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Can people with Social Anxiety EVER have a normal life????
October 3, 2004
10:11 pm
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nattie
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Does anyone suffer from this or have the same problem???? Actually, I'm not sure what the hell my problem is or if it is social anxiety or just depression. I have been dealing with this feeling of not wanting to go to friends parties or family events since a child. Lunchtime at school i would sit in the Library. Lunchtime at work I sit alone. BUT, I am an adult now, 32 and have to grow UP. I'm tired of avoiding things and making excuses but I dread the conversations, the standing alone, the akward silences, not knowing what to say, talking and pretending that everything is "JUST FKING GREAT!" I AM SO ANNOYED AT MYSELF RIGHT NOW.

I'm pregnant and don't even want a baby shower, let alone have a wedding! My friends stopped inviting me to things and I'm actually HAPPY about it! Deep down I'm not because I wish I was able to go and be normal but the other part of me is relieved I don't have to put myself through that.

Today I went to a Christening for a friend of my boyfriends and was so relieved that he didn't want to go to the luncheon afterwards. I should be able to go and mingle with the women, BUT I HATE IT!! I would rather be naked in the rain on a highway being pelted with rocks then do that. I feel akward and want to leave everytime. I can't stand the pointless conversations. And what makes matters worse, he is such a social person and is always going to events and has to make excuses for me. What the hell kind of life is that for him!!

There were times in my life that I was ok but attribute that to having a few drinks to chill out. I don't drink anymore because I became addicted and it made my personality the complete opposite of shy which I liked cause I was popular and had fun, but I would get into trouble and do crazy things so that didn't work out too good. I am going to therapy for this so maybe it will help at some point. I don't know. I've been dealing with this for so long, I'm assuming that this is how life will be for me.

Can anyone relate??

October 3, 2004
10:26 pm
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sdesigns
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Hi Nattie; I can relate and sometimes want solitude over a party or meeting people anyday. I just read a book that deals with this- I ordered it at Amazon.com- its called "When Am I Going To Be Happy" by Penelope Russianoff, Phd. Gave me some food for thought. Good luck. SD

October 3, 2004
10:27 pm
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SweetAmanda
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Heya. I can relate in some ways... Not so much as of late though. Honestly, I do think it may be Social Anxiety Disorder or whatever it is called. I don't know much about it, but I say that because you have had this problem your entire life...When I went through it, it wasn't on such a grand scale, but I do understand in some small ways. Hey... Have you ever heard the song "Who can it be now?" I think that's the name of it... It's by the group 'Men at Work'. Well, Anyways, that song totally describes the way I felt when I was going through what you have been struggling with. You should listen to it! It helped to lighten my mood about it, and made it easier for me to describe my feelings to my doctor. That's how I got help. =) God Bless!

October 3, 2004
10:40 pm
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Anonymous
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nattie,

Yes you can..I have done it. Before I leave here, I'll give some links and information I think will help you! You can do this! I am living proof.

Hugs,

Sunny

October 3, 2004
11:09 pm
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nattie
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Thanks. 🙂

October 3, 2004
11:19 pm
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Tumbleweed8
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Nattie, I can totally identify which I posted some on a couple of other threads about this. I was shy, withdrawn from the youngest age I can remember and had a miserable school life, miserable life on my jobs and I can remember the baby shower they had for me and how awkward I felt trying to get through it and having my aunts make fun of me for what they said that I wasn't cooperating. I guess no one ever saw how painful everything was for me and still is at times. I married a very outgoing person who danced and entertained people when we went out so our table was the center of attention which I felt like crawling under many times. He and his friends were very loud, talked and laughed loud and I just felt embarrassed in their company. I am much older than you are and I still avoid people. Partly, I have reasons I can't go out places as I'd like to. I was an alcoholic who also did a lot of things which hopefully I would not do anymore in this lifetime. I don't feel the shyness now, I don't think or I don't feel inferior anymore, but I do feel uncomfortable in situations I have learned to avoid. I would just encourage you to keep up with your counseling and maybe some reading on this which I'm also looking into, but please don't be angry with yourself because I believe we just are who we are and that it is not our fault. Once we're aware hopefully we can do something about it. You are not alone.

October 3, 2004
11:48 pm
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nattie
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Ya know the hardest part about this is that people don't understand. My family makes fun of me when I go over to visit which isn't quite often. They poke fun at how I'm never around and when I leave they say "Guess we'll see ya next year." I know they love me and want to see me more but it hurts my feelings when they poke fun, it makes it worse. On top of it, I'm adopted so I don't feel like I belong anyway so it's just a bad feeling all around.

Thanks for telling me your story tumbleweed. I hate it when places are loud too and people are obnoxious when I'm around them. I feel very uncomfortable. And don't they get so annoyed when you don't act the same and always ask, why are you so quiet? God, I hate that. I love when it's quiet, I feel at peace.

Did it work out for you and your husband being that he is outgoing?? How does he accept it or handle it??

October 4, 2004
12:24 am
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sage
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I think I have social anxiety too. I'm 34 and its probably been in the past year that I've started to get better. I remember high school was so hard for me, having just a couple of friends because I was too shy to make more. My first job was even worse because the highly competitive environment made people less friendly.

I've been at this present job for 8years and prior to about a year ago, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I'd been asked for coffee. I've worked only mornings for the past 6yrs, so I haven't had to worry about lunches. I've gone on maternity leave twice and it was very uncomfortable the last week before each of my maternity leaves (I had a 6mo leave with the first, then a year leave with the second) as I would wondered if anyone would do anything special for me. Noone threw a lunch or work fairwell for me either time. I too remember the discomfort of the baby shower, which I didn't want, but someone really pushed throwing for me. I didn't have one for the 2nd.

I used to just agonize over the company lunches that would be thrown for people leaving. I'd really want to go, but the stress of having to enter the restaurant, by myself, to see a few tables filled with people I work with, noone who I really felt comfortable with - was too much. In this past year, I've made myself go, and things have gotten better. I got a perscription for a axiety medication that is taken on an as needed basis. It has helped for those times where I know I'll be socializing in groups of people I don't know well.

Honestly, alcohol has also been a key to me feeling better. I used to never drink, but I had a few beers at a company Christmas party last year, and it was amazing how it seemed to pop some sort of invisible barrier! I made a few connections with people at that party, and then another I went to and the connections seem to have carried over after the party somewhat. I too don't really enjoy small talk, but I'm really trying my best to appreciate it. Good friends begin with small talk, so I try to be patient.

I know a factor for me has been stress. I was highly anxious and very stressed from about age 16 to probably 28, when I had my first child. In hind sight, I think I had a low level depression for most of those years. Things have gotten slowly better since then. I still have difficult times, and am dealing with a stressful relationship right now, but hopefully everything will work out. For me personally, stress and anxiety are definitely a factor, and its true, noone really understands just how painful it can be. My shyness has really has been a huge black cloud for me in my life and I've often wondered how my life would be different if I was outgoing.

October 4, 2004
12:53 am
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jewel
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I feel just like you nattie. I hate being around people, even family. I totally avoid it. My boyfriend is very family oriented and I am but I have major anxiety. I hate big events as well. I want to marry my boyfriend, but dread a big wedding. If I was pregnant, I would hate having a baby shower. Not really. The thing is, I hate being center of attention. Is that how you are too?

October 4, 2004
1:51 am
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bkc
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i have some anxiety, and i'm doing better. keep trying in therapy. i hear that welbutrin is good.

October 4, 2004
3:23 am
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m3talc0re
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Nattie, I understand how you're feeling all too well. Just remember there is always someone worse off than you. Take me for example, I don't have friends to stop inviting me to things anyway.

October 4, 2004
10:04 am
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luvlee
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Nattie,
I have recently solidified the suspicions I have had since about junior high that I suffer from social anxiety/phobia.

I think that it all started with my hormone going nuts and feeling awkward around boys. Then it spilled over into being called on in class. Then on to any social events. Finally, my fiance left me about 5 years ago because of it. (He is an extremely social musician)

In fact, I just saw my ex-fiance this past Friday at a club and still felt all the remorse and hate for this affliction.

I too fear getting married and having to stand in front of all the family and friends of my current b/f. Not to mention just going to family/social events period.

I also fear talking in meetings and don't even get me started on presentations.

I am still in the acceptance stage. I am also reading/working in a workbook and experimenting with herbs.

Go to the "Kava Kava for Anxiety" thread for more than that.

At least it is comforting that we are not alone huh? =)

(((hugs)))

October 4, 2004
10:41 am
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Tumbleweed8
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This is the first time I have been able to identify with so many people about this issue. Looks like I've had it all, everything you're saying here. I dreaded everyday going to school and sat there so tense my back hurt. Tried to avoid being called on as much as possible. When I had to stand up and speak I shook and felt myself getting all red which of course prompted a lot of teasing from others. When I went home and complained about it to my Mother (a very strong woman), I was told to go to my room or just told speak up. I was also adopted and raised by my natural mother's first cousin. When I asked about it at age 11, my Mother told me about it and I remember feeling guilty for all the times I had misbehaved. All I could think was these people have been kind enough to raise me and I couldn't even behave all the time. By age 12, I could not take part in a play at church anymore so I told my Mother I was really sick, that I just could not do it. I stayed home, but she told all the relatives how I wouldn't even take part in the church play and they all acted shocked and talked about it and I felt like crap as you can imagine. I felt like the worse person in the world and as you see have never forgotten the experience. I don't think this is totally why my former husband and I got divorced. We were opposites in every way and had both come from families with problems. He and I both drank which is how we met and friends kind of pushed us together. We both married on the rebound. I didn't know how to speak up in the right way then so we just yelled at each other all the time. It started to get violent. When I saw a counselor, divorce was recommended, but in hindsight I don't think I would have gotten divorced, but we didn't know a better way to communicate and he wouldn't continue with the counseling. We got along better after the divorce and he wanted to get remarried, but by then I didn't want to try again. We still went out to eat together sometimes and to family picnics etc. He passed away a few years ago and after he was gone in looking back, I saw where I could have done better. It was like finally some of the things he used to tell me made sense. I don't know about you, but I hate hindsight most of the time.

October 4, 2004
1:54 pm
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kathygy
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I'm a mixture. I love being the center of attention and parties my best friend throws for me to celebrate special occassions. I need to connect with people, it lifts my spirits. But I wasn't always this way.

When I was growing up through 3rd grade I was very outgoing and had a lot of friends but then my family moved into a new neighborhood and my father's drinking got really bad. I felt inferior to all the other girls in schools who had known each other since kindergarden. I became quiet.

I was quiet in high school. I always found it very painful when someone would say Kathy hasn't said a word for two hours. I wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. I always had very outgoing best friends and they would take me with them everywhere and I just didn't know how to talk to people in a group setting and felt very awkward and embarrassed. In high school sometimes if I didn't see my friends I would go into the restroom and eat my sandwich in a stall. It makes me very sad to think about that. My self esteem was so low.

Everything started to change for me when I started going to adult children of alcoholics meetings. At frist I was quiet but I always shared and found that people liked what I had to say. They even thought I had a great sense of humor. I started talking more and more to people and developed a large social circle. I got myself 3rd grade self back. It really boosted my self esteem. And now if I do get quiet I am comfortable with that. I'm much more comfortable around people.

October 4, 2004
8:24 pm
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Tumbleweed8
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I have never gone to the Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings, but my father drank a lot which created a lot of arguments etc. in the home. I have been to AA and AlAnon though and both helped and seemed to help me build confidence some. I haven't been to any of my meetings for quite a while, not even CODA meetings. I do miss them. Hopefully, I'll get back to them soon.

October 9, 2004
12:40 am
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nattie
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It's been awhile since I've been online, sorry for not responding sooner to your posts.

It feels good to know there are others that feel like this. It's funny because if we were all at a party together, we would never know we all felt like this.

What do you think is wrong with us?? Does anyone know if it's a chemical imbalance or from something that happened when we were younger??

And as far as medication goes, what has worked for some of you?? I was on Paxil and zoloft but didn't like the effects.

October 9, 2004
8:16 am
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dire straits
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I used a laundry basket as a bobsled and boogeyed down the steps of my mother's house, landing on my head.

hey...that rhymmes..

October 9, 2004
8:19 am
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dire straits
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rhymmes=rhymes

see, now i am taking out my anger spamming.

October 9, 2004
1:35 pm
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Tumbleweed8
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I think you're right, Nattie. If we were at a party or somewhere together probably none of us would let the other ones know about this side of us. It does take courage to get it out. But, well worth making the effort to know we are not alone. I always think and have remarked that I was born with social anxiety since its been there ever since I can remember. A strict upbringing where no show of feelings was allowed didn't help, I'm sure.

October 9, 2004
1:53 pm
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jossy
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Wow, I can also relate. I had an upbringing similiar to you tumbleweed, we were the "perfect family" and never talked about feelings. I remeber having anxiety attacks in kindergarten, and when I was 10, wanting to run away from social situations. My husband tought that having surprise parties on my birthdays would help, it didn't, I had to be very adamant about my feelings to be put on the spot, which I find different than being the center of attention. I hope we can all find our path.
love to all,
Jossy

October 9, 2004
3:06 pm
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Tumbleweed8
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Yes, the tendency is to want to run away from or avoid, try to become invisible. I know that even when I braved taking speech class in school, I never felt it helped at all. I was still feeling embarrassed in my communications classes at college as an adult even with a supportive atmosphere.

October 9, 2004
11:38 pm
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nattie
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I had to take a public speaking class too, which didn't help. It just made me so sick to my stomach I ended up in the bathroom! lol.

I've always had anxiety as a small child. I remember having trouble breathing and being scared of dying for some reason. I was always told when I felt like that or when I was sad or angry that "you'll be ok, you'll grow out of it or you'll get over it." Well, I never did quite get over it, did I? It also didn't help that I grew up in house where I always heard "you should've done this or that." in turn making me question my actions. My adoptive mother was also diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was 11, so it was hard growing up, alone alot and never knowing what I was feeling or why.

It's amazing how your childhood has such an effect on you and how it takes years as an adult to fix it. I'm 32 and still question my feelings and if they are valid. I still have anxiety. I guess you just have to find a way to live with it. And accept that it's who we are.

October 10, 2004
12:00 am
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dire straits
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I suffer from social anxiety. It's difficult for me to even go out to get my newspaper off of the lawn somedays. When you refer to individuals and to matters of the mind, it is always, always on a case-by-case basis that folks are considered...You may get over your social anxiety in the next minute whereas very well may be inflicted with the condition until the day I die. I think self esteem and self confidence can definitely give one a sense of well-being...if you have been without these internal resources for a long period of time, it is perfectly understandable how you would feel unsure of yourself. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to strengthen these areas, thus improving your overall sense of being and outlook on your life.

October 10, 2004
12:41 am
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SweetAmanda
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that is a beautiful picture Dire

October 10, 2004
12:56 am
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nattie
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Dire,
You said "there are things that you can do to strengthen these areas, thus improving your overall sense of being and outlook on your life. Any suggestions????

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