I think I may have Social Anxiety Disorder

Posted , 4 users are following.

I am 34 years old and have suffered from anxiety for 8-9 years, although probably longer than that without realising it.  I get anxious in mostly social situations such as being in groups of people, meetings at work, especially if I'm expected to speak in front others.  It varies in levels of intensity and sometimes it can be just everyday interactions with people that triggers it.  I work and manage to get through the day, but just kind of survive through it, leaving me dreading the next day.  I have had times previously where I've overcome it for a while and felt confident but it has never lasted and keeps returning. Although my family are very supportive, I struggle to talk to them about it as I don't want to bother or worry them.  I live on my own and have friends (mainly through work), but I don't really get out much and see them on a regular basis so mostly I am on my own.   Most of my interests and hobbies are solitary such as running, playing guitar (or rather attempting to!).  I am not taking any medication, I had been prescribed propranolol by the doctor but have only taken it a few times as I found that although it slows your heart rate down, and eases some of the physical symptoms, it doesn't help with the negative thoughts, which are the main problem.  I have just started seeing a CBT coach and hopefully in the long run it will bear fruit, but at the moment I don't feel any better and the fact that I'm posting this (never done anything like this before), probably reflects how bad I'm feeling at the moment.  I don't know if I have depression but obviously putting up with this does make me down a lot and sometimes I don't even know why I feel so on edge and emotional as there is nothing in particular I am worried about.  I have to go on a training course through work this week, where I know I'm going to be expected to participate and speak in front of others etc. and this dominating my thoughts and making me feel this way now. I am just really posting this to see if others can relate to this and also offer any advice, such as if you think medication could help? Thanks.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Chris your story is identical to mine and I would highly getting yourself onto meds, it's nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about, we have an illness and meds are used to control it, just like any other illness you would take medicine for, this one just happens to be on our heads,

    I'm fine and in total control when I'm on my meds without them god know where I'd be,

    Go see a good dr 

    Good luck mate

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    • Posted

      Thanks very much for your helpful reply, I will certainly look into the meds side of things, as this has been going on so long now and I'm sick of missing out and avoiding things.

      Cheers.

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  • Posted

    I totally and completely relate to this!!  For most of my life i've felt that way.  but i finally realized that the reality is that no one else noticies or really cares if i stumble on words or seem nervous or am uncomfortable.  it just doens't matter.  Over the past five years i've gotten comfortable speaking in public and in front of groups.  in the past, when i even tried to raise my hand to answer a question i KNEW the answer to, my heart would pound.  But no more. 

    A lot is just gaining confidence in what i'm speaking about.  when i love what i'm speaking about, i'm fine.  Now.  A lot is realizing that what i'm going through inside is invisible to most others, and really very unimportant to them.

    Ask your CBT doc about an anti anxiety drug like Clonazepam.  you don't want to rely upon it, but it can help in the training process.  if you get a confidence booster for a while, you may get comfortable in public and gain confidence in yourself.

    No one who doesn't suffer this, understands.  it's always been pointless for me to talk to people about my anxiety who don't have the same issues.  they just don't get it.  but everyone has issues!  everyone. 

    I find that after all these years of suffering the same fears over and over, and never having them come true, whether it's health obsessions or job obsessions or GAD obsessions, i've gained a little bit of perspective.  I am an anxious person.  that's a fact.  It's in my genes.  So i just have to manage it and not let it take me over.  but it's part of who i am, and i've dealt with it all my life, so i'll continue to deal with it.  and i function really well.  in fact my vigilance has made me better at many things than i would have been if my anxiety didn't motivate me. 

    I don't know if i'm helping at all, but i really do relate to what you said, and i'm a lot older than you!  so i've been through the same thing for much longer.

    It IS manageable.  and you can be relaxed and comfortable in public when you realize that no one really and truly sees into you and notices except you. 

     

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply, that's very helplful and also reassuring to know that other people have been through the same thing and managed to overcome it.

      I talked things through with a friend today and although it helped get things off my chest, as you say, I don't think people who haven't experienced it can fully understand just how bad it is and how it effects everything you do.

      Cheers

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  • Posted

    Hi Chris,

    I know I'm over a year late in seeing your post but I felt compelled to respond as I completely understand where you are coming from. This btw is the first time ever I'm opening up about my social anxiety and writing about it on a platform like this. The reason why I even found this site was I woke up this morning with this sinking realization that I have social anxiety and I've had it for over 10 years, probably more without realizing it also. I'm 27 now, and today I'm going to take that first step in finding a therapist, which is huge for me. For as long as I can remember while growing up, I knew there was something very different about me. I was withdrawn, quiet, deeply insecure, anxious, confused, had pent up frustration and took it out on my family. I did terribly in school because I hated it. The mere thought of going to class brought me so much anxiety that I would often skip class and never put any effort into my academics which led me to flunk out my senior year in high school and finish my diploma in independent studies. I was on and off in community college eventually quitting that too, due to my anxiety which remember I had not even realized it at the time. It makes perfect sense why I would nearly have a panic attack whenever asked to speak in front of class or to give a presentation. I never maintained close relationships with my friends or family members as I would avoid social situations and interactions so much that everyone probably now sees me as standoffish, inconsiderate, uninterested, or just plain anti-social. Job interviews would be a living nightmare. The only close people I currently have in my life are my boyfriend, sisters, and a few friends that understand the way I am and love me for it anyway. But still, I can safely say I don't really have any real friends anymore after isolating myself so much due to shame and embarrassment and fear of people getting to know me and my problem. Another HUGE breakthrough thought / realization I just had was that my drinking problem all these years was due to my social anxiety. Of course, it all makes sense now. It explains why I would depend so much on alcohol to calm my nerves at parties or gatherings. I never realized how my self-destructing behavior with the excessive drinking and partying was my way of coping with my anxious feelings. On the bright side, I finally see some hope for the future now that I've figured out what the hell it is that I have. Now I can take the necessary first steps into feeling better and to not let my anxiety hold me back in life any more than it already has. Thank you for opening up and sharing your story. I know it is an incredibly difficult thing for you to have lived with this your whole life. Believe me, I know. I hope you are in a happier place now and have made much progress where you can now look at this moment as something of the past. Although we can never simply wake up and be cured of our anxiety overnight. I have faith that you're doing a lot better now, which has inspired me to getting better too. Thank yousmile wishing you all the best xoxo

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    • Posted

      Hi Jenn,

      Thanks for your message.  Your story certainly has similarities with how I've felt over the years.  I think that part of the reason the cycle of anxiety/depression keeps going is due to the fact that instead of being easy on ourselves and accepting (to a certain degree) this is the way we are and it's not our fault, we continue to berate and beat ourselves up, which is very destructive.  I saw a CBT coach for a while and am on anti-depressant medication, both of which have helped me a lot.  For the most part, I can cope with things a lot better now and am still hoping to make more progress and eventually come off the medication.  Of course, there are still times I feel down/anxious, possibly because I've let things slip a bit and need to remind myself of the CBT techniques or sometimes talk to someone about it but I've done things over the past year such as taking guitar lessons, doing night classes and trips away with friends, that I wouldn't have attempted in the past (or I would have done but been a nervous wreck and not enjoyed).  It's great that you've made a breakthrough and decided to seek some help, one thing I have learnt that I find helpful to remind myself of is that there are so many other people out there with the same or similar issues and people are incredibly accepting and supportive.  When you're down and anxious, your whole thought process is distorted into seeing fear and hostility all around you and potential disaster but this is not how things really are.  I'm sure you can get better, I felt absolutely terrible in the period around my original post so if I can get better then I'm sure you can too!  Thanks and good luck.

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