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Old 12-02-2012, 12:58 PM   #1
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Where to begin..

When I was a teenager, I was very social. I had lots of friends and was a complete social butterfly. After my brother died when I was 18, I began to withdraw. It was in combination with other traumas as well but I think that was the one that began pushing me over the edge. It was gradual though..over a period of years.

I eventually came to a place where I had somewhat agoraphobic tendencies. I have battled them as much as possible. Being that I have isolated myself so much, I've developed social anxiety and feel like I've lost a lot of social skills. I have a fear of interacting with people, scared of doing or saying something wrong, and then it's almost as if it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. I will find myself doing something unintentionally that sabotages relationships. It's not intentional. It's actually me trying to avoid sabotaging it that causes me to sabotage it. If that makes any sense. Then it will turn into a period of self loathing. I will cry out of pure frustration. Then, repeat the process all over again.

The last week has just been one series of horrible events after another. I can see it happening and yet it just seems to spiral out of control. Does anyone else understand this?
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:15 PM   #2
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Yes, indeed. No relationship is 100% positive; there's always an element of anxiety, even in old friendships. It's more pronounced with people you haven't known for long, because you're less sure how they might react to what you say or do. And sometimes the anxiety and tension builds to the point where you have to do something -- even if it's the wrong thing -- just to end the unbearable suspense. I think everyone's got a little bit of this in them, but it's worse in people who are empathetic and more aware of others' feelings ... like you. I've been there. Wish I could help you somehow, but all I have to offer is a virtual hug, for what it's worth.
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:39 PM   #3
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Yes, indeed. No relationship is 100% positive; there's always an element of anxiety, even in old friendships. It's more pronounced with people you haven't known for long, because you're less sure how they might react to what you say or do. And sometimes the anxiety and tension builds to the point where you have to do something -- even if it's the wrong thing -- just to end the unbearable suspense. I think everyone's got a little bit of this in them, but it's worse in people who are empathetic and more aware of others' feelings ... like you. I've been there. Wish I could help you somehow, but all I have to offer is a virtual hug, for what it's worth.
I actually think mine is more that I panic and can't think straight and then do the wrong thing on impulse.

It's horrible though. It winds up making me feel so misunderstood and frustrated because it's my own fault but I don't know how to fix it. After a week like I've dealt with, I'm left feeling broken and toxic. So then I automatically want to withdraw again.

I appreciate the hugs and the understanding. It seems like such a bizarre way of reacting to a situation that you wonder if you're the only person in the world who acts in such a dysfunctional way.
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Old 12-02-2012, 06:48 PM   #4
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I'm sorry that this past week did not go particular well. I believe many people have to a greater or lesser degree some form of social phobia. From what you describe your level of anxiety in social situations has affected your relationships with people. Because it is affecting your relationships with people you might want to consider looking for a professional help to overcome/ or cope with this anxiety. You stated that this social anxiety began about the time your brother died. Getting over the phobia may involved issues arising from your brother's death requiring a psychologist in order to be able to deal with these issues.

Please consider some professional help. You do not need to suffer, You can learn how to handle social situations with the help of a professional.

Big hugs.
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I actually think mine is more that I panic and can't think straight and then do the wrong thing on impulse.

It's horrible though. It winds up making me feel so misunderstood and frustrated because it's my own fault but I don't know how to fix it. After a week like I've dealt with, I'm left feeling broken and toxic. So then I automatically want to withdraw again.

I appreciate the hugs and the understanding. It seems like such a bizarre way of reacting to a situation that you wonder if you're the only person in the world who acts in such a dysfunctional way.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:07 PM   #5
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It has been going on a long time. I've just kinda ignored it and had some weird mixture of denial and acceptance.

I've been to therapists before...not about that particular issue really but concerning other things that have contributed to this issue. I may go back...maybe after the holidays.


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From what you describe your level of anxiety in social situations has affected your relationships with people.

Please consider some professional help. You do not need to suffer, You can learn how to handle social situations with the help of a professional.

Big hugs.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:30 PM   #6
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And yeah, talking to a therapist is important and all but it's important to hear that other people have a similar experience to your own sometimes. So you don't feel fucked up all by your lonesome.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:33 PM   #7
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I totally get you. If you ever want to talk about it, you know where to find me.
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Old 12-02-2012, 07:50 PM   #8
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I totally get you. If you ever want to talk about it, you know where to find me.
U have facebook mail and ty Elaine...the feeling of aloneness concerning this is what is really getting to me right now. I don't think I've fully come to terms with the gravity of it until all that has happened this week.

Eta: I think I've just kinda known it was an issue but never pondered on it enough to fully accept it and try to deal with it...until this week.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:00 PM   #9
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U have facebook mail and ty Elaine...the feeling of aloneness concerning this is what is really getting to me right now. I don't think I've fully come to terms with the gravity of it until all that has happened this week.

Eta: I think I've just kinda known it was an issue but never pondered on it enough to fully accept it and try to deal with it...until this week.
I forgot to mention that there were four deaths in my immediate family in quick succession and that it had a lot to do with mine as well. My mother, godmother, brother and sister. And my cat Peachy, most of this while I was very sick, so it was horrible. I get it. I do.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:08 PM   #10
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I forgot to mention that there were four deaths in my immediate family in quick succession and that it had a lot to do with mine as well. My mother, godmother, brother and sister. And my cat Peachy, most of this while I was very sick, so it was horrible. I get it. I do.
God yeah, that would be almost too much to bear. My brother's death was very high profile here in my area. 3 other boys also died in the accident. There was a lawsuit because the boy driving (well, all of them) had been drinking alcohol so all the families sued the gas station. I was a Sr in high school and when I went back to school, everybody just stared at me a lot and would whisper to each other. Even people who had always been friends with me. My best friend said it was because nobody knew what to say to me. I wasn't allowed to talk about any details because of the pending lawsuit. So I just wound up withdrawing into myself. I don't think I had any other option but to do that really...and it has been that way ever since.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:17 PM   #11
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God yeah, that would be almost too much to bear. My brother's death was very high profile here in my area. 3 other boys also died in the accident. There was a lawsuit because the boy driving (well, all of them) had been drinking alcohol so all the families sued the gas station. I was a Sr in high school and when I went back to school, everybody just stared at me a lot and would whisper to each other. Even people who had always been friends with me. My best friend said it was because nobody knew what to say to me. I wasn't allowed to talk about any details because of the pending lawsuit. So I just wound up withdrawing into myself. I don't think I had any other option but to do that really...and it has been that way ever since.
I read you loud and clear. We'll talk more privately.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:32 PM   #12
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I have social anxiety. I have it so bad that I can't even make friends online anymore. So I understand how you feel. Especially about the loss of social skills and offending people and worrying about offending people. It's all a vicious cycle.
As far as treatment goes, from what I've noticed there isn't really much at all. I see a psychiatrist and it doesn't help one bit. So there isn't really much hope for getting rid of social anxiety once it takes hold. It is very hard to get rid of.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:39 PM   #13
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I have social anxiety. I have it so bad that I can't even make friends online anymore. So I understand how you feel. Especially about the loss of social skills and offending people and worrying about offending people. It's all a vicious cycle.
As far as treatment goes, from what I've noticed there isn't really much at all. I see a psychiatrist and it doesn't help one bit. So there isn't really much hope for getting rid of social anxiety once it takes hold. It is very hard to get rid of.
Jah, try Google'ing EMDR therapy. There are many people benefiting from it.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:02 PM   #14
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I have social anxiety. I have it so bad that I can't even make friends online anymore. So I understand how you feel. Especially about the loss of social skills and offending people and worrying about offending people. It's all a vicious cycle.
It's that bad for me too..and with social media, it's exacerbating the problem. Online is the main way I have been social for yeeears. All my friends I grew up with and have made online are on facebook and I'm either super annoyingly social or I'm withdrawn. It's back and forth. Then, when I'm social a lot, I start thinking of all the things I've said that have likely been misconstrued and who I probably offended and why it's more likely that people are laughing *at* me rather than with me...then I try to convince myself that I don't give a shit (and I do give a shit) and then I wind up withdrawing completely. It's confusing and exhausting. I'm exhausted.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:26 PM   #15
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Jah, try Google'ing EMDR therapy. There are many people benefiting from it.
I'll have to look into it. Thanks.

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It's that bad for me too..and with social media, it's exacerbating the problem. Online is the main way I have been social for yeeears. All my friends I grew up with and have made online are on facebook and I'm either super annoyingly social or I'm withdrawn. It's back and forth. Then, when I'm social a lot, I start thinking of all the things I've said that have likely been misconstrued and who I probably offended and why it's more likely that people are laughing *at* me rather than with me...then I try to convince myself that I don't give a shit (and I do give a shit) and then I wind up withdrawing completely. It's confusing and exhausting. I'm exhausted.
I've had similar experiences. I can go from social to withdrawn very quickly and end up confusing them, at least I think I end up confusing them. I spend ages worrying about things I said and ways I could have said it better and how I possibly offended them.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:38 PM   #16
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I've had similar experiences. I can go from social to withdrawn very quickly and end up confusing them, at least I think I end up confusing them. I spend ages worrying about things I said and ways I could have said it better and how I possibly offended them.
It will bother me so bad, I will go back and try to fix it and wind up either making it worse or making it akward. It sucks *sigh*

I think I'm gonna call about seeing someone tomorrow.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:24 PM   #17
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I have always had social anxiety. It takes me a long time IRL to warm up to people. I always wonder if they think i'm a snob or something because I don't say much in social situations. I have near anxiety attacks when I know i have to meet people that hubs works with. We hosted a house warming party and like 20 people from his work showed. It was so hard that i didn't sleep well for weeks leading up to it. I am a wallflower, wanting to blend into the background. If i could just stay at home all the time, I would. But having a family dictates shopping and karate nights..

Since leaving where i grew up, i have made a total of 3 friends. (that's in like 16 years) Two were through hubs and one was through Max. I have no real life friends right now because those three friends have moved elsewhere.

I think instead of me reacting badly, like you described, i am just uber quiet. It is so hard. It's so lonely too. I have always been the shy, super sensitive type. Social anxiety coupled with frequent bouts of depression makes for a real fun person to be around. I don't even feel comfortable when my own family visits and i love them to pieces!

Nothing particularly traumatic has happened to me in my life. I think it's just built into my nature. I've done therapy.. didn't feel right. It was weird. I'm going to try it again after the first of the year when our insurance changes and it's cheaper to get medical care.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:42 PM   #18
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I will go between being pretty outgoing to totally withdrawn. So I can understand the wallflower mentality Megan...and we deal with depression in our family too. I just got all kinds of lucky from our gene pool lol

I've been in therapy on and off for years since I was a teenager. It has helped me in some instances but like Jah was saying, I looked it up a little more and most of what I read doesn't sound hopeful for this junk. I dunno... I called today and they set me up with an appointment with a therapist on Friday morning so I'm gonna give it another try. Maybe it will be more productive now that I'm more aware of what I'm dealing with. I hope....I guess it won't hurt.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:17 PM   #19
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i think i have this too .. never really thought much about it.. but its not all the time every now and then it would hit me and id be pretty much a social wreck .. but most of the times im ok socially

tried the dgaf approach and work through it.. but some days are harder than others
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:57 AM   #20
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i think i have this too .. never really thought much about it.. but its not all the time every now and then it would hit me and id be pretty much a social wreck .. but most of the times im ok socially

tried the dgaf approach and work through it.. but some days are harder than others
Not trying to jinx ya but there was a time when mine wasn't so bad. Hell, non-existant even.

I would say try to watch out for it getting worse but that might make it worse lol
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:59 AM   #21
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Me and my sister had a discussion about this yesterday. She's 9 yrs younger than me and exhibits small signs of this. I've coupled it with an avoidant personality, which I think naturally goes along with it. Hers is not as bad as mine but I've got almost a decade on her.

So I'm wondering if it's gene related or learned. Or both lol
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:47 PM   #22
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It's that bad for me too..and with social media, it's exacerbating the problem. Online is the main way I have been social for yeeears. All my friends I grew up with and have made online are on facebook and I'm either super annoyingly social or I'm withdrawn. It's back and forth. Then, when I'm social a lot, I start thinking of all the things I've said that have likely been misconstrued and who I probably offended and why it's more likely that people are laughing *at* me rather than with me...then I try to convince myself that I don't give a shit (and I do give a shit) and then I wind up withdrawing completely. It's confusing and exhausting. I'm exhausted.
You sound just like me. These are the same kinds of thoughts and worries I have. Even here on DIMS, where I feel the most comfortable, there are periods of months where I find myself lurking and afraid to interact for fear I'll say the wrong thing or something I'll regret. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:42 AM   #23
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You sound just like me. These are the same kinds of thoughts and worries I have. Even here on DIMS, where I feel the most comfortable, there are periods of months where I find myself lurking and afraid to interact for fear I'll say the wrong thing or something I'll regret. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
I'm sorry that all y'all deal with similar probs but it's honestly making me feel better. Misery loves company? Lol. Really though, it makes me feel at least a little less freakish. Sometimes you get so caught up in and lost in your own head that you feel like there can't be anyone else out there that is feeling the same way.

When I posted this, I wasn't looking for answers on how to fix it. I was just looking for people who understood. So I really appreciate y'all responding and as you said Sweetie, making me feel a little less alone.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:12 AM   #24
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.... I have a fear of interacting with people, scared of doing or saying something wrong, and then it's almost as if it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy....
I definitely understand that. I am in this weird position where I feel this way myself, yet have to interact with people a lot, and at times with large numbers of people.

I hate business events or cocktail parties because the first ten minutes or so I am terrified, my hands get clammy, I hope no one approaches me to shake my cold, clammy hand, and I just wish I could leave.

I abhor doing presentations. I can pontificate to small groups forever on very complex topics, but making a formal presentation to an audience terrifies me and I am convinced I'd lose it and draw a complete blank unless I have a word-by-word script. Yet, I've had to do major presentations here and abroad, each time agonizing over it for weeks.

I almost always end up running things when I really don't want to. I can be very charming and usually enjoy social situations if I absolutely have to go, or someone drags me there. But it all comes at a great cost to me.

I don't understand any of this. I wish I'd enjoy and look forward to people interaction, but I don't. Never have. I can usually muddle through and rarely screw up totally, but I could absolutely live without the agony, the clammy hands, the stomach cramps. I know I am usually okay after the first five or ten minutes, but those minutes are awful.
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Old 12-11-2012, 04:42 PM   #25
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My sympathies go out to every one of you who has to deal with this. A woman named Susan Cain, who is a fellow sufferer, has written a book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. She has interviewed many people who become anxious -- or even physically ill -- in social situations. I found it enlightening and insightful; at the very least it will convince you that you are not alone.
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