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Social anxiety

(14 Posts)
TobyLerone Thu 11-Aug-11 11:07:34

Not me, my partner. Well, him more than me, anyway.

I've asked Dr Google and SA seems to be the closest to the issues he has.

He has real difficulty with anxiety in social situations. We can't go to restaurants because the thought of doing so makes him feel sick. If we go out for a night out, he refuses to eat all day and sometimes vomits before we leave.
He's ok with impromptu pub visits, and can usually push through the anxiety if we (well, I) decide to get something to eat while we're out shopping or something. Most of the time I barely notice him getting anxious in that sort of situation. Often I keep up a steady stream of nonsensical banter in order to try and distract him.

But last weekend he was worse than I've ever seen him. We went to a music festival. We've been before, last year, and he was fine. He was really looking forward to it this year, and it was him who booked the tickets and decided we were definitely going. He was fine the evening before.
We woke up early on the morning we were leaving, and I went to shower. When I came back, he showered, and when he came back into the bedroom he was shaky and pale. I asked him if he was ok and he said yes, but then dashed to the bathroom and threw up.
He eventually threw up 5 times before we left home, and then had to bolt back into the house to vomit again as we were getting in the car. We picked up the friends we were going with and he vomited again at their house. Then he was fine. We got onto the motorway, drove to Derbyshire and had a wonderful time.

When I was waiting to see if he could stop throwing up long enough to get in the car, and we were running very late by this point, I looked at him and he just said "I know". I said "you really need to get this sorted, you know" and he said he didn't know what he could do. I told him that I wanted us to try to find something we could do to help him.

Google seems to think that CBT is the way forward, but that seems to be advised for people with more general social phobia/anxiety. My partner's isn't all the time. He's fine with public speaking -- enjoys it, in fact. He has no childhood 'issues' that I'm aware of. His self-esteem is rightly high. He has a very good job and is progressing incredibly quickly.

Sorry this is long. I was just wondering whether you wise ladies (and gentlemen) might have any information for me. How should I react when he gets 'anxy'? What can I do to help him? How best can I support him?

madmouse Thu 11-Aug-11 11:27:10

see that's why googling is no good wink CBT sounds perfect for him. It's also quite man-friendly, as it is solution, here and now focused rather than talking too much about feelings.

CBT can be used in all situations where it would help to change thinking patterns, fear, anxiety etc.

Get him to the GP smile

TobyLerone Thu 11-Aug-11 11:28:40

How does it actually work? What happens?

Marne Thu 11-Aug-11 11:35:20

Dh gets anxious about going out (not to the point he vomits but he will shake and feel sick), he got himself tickets to see a band play whilst we were on holiday, going on holiday was hard enough for him but when it came to going to see the band (his favorite band that he had never been to see) he chickened out sad, he does'nt really go out other than going shopping with me and the dd's or visiting his dad, he copes ok at work and has to talk to people and meet new people but if i was to ask him to come out with me to meet someone he probably wouldn't come.

Get him to talk to the GP and ask about CBT (it doesn't work for everyone, i have had it for anxiety and sadly it hasn't helped but i know a lot of people have found it has helped).

madmouse Thu 11-Aug-11 11:41:46

I've so far only used a book based version for a specific issue but have just been referred for face to face stuff for anxiety

basically you learn to see where your thoughts are going wrong and your behaviour is making things hard for you.

By the time dp has come to the point of being sick lots of things have already happened, subconsciously - and by learning to challenge some of that and retrain his brain the anxiety can be reduced.

Small example: Last night after too much choc milk and a wild game my ds was sick, a bit. I started fretting that he had a tummy bug. Then I fell into my old habit, convincing myself he didn't have one. Problem with that is a) it makes my thoughts go round and round b) it makes me anxious and c) if he does have a bug after all I get even more anxious. By saying to myself 'hey he may have a bug, he hasn't had one for ages, and I can do bugs, quite good at clearing up sick' I actually relaxed a lot.

TobyLerone Thu 11-Aug-11 11:41:58

Oh, Marne sad Your DH sounds worse than mine.

I can empathise in a way. I'm the same with a lot of social situations. I think the fact that my partner is this way is, in a perverse way, helping my own anxiety because one of us has to 'man up'!

I worry that it might make things worse, if he were to have CBT and it didn't work.

TobyLerone Thu 11-Aug-11 11:43:55

Thanks, madmouse.

The thing is, he's not actually sure what he's anxious about. I've asked him.

madmouse Thu 11-Aug-11 11:55:59

That will come Toby - anxiety tends to start leading its own life. With the help of a trained therapist it is possible to untangle these things.

Marne Thu 11-Aug-11 11:56:53

The funny thing is, once they are out and with people they seem fine (dh will happily talk to anyone). I have often wondered if Dh has Aspergers (we have 2 dd's on the autistic spectrum), if he had the choice he would probably never go out, is happy at home not mixing with people.

Dh has had therapy and it hasn't had much effect, he has tried medication but doesn't want to take it (so stopped). It doesn't help that i suffer from anxiety, i am now on medication but can handle going out and talking to people.

TobyLerone Thu 11-Aug-11 12:01:57

Yes, bang on, Marne. He was fine as soon as we were in the car and properly on the road. And all weekend he was talking about next year's festival and how he wanted to go to more next year.

My mum is a psych nurse and is utterly convinced that I have Asperger's. I'm sure that DP is also on the spectrum. We are both much happier at home, not mixing with people. We laugh about it often -- about how sad and middle-aged we are (he's 25 and I'm 33 grin)

madmouse Thu 11-Aug-11 12:02:55

Marne my dh is a mild-ish aspie and copes really well in a professional capacity but would not mix widely by choice. However he also had anxiety and that was something else and is now after counselling and tablets much better. He still stresses but no longer panics. However you know more than anyone that there are as many forms of autism as there are people on the spectrum.

Toby don't start by thinking it may not help! It's not as if he can carry on like this can he. Maybe go to the GP together.

In terms of what he does cope with - my dh is a vicar, a very outgoing role, but as it is a job, a role, he copes. Your dp may be the same.

TobyLerone Thu 11-Aug-11 12:27:29

Thank you so much, madmouse. That's very useful and I will definitely discuss it with him.

As far as his job goes, it's something he loves. He earns good money, has been selected to work on several very important projects because he's very good at what he does, and gets on well with his colleagues. He often has to give presentations at work, and actively enjoys doing this the freak.

To all intents and purposes, he's completely normal! Which is what makes this so odd sad

madmouse Thu 11-Aug-11 13:32:40

Hey I've had bad PTSD and struggle with anxiety - but on the outside I'm still a lawyer and a vicar's wife smile - I wouldn't call myself normal but my friends do!!!

TobyLerone Thu 11-Aug-11 13:50:47


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