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Social Phobia (help)

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Old 12-08-2002, 05:18 PM   #1
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Broadwaygirl03 HB User
Unhappy Social Phobia (help)

I was a very shy kid. I'm now 17 and still am very self concious and shy. I often have wondered where the line between just quiet and having social anxiety is. I'm not anti-social, but I do pretty much fear people. I mean, I don't go into a mall and freeze with fear, its moreso my peers. I over analyze everything I do or say. I often imagine things in a way they didn't happen, like remember people saying degrading things about me when they really didn't...the first time I remember doing this was in 4th grade. The thing is, I actually remember events not as they happened, but as I feared they would.

Little things such as wearing this really cute hat I bought to school just doesn't happen. I imagine over and over people staring and laughing at me and whispering things. It's just a hat and it's winter but somehow I just can't bring myself to do anything out of the ordinary. This happens with everything, clothing, nail polish etc. The odd thing is I've never really been made fun of, it's all in my head. I often think people think of me as "Oh, what a looser". Looser is not the best word, but it's pretty much all I can think of right now.

Little things such as saying hi to people in school in the hallway is a major event. My stomach actually gets into knots when I see someone I know, and then after my "hello", I overanalyze it and what the other person must have thought.

I've always had trouble making friends. I eat lunch alone most days, the entire time my stomach is in knots hoping someone doesn't sit with me while at the same time I don't like to eat alone. When we have to get into pairs for school projects, that's the worst.
I always assume people thinkg negativley about me. I imagine them saying and thinking awful things when I really know no one in school hates me.

I'm not sure if I'm doing a good job explaining this situation, but I'm loosing sleep over this with thought of how awful my day went and what people must think of me or what they will... I just don't think it's natural to be so paranoid of people and of myself. This is causing also depression from lonliness. We have a big formal dance coming up, I desperatly want to go (I love getting dressed up) but you can imagine the thoughts running through my head.

It's difficult to tell me family about this. I have some GI problems and I really don't think they'd take how I'm feeling seriosuly in comparision to the severity of my other problems. I'm normal at home, and no one has ever seen me at school and my trouble interacting with others. I litteraly can go an entire day at school without talking. I know many people are like "Just talk" but that is very seriosuly difficult for me to do. I've been shy all my life and it's just getting worse. I like this guy in school, but whenever I see him I stare at the floor until I pass him and afterwards kick myself for not at least saying hi, but I've already told you about my "hi/hello" issue.

It's not at all that I don't like people and am antisocial. If I get invited to a party, I don't go not because I think I'm above the social group, but more scared I'll be in a corner, by myself or at the food table the entire night like has happened oh so many times before. Like I said, it is actually difficult for me to talk to people. It's like that feeling when you want to go talk to your crush, but its like that with everybody and it's not anticipation, it's fear. Fear of rejection I suppose. I often fantasise about being about to share things I like with my classmates. Once in sophmore year we had to make a life map, so I did mine 4 months in advance because I was so excited. Yet when my turn came I could barely talk because I was shaking to much. Things like that happen often.

My sister has some issues with anxiety, when she gets excited, she gets realy sick. She went to see a doctor about it and is on meds. Me however, I'm not physically sick from this. How can I get help from this? I've had bad experience with school counslors, I haven't been to one in years because in middle school at a school I'm no longer in, the teacher told you everything was confidential. So I'd let my heart out. Then I'd come home and she would have called my mother, telling her everything I did. So, my trust issue with counsors has been broken.

Lastley, I know this is horribley long. But I went on to research this problem and found this:
"Social phobia. This involves a combination of excessive self-consciousness, a fear of public scrutiny or humiliation in common social situations, and a fear of negative evaluation by others. "
I was in shock because I didn't think I would be so well described as this excerpt does.

So, thought etc would be helpful. I'm going to college next year but I know everything will end up the same as it is now as much as I want to be able to interact freely. I'm not physically in bed sick from this as I am with my GI problems, but this is ruining my life.

[This message has been edited by Broadwaygirl03 (edited 12-08-2002).]
"Careful the things you say, children will listen.
Careful the things you do, children will see.
And learn."
~Into the Woods

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Old 12-10-2002, 05:47 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 23
suidrewt HB User

OH MY ****!

I'm the same way you are!!!! im 15 male, and i am EXACTLY THE WAY YOU ARE, this is so strange, i thought i was the only one,

[~~ Please note that it is not permissable to request contact, or to post or request personal contact details. ~~ Thanks, Minerva ]

[This message has been edited by minerva (edited 12-12-2002).]

Old 12-14-2002, 09:20 AM   #3
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Location: KSU - Ohio
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ShadowDragon HB User

Hey, Broadway... Your post sounds a bit like me when I was in highschool, so my heart aches for you I think I know how you feel. I am now a college student, and last year I lived on campus, which is an hour away from home... It was a horrible experience for me. Like you, I often went whole days without breathing so much as a single word. I walked around campus with my head down, ashamed, feeling that others would look down on me, and tried to avoid all personal contact. I associate this time in my life with solitary confinement. I have never felt more alone.
You say you will be going to college soon too... I know you feel a lack of trust in councelors, but at college they aren't going to call up your parents like in a small school. When I lived on campus I wish I would have built up the courage to go get the councelling I needed. Because I know how terrible and stressful feeling this way is, I wish that no one else would have to feel this.
I have gotten a lot better though, than I was a few years ago. I did silly things that helped me change and build up self-confidence. I think it is important to realize that most people are very accepting of all others. It is human nature to desire a sense of belonging, so naturally we accept others in hopes that they'll return the acceptance. I have found that the majority of people I've come across in life are essentially warm, good-hearted people. Perhaps you should begin to think of others as being 'just like you' rather than as critics.
Now I don't know what your self-image is like. Personally, I always had a negative self-image. If this applies to you... I know this is silly... maybe you might want to try something a friend once suggested to me. He told me that everymorning when I woke up, I should stand in front of a mirror, look myself in the eyes and say "I am a smart, beautiful person" until I actually believed the truth. This is silly and I laughed the first few times I tried it, but somehow it increased my self-confidence and helped me feel less afriad when interacting with others.
I hope this helps a little, and if not, perhaps it is at least comforting to you to know that there are people out there 'just like you' and that I cared enough about you and your problem to reply. I do not reject you, and there is no reason anyone else should.
I hope that you are able to overcome your problems.

Hope, Light, and Love... Shadow Dragon

[This message has been edited by ShadowDragon (edited 12-17-2002).]
"All beings have the capacity to cure themselves" - from K-PAX

Old 12-14-2002, 11:16 AM   #4
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dawnmargaret HB User

I have the same problems you are expressing. I have social anxiety and often feel inferior to everyone else which makes it almost impossible to meet and make friends. It gets very lonely to not have any friends but honestly I dont know how to change it


-I am guilty of wanting too much..

Old 12-17-2002, 05:06 PM   #5
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BrazilianGuy HB User

I had that most of my life. I was extremely shy. Extremely insecure. I thought i was the most abominable creature on earth - ugly, stupid and all. I had lots of problems with anxiety (general anxiety disorder) and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). So, my life was miserable. Things changed when i had nothing to lose, i had been home alone most of the time so i just said "F*** off". And went outside and did my things. Suffering, feeling lonely and insecure, but did it. With time, i got better. I watched that film "Anna and the King" with Judi Foster and a guy in there says "Life is suffering" and i just tough that was meant for me. Silly comment, i know. Anyway, the more you face your fears the better you get. You should consult with a pshycologist, that may help. Medicines like anti-deprassants help too, but takes some time. Now i consider myself a rasonably shy person, but definetly NOT a social phobic.

Old 12-17-2002, 07:09 PM   #6
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suidrewt HB User

**~~It is not permissable to request personal contact, and/or post contact details such as e-mail addresses.~~ Thanks, Minerva]

[This message has been edited by minerva (edited 12-18-2002).]

Old 12-26-2002, 06:55 AM   #7
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casandra1969 HB User

My 14 yr old son is the exact same way as you describe. However, he seems to be coming out of it slowly with the start of 9th grade. I'm actually in the process of making an appt for him to see a psychiatrist as I feel that he's been depressed and anxious for at least 5 yrs and i think short term medicine coupled with family therapy would benefit him. Not every parent has a deaf ear and I'm probably more hypervigilant than most parents because mental health issues are in our family line.

Good luck to you, I hope you find the strength within yourself to overcome this affliction...

Old 01-11-2003, 11:49 AM   #8
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Saint John N.B.Canada
Posts: 2
Julz HB User

I have social Phobia, Geralized anxiety disorder,insomna and depression.I stay home most of the time.I'm almost 19 years old.I have help from the midwest center.A program that's pritty good I know it takes time and practice to recover from anxiety and depression! So I know this stuff insideout!

Old 01-13-2003, 10:54 PM   #9
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broncosfan HB User

I posted this on another board...but it applies here.

I'm a 29-year-old male. This is a long story combining IBS-C, social anxiety, and panic attacks, and how I've come to deal with all of it.

I've had trouble going to the bathroom even before I can remember--chronically constipated, always in pain, always bloated, always feel like I have to go. It's affected my life immensely in many ways, but this post is too long to go into them--so I'll stick to the theme of the original message.

I only attended classes that were mandatory in college, and sat in the back row so I could slip out if I had a terrible panic attack. I also have the disorder that causes severe blushing, which all but made me a hermit for many years. I started drinking heavily in high school, as it was a way to get over my shyness--really didn't get panic attacks in HS, I was actually a popular athlete. Severe anxiety started when I got to college, I drank harder & harder. Eventually, it got to the point where alcohol didn't take the edge off until I couldn't stand and couldn't remember anything from the night. I've spent countless nights of my life thinking of how much better it would be to end it all, and my lack of any religious belief doesn't help. I've never actually tried suicide, but thought about it often. To top it off, the heavy drinking made my IBS awful. I was absolutely self-destructing.

Though I was a top student (despite only attending classes for exams), I couldn't get a job until a few months after I graduated, as I floundered in every interview, completely brain-locked with panic attacks, blushing to the point of being purple, suffering unbearable stomach cramps, and sweating profusely--all during the interview. I was interviewing when "behavioral" interviewing was very popular, and I couldn't think of answers to the situational questions. Finally, I had an interview with someone who was interested in my knowledge, high GPA, and skills, and not about what kind of tree I would like to be or evidence of leadership abilities.

I did try Paxil for about a week, it made me sick. I tried going to a psychiatrist a few times, it really did nothing for me. I thought it was rather funny when he recommended group therapy for social anxiety/panic attacks...just picturing a room full of people struggling with social anxiety disorder was amusing. So, I ended up working through my psychosis on my own.

My present condition...I still have bouts of chronic constipation. No diet change made a bit of difference, other than stopping the heavy drinking. But, I found that cardiovascular exercise makes a very noticeable difference. I still have terrible pains, but have somewhat normal bowel movements. I've learned when the feelings of "having to go" are false...I ignore the pains and pressure and only go to the bathroom when I feel like I might not make it to the toilet, and actually feel completely relieved for a few minutes, which is probably the best feeling I'll ever know.

Things did turn around for me, there is hope. I've led a successful professional career. I still blush severely often, but the severe panic has subsided, because I've come to grips with the fact that I have no control over my blushing/sweating. The panic subsided after I got a few successes under my belt in my professional career and my self-confidence grew.

As far as social interaction, I've turned my alcohol problems into something constructive. I bartend some nights and weekends--mixing drinks is fun, and it puts me in a position where I don't have to initiate conversation.

In summary, what's made my life better: learning to interpret small differences my body's signals, developing the ability to ignore pain, engaging in cardio exercise, building self-confidence through my career successes, accepting the fact that there's nothing I can do about my blushing problem, realizing that many people have far worse problems than me, and finally, realizing how unimportant my life and problems are to the big picture of the world, and consequently, lowering my level of caring about other's opinions, which I determined to be the cause of 99.9% of my anxiety probs.

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