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Icy Jellyfish
02-20-2014, 11:08 PM
Social Anxiety: My Story & How to Cope
Hello, welcome.
I'm going to guess you clicked here because you have social anxiety yourself or you know of someone who does or you were just curious.
Let me start by saying my story.
I was diagnosed with Severe Social Anxiety (http://www.helpguide.org/mental/social_anxiety_support_symptom_causes_treatment.ht m). I ended up dropping out in the middle of tenth grade. It was too hard for me to force myself to get up everyday and go. No one really understood or could relate. It's also very hard for me to verbalize how I feel.
However I am going to school for pet grooming so that's a step up.
However I still find it difficult to even talk to people. Talking to people in person, on the phone, even online like this.
Even typing this up and then posting it is going to be difficult for me.
When I was first starting to have difficulties in social situations, namely school, whenever I would tell someone what I was feeling, I was ignored. Eventually I just stopped talking. I'd just shut down, stop talking, I wouldn't do anything.
I eventually got sent to a different school, and that was going good for about two years then it hit the fan so to speak in tenth grade.


How to Cope

I'm not a doctor or anything, but here's what has helped me a little so far.
Trying to just be more social. I don't overdue it though. Just talking or saying hi to people in forums like here on weasyl.
Going out in public sometimes, like shopping with my mom.
I'm still very anxious around people and talking, but I'm working on it.
I suggest looking things up online on how to cope or even talking to a doctor about it.

If you want to talk to me privately, you can message me here or add me on my skype and send me a message (Just be sure to let me know who you are!)

Uhm this is one of my own personal attempts to try and push myself a little so.
:o

DameGreyWulf
02-21-2014, 02:33 AM
The best "cure" for social anxiety is to take a daring plunge, I've learned. I couldn't order my own food, let alone drive anywhere by myself, until I got a wild hair up my ass and hopped on a plain to New Mexico to meet an online friend. I nearly broke down into tears and ran off the plane when I was boarding. The worst part was, I must've been somewhere near the engine or my hearing issue is really that awful, because I had a girl sitting next to me who kept talking to me but I couldn't understand a thing she said and was slowly dying inside. Then when I was with the friend and his mom, I spilled ice cream all over myself like a toddler the first day.
But in the end it all turned out to be for my own good. They took me many places and I was forced to interact and live amongst strangers for a week. It did wonders.
I'd have to say you gotta be careful about it though. I tried to do the same thing with a different online friend, totally different result. I was on pins and needles the whole time, and basically melted into her couch, not saying much if anything at all to anyone. It really depends heavily on your relationship with the person and the amount of planning you put into it.

irick
02-21-2014, 02:44 AM
You might want to change the font color to something with more contrast with the background.
I'm colorblind, so take it with a word of salt, but I can't read your post.

Icy Jellyfish
02-21-2014, 03:30 AM
The best "cure" for social anxiety is to take a daring plunge, I've learned. I couldn't order my own food, let alone drive anywhere by myself, until I got a wild hair up my ass and hopped on a plain to New Mexico to meet an online friend. I nearly broke down into tears and ran off the plane when I was boarding. The worst part was, I must've been somewhere near the engine or my hearing issue is really that awful, because I had a girl sitting next to me who kept talking to me but I couldn't understand a thing she said and was slowly dying inside. Then when I was with the friend and his mom, I spilled ice cream all over myself like a toddler the first day.
But in the end it all turned out to be for my own good. They took me many places and I was forced to interact and live amongst strangers for a week. It did wonders.
I'd have to say you gotta be careful about it though. I tried to do the same thing with a different online friend, totally different result. I was on pins and needles the whole time, and basically melted into her couch, not saying much if anything at all to anyone. It really depends heavily on your relationship with the person and the amount of planning you put into it.

I could see how that would help, though I don't actually have any friends online of off.
I only have my girlfriend and I do plan on going to see her when I have the money.
I suppose I could try just going out someplace sometime until then.

Krespo
02-21-2014, 04:04 AM
Having dealt with social anxiety in the past, the only advice I can give to anyone is to get help. Sitting around hoping it'll pass will get you nowhere. For me I needed a counselor, at the time I couldnt even use a phone without freezing up so I had to go there in person and stammer out what I wanted. After that it was easier because I now had a plan on what to do and how to do it. Approach anxiety as something to get over in stages instead of a crippling mental problem and it will help you greatly. It wont matter if you make a slip up then because you'll have your own progress to look back on, and you wont have to start at square one.

And good job putting yourself out there, Icy c:

Vae
02-21-2014, 05:15 AM
It comes and it goes, for me.
It seems like some days, socialization comes without much of an issue. I make and engage in conversation. I read messages. I go hang out with people like normal.

And then there are other times where I can't even check an inbox without that pulsating feeling from behind my eyeballs. That choking and locking up and basically being set for a violent panic attack if I don't abandon the situation like an unwanted child at the store.

It's just kind of random and annoying.

Gamedog
02-21-2014, 05:30 AM
Baby steps. Let nobody push you past your limit, you need to do that yourself.

That's how I'm working through mine.

Rilvor
02-21-2014, 05:35 AM
You know, the movie Yes Man actually was on to something here in a way.

It starts with saying Yes, not just to others but yourself as well.

Dreaming
02-21-2014, 01:29 PM
It's nowhere near as bad as it was. I ain't really socially anxious these days, I'm just paranoid 24/7 and scared of anything that moves. Apparently that gives the impression that I'm shy or socially anxious or something...

I had it pretty bad in high school, and it grew a whole lot worse when I moved to college. Like, college was a complete disaster, that was the breaking point for me. Meh, fate has a sick sense of humor, I guess? The social anxiety eventually died down but it was replaced by something far worse. Socializing isn't an issue but it inevitably leads to critical shutdown. I mean, I'm capable of conversation, but there's always that voice in the head that feeds the paranoia... "good lord, you idiot. They all hate you, y'know? They laugh at you behind your back. They're ashamed of you, they want you dead, you worthless moron. Crawl into your hole and die already" get out of my head oh my god leave me alone please

Crawl out of a ditch and into a maze, aye? Entirely hypocritical suggestion: It's always good to seek help because you never know what's feeding the social anxiety, or if it stands alone. Forcing yourself into the social world may help, but that plan can backfire horribly. [citation: experience]

Icy Jellyfish
02-21-2014, 02:33 PM
Having dealt with social anxiety in the past, the only advice I can give to anyone is to get help. Sitting around hoping it'll pass will get you nowhere. For me I needed a counselor, at the time I couldnt even use a phone without freezing up so I had to go there in person and stammer out what I wanted. After that it was easier because I now had a plan on what to do and how to do it. Approach anxiety as something to get over in stages instead of a crippling mental problem and it will help you greatly. It wont matter if you make a slip up then because you'll have your own progress to look back on, and you wont have to start at square one.

And good job putting yourself out there, Icy c:
I do have a doctor that I see and it helps. I think part of the problem now is that I've become slightly paranoid (I won't say why for it's personal) so it makes it difficult for me to get out more.
But I am slowly trying to talk to people more, like posting this thread and responding. And I think it's helping since I don't feel so scared to do it xD

Thank you c:


It comes and it goes, for me.
It seems like some days, socialization comes without much of an issue. I make and engage in conversation. I read messages. I go hang out with people like normal.

And then there are other times where I can't even check an inbox without that pulsating feeling from behind my eyeballs. That choking and locking up and basically being set for a violent panic attack if I don't abandon the situation like an unwanted child at the store.

It's just kind of random and annoying.
That sounds really difficult to deal with. Since you never know when it will come or not.
I suppose at least you know that when it happens you could just take a break. Step back and take some deep breaths.


Baby steps. Let nobody push you past your limit, you need to do that yourself.

That's how I'm working through mine.
That's what I'm doing, I'm just taking it slow and what feels comfortable.
:)


It's nowhere near as bad as it was. I ain't really socially anxious these days, I'm just paranoid 24/7 and scared of anything that moves. Apparently that gives the impression that I'm shy or socially anxious or something...

I had it pretty bad in high school, and it grew a whole lot worse when I moved to college. Like, college was a complete disaster, that was the breaking point for me. Meh, fate has a sick sense of humor, I guess? The social anxiety eventually died down but it was replaced by something far worse. Socializing isn't an issue but it inevitably leads to critical shutdown. I mean, I'm capable of conversation, but there's always that voice in the head that feeds the paranoia... "good lord, you idiot. They all hate you, y'know? They laugh at you behind your back. They're ashamed of you, they want you dead, you worthless moron. Crawl into your hole and die already" get out of my head oh my god leave me alone please

Crawl out of a ditch and into a maze, aye? Entirely hypocritical suggestion: It's always good to seek help because you never know what's feeding the social anxiety, or if it stands alone. Forcing yourself into the social world may help, but that plan can backfire horribly. [citation: experience]
That sounds really bad, I hope you're seeing someone for it.
My paranoia is just hearing loud noises or anything that doesn't sound normal and I think something bad is happening. Used to never be like that.
Sometimes you need to remember that people aren't out to get you or hurt you, though I know it can be hard to believe at times.
But yes, you should be talking to a professional about that, that's the only way to get proper help.

Fennic
02-21-2014, 02:40 PM
Hi Icy, I completely understand how you feel, i've been terrified for 5 years now. (I had to count that, and boy that made me feel worse) I'm terrified of the world in general, I can't go out without my fianceé or mum being with me (I'm in my mid 20's it feels rediclious) I guess thats why I clicked here, to see how others are coping with it. I think I'm only getting worse really, i've been out the house maybe 4 times since August last year.

Rory
02-21-2014, 03:14 PM
I'm genuinely curious, how is it that people here who suffer from severe social anxiety have boyfriends, girlfriends, or even fiancees/partners? The only reason I can come up with so far is that maybe it's easier to establish deeper connections with a single individual, than it is for basic ones with various strangers and such?

MEEHOO
02-21-2014, 03:39 PM
Though I do have social anxiety its not quite as extreme as some of you.
The problem for me is when I need to speak to or in front of a group I simply can't.
If im talking to a single person in a room with no one else il be shy at first but il quickly become more confident . If someone else was in the room id be afraid to speak.

Just being in public makes me nervous especially if im alone and what makes it worse is when people don't understand and think saying "you have to learn to speak up" or something similar cures it instantly .

It does impact my life quite heavily , I really enjoy talking to people its just difficult I know one of you suggested therapy or something but to be honest I wouldn't even know where to start.

Tiido
02-21-2014, 03:44 PM
Working with customers at my old job has got me a whole lot less nervous when meeting people in person, though it is still somewhat scary to me. Internet makes it all a whole lot easier haha.

TheLexicon
02-21-2014, 05:23 PM
I don't have social anxiety. I just remain silent in groups, stay away from crowded places, get awkward and then paranoid about other's thoughts, and get so nervous with friends/people I haven't known long/gotten used to I cannot even be near them.

irick
02-21-2014, 06:44 PM
I really have a hard time breaking the ice with new people. It takes me a long time for me to feel comfortable with my understanding of the social conventions for any group. I have two modes: Formal and SubCultured. Social conventions are kinda difficult for me to grok, it helps a lot if I know someone's interests are as in depth as my own.

I can socialise with D&D groups, Hacker groups, Furries, Martial artists historians with little issue. Through text I feel much more confident, though in person I can get there. It just takes longer than online.

Fennic
02-22-2014, 01:06 AM
I'm genuinely curious, how is it that people here who suffer from severe social anxiety have boyfriends, girlfriends, or even fiancees/partners? The only reason I can come up with so far is that maybe it's easier to establish deeper connections with a single individual, than it is for basic ones with various strangers and such?

I can explain that for my case at least. I've been like this prior to meeting him, but I wasn't so bad as I am now. I do find I can bond with 1 - 2 people and could only really say I've only got 3 - 4 real friends or so whom are all online which makes interacting 10x easier for me.

Gamedog
02-22-2014, 01:54 AM
I'm genuinely curious, how is it that people here who suffer from severe social anxiety have boyfriends, girlfriends, or even fiancees/partners? The only reason I can come up with so far is that maybe it's easier to establish deeper connections with a single individual, than it is for basic ones with various strangers and such?

Maybe some have ong-distance relationships

& yes it is wway way way easier to stick to one or two people. I have three people who are very close to me: my dad, my sister, and my boyfriend.. that's all.

AineCleine
02-22-2014, 02:06 AM
I donīt suffer from social anxiety but I sincerely prefer to stay away from really crowded places (like extremely crowded) and I just stay quiet in groups, classes and stuff most of the time. I just talk when I can interrupt in a topic I know about or when I know the answer of something... or just joking with people I know.

piņardilla
02-23-2014, 12:49 AM
The best "cure" for social anxiety is to take a daring plunge, I've learned. I couldn't order my own food, let alone drive anywhere by myself, until I got a wild hair up my ass and hopped on a plain to New Mexico to meet an online friend. I nearly broke down into tears and ran off the plane when I was boarding. The worst part was, I must've been somewhere near the engine or my hearing issue is really that awful, because I had a girl sitting next to me who kept talking to me but I couldn't understand a thing she said and was slowly dying inside. Then when I was with the friend and his mom, I spilled ice cream all over myself like a toddler the first day.
But in the end it all turned out to be for my own good. They took me many places and I was forced to interact and live amongst strangers for a week. It did wonders.
I'd have to say you gotta be careful about it though. I tried to do the same thing with a different online friend, totally different result. I was on pins and needles the whole time, and basically melted into her couch, not saying much if anything at all to anyone. It really depends heavily on your relationship with the person and the amount of planning you put into it.

While a sudden flight to another state is rather extreme, I do agree with this approach. I had huge introversion issues myself that I've mostly overcome through just forcing myself into social situations.

Moogle
02-23-2014, 02:17 AM
I'm genuinely curious, how is it that people here who suffer from severe social anxiety have boyfriends, girlfriends, or even fiancees/partners? The only reason I can come up with so far is that maybe it's easier to establish deeper connections with a single individual, than it is for basic ones with various strangers and such?

I've only got 1 friend (I wouldn't say he's my bf, we're more like soul-mates though as we think the same about everything. We practically know eachother inside and out!). Your reason is pretty spot on; rather than forming connections with many, there's really only need for a handful if you're lucky.

DivinePrince
02-23-2014, 08:56 PM
I don't have SAD, but I have GAD with depressive and obsessive tendencies. Had it for almost my entire life, but became noticable 4 years ago.

I dont like it, but I dont know what i'd do without it. It's a part of me now. It's like, I want it to become bearable, but I do not want it to go.

Nightpaws
02-23-2014, 09:50 PM
For myself, I used to suffer from severe social anxiety. I was never diagnosed with anything, however if I ever had to do anything, be it speak to a group of 4 people, present to a group of 200, or ask someone with authority a question, I'd end up physically being sick from fear and stress I put myself under.

In high school I gained a small amount of confidence and was able to fumble my way through school with minimal interaction and my small circle of friends. As with most people the group presentation work was always a kick in the teeth, and I'd avoid anyone around those times. In school I had my first proper relationship which had formed online and led to a world of additional confidence barriers. At some points I couldn't speak to my own family and to this day I still can't fathom exactly why that was.

Shortly after the end of that relationship I decided to give the furry fandom a shot and went to a fur meet. I took a massive risk, but it paid off and meeting these new people has worked wonders on my confidence. Throwing everything to the wind was exactly what I needed to do to get out of the hole I'd dug myself into.

Since then I've progressed to the point where I can lead a group of people to a venue, be the manager of a small (pretend) project team, and I've earned myself the Ferret rank on Weasyl :) All from taking that one big, incredibly difficult, step.

sassySloth
02-24-2014, 09:11 AM
I've noticed that in winter my social skills take a huge hit. I get really depressed and aggravated by the weather and it affects my social skills. I become more standoffish and quiet.

During the warm months I'm all about going out an trying new things and meeting new people.

DivinePrince
02-27-2014, 11:08 PM
You're like me, Sloth.

You may have Seasonal affective Disorder. A form of Depression that hits you usually whenever there is not enough sun.

sassySloth
02-28-2014, 09:50 AM
You're like me, Sloth.

You may have Seasonal affective Disorder. A form of Depression that hits you usually whenever there is not enough sun.Yeah probably. I have too much energy. I'll probably get a gym membership next winter so I can at least burn some cals.

Shalmons
05-24-2016, 09:37 AM
I've only got 1 friend (I wouldn't say he's my bf, we're more like soul-mates though as we think the same about everything. We practically know eachother inside and out!). Your reason is pretty spot on; rather than forming connections with many, there's really only need for a handful if you're lucky.

((Is it ok if I necro this? Was looking for a social anxiety post. Especially since even posting on a forum is hard--figured posting on a thread about this very thing would help.))

Same, my husband is more or less my only friend. Sometimes I'm curious about making new ones, but it ends up seeming more frustrating than it's worth, and since I'm good at keeping myself occupied indefinitely, it *usually* doesn't bother me, usually.
That being said, the fact that I used to have a handful of close friends before my anxiety really got bad kind of complicates things. I guess I do miss it from time to time, but making new friends has become such a baffling process. Especially once you hit my age group and everyone is either constantly busy with kids or constantly busy with work (seems like we keep bumping into people with extremely demanding jobs if they don't already have kids). :/ ((I'm open to younger friends, but, I don't wanna creep them out either. :P ))
I've also become spoiled by people always taking initiative with me, and if they don't, I just feel stuck. Seems like getting married had this weird effect where people stop approaching you entirely, lol. >>

Oh, and to add to the original question, I've found that I tend to expect too much from "casual" friendships, and I tend to interpret casual as not caring (or i'll interpret things as straight-up negative when they're perfectly neutral--really trying to shake this habit! >>;; ) So, it's definitely way less stressful to stick with the people I really click with, even if it's just one person.

I also have pretty bad SA online, every now and then I try to be active on a forum, and it usually results in me deleting most of my posts within a few days, even though I've honestly never encountered any drama or unpleasantness. Embarrassed is kinda just my default state most of the time, lol >>;

SaulGoodman91
11-23-2016, 06:53 AM
Agree with some of the other posters. The best way is to just put yourself out there and start speaking to people. It's going to be super difficult in the beginning, however it gets easier. And you will then be much happier as a result.

Charrio
07-06-2017, 05:06 PM
Seems to be a semi common problem.
I hate people to be honest but only due to a hard start in life and find animals my safety and peace of mind.