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Old 01-22-2007, 05:51 AM   #1
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scragglybob HB User
Social Phobia, shy, or just a hypochondriac...?

Hi everyone,

I've been reading a lot of the posts on here regarding Social Anxiety Disorder and Social Phobia (are these synonymous, or two different conditions?) and a lot of people talk of their physical symptoms, like sweating, shortness of breath, etc. Are these necessary for SP, or is it possible not to show the physical signs?

I ask this because I do not, or not to a great extent. I am terrified of social situations with people I barely know, or don't know at all. I never know what to say, and constantly feel like I'm going to embarrass myself, so in the end I say very little at all. And even then I feel like they're judging me. But I don't sweat profusely in their presence, or get nauseous or anything like that.

Also, I am mortified of going into group situations where there is the potential for embarrassment or people judging me. For example, it's got to a stage where I ditch class just so I don't have to deal with it (oh yeah, I'm 19 and currently studying at College, which I feel makes it hundreds of times harder). On the rare occasion that I have to give a presentation in front of the class, I force myself to do it, even though I am terrified at the idea. I usually just BS my way through it and then sit down a nervous mess afterwards.

This is really starting to interfere with my life. I life in a flat with 5 other people that I barely know, and it's come to a point where I lock myself in my room and stay as quiet as possible just so they don't know I'm there. I'm that scared of having to talk to them. On a couple of occasions, even though the door was locked, I actually hid under my table just so no-one could possibly see me. I stayed there for about an hour, waiting for the voices outside to go away.

I've been having trouble sleeping too. I get very restless at night and just lie in bed worrying about everything and nothing. My sleep pattern is completely messed up.

It's come to a point where I only have 2 or 3 actual friends, and even with them I'm constantly making excuses to get out of social situations.

The strangest thing is, when I wake up in the morning, I don't feel especially anxious or depressed, but during the course of the day, my mood drops and I get very anxious indeed. I've found that the only way I can cope with it is by watching TV or writing. Oh that's the other thing, I really enjoy writing, and I'd like to pursue it as a career, but I know for a fact that it's only because it'll allow me to isolate myself and not have to deal with other people. I hate being like this, I really do.

But here's the problem, I'm trying to build up the courage to go and talk to the counselling service on campus, but I'm terrified that they might tell me that there's nothing wrong with me, and that I can't change the way I am. I don't think I could bear to be like that. And worse than that, I'm afraid to talk to my family about it, as my sister has clinical depression and I don't want my parents to think they've failed - even though I know they haven't failed either of us. I'm running out of options. Please help me

Gary

Last edited by scragglybob; 01-22-2007 at 09:19 AM.

 
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Old 01-22-2007, 07:38 AM   #2
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misery_too HB User
Re: Social Phobia, or just a hypochondriac...?

I have Social Anxiety Disorder (I have other labels too). I mostly dislike people (because I can't trust anyone). I have no friends (only aquaintances, small talk in passing), I have family, but I can't be around them, and I only go out in public when I absolutely have to (no not agoraphobic). I've been learning recently to communicate with people on MB's such as this one (I hardly communicate with people in public at all so I don't know how anymore, although I am getting better-see?). I don't feel lonely and I am completely independent (with the exception of my psychiatrist). I can't commit to anything because of my illness. I really don't think you're like me.

You have a valid fear. Lots of people feel the way you do. And of course you can change it. It's just going to require some effort on your part, along with a good support network. I say go for it! Talk to your college councellor. You may only need some assertiveness training. Most colleges offer it. In any case, once you've told your college councellor, the two of you together can speak with your parents. It really isn't uncommon what you're going through. And if you need more help, then so be it. You'll deal with it when you get there.

Writing is awesome. Not everyone can be a writer. I felt by your post, that you love to do it. Do you really think you're doing it because you want to be alone, or because you love to write? If you want to get published some day, you're going to need some of that assertiveness training. With submitting comes rejection. Don't worry. If you love it as much as I think you do, you're going to do great.

For the record, I do like some people.

Last edited by ms_mod; 01-22-2007 at 10:25 AM.

 
Old 01-22-2007, 09:18 AM   #3
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scragglybob HB User
Re: Social Phobia, or just a hypochondriac...?

I'll admit, I do love writing - in particular, I love the escapism of it. The fact that you can withdraw into your own personal fantasy world seems very appealing to me. But more than that, it allows me to create characters who I can almost be friends with (as strange as that sounds). It's as if I can create an entire network of people who won't judge me - maybe it's a control issue.

There was something else I realised though. I went out earlier to go and book an appointment with my college counselling service, having finally mustered the courage, and I noticed something. Whenever someone was walking towards me, or behind me, and I heard them laughing, I immediately felt like they were laughing at me. I'm almost positive they weren't, but I constantly feel like people are judging me.

Anyway, I have an exploratory session tomorrow with a counsellor so that I can start to address some of my problems. I really hope it helps. I bumped into one of my few friends earlier and I told her where I was going, but couldn't bring myself to explain why, as if I was ashamed of the things that I obsess about. Is that normal? I suppose it is - I guess it comes down to a fear of being judged.

Any advice or suggestions that anyone can give would be greatly appreciated

Gary

 
Old 01-22-2007, 09:33 AM   #4
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misery_too HB User
Re: Social Phobia, or just a hypochondriac...?

You just gave me the inside to my favorite writers thoughts. Thanks.

I'm glad you made the appointment. You're going to do great.

 
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