NEW & seeking help & understanding from those who also struggle with social anxiety - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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NEW & seeking help & understanding from those who also struggle with social anxiety

Hey there!

My names Brittany, I'm 19, and I'm from Oregon. I've struggled with social anxiety for about the past 3 or 4 years, but haven't actually realized thats what I suffer from until this past year when I've gotten into a serious relationship. I've been in a relationship for about 10 months now, and my social anxiety has and continues to have a big impact on my relationship. I would say my case is pretty severe and I find myself unable to do a lot of things that to other people, seem to be no big deal. One of the things that I struggle with the most in our relationship to give you an idea is meeting or being introduced to new people. Something that to anybody else, would be easy, right? I've always been nervous meeting new people, but hadn't really realized how terrifying it was until I got into a relationship and had the fear that I had when it came time to meet his friends and family. I get a sick to my stomach feeling because my nerves completely take over me, I become afraid I'm going to be negatively judged or evaluated and not accepted, and it causes me to either avoid the situation all together in an attempt to protect myself, or force myself into a situation I'm not comfortable with and end up feeling I've embarrassed myself. Social anxiety does not just affect my relationship, it affects my ability to make friends and connect with anybody. It affects almost every aspect of my life. And I'm tired of feeling trapped inside my own mind by this. I'm ready to find other people who know what I'm talking about, and to try find ways other people have gotten over this, because I know it is treatable. I'm tired of keeping quiet about it because out of shame.

I'm ready to make the first step. And I'm ready to fight this
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 01:55 PM
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Hi Brittany, I know exactly how you feel. They way you have described your anxiety, it's like you took a page from my diary!!
It's really debilitating, and people who don't have this issue just won't understand or won't understand to the full extent. So you really have come to the right place for advice and support.
So,I've only been on here for a little under two weeks and I've had some great advice and tips on this, but I'm too scared to take that first step whereas some of the others will be able to help you on this subject alot more.
You can talk about anything and there's always someone talk to.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 02:58 PM
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Hi Brittany! You just described nearly all my romantic relationships! I am researching this and find a number of helpful things:

1. It's too hard to be comfortable with yourself at first while meeting new people, you need to set time aside before you meet new people to get comfortable with who you are and with not taking yourself so seriously. Sit and feel whatever feelings of shame, not feeling "good enough", or whatever plays in your mind that is keeping you from being who you are. Don't let yourself get sucked down the rabbit hole of negative thoughts, if they get too intense, pair them with very positive feelings of things that make you happy so you balance them out, but do feel them and slowly learn to accept them as part of the normal experience of being human.
2. Remember that you are comparing your insides with everyone else's outsides - you are looking at other people's polished shiny personas and comparing your inner doubts and fears to that. Don't compare yourself like that, it's not helpful!
3. Be kind and patient with yourself and ask your boyfriend for things you think might help when he introduces you to other people.
4. It took us a while to get to this state of being shut down, and it's going to take patience and persistence to let ourselves become vulnerable and open again.

PM me anytime - I write to other people like myself who are trying to get over this and we share ideas!

And welcome!!

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” -Rumi

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 04:42 PM
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Welcome! This is one of my posts i copied on how to overcome social anxiety:


You can get over social anxiety on your own, all you need to do is practice socializing whenever you get the opportunity. Even if its scary, challenge yourself. Take small steps and with each step, do something that is more challenging. Each time you practice being in a social situation like 5 times or something, you adjust to that situation and you are ready for more challenging situations. Also, when you are in social situations, you have to learn to be comfortable in them.


Relax your body and muscles, take deep breaths, and tell yourself that you'll be okay and that you are in control, no matter how anxious you feel. Also, act confident. When you do these things, with time and with challeing yourself a lot, you'll eventually overcome SA completely or at least to the point where you have very little anxiety left. Your thoughts affect your feelings, your feelings(happyness, depression, fear, anxiety, etc) affect your behaviours(actions that you do, decisions that you make). When you learn to control your thoughts, you eventually control your feelings/emotions, and from there you can control your actions without feeling much anxiety.


Basically, with social anxiety you want to challenge yourself to face your fears, but one step at a time. Small steps, for example, step outside the house or even go for a short walk. With time, the anxiety from that will decrease a lot. And on the socializing side, try ordering some food or something. Doing this frequently, like once a day(or two but every day helps much, much more) will make you adjust to being in a social situation over time. Once you are adjusted to that social situation, it isnt near as scary as it used to be. Then you are ready to challenge yourself with an even more anxious situation. Keep doing this until you completely adjust to being in social situations.


Also, a big part of overcoming social anxiety is by focusing your attention outwards, not inwards. Instead of thinking about your anxiety so much, try to realise that you are just another person and that there is no spotlight on you. Focusing your attention on the environment rather than on within will help you to feel much less anxious with practice. Also, pretending to be confident and trying to relax in anxious situations will help you to be confident over time. Ignore any thoughts that make you embarassed or anxious, and dont let anxiety/embarassment ruin your life. Good luck
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-19-2017, 05:11 PM
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I can't help, but I just wanted to chime in that I also dislike meeting other people and never even wanted to meet the families of the women I dated, let alone their friends. I wanted all activities to be between that person and me, and I have generally felt the same with friends, too. I know I come off as stuck-up, snobbish and/or standoff-ish to other people because when I'm with someone I do feel comfortable with and another person comes around, I don't look at that new person and don't speak to that person. Knowing that, when I encounter people who treat me like that, I try not to judge them negatively right off the bat, even though with some people I fall into those traps that everyone else does of wondering why someone would be uncomfortable with others if he/she is good-looking or whatever, for example.

I don't really think I fear judgment, although I don't know that for sure. I just know I don't feel comfortable with new people or people I recognize whom I don't really interact with, and I just don't know what to say to them (or I have ideas of what to say but can't get them out)...nor do I really speak in situations where there's three or more of us together because I feel I will get talked over and/or the others won't be interested in what I have to say (because that's how I was treated growing up by peers).

These are issues I have not really resolved, other than to sometimes force myself to speak. I actually deal with the issue of there being three of us almost every day at work because my boss comes into the office my co-worker and I work in to have lunch and chat, and I stay silent 95% of the conversation and/or just nod and think about how I need to say something and will maybe force something out a time or two. Oftentimes, if I think about what I need to do long enough, I will eventually get the courage to do it. But as for coming up with something that has made it not be a constant battle, no.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-21-2017, 10:19 AM
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Welcome, rbitbritnicole!

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You are a success story waiting to happen!
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