Social Anxiety

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    Sep 22, 2008 3:29 AM GMT
    Does anyone else deal with this? I know that everyone has social anxiety or uncertainty during social interactions to an extent. Mine feels pretty limiting at times. I just can't seem to relax and have a good time in a lot of social situations, especially if I'm in a bar or club, or in a group above a certain number of people. Sometimes it feels paralyzing to the point where it takes someone speaking to me to snap me out of it. It's like I want to interact, but I forget how. I don't want to be viewed as the uptight and standoffish guy anymore.

    Anyone have any coping mechanisms that they find might help alleviate some of the stress?

    I'm not like this in interactions as far as work, school, and other day to day things go.

    Thanks
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    Sep 22, 2008 12:39 PM GMT
    Are you alone in these situations, or arrive with someone else? Can it be either way, depending on the circumstances?

    If you're better when a friend stays with you, preferably an outgoing friend, then ask him or her to help you out. Let them make the new introductions, keep you engaged with the group.

    The more positive experiences you have in social situations the more your confidence & comfort level will increase, until you become "self-sufficient." Whereas going into a detached trance will only reinforce this unwanted behavior.

    You might also suffer from more serious issues, such as a phobia, which is a matter for professional diagnosis & counseling. Some phobias make you withdrawn and nonfunctional in crowds or in small places. Your use of the word "paralyzing" may be significant.

    Try the first approach with a friend who's willing to stay with you & help you (not just bring you there and then disappear into the crowd). If you see no improvement after a few months then you might consider the second suggestion.
  • healthseeker

    Posts: 161

    Sep 23, 2008 9:30 PM GMT
    I've dealt with this. I helps to put yourself out there little by little to realize that your worst case scenario probably won't happen and if it does you can handle it.
    There is a book called " Dying of Embarrassment" (I forget the author's name) which was helpful. At one point it tells you to trip on purpose in front of a group of people....I haven't done that one yet.
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    Sep 24, 2008 3:27 AM GMT
    Not being a therapist or having stayed at a Holiday Inn Express I would guess that you need to become more at peace with yourself. When you really believe in yourself then other people's opinions can't possibly harm you. If you know their opinions or comments can't harm you then you are no longer scared to interact. In contrast, if your self-esteem is tied to what other people think then you will always feel vulnerable in a social situation.
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    Sep 24, 2008 3:28 AM GMT
    SOS Help for Emotions

    buy it anywhere
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    Sep 24, 2008 6:14 PM GMT
    It helps when you're with good friends, I guess. I get to be myself around them. But when alone and surrounded by people you don't know with whom you are supposed to interact with... especially have fun with (parties, bars, and whatnot) I get all stiff and shit. It's the fear of rejection I think. :/
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    Sep 24, 2008 6:38 PM GMT
    Oh My God!
    Runninchlt, you have described me to a T. I zone out so bad. I can hear people talking but I can't figure out what they are saying. When I know that I have to go to a function I try to think of anything to get out of it. It is so bad I get really sick in my stomach and I start sweating. Once I am there it is like you said I become paralyzed. I don't know what to say or do. I feel like I want to go off into a corner and hide. Luckily my partner is very outgoing. That can be good or bad. I find that I usually stand by and let him do all of the talking, unless I've had a few drinks.
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    Sep 24, 2008 11:50 PM GMT
    When I had social anxiety, I was proscribed Prozac. Since the Prozac caused me sexual problems, the psychiatrist changed it to Wellbutrin, which has no sexual side effects.
    Once I was relaxed enough to behave socially comfortable, I got to experience how it felt, and realized the anxiety was unneeded and caused me much angst!
    Just a thought.
  • ScotXY

    Posts: 117

    Sep 25, 2008 12:01 AM GMT
    I constantly try to push my boundries on social anxiety .....

    I try to surround myself with my close best friends. They are like safety blanket for me. As I become thinner and more fit I do believe that will resolve to be a lot easier.

    Make myself just get out there and try new things and have a great time.
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    Sep 27, 2008 4:32 PM GMT
    Thank you for the input guys. Debated for a few days on what to write, it's really a combination of factors. But it's mostly situational. I think I'll be ok, it impacts me for a minimal amount of time. I'll take progression in small steps I suppose. I don't think it really warrants going on meds or anything like that. I think the problem is more inside my own head than anything else.
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    Sep 27, 2008 9:25 PM GMT
    GeorgeE saidOh My God!
    Runninchlt, you have described me to a T. I zone out so bad. I can hear people talking but I can't figure out what they are saying. When I know that I have to go to a function I try to think of anything to get out of it. It is so bad I get really sick in my stomach and I start sweating. Once I am there it is like you said I become paralyzed. I don't know what to say or do. I feel like I want to go off into a corner and hide. Luckily my partner is very outgoing. That can be good or bad. I find that I usually stand by and let him do all of the talking, unless I've had a few drinks.


    Nausea and sweating are seen in panic attacks associated with social phobias. Professional medical help may be indicated, since this exceeds the normal range for ordinary "shyness" or insecurity. Someone who worked for me had this problem, and would become physically sick in social situations. She was prescribed Wellbutrin, which was moderately effective, though not without some side effects.
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    Sep 27, 2008 9:52 PM GMT
    I would recommend remembering where you do feel socially comfortable. Simply having a touchstone of a place and setting can help you transfer that calmness to a new area. Building up those social skills in other settings and then putting them in the bars is an excellent strategy.

    Going a bit deeper, bell hooks said, "All is union and reunion." The Buddhist scholars that I read and admire all see interconnectedness and social relationships as continuous, and merely ebbing and flowing with who we feel comfortable with at the time. Holding the thought that we are all inseparable, that we cannot exist without this whole universe supporting us, makes introductions and flirting all the easier. What don't two people have in common? Social anxiety, from their and my perspective, holds that the fear that we cannot relate to others comes with forgetting that we have so much in common with others, and they with us.
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    Sep 27, 2008 10:26 PM GMT
    I've dealt with this with a Psychiatrist and counselor and still have some issues. I don't remember what medication I tried--Effexor, I think. It didn't seem to do much, and coming off of it was really annoying.

    My "freeze-up" moment in social settings is seeing a crowded room where everyone seems to be talking to each other. I panic not knowing how to "insert" myself properly and how to introduce myself. Clearly I would make a horrible outside sales person.
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    Sep 28, 2008 5:36 AM GMT
    Brady527 saidI would recommend remembering where you do feel socially comfortable. Simply having a touchstone of a place and setting can help you transfer that calmness to a new area. Building up those social skills in other settings and then putting them in the bars is an excellent strategy.

    Going a bit deeper, bell hooks said, "All is union and reunion." The Buddhist scholars that I read and admire all see interconnectedness and social relationships as continuous, and merely ebbing and flowing with who we feel comfortable with at the time. Holding the thought that we are all inseparable, that we cannot exist without this whole universe supporting us, makes introductions and flirting all the easier. What don't two people have in common? Social anxiety, from their and my perspective, holds that the fear that we cannot relate to others comes with forgetting that we have so much in common with others, and they with us.


    i like this. thank you for posting.
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    Sep 30, 2008 6:57 AM GMT
    Anytime. Hope you are doing well and drop a line if you ever need some more support. Go out there and knock 'em dead.

    :-)
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    Mar 16, 2009 5:51 PM GMT
    Runninchlt saidDoes anyone else deal with this? I know that everyone has social anxiety or uncertainty during social interactions to an extent. Mine feels pretty limiting at times. I just can't seem to relax and have a good time in a lot of social situations, especially if I'm in a bar or club, or in a group above a certain number of people. Sometimes it feels paralyzing to the point where it takes someone speaking to me to snap me out of it. It's like I want to interact, but I forget how. I don't want to be viewed as the uptight and standoffish guy anymore.

    Anyone have any coping mechanisms that they find might help alleviate some of the stress?

    I'm not like this in interactions as far as work, school, and other day to day things go.

    Thanks


    Runninchlt,

    I find I have same problem. Especially in a room full of new people that I do not know. I always get anxiety approaching people because I am afraid of not knowing what to say and having those "awkward" moments or silence. So, like any other fear, I try to avoid it which means I sit by the side and do nothing all night and look very stand-offish and snobby. People tell me I have a "mean look" all the time but its not mean, just a little nervous.

    I force myself to interact more with people. I wish I wasn't so scared all the time. I am currently on Welbutrin and Celexa just because I am a nervous person naturally. They seem to calm my nerves down a bit but there are still nerves there.
  • Sayrnas

    Posts: 847

    Mar 16, 2009 6:06 PM GMT
    I get that way when I'm on a date. It totally blows considering I'm such an outgoing person and have commentary on just about everything.
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    Mar 16, 2009 6:15 PM GMT
    Yeah this describes me really well. I am very outgoing once the ice is broken. Most of the time people that I actually meet on any sort of real level end up becoming friends. It's the getting there that sucks. I've been described as being a wall flower and as being intimidating. I've been told that my physical size combined with my shyness comes across as being intimidating. So this becomes a self replicating pattern. I'm completely uncomfortable in large groups of people where I don't know them, since I am uncomfortable, they pick up on that at some level and decide I'm intimidating so that leads them to not come up and introduce themselves, which just reinforces the whole socially awkward cycle. No good. Unfortunately, this also leads me to drink in these settings because it's the only way I can overcome being so excessively inhibited. I too need to figure out a way to get past it because it ends up being a pretty significant limitation to me and one that is not welcome at all. I completely admire the outgoing, social butterfly, clown guy that can walk into a bar, talk to everyone in the place, everyone instantly likes him, clowns around on the dance floor, etc. I would give up most anything in order to be that uninhibited. If you find a solution that works for you, you should definitely post it here.

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    Mar 16, 2009 6:36 PM GMT
    jprichva said
    YngHungSFSD said If you find a solution that works for you, you should definitely post it here.

    Here's one: genuinely not giving a shit whether people will like you or approve of you or not.

    Not saying you don't care, actually not caring.

    Odd thing is, then they will like you.


    This is very true as is not saying much makes people think you are smarter.

    I have antisocial tendencies also and don't feel comfortable in settings of people that I don't know. Heck, some of the people I do know I'm not comfortable being around! I am, however, comfortable with myself and realize that I don't have to be where ever I am at. Very large crowds are somewhat easier since I can keep moving around but if it's a small to medium sized party and I only know one or two people I really don't think they want me hanging around them the entire night.
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    Mar 16, 2009 7:04 PM GMT
    Currently Reading: Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With The Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach, Ph.D.

    If one would like to be more calm, in my opinion, just be more calm. We are fully aware of our emotions. We simply have the task of being more conscious of our root thoughts which lead to our external feelings.

    Good Luck being more peaceful in social settings!

    It's been a long road for me personally. And, it was worth all the challenges to be where I am today!


    Joe
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    Mar 17, 2009 3:55 PM GMT
    Social anxiety disorder may involve up to 10% of the population. It probably is more common in homosexual males than heterosexual males. The problem can get so severe that careers are jeopardized by fear of public speaking or social interaction. These individuals will accept lesser jobs just to avoid the anxiety produced. The lack of friends can lead to social isolation and depression increasing the risk for substance and alcohol abuse.

    Treatment is by two means

    1. Cognitive behavior therapy..the goal of CBT is to guide the person's thoughts in a more rational direction and help the person stop avoiding situations that once caused anxiety. This is done by a psychologist

    2. Medications; SSRI's, beta blockers, and antianxiety agents

    Cognitive therapy is the more effective of the two

    Counseling to improve self-esteem and social skills, as well as relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, may also help a person deal with social anxiety disorder
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    Mar 17, 2009 5:28 PM GMT
    kneedraggen saidSocial anxiety disorder may involve up to 10% of the population. It probably is more common in homosexual males than heterosexual males. The problem can get so severe that careers are jeopardized by fear of public speaking or social interaction.

    Good comments. Our RJ Brother in his OP said: "Sometimes it feels paralyzing to the point where it takes someone speaking to me to snap me out of it."

    I can't know if "paralyzing" is literal or rhetorical. But if literal, does this not suggest a more profound problem, that requires some professional consultation, as I suggested above? Having supervised someone with a severe social phobia, I know the reality of this disorder. It can only worsen over time, and I strongly encourage a professional evaluation to determine the nature of this condition.

    If it's nothing more than simple social shyness, which I have myself, then great. If it's a more serious issue, even a phobia, then it needs to be addressed quickly, before it becomes disabling.
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    Jun 17, 2009 10:07 PM GMT
    Oh wow. I didn't realize that the thread had been going recently. It was just brought back to my attention via a private message.

    I'm doing much better now. I've been taking classes towards my Substance Abuse Counseling Certification and I've picked up a lot of good things in there about human, family, and social dynamics in general. Large groups and bars still freak me out a bit so I'm working on that.

    I read a great book called "Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness" by Gillian Butler. I recommend it to anyone who is struggling.

    Sorry for the essay.
  • Mikeylikesit

    Posts: 1021

    Jun 17, 2009 10:23 PM GMT
    I use to be very bad in social situations. Lots of stress, But I just kept subjecting myself to those kind of situations....over time, it got way better. Just keep saying to yourself" You got nothing to fear"

    May work for ya.....icon_lol.gif
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    Jun 17, 2009 10:40 PM GMT
    I seem to deal with a lot of the same problems you're describing. I was on Paxil and that seemed to work for a while, but then caused massive weight gain and depression so I stopped taking it. I've pretty much resigned myself to being terrified at parties or when I go out to bars. I can handle a few people at a time, but that's about it. At this point I've decided that I'll just have to try and live my life and try to be happy with the way my brain's wired.