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Anyone with social anxiety. I really, really need help

(29 Posts)
Redfor Mon 01-Apr-19 17:46:08

I just don't know what on earth is wrong with me. I meet people and I don't why, I just get so tense. I can't relax. Am I saying the right thing? Will they tell me off? Shall I do this? Is this ok? Should I do that? Is it ok to mention this? They don't like me. And on and on. Just constantly thinking whether what and how I'm saying something is acceptable.

I'm better one to one but in groups I literally melt into the background. I just can't speak and end up just smiling or looking like a spare part.

Im worried i come across as stuck up or rude which couldn't be further from the truth. All I want is to talk to people and make connections and do small talk and be friendly etc but inside I'm dying.

Its been going for far too long now. Since childhood and I just can't seem to deal with it effectively. I've tried cbt on the NHS and that was crap. I've read loads of books and I just can't seem to be rid of this terrible illness. It's ruined my life, my career, my ability to make friends and have relationships. I just don't know where I'm doing wrong or if just unfixable.

Its a long shot, but is there anyone out there who has overcome this and made some progress. I hate my life.

BirthdayCakes Mon 01-Apr-19 18:02:33

Hi OP - I'm like this too.. Or rather I WAS like this - I'm a bit better now..

I had about a year of EMDR therapy and it helped overcome a deeply lodged feeling that I was inadequate.. I'm more relaxed now - more willing to say any old thing and not agonise over whether its weird or not..

I still don't have many friends and I'm still not 100% comfortable around school mums etc but I'm soooooo much better ..

I'd recommend you try a few sessions and see if anything shifts for you.. IMO CBT simply doesn't work

Calic0 Mon 01-Apr-19 18:09:35

I’ve had CBT for generalised anxiety and it can work really well imo but you need to find a practitioner that you “click” with, so it may be worth trying again.

I also think that you might need to set yourself some more SMART goals. If you’re an introvert, no therapy or self help book in the world is going to suddenly turn you into someone who is an extrovert. So what is one particular thing that you would like to fix? Is there one particular person in your life, for example, that you’d like to improve your relationship with? Cos if so you could start small - emails and texts are way easier (for me, anyway) than phone calls and conversations and allow you to establish common ground which then might more naturally lead to a better social connection.

DoNotEatYellowSnow Mon 01-Apr-19 18:17:04

This is why I end up steaming every time I go out

Redfor Mon 01-Apr-19 18:21:17

BirthdayCakes cannot ask where you had the EMDR therapy and how many sessions you had. After therapy on the NHS I sort of went on to really figure out what the heck is wrong with me and I came across cptsd which fits me to a T and EMDR is a treatment that is recommended for this. Is this what you had, if you don't mind me asking.

Redfor Mon 01-Apr-19 18:24:46

Calic0 its with practically everyone. It can be anyone from the gp receptionist to meeting new people at a dreaded BBQ party etc. Also I can never seem to get past being acquaintances. It's too overwhelming for me and I don't know how to fix this and where to start and what to do.

ShastaBeast Mon 01-Apr-19 18:25:48

I’m the same. But my theory is it’s from childhood - my dad and school bullies, seriously they were relentless and it’s pretty amazing I’m reasonably well functioning. Also found CBT utterly wank. ACT and mindfulness was better. But the only think that really works is facing your fears head on and just doing it. I set up obligations so I have to go out and do stuff. Work helps loads. Feeling like a legitimate person with purpose etc. Building a sense of identity through achieving things and doing things, having hobbies. I found parenthood counter productive in this respect and hated the social side, I just hid in the house instead.

Im not free from it at all but starting to think more positively. Trying not to care what others think of me so bloody much. Also realising that other people, no matter how confident they appear, are just making it up as they go along too. Plus all the social rules and standards are made up and don’t really matter.

IHateUncleJamie Mon 01-Apr-19 18:29:31

Social anxiety can be very usual with CPTSD. We see everyone as a threat and our inner critic overrides everything else. Are you still in contact with whoever gave you the CPTSD?

Redfor Mon 01-Apr-19 18:44:01

IHateUncleJamie parents and siblings- - DF and dsis in particular. I sort of worked out on my own that that's how my social anxiety came about. My DF would go crazy over anything. So even normal things that you wouldn't even bat an eyelid about he would go angry instantly and would hit. Eg if you vomited- he would hit us whilst we were vomiting. He was violent over nothing It was terrifying to watch or experience.

IHateUncleJamie Mon 01-Apr-19 18:54:22

Blimey, how horrible. flowers I had CBT but it was before I started having counselling so it was like treating a symptom without treating the underlying illness, if that makes sense?

I’m currently reading a v good book by a US therapist called Pete Walker. The book’s called “Complex PTSD - from surviving to thriving” but it (and EMDR) are more effective if you’re No Contact with your abusive parent(s)/siblings. I’m NC and a couple of years into my recovery so it’s starting to help.

If you’re still in contact with your DF and DSis, what are your feelings about going low or no contact?

Redfor Mon 01-Apr-19 19:22:58

IHateUncleJamie in the last year or so as I've realised that the most probable cause of it all was my treatment as a child by my family, I have naturally taken a step back from them and still have contact but it's little It's ok like this, I find. It has been gradual and has happened sort of naturally. At the time , I remember one day just spilling it all out to dh- all the stuff that I went through as a child and it was kind of cathartic.

I've bought the book that you mentioned a few months ago but to be honest I have only read a couple of chapters. I have found it very difficult to read. It really sets me off on a downward spiral and makes me feel so sad. I've had to put it away for a while.

RoboticSealpup Mon 01-Apr-19 19:38:39

Hi OP. My father also had a really short temper, although he was never violent, he always got angry over nothing and I used to be quite nervous around people as a result, though not as bad as you're describing. Citalopram really helped me. I was on it for 1.5 years and I've never felt so relaxed around other people on my life.

WhatToDoAboutWailmerGoneRogue Mon 01-Apr-19 19:42:15

Yes, I overcame it. I was virtually housebound for the best part of a decade and couldn’t work or go out.

I’m now fully recovered, working at management level, and suffer no anxiety at all after an intense bout of CBT a few years ago.

LudoFriend Mon 01-Apr-19 19:44:36

I've had 2 courses of 20 sessions of EMDR on the NHS, so you can push for it through them. It was so much more beneficial to me than the CBT I had, so another recommendation for that.

Redfor Mon 01-Apr-19 20:34:51

RoboticSealpup I have never taken meds but am keeping an open mind. I really need to change the root of my problem which are my faulty thoughts.

WhatToDoAboutWailmerGoneRogue wow. That's amazing! Well done. What an achievement. Can I ask the cbt you did- how was it different to the usual cbt.

Redfor Mon 01-Apr-19 20:36:17

LudoFriend did you have EMDR to treat social anxiety?

SuperSleepyBaby Mon 01-Apr-19 20:52:52

For me, anti-depressants greatly lessened the negative voice that was always in my head running myself down or worrying about everything.

Things don’t bother me as much sincw I started them - like if I say something a bit stupid to someone I don’t see it as a catastrophe. That stops the spiral of negative thoughts.

I’ve also learned to be ok with being me. I am a bit shy and awkward but that’s ok. I don’t have to try to be some loud extrovert - I can just be me.

LudoFriend Mon 01-Apr-19 20:54:07

Social anxiety was what the initial referral was for. CBT just didn't work for me so they suggested EMDR. Tbh I was sceptical at first, but found it incredibly beneficial. It got to the root of why I was suffering and worked through it.

WhatToDoAboutWailmerGoneRogue Mon 01-Apr-19 21:01:06

wow. That's amazing! Well done. What an achievement. Can I ask the cbt you did- how was it different to the usual cbt.

Redfor Thank you! I was so very ill for so long I never thought I would get better; I felt it was impossible.

The CBT I had was the one offered on the NHS. I had an absolutely amazing therapist and 21 sessions over a few months.

It was exceptionally scary - I was terrified and anxious because there were lots of social experiments I/we did out in public (things like “forgetting” money, deliberately knocking things over, going back for stuff etc.), but they were absolutely invaluable.

He could have just told me that people don’t care what you do in public, that nobody is watching you no matter how weird you think you’re acting, but I had to see it for myself. So we both did these things in various places, so I could watch as well as do, and it’s true - nobody is watching you! Nobody bats an eyelid.

It was hard work, really hard work. I had to constantly push myself and I spent those months entirely out of my comfort zone. But if I hadn’t pushed myself and made myself do these scary things, I never would have got better.

I wholly recommend CBT. It’s not a simple fix and the therapist doesn’t cure you, you get better by pushing yourself and putting the work in. That’s how it works and how you can recover.

A lot of people “try” it expecting the therapist to just magically make them better and when that doesn’t happen they say it doesn’t work, but you have to be prepared to put yourself out there and go out of your comfort zone with support.

Magicpaintbrush Mon 01-Apr-19 21:03:29

I used to be exactly as you describe, especially in my teens and early twenties. My anxiety gradually lessened as I got older and I began to realise that I had as much value as anybody else, but I also began to realise how flawed other people are and subsequently cared less what they thought of me. The main turning point for me was having my dd - I forced myself to confront so many uncomfortable situations for her sake that I never would have done for myself. With anxiety I've found the only way to beat it is to confront the situations that make me anxious and over time I get used to things and the fear becomes less powerful, and that includes social anxiety. May I ask how old you are?

IHateUncleJamie Mon 01-Apr-19 21:04:48

I should add that counselling/EMDR and SNRIs have been by far the best combination for me. I was on SSRIs for a long time but moved onto SNRIs and am feeling better than I have for a long time. Definitely keep an open mind re. antidepressants.

Samind Mon 01-Apr-19 21:05:31

Really hope some posters can put you in the right direction OP. I know someone who didn't leave the house for nearly 2 years through it so sending love and hoping for good mental health 💞

EscapeAnywhere Mon 01-Apr-19 21:11:31

I wholly recommend CBT. It’s not a simple fix and the therapist doesn’t cure you, you get better by pushing yourself and putting the work in.

I completely agree.

OP I could have written your post. I was diagnosed with CPTSD, generalised anxiety disorder and agoraphobia. Fun cocktail!

CBT massively helped. And I didn't even click with my therapist. I really disliked her. But using the techniquies I recognised my thoughts were patterns that I could change - that completely unlocked my mind.

I was able to slowly start building some self esteem and that was the major changing point.

I'm still not recovered but I will be.

Look at Compassion based therapy - a book by Deborah Lee, it's an easier read than the CPTSD one by Pete Walker. He focuses on the inner critic but I needed to start with compassion first.

Definitely agree with PP that CBT works as long as you but the work in and don't expect to be better over night. It takes time. You're at a real turning point now OP, trust me, it WILL get easier as long as you're honest with yourself and ask for the help you need.

WhatToDoAboutWailmerGoneRogue Mon 01-Apr-19 21:22:17

I know someone who didn't leave the house for nearly 2 years through it so sending love and hoping for good mental health

Samind I didn’t leave the house for nearly 9 years and have since fully recovered, so it is certainly possible! No matter how dire you think your situation is you can get better.

It’s hard work but it’s doable and the reward is invaluable.

Fuppy Mon 01-Apr-19 21:25:29

I too have had EMDR, and CBT. NHS isn't that great for treating MH issues. Most are sent for CBT first (12 sessions), then you have to be re referred for more specialist treatment, of which you're limited to 12 sessions again.

Other countries offer 3 years of therapy as standard.

Some private therapists do a period of reduced fees kind of like a promotional thing.

The benefit of a private therapist is that you can build a relationship of trust and go back to the same person rather than be told 'that's your lot'.

I have recently noticed a link between people experiencing anxiety (social particularly) and experiencing first or second hand abuse/violence in the home as a child.

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