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Re: Social Phobia -- suicide is not the answer!

Re: Social Phobia -- suicide is not the answer!

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Posted by Joanne on August 27, 2000 at 12:22:26:

In Reply to: Social Phobia..... Need Help Please posted by F A Bhatti on August 21, 2000 at 12:18:27:

I am a woman from the USA who also has social anxiety and really felt I had to respond to your posting. First of all, suicide is not an answer! I'm sorry, I do not have an answer for you, but please know that you are not alone, there are many others that have the same feelings as you - just look at all the postings on the net! Keep trying to find a health care professional who can help you. Since it sounds as if you do not have a close friend you can confide in, perhaps regular counseling may help.

I have had (and continue to have) many of the same experiences as yourself. As long as I can remember, I have been anxious around people. I become nervous and blush and stammer, and cannot think of anything to say to people. I thought of it as "shyness". I could not go to my high school graduation because of my social phobia. I got a degree in engineering but had the same anxieties in class and always studied alone (not the best way to get through those tough classes!) and again could not attend the graduation ceremonies. My career in Engineering allowed me to work alone but then there were those meetings and presentations! I married but could not share a wedding ceremony with family and friends because of the anxiety.

I still frequently avoid social activities, but it has gotten better as I have gotten older (I'm now 47). My doctor (actually a nurse practitioner) prescribed Serzone a few years ago and I have found it to be quite helpful. I take 150 mg twice a day (I was taking 200mg 2x/day for a year but became lethargic and dizzy so I just recently had my doctor back the dosage down). But it takes about 4 weeks to see results (and I had to step up gradually to the final dosage to minimize the initial side effects - headache, dizziness, mental fogginess). I am not so anxious around people now, although I still have sporadic bouts of crying (I don't feel depressed, it just wells up for a minute or so).

I also found some books on "shyness" helpful (just search on any book seller web site such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble). Also, communication with your family and friends is very important - you must tell your wife how you feel and that you need her help to get better. She needs to respect your need to avoid social situations until you are stronger, and perhaps she can help you by having short get-togethers with one or two people at a time, gradually increasing frequency and the size and mix of the group (friends and those you don't know).

What has helped me the most is to focus on other people and things other than myself and my own concerns and problems, especially during those times when I am feeling acutely anxious and self-conscious. Try to offer some kind of help to those less fortunate than yourself, even if it is a small gesture of kindness or concern.

Good luck with your Masters work at college. There may be even be a counselor there who can help you or perhaps they can refer you to someone.

Best wishes and don't give up!!!

: Hi,
: I am 28 ,am married and am from Pakistan.I dont smoke, i dont drink and i am not on drugs ( except that i take ATIVAN only when i feel i might have an anxiety attack) I did my BS in elect engg way back in 96 and since then have been switching jobs , trying to avoid situations where i might end up sitting in a meeting or delivering a presentation.I experience panic attacks in anticipation of simply saying my name in front of others.
: I have, what u would all know very well, a socially avoidant personality. I did very well accademically through out my college and university life , but studying only on my own. I bunked all classes where i thought the teacher would ask me to stand up and answer a question. I dreaded going to a new class just becoz there would be the usual teacher student introduction. Hiding behind the students in the front rows , i used to reherse what i would say when asked about myself. And when i did, i just would end up TONGUE TIED.
: Its really disheartening that after all these years , when i thought i would improve with age, the situation is even worse. Worse yet is the fact that my family is hardly supportive and what breaks my heart is that the only brother i have got, is a practising PSYCHIATRIST at a hospital in england. Yet i never got any help from him other than a simple prescription of prozac.
: I was never at ease in the company of friends and got worse if any girl class fellow joined for a small talk. I would just panic at the sight of having a discussion with someone of the opposite sex, though i desperately wanted to be in a relationship with a girl. Infact i did have a relationship with one of my class fellows , who was very caring and supportive. We got engaged later on , but it was a disaster. We broke up after two years. Amongst some personal reasons there was this major issue of the wedding ceremony , which i needed to be very simple for the fear of sitting on a stage in front of all those guests.I almost had a nervouse breakdown then. U cant imagine what it felt like . I was put on prozac by my brother more so for the depression than the for the social phobia. I cant say for sure if it helped me. I thought ATIVAN is more helpful for this phobia of mine. I would just take a 2mg Ativan about three hours prior to the anxiety inducing event , and would assure myself that it would help me. I thought at times it did but on some occassions even that didnt help. Finally i got married last year (A marriage arranged by my parents) . I wouldnt go in to the details here, all i can say is that even though we dont have any major problems , i am not happy with it. I wanted a wife who was confident , someone dominant who could act as a shield for me, some one who had all those qualities i wished i had in me but never would. But that wasnt the case. I live with this guilt of dragging her into this pathetic life of mine.
: I still cry like the way i used to while i was a child. I still lock myself in my bathroom , crying and wishing for a NORMAL life. Its pathetic really, being 28, and going through all this. I tired to share all this with my wife, leaving prints outs of the "social anxiiety" web pages i have been to , by her bediside, even asking her to go out and get the ATIVANs for me. Yet she never even once asked why i take these. Rather the marriage has made matters worse. She compells me to attend parites aranged by her parents. I could live with it had these been not so frequent. Each time i visit her family , I make some excuse after being there for 5 - 10 minutes and leave , picking her up later on. I have politely refused on many occassions but they just dont stop.
: Then there is this other problem. I sweat a lot, and i mean a LOT. Its not blushing, i think it has some clinical reason for it. I stay in my air conditioned room ,for almost all of the summers, just for the fact that the sweating attracts more attention. People stop by to ask if i am OK or that am i seeing a doctor for it. I did go to a couple of doctors and they carried out a few tests. They didnt find any thing wrong. Mind you its not easy for someone like me to go to a doctor.
: I have heard of CBT but here in Pakistan , there is no such treatment being carried out.
: Any ways, the problem at hand right now is that i have been accepted at IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON for a MSc in Computer Science, something which means a lot to me. My classes would start on the 30th of September 2000. I have sold my cars for the tution fee which is to be paid in full, upfront . Every member of the family has congratulated me for being accepted by a good college. At first i felt happy but as the days are passing by i am getting more and more panicky. It seems i have made a decision from where there is no turining back. The amount of money being involved in all this and the hopes people and i have put into it, puts all the more pressure on me. I have decided that i will go on with it, and if i get to a point where i would have to quit it, i wont be going back to my family. Its the final chance i have got . However i find escape only in the thought that i can always commit SUICIDE. I am not sure if i ever will go through with it., I dont know really, but the thought certainly gives me a sort of a relief that at least there is some way out.
: Can any one relate to all this? Am i making any sense here? If there is any one out there, please do help me out, i need someone who understands what i am going through. I know i have messed up my life pretty bad, but i am trying so hard to set things right, to lead a normal life, but the more i try the worse it gets.

: Thanks for your time,

: Sincerely,

: [email protected]

: ( If u think u can be helpful i would really appreciate if u could reply to this mail before the 20th of September)

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