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Old 07-07-2004, 06:31 PM   #1
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jianlian HB User
social anxiety

i've decided to talk about an aspect of my anxiety i haven't ever talked about. It's my anxiety in social situations. It seems to behave a bit different from my other obsessions.

I always feel anxiety in social situations. I feel like I need to "perform" properly so that I can make myself and others happy. Well I feel like im not "performing" well enough, the anxiety just starts to grill me. eg. if i have a good start of a conversation that dies down, i start to feel immense amounts of anxiety (likely because I feel like i screwed it up).

All this probably springs from the fact that i used to be VERY shy.. and never socialized. So now i always push myself to talk and socialize, but I also end up getting alot of anxiety spikes because of it.

So... does anyone want to suggest ways to deal with this kind of anxiety?

 
Old 07-07-2004, 07:51 PM   #2
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Re: social anxiety

Hi although I have not found a cure for this, I just wanted to let you know that I have the same problem. I always feel that people are judging me. When I try to make people laugh and they don't I feel ever worse, like they are thinking she is so stupid. I even have this problems with my husbands family. I hate to go out and do anything with them because I constantly feel like they don't like me, as if they are talking behind my back and judging me. I just can't seem to get these thoughts out of my head. It really does keep me locked up in the house. Besides work, I never want to go out and be around a lot of people, and I am always scared meeting people. I assume before they even meet me that they will judge me and not like me. I know this doesn't help you, but I wanted to let you know that I know exactly how you feel. I too have social anxiety as well as general anxiety. Anybody have any suggestions. Anything that has worked in the past? I have tryed Paxil, but hate the side effects from it (the sexual ones). Thanks any help would be great.

 
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Old 07-08-2004, 07:13 AM   #3
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Re: social anxiety

I suffer with social anxiety too - although it is so much better than it used to be. *touch wood* - I still feel as though people look at me and judge me, or laugh at me, when I am walking down the street. And I am still paranoid I will do something embarrasing - but I can face walking down the street without too much anxiety - so I probably shouldn't complain too much.

Hope you are ok.

 
Old 07-08-2004, 04:51 PM   #4
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Re: social anxiety

thanks for the responses. It feels good to know you're not alone.

I'm doing quite well, but the anxiety is still really hard to cope with sometimes. It's especially tough because the anxiety is about being able to perform in social situations, and the resulting anxiety makes it even harder to socialize and have a conversation with someone.

 
Old 07-08-2004, 06:59 PM   #5
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Re: social anxiety

Quote:
Originally Posted by jianlian
I always feel anxiety in social situations. I feel like I need to "perform" properly so that I can make myself and others happy. Well I feel like im not "performing" well enough, the anxiety just starts to grill me. eg. if i have a good start of a conversation that dies down, i start to feel immense amounts of anxiety (likely because I feel like i screwed it up).

All this probably springs from the fact that i used to be VERY shy.. and never socialized. So now i always push myself to talk and socialize, but I also end up getting alot of anxiety spikes because of it.
?
I can understand what you feel like cause I myself am the very same way. I grew up being extremely shy, and now today I been trying to change that but it's tough. I make it a point now to try and talk to people and socialize better. Like you, when I finally get into a good conversation and like you said 'it dies down' I get extremely anxious and am thinking the worst things that people are thinking of me. But I'm lucky when I even get into a conversation. With me, a lot of people comment on how quiet I am and kinda joke about it to me, and it makes me me feel terrible, my anxieties sky rocket, and I just wanna get up and leave, not another word said. But I sit there, and even as someone points out to me how quiet I am, directing the conversation at me, I can't do anything but sit there "dumbfounded", and can't spit a single word out, making my anxieties higher and higher until I'm literally in tears...and still speechless. Also, when I know I'm going to be a social situation I find myself nervous from that point on...trying to think of conversations in my head before I even get there which is really no help. I havn't found much help with this problem but I find that trying to keep a good attitude helps a little. Example..I always try to smile, I have no clue why but it's me feel a little more comfortable, I always remind myself to relax and to breath..sometimes I seriously forget to breath in those situations, and when you forget to breath you get anxious anyway. When things go 'silent' or your anxieties get to be too much, excuse yourself to use the restroom and regain yourself before it gets too much out of hand. Ask a lot of questions..it'll take the focus off yourself and maybe spark a new a conversation if the last one went downhill. What is something you feel strongly about, something you like to debate about...you could bring that up, and you'll easily be able to speak up w/o wondering what to say next. Probably not much help because I'm still in the same, but sometimes it helps. Good luck to you.

 
Old 07-08-2004, 07:30 PM   #6
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Re: social anxiety

wow, thanks StaceyLee

your situation sounds so similar to mine. Often people mention how shy and quiet i am and say things like "why are you so quiet" or "why don't you talk".. and it just kills me everytime. It just freezes me and I can't think of a single thing to say (how the heck can I answer that anyways?). It's especially frustrating when people think that I am just quiet by choice, and that I simply choose not to say anything. Here I am trying furiously to be social, and they think I am not trying at all! I know that they mean well, though.

 
Old 07-15-2004, 02:00 AM   #7
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Re: social anxiety

I have severe problems with social anxiety. Even in some cases with my family. I feel like I can't look people in the eyes sometimes because then they are probing my thoughts and being even more judgmental. I feel like EVERYBODY is judging me all the time and I need to constantly monitor my behavior or else I might do something to really make them judge me. Sometimes when I'm alone in a room I get this eerie feeling that I'm being watched by some invisible force (that's judging me of course) and I need to act a certain way just in case somebody IS watching. The funny thing about that is that I'm atheist but yet when I start to think about it, I have this superstition that there is an undying universal presence that is evaluating my every move. Also, whenever I put myself out in social situations I feel like I have to act in a way that others would perceive as being "cool" because I desperately want to be accepted. But then I get so caught up in wondering if others perceive me the way I'd like them to that I get clumsy and end up doing something stupid (ex: spilling a drink). I can almost never have fun in social situations because I'm too caught up in trying to guess everyone else's perceptions of me.

As far as quietness goes, depending on how I'm feeling at the moment I can either be very shy or very outgoing. Some conversations I feel like I don't have anything useful to add so I just keep my mouth shut most of the time and interject occasionaly when I think I have something clever to say. During Lunchtime in high school, I had a huge problem with this because during my "time in the spotlight" I would throw in a little joke here or there which often came off as being lame and as a result I was actually told a bunch of times to "shut up" for being "stupid." And then, as time would pass, I found that my "friends" would gradually go their separate ways and leave me alone in the dust because they thought I was obnoxious. Even in college, although the few years so far have been socially better than high school, I still find the same intolerances among people. Because of all my terrible social experiences, I am afraid to leave the house and everytime I do plan on going out somewhere I have to spend lots of time in front of the mirror to make sure I look perfect so that the chances of anyone finding something laughable about me are reduced.

Last edited by MrMonk; 07-15-2004 at 02:03 AM.

 
Old 07-15-2004, 08:32 AM   #8
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Re: social anxiety

Isn't it horrible! This is no way to live...Believe me when I say I went through this and it sucked...

I am doing better now because (I am not 100% better but I can live life):

1. People are much too worried about their own appearance and actions to be thinking about you constantly. Besides, who do you think you are ?

2. At some point or another you're going to have to let the ball bounce and land where it may. If you try to be yourself around somebody, and they don't dig you. Then you don't need nobody that's no good for you in your life. So see it as a way to weed people out.

3. Everything you say doesn't have to be brilliant or thought provoking. Chime in here or there and don't worry about lags in the convo, they're natural and it's not your fault. You weren't hired and you're definitely not being paid to be a conversationalist who's job it is to keep things rolling. They're just as much to blame as you for dead air time- but neither of you are really to blame at all!

4. If you want to have a real relationship and special connections in your life, think about it the next time you start feeling your anxiety. All they really think is boy is this person weird- don't have time for it. Not to sound harsh because I've been where you are...but it's more of an annoyance or a drag to hang out with someone always stressed/anxiety ridden/depressed.

* Try to get interested in life and find things that you enjoy doing. Things that will take your mind off of all your worries...an outlet to let these frustrations out when you're not around people. Don't dwell on what they might be thinking...opinions are like aholes, everyone's got one.

5. You're not a clown. Sometimes you'll have nothing to say and there is nothing wrong with that either. Don't hang out with people you're not so much comfortable with because they'll make this anxiety worse.

6. REALIZE THE BEAST YOU'RE DEALING WITH. It's called low self-esteem and a negative outlook. Try to think of the new person you're meeting as a friend. Someone who was born, puts on their shows and takes a crap just the same as you. Not everyone is out to get you, but don't be naive.

7. In public. Nobody knows who you are at all. Unless you are wearing a banana costume and jumping up and down like an ape, they probably don't even notice you.

8. Relax, and try an SSRI or another drug to help you over the initial feeling of depression and worry. You'll be feeling better in no time.

M

Last edited by lancethechip; 07-15-2004 at 09:02 AM.

 
Old 07-16-2004, 07:35 PM   #9
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Healthnut25 HB User
Re: social anxiety

I failed to mention earlier that around people that I think are important like job wise, I get so nervous and start to mix my words up and sound really stupid. LIke I knew what I was going to say, but it did not come out like that I still do this with my boss and I have been working there for 6 years now. It is so embarrasing. Has anyone found any medicine that works for this?

 
Old 07-17-2004, 12:40 AM   #10
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Re: social anxiety

Thanks for the response lance. Just a few comments and questions to add: First of all, I'm on Paxil and Luvox right now and they've definately helped somewhat but I'm looking for something with better results. Obviously, if I'm feeling severe anxiety when I go out in public these meds aren't working as well as they should be. I've been on all kinds of different medications throughout the years (too many to mention here; not that I could remember them all anyways ) but I don't recall any mention of SSRI's from my Doc. Are these different from conventional antidepressants and if so, how effective are they? Also, besides keeping in mind those maxims that you like to live by, what methods of treatment have helped improve your condition? I tried the therapy thing once and wasn't too thrilled with the results (maybe the wrong Dr.?) but I'm considering it again as an option if it will help.

You mentioned how it's a drag to hang out with people who are anxious and depressed- all I can say about that is that I'm aware that people don't respond too well to people who aren't upbeat so for the past couple of years I've tried to compensate for that by being outgoing and cheerful (people appreciate it when you are expressive during a convo, like smiling, etc.). I've had plenty of people drill this idea into my head so I figured, what've I got to lose? Unfortunately, that approach hasn't improved my social life and I'm back to square one. Anyways, thanks for reading, lance.

 
Old 07-18-2004, 08:56 PM   #11
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Re: social anxiety

While this seems weird, we're all naturally paranoid, once you come out of your youth you've been bit at chewed on and spit out, so naturally everyone has anxiety to perform at their best, while EVERYBODY hides behind these happy masks... It's just not true..

What I do is keep god in my heart as much as I can, I noticed when I go to parties and my husbands family is there, I smile more and people want to come tlak to me because they see i'm a friendly face so they too don't have to feel anxiety...
I smile as much as I can, not being phony just a sincere smile, and that really eases alot of people's tensions and the conversation will flow more easily... It's helps put my mind at ease because I can tell when people are nervous even if they try to hide it and thats most people...

Try it out, smiling is better then paxil.. Paxil really made me feel worse and more nervous...
Now I smile more and keep god in my heart as much as I can, he really does ease alot of tensions... sorry to get religous on you guys, but he really is a gem! god bless ya'll and stay safe.. and remember to smile!!

 
Old 07-20-2004, 08:12 AM   #12
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Re: social anxiety

I've heard it said once that this God Theory will overcome the worst of weathers...

Anyway.

MrMonk . All I did was realize. I realized what was eating away at me. What the conceptual root of my problem was. We are all in this thing called Life together. Each of us is responsible for how we feel. I thought, I'm not going to let anybody else determine the way I feel. I want to feel whatever I want to feel at anytime. They shouldn't be bringing me down like this...After time, when I no longer *really* cared about what they thought of me...I went on with my life. If you are true to yourself and others, you can feel whatever you want to feel.

SSRI's are anti-depressants (Seretonin Reuptake Inhibitors). I've been taken Prozac and it has helped quite a bit. Of course, anxiety, fear and paranoia reach everyone on different levels/severities. So maybe the drug or dosage is incorrect for your particular circumstance.

Some other things...

I try to jog every once in a while, I feel better physically...it takes my mind off things quite a bit. I would go up to random girls and start talking to them...to build my confidence level. I found a great girlfriend because I built my confidence levels up by approaching others in general...Even if I was tounge-tied I felt great because I made the effort.

I joined a speaking group that helps each other overcome the fear of public speaking. A whole room of people trying to build their confidence levels and who are very encouraging.

It boils down to MY ABILITY to come out of the nose dive I was in. I could have easily kept going and hit the ground and shattered...but I told myself that wasn't going to happen to me so I paid my dues, hit the pavement and got busy.

What does Crystal Method say: Get Busy Child

Lance

Last edited by lancethechip; 07-20-2004 at 08:13 AM.

 
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