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Old 10-04-2010, 08:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Having anxiety and trouble focusing during conversations.

Hello, I am new here. But I was trying to see if I could find anyone that may be able to relate to this problem I have been having for a couple of years now. I have a really hard time carrying on conversations with people....even the people closest to me (friends & family). For some reason while I am talking to people I get really anxious and I have a hard time focusing on what they are saying. My mind just wanders and I can't seem to get control of it... It's almost like I'm trying so hard to focus on what they are saying that I just can't focus at all. In the end I just feel like an idiot every time I try to have a conversation with someone. The strangest thing about this is that I am almost 28 years old and this has only starting occurring in the past couple of years. When I was a younger I didn't have a shy bone in my body. I could go up to a stranger and carry on a conversation like I had known that person my whole life. When I see people from high school, they always tell me how different I am...because I use to be so outgoing, but now I have become more introverted and reserved. I just can't figure out what has triggered this or how to fix it b/c honestly I can't stand it.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Hi. I can relate to some of what you've expressed. Have you talked with any professionals about all this and how was the experience? I'm accumulating diagnoses and treatments yet am worse off than when I first sought help many years ago. I'm getting a bit jaded
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I have that problem sometimes, too. My mind just wanders to different thoughts and I lose track of what the other person is saying. It helps when we deliberately listen to what the other person is saying because then our minds won't be occupied with worrying about what to say next, or other thoughts. Sometimes, I make it a point to summarize what the other person just said as if to ask the question if I am following correctly what they are saying. They'll feel good because they will feel like you are listening and you'll feel good because you have focused on the conversation instead of other thoughts.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I have a real problem with conversation anxiety. I try to finish their sentences in my mind so I have more time to come up with something for a reply, and if I can't think of something or if I make a mistake, it gets worse and I'm aching to leave and be alone again.
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Old 10-05-2010, 01:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I'm literally not even capable of conversation anymore,goodbye social life.I think this is due to self loathing and insecurity,knowing that doesn't help at all.
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Old 10-05-2010, 01:37 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Yes I can relate to this very well, and I also didn't have any sort of problem with any of this until all of a sudden when I started university it was like someone flipped a switch. It's so brutal even having a conversation with my closest friends I wouldn't be able to focus well on what they were saying, instead I'd just be preoccupied with my eye contact. The worst part of all of it for me is when I get anxious and uncomfortalbe sometimes my eyes will start watering/stinging uncontrollably. It feels extremely hard to fake proper eye contact when you're thinking about it, in fact I think it's impossible. The only way to really act and feel naturally is to completely forget there's a problem and have your actions carried out unconsciously. Unfortunately, the paradox is that often the harder you try NOT to focus on something the more you actually end up actually focusing on it....

As far as how much other people notice that you're having trouble concentrating or feeling uncomfortable, it's nice to hope they don't really notice that much. I don't think they do THAT much, and if they do they at least don't feel as uneasy about it as you do since they don't have SAD. Regardless though, sometimes I feel like I DO make people feel pretty uncomfortable and I can't stand it it's so embarassing. It makes me feel like such a freak and it's so frustrating. For this reason I haven't even seen most my friends in close to a year now.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Wow, it is really comforting to know that other people know exactly what I am talking about. I have felt like I was the only person with this problem for a while now. I think it will help just to simply focus on what they are saying and not worry about what I am going to say next. However, I do agree with pegger18636....the harder you try not to focus on something, the more you seem to focus on it. Hopefully, I will be able to overcome this. I do also have a problem with eye contact thing....I think that may be where the problem starts for me in a conversation. Insecurity has been a long time problem for me also, but I think it has gotten worse as I have gotten older. I would also like to point out that I have been a stay at home mom for the past 4 years. Before that I always worked, and just recently I have went back to work. I am working in retail, so maybe it will help to be forced to conversate with people on a daily basis. Thanks for the support everybody.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pegger18636 View Post
Yes I can relate to this very well, and I also didn't have any sort of problem with any of this until all of a sudden when I started university it was like someone flipped a switch. It's so brutal even having a conversation with my closest friends I wouldn't be able to focus well on what they were saying, instead I'd just be preoccupied with my eye contact. The worst part of all of it for me is when I get anxious and uncomfortalbe sometimes my eyes will start watering/stinging uncontrollably. It feels extremely hard to fake proper eye contact when you're thinking about it, in fact I think it's impossible. The only way to really act and feel naturally is to completely forget there's a problem and have your actions carried out unconsciously. Unfortunately, the paradox is that often the harder you try NOT to focus on something the more you actually end up actually focusing on it....
Wow, this is exactly what I've been experiencing for a few years now. My eyes will hurt when I try to maintain eye contact. The whole situation is so strange. I think I need to try some anti-anxiety medication because I don't want to live like this.
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Wow this happens to me all the time!!! Focusing while being anxious is such a hard thing to do especially when you ADHD. Conversation anxiety is why im always so awkward socially and if I feel like the conversation is dying I just want to run away and be alone again its so frustrating ugh
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen82 View Post
Hello, I am new here. But I was trying to see if I could find anyone that may be able to relate to this problem I have been having for a couple of years now. I have a really hard time carrying on conversations with people....even the people closest to me (friends & family). For some reason while I am talking to people I get really anxious and I have a hard time focusing on what they are saying. My mind just wanders and I can't seem to get control of it... It's almost like I'm trying so hard to focus on what they are saying that I just can't focus at all. In the end I just feel like an idiot every time I try to have a conversation with someone. The strangest thing about this is that I am almost 28 years old and this has only starting occurring in the past couple of years. When I was a younger I didn't have a shy bone in my body. I could go up to a stranger and carry on a conversation like I had known that person my whole life. When I see people from high school, they always tell me how different I am...because I use to be so outgoing, but now I have become more introverted and reserved. I just can't figure out what has triggered this or how to fix it b/c honestly I can't stand it.
damn i thought i was alone but usually my inapproiate thoughts and ocd thinkin will come up sometimes and i hate it and it causes me to struggle in school and life in general.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:11 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Sounds similar to me. I've just started seeing a psychiatrist about this, he believes as well as Social Anxiety i have underlying problems with ADD. Do you have any problems with taking in information when you read? If so then the problem isn't anxiety related.
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Old 12-09-2010, 05:25 AM   #12 (permalink)
 
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This one time someone said something and I was so anxious, I repeated back the same sentence completely out of order lol. It's like I focus too hard on trying to calm down that I don't get a good grasp on what they're saying. Or it might be that my mind is racing too much trying to think of a response to their comment that I lose track of what they're talking about in the first place.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:32 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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I can focus on their convo if I like what they are talking about, if not I drift off alot and think about things I want to think about.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:52 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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I am so glad I found this site and it is good to know that I am not the only one going through this. I can totally relate to the eye contact thing and the anxiety when it comes to having conversations. I think the one thing that seems to bother me the most besides the anxiety itself is the fact that I never used to be like this until about a year ago and then just out of nowhere bam social anxiety just hit me like a ton of bricks. besides medications has anyone on here been successful with any kind of therapy or relaxation techniques etc?
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Old 09-20-2013, 05:09 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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I agree to all of the above, and have the same trouble focusing, mind racing to find something to say in response ect...

But I would add one thing: This ONLY (or mostly) happens when:

-I see/feel that the person can see my discomfort.
I am good at reading people and I can immediately spot those that have no clue I might have an issue, and those that instantly get it. It's with the latter I have a problem.

-and it's people I know I'll have to be in contact for the long run (friends of friends ect...). For the perfect stranger, and for a short duration, I have no issues!

Can somebody relate to that?
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Old 09-20-2013, 07:09 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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I glad I'm not crazy; I'm like that a lot of the time.
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Old 09-20-2013, 07:12 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolegal295 View Post
I agree to all of the above, and have the same trouble focusing, mind racing to find something to say in response ect...

But I would add one thing: This ONLY (or mostly) happens when:

-I see/feel that the person can see my discomfort.
I am good at reading people and I can immediately spot those that have no clue I might have an issue, and those that instantly get it. It's with the latter I have a problem.

-and it's people I know I'll have to be in contact for the long run (friends of friends ect...). For the perfect stranger, and for a short duration, I have no issues!

Can somebody relate to that?
Yes definitely. Its kind of like social anxiety reverses itself, at least for me. And yeah, I am way too good at reading people and notice their every reaction which can easily throw me into a funk interacting with people.
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Old 09-20-2013, 07:16 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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I have this problem too, but I also suspect I have ADHD too. I also disassociate too. I will have a different recall of conversations or events then I am told. Which some times leads to arguments because I am convinced I am right! In my case the anxiety follows after this happens.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:02 AM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolegal295 View Post
I agree to all of the above, and have the same trouble focusing, mind racing to find something to say in response ect...

But I would add one thing: This ONLY (or mostly) happens when:

-I see/feel that the person can see my discomfort.
I am good at reading people and I can immediately spot those that have no clue I might have an issue, and those that instantly get it. It's with the latter I have a problem.

-and it's people I know I'll have to be in contact for the long run (friends of friends ect...). For the perfect stranger, and for a short duration, I have no issues!

Can somebody relate to that?
F***! Sounds like you just described me.
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:53 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Hi all, nodding in agreement here. This was actually one of the anxiety symptoms that effected me so much at work in the past. I worked in sales and business, and once my anxiety flared up it made life hell. Phone conversations were fine, but sitting in a room doing a one-on-one eye-to-eye conversation was almost impossible. I came very close to bolting out of closed door meetings on more than one occasion because of the same factors you mentioned.

I think that avoiding these kind of encounters only hurts, in the long run. It's safe - but then we are more likely to create problems when they do occur. Now that I'm in need of a new job, it's terrible because a one-one-one interview is so scary to think about, that I'm terrified of even applying.

Oddly enough, after I quit I moved to Central America for 6 months. I had to speak Spanish most of the time, and in that case I had no anxiety problems whatsoever when dealing with meetings and long conversations. I think it is because that is my 2nd language, and I was thinking on a more basic level: "The sky is clear today. The food is good. I like this coffee" - simple types of conversations that did not allow my secondary brain to start yapping in the background.
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