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I think I have social anxiety. What can I do about it?

(5 Posts)
Reastie Sun 09-Jul-17 15:40:17

I have actually had a bit of a eureka moment this afternoon that there's an actual term for what I think I have!

I have a long term MH issue which is phobia related and I suffer a lot of anxiety which I am on medication for (citalopram). The anxiety is generally phobia related but also related to low self confidence issues.

I've been feeling quite down really that I don't have a strong circle of friends and I feel a bit of a loner. Dh I suspect is autistic and the longer I'm with him the more I feel I'm becoming more unsociable/less thoughtful as a person. Dh has no friends and we don't have any families or couples we socialise with together.

I'm my own worst enemy in a way as I don't go out of my way to talk to people. I'm quite shy and I get anxious about what I will talk about with people and I feel I have nothing to say. Often in conversations I spend half the time panicking I don't know what to say next. I want people to like me but I'm very dull and people tend to not know much about me. On the odd occasion I am invited to something I often panic and worry so much about it and what I'll say etc. I often have 'I carried a watermelon' moments. I'm not a particularly warm person and I feel I'm very stilted. At work I never sit in the staff room etc, this is usually because I'm so busy with my work but on the rare occasion I'm not too busy I avoid it because I don't know anyone well enough to go in and chat and I don't know what to say or feel relaxed in there.

I suppose today I'm feeling down as an excolleague who I did get along with and really liked had a birthday party recently and people from work were invited and I wasn't. TBH I don't see why I would have been invited and not everyone was, and if I had I would have got worked up about it and might not have gone anyway, but the fact I wasn't invited just made me feel even more down.

Dd rarely gets invited to play dates and I worry that it's because of me (she seems sociable and plays with everyone in her class. We've invited a number of her classmates over but most of them don't recipriacate).

I started googling 'how to make friends' books on Amazon ( blush , I know!) but I'm not quite sure what might be good in my situation. From that I discovered there's a thing called social anxiety and I think I have it! I'm not sure if I'm happy that there's an actual term for what I have or sad that I have it in the first place.

I guess what I'm looking for is recommendations for books or strategies or just a bit of head nodding understanding. Hopefully I'm not the only one feeling this!

pl8828 Sun 09-Jul-17 20:35:36

Hi, I found this book very helpful:

My (limited) understanding is that CBT techniques are very effective for social anxiety so you might want to look into that; the book I linked above involves CBT and you can get counselling sessions on it too.

Another thing you could do, either now or when you're feeling up to it, is look up your area on 'meetup'.

Reastie Sun 09-Jul-17 20:39:37

Thank you pl. I had seen that book and wondered about getting it as I've had the same series only specific to my phobia and it was good.

I've actually joined the mn local meet up page and met a nice group of mum's and we met every week before the dc went to school only now they still see each other induvidually and sometimes together only I rarely get invited along, or I get invited with everyone else but they pick a date they know I can't do so that makes me feel even more sad about myself <plays tiny violin>.

pl8828 Sun 09-Jul-17 20:43:47

... Hit post too soon and can't edit!

Anyway, on Meetup you could find some groups to go out with just once, with no consequences if you don't get on with people, and almost 'practice' being social!

What helped me the most was accepting that I'm me. I realised that I was uptight and anxious because I was trying to be whoever I thought the person I was with wanted to talk to, but all that did was make me bland and cold. It was uncomfortable at first, but I've been surprised to find that people seem to quite like my natural, quietly eccentric self. I don't know if you have that same issue, but I thought I'd offer my experience.

I hope you feel better soon, it's really crappy feeling like you're being left out and it's great that you're looking for solutions - you're definitely not the only one smile

Reastie Sun 09-Jul-17 20:47:38

Thank you pl, you have struck a chord with me and it's nice you've managed to make progress.

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