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Fear of other people - why can't I get over this?

(4 Posts)
StillNotGettingAnywhere Wed 15-Jun-11 10:42:27

For the last 15 years (I am now 39), I have totally isolated myself from other people and now have absolutely no friends and only DH and the DCs for company. I also do not contact my siblings so they have given up on contacting me.

This all started when I had PND after my first child (did not realise it at the time), as I was pretty extroverted until then and had no problem socialising. I was able to function relatively normally with housework etc but could not cope with talking to others so did not go to baby groups. I have had 3 other DCs since then and have tried to socialise but have found myself sat alone in a corner of the room so often, I more or less gave up. It has got worse and worse over the years and now I cannot make eye contact with anyone and get really paranoid that people think I'm weird.

I have even quit jobs because of it and we have financially suffered because of it. I also feel so sorry for my DCs having a mother who cannot chat to their friends mothers although the DCs are very social themselves so I must have done something right confused.

I have been doing the same school run for 4 years now and quite often manage to not speak to anyone even though I have seen these same people most days for that length of time. Every morning I say to myself that I am going to smile and say hello to everyone but I can't do it [angry at myself]. I come home and cry sad. I know that people probably think I'm stuck up or cold but I'm really not. I know I am a nice person but I can't help feeling that everyone else is better than me and if they knew me, they would look down on me if that makes sense!

I have had CBT for this but it has not helped. I am desperate to reach out to other people but seem to be destined to be isolated. I am approaching 40 now and I am totally pissed off with myself.

Anyone else like me?

madmouse Wed 15-Jun-11 14:01:51

I don't have experience of this myself but this really struck me:

'Every morning I say to myself that I am going to smile and say hello to everyone but I can't do it [angry at myself]. I come home and cry sad. '

smile and say hello to everyone is the equivalent of stepping on the West End stage to sing the main part in front of 1000 people do you realise that? After 15 years of isolation that is simply far too hard! Not just for you but for anyone.

Try 'today I will smile at the least threatening looking parent at the school gate'. Just a smile, just at one person. Babysteps are needed here!

Thingumy Wed 15-Jun-11 14:12:05

I've have varying amounts of social anxiety OP so can feel your anguish.

Have you tried medication at all? When mine SA was at iot's very worse,I found anti depressants did help my anxiety levels enough so I could make that initial eye contact and then smile and then I went on to make small talk.

As madmouse says,big steps are key.

I'm still shy and not a great talker as I over analyse my conversations and think people think I'm dull or stupid but I am getting better at not listening to negative me and I'm no longer agoraphobic because of it.

Go back to your gp and have another chat and see if there are other avenues of treatment that would help you crack your social anxiety.

<thoughts>

Thingumy Wed 15-Jun-11 14:12:26

Little steps even grrrrrr

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