I'm 35 now and it has taken me all these many years to pluck the courage up to get help.

Your DS is lucky he has a mum who can support him. I didn't feel I could tell my family as they labelled me as shy as a child which I was and it was a trait that they disapproved and ridiculed.

So i have never spoken to anyone about it apart from my DH and therapist.

onthemetro Mon 01-Aug-16 10:49:04

Agree with previous posters about trying medication, I used to suffer hugely from SA (and depression which I think is linked) to the point where I had a complete breakdown, left my job, would cry hysterically even having to go into a shop to get milk and it just ruined my life for such a long time. Like you, I constantly compared myself to, how can people just talk so freely when I find it so hard?!

I went to my GP and he sent me for CBT as well, which I couldn't get on with because I was still an anxious mess and trying to figure out how to think differently about what I was feeling made me even more anxious.

I went back and he put me on citalopram just to give me some 'breathing space' so that like bernadette says, my body was looking for a reaction but didn't find one which gave my mind enough time to slow down and think rationally and try and put some of the CBT techniques into place. It made such a difference and really allowed me to just do the basics of living that I just couldn't do before.

It's been a couple of years since I went to CBT but the techniques that really helped me have stuck in my mind and whenever I get an anxious moment now it's what I turn to and it always helps. I'm still taking ADs but I agree with iceroad, it's just one of those things, it's nothing to be ashamed's just medicine which helps me live my life to the fullest.

Now I have a job I adore (in retail) and I do sometimes marvel at myself when I am called over to help a difficult customer, to sort out problems at the till, when I phone customers or head office or other stores, when I have even a little bit of small talk with people. It's such a change. I couldn't even imagine doing all that when I was really ill.

Sorry, that was really long but I really feel for you - it's a horrible, horrible thing BUT help is out there. Sometimes you have to persevere to find the help that is right for you but it is so worth it and it's so worth pushing through for.

BookATable Mon 01-Aug-16 10:57:41

I have a about 5 more sessions and then I'll be back at my GP. I think if things haven't really improved much by then which i don't think they will have then I will look at meds as an option. Im scared of side effects etc.

onthemetro Mon 01-Aug-16 11:12:21

BookATable I won't lie, the side effects are horrific...but it's only for the first few weeks and then it all settles down as your body gets used to it.

The way I looked at it was that I was already feeling shit so another few weeks of feeling shit was worth a shot for the chance of feeling better. And because it's expected and most people do get side effects (headaches, feeling sick and dizzy, not being able to sleep) I found that a bit easier to deal with instead of my usual feeling that I was the only one struggling with life.

TentPegsAndWetWipes Mon 01-Aug-16 11:36:02

Hi OP.
Social anxiety is hard. But loads if people have been helped by meds. CBT would work in an ideal world, but it has only been seized upon because the improvement rate/cost was appealing for the NHS. Of all the people I've known, they still had a lot of therapy after CBT and weren't set free until they started taking meds.
It might be the case that you are on the AS? Might be worth investigating because maybe, you haven't found 'your kind of people', who you can kick back and relax with yet.
Do you have an interest in science/nature/technology? It can really do away with all the anxiety-producing social uncertainties if you can go to an RSPB reserve or other science centre and just chat about something other than yourself(or people generally) with people who are so passionate about their subject they couldn't give hoot about any social awkwardness.

LuckyBitches Mon 01-Aug-16 12:07:42

OP - Sertraline has done wonders for my (admittedly nbot social but general) anxiety. Anxiety is a horror - you're not alone


heron98 Mon 01-Aug-16 12:13:16

I have social anxiety too. I find it really hard to be chatty and confident.

One thing that I have found works for me is to do things by myself - then I don't feel disappointed at "failing" when I try and be witty and interesting.

I am quite happy to go off for the day hiking and cycling alone and have got really fit and enjoy it.

BernadetteMatthews Mon 01-Aug-16 12:19:43

The only side effect I had was feeling tired for about half an hour in the afternoon, I've only been reading them for about three weeks and have noticed that this hasn't been so bad the last couple of days.

It's nothing that a cup of tea couldn't solve.

flowers for OP and others suffering, it's awful but honestly, there is hope x

BookATable Mon 01-Aug-16 13:10:13

I really was hoping cbt would be my answer but I don't know if it's cbt that's the problem or my therapist. Shes nice and everything but she says things like, "have you tried speaking up? Just try it. ".which I don't really find very helpful.

Tent What do you mean by on the AS? Sorry not familiar with all the abbreviations.

TentPegsAndWetWipes Mon 01-Aug-16 13:37:58

Autistic Spectrum.

With regard to you CBT therapist, I hate to say it, but there aren't very stringent requirements to practise it. A friend of mine who is woefully ignorant about key areas of human relationships and so on is a practitioner with only a basic psychology qualification.

puggiewuggie Mon 01-Aug-16 14:26:13

Just reading your post has brought it all back! I could have written this so many times. I'm in recovery for a social phobia.
Citalopram has changed my life, like so many others have said. It hasn't changed my personality or anything, and actuallyI had absolutely no side effects, but it just gives my brain a bit of "space". A tiny bit of breathing room so that I could begin my therapy.
CBT worked this time but I've had several counsellors. The two best things I learnt:
1) If you're in a social situation and feeling anxious, having thoughts like "are they looking at me, what are they thinking about me, I bet they think I'm really stupid" then you're focusing internally too much. Focus externally. Look at the person, their fringe, their clothes, what they're saying. Your mind will try to get back to anxious thoughts (because that is what it knows) but when you notice that you're back to internal focus, immediately focus outwardly again. Paintings on the wall, cracks in the pavement, license plates
2) that you can't argue with anxious thoughts. I used to fight back, like " no they're not thinking about me, I'm not going to crash the car, that person won't hurt me" Actually, there's no point in arguing with anxious thoughts because they'll always one up you. Instead, distract. The moment you notice anxious, worrying thoughts say NO! (Out loud, even!) And do something. Get up, turn the TV on, turn the radio up.
It's like exercising any muscle. It takes time and practice but consistency is key...don't lose hope. In January of this year I was at my Mum's house hysterically crying because I thought I was losing it. And my anxiety got a lot worse during therapy (which might be happening to you?) but now...I'm a different person. Chatting to people, strangers, driving to strange places, going on holiday, going to the gym...I could barely go in my own garden 6 months ago. It's like I've had to worst ever headache for 20-something years and now it's finally lifted. The relief is unbelievable
You can do this. You already are. Don't lose hope flowers

TentPegsAndWetWipes Mon 01-Aug-16 14:38:08

That's great puggie
OP I don't want to give you something else to worry about re autism, so why not take this really quick online test to just rule it out - or not?

The reason I brought it up is because there are a lot of different social activities and social styles, and if you try to force yourself to do things you just don't actually like or want to do, you might find fault in yourself where there is none. I wish you happiness OP.

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