Should I move somewhere new? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Question Should I move somewhere new?

Hey guys, I posted this in the newbie forum but wanted to know what some of you think about this idea of moving cross-country with SA.

Thanks much in advance for your help!

Hi everyone. I've been reading this forum off & on for awhile & finally decided to join today. I guess social anxiety can even exist on the web

Just to give you a little background about me: I'm 23 & just graduated college. I have suffered from extremely horrible social anxiety since I was 13, but I remember being extremely shy/quiet even as a young girl. When I was 13, things got bad & then worse. I was clinically depressed & hospitalized for it when I was 16--I was big into self-harm. I numbed myself with drugs, alcohol & the like for many, many years. I never even really understood that I had SA until a year or so ago. I just remember feeling extremely afraid of people (talking on the phone, writing on exams in front of people, performing ANY task in front of others actually, driving a car & thinking everyone in the other cars hated me, the list goes on & on). I got into a car accident when I was 16 & didn't drive for about three years except on one street to & from school. My anxiety was literally out of control. I kept the same friends in my life from when I was 10 years old, and somehow kept most of the friendships, though sometimes I'd even have a hard time answering calls from friends I had known for 7+ years.

However, I've always been very book smart, so I went to college. It was a nightmare. I shared a bathroom with 40+ people I didn't know & a room with various roommates all year. Eventually I made a few friends but not many--& I would rarely talk to others in my dorm. I also skipped any class in which I had to speak in class or give a presentation in class. I even changed my major from Journalism (my DREAM job) because I had such awful anxiety before having to interview people. I started dating a guy who I clung to & when we broke up all hell broke lose. For the past two years, I suffered from INTENSE depersonalization disorder. I'm sure some of you know about it & it's really too weird/intense/ridiculous to explain in depth, but basically I felt like I wasn't real for extended periods of time, couldn't concentrate, felt VERY disconnected from others & in general very confused & thought I was going insane.

Now, I've been on Lexapro for about 8 months & my depersonalization has pretty much gone away, but now the social anxiety that was beneath it has started to resurface. I find it VERY hard to feel connected to others still because I have such bad anxiety about people hating me (I think all connected to events in the past, including the breakup with the most recent boyf). I also still have problems reading/concentrating (which used to be one of my favorite activites!) About 10 weeks ago I started Dr. Thomas Richards "Overcoming Social Anxiety" & it has helped TREMENDOUSLY. But I'm still in a predicament. I just graduated & moved home to my parent's house about a month ago. Now, I've been offered an internship in San Francisco & its my dream internship in my dream I really want to go. I'm just so confused because I'm just now starting to feel better & I don't want to ruin my progress if I move cross-country with no friends. Dr. Richards constantly stresses moving in small steps, but I don't want to give up this opportunity! However, the job will probably stress me out, too as it includes phone calls, interviews (even celebrities!) & dealing with people "higher" than me--which is always an anxiety-causing situation for me.

If any of you can offer any advice, please do. My only hope to make it work in SF is that 1) it's temporary, so I can come home in 6 months & 2) I just discovered there is an SA group in SF I can attend which I think I might be ready for.

Can't wait to get to know some of you
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 11:38 AM
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I think you should do it -- the time to push yourself is at your age. When I was fresh out of college I was offered an opportunity that I doubted I could handle, but I took it in spite of SAD. A decade later, I can say it has been an amazing ride and I have met some amazing people along the way. I have a career that in every way is a direct result of the work I did while interning.

It's much easier to make friends when you are doing something you are passionate about, as like minded people will always be around. SF is a great place with cool people.

Opportunities don't pop up as often as you imagine, and putting off starting your career can really have ramifications far into the future.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 12:32 PM
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San Francisco is a great city with lots to do (though also lots of people/noise), and if you still have driving anxiety you don't really need a car there. The job sounds stressful, but if it's your dream job you have to give it a try and see if it works out or you'll probably regret not knowing.

You can keep in touch with your friends online at least, I assume.

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"Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward." - Kurt Vonnegut
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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@ Johnny - I like that you said opportunities don't pop up as often as you'd think--definitely puts things in perspective. Especially in the magazine publishing industry in this economy I feel like jobs (& even paid internships!) are hard to come by.

@ Hoth - I feel like I probably will regret not going.

Do either of you (or anybody else) have any experiences with moving with SAD? I fee l like I just didn't go about things the right way in college--and I feel like I have a few more tools now than I did then.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 07:06 PM
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I think you should do it. You are young and could always come back if it doesn't work out. I have moved on my own a couple times. Just be proactive about meeting people when you get to SF. Lots of other people will be in the same boat since its such a major city.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 07:31 PM
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Sounds like an awesome internship! I'd totally do it. I did an internship at a radio station that involved a lot of interaction with people. There were two big summer concerts I got to attend (I had the whole get-up, backstage pass around my neck, headset, etc.) and people would throw themselves at me, asking to take them backstage. Yeah, awkward, but still pretty damn fun.

I'd avoid having a car in SF at all costs. There are some insane hills there that are terrifying to drive up and down, at least for those that have never experienced insane hills.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by mermaidinjeansxo View Post
Do either of you (or anybody else) have any experiences with moving with SAD?
For me, thinking about the process of moving causes me a ton of anxiety. It's difficult even to get myself to go somewhere new to check out a place that's within an hour drive (that part may be neophobia, I have trouble going new places and fear the unknown). I worry about ending up in a horrible neighborhood or a place filled with mold and rats, no matter how unlikely that is. Making phone calls to ask about places is hell. Friends aren't much of a moving issue for me since I haven't met up with one since '08 anyhow.

Finally managed to move a mile and a half to a cheaper place a couple years ago. Might move another 70 miles in the fall. Never seriously considered something really long distance since I like California.

I feel like I just didn't go about things the right way in college

I've never lived in a dorm but I imagine it's vastly more difficult when you're sharing a space with tons of other people, compared to having your own place. Are you planning to live on your own this time or with roommates?

If you do move to San Francisco, I'd suggest checking . It's California-only and seems to have way more listings than other sites. (You can usually figure out what complex it's talking about without signing up, with a little googling, if you don't want to pay.)

Sacramento Social Anxiety Meetup

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-09-2010, 10:33 PM
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I think you should go. So much easier said than done, and no doubt you'll have to face anxiety filled situations, but odds are you'll surprise yourself. I feel that way because you mentioned Dr. Thomas Richards "Overcoming Social Anxiety". Good stuff, I also listened to his audio tapes over a year ago now and it's helped a lot. I do take Clonazepam 2mg, so like you I still feel like I need a little extra help on top of the CBT.

Joining an SA group, which I wish I had access to here, is a great idea. You'll probably make friends there. People with SA are hard to find, but the ones I've come across are always really nice and non judgemental.

This past year was big for me. Last Sept I finally quit a low paying job I was basically hiding behind for a few years. I guess I just got too comfortable, mind you I still had some big struggles at times, but I really enjoyed some of the people I worked with. I think I was scared to leave something that was so hard for me to find, a place where I could for the most part be myself. The idea of College, presentations, campus life, not an option. Was always too scary of a thought, especially with my High School memories. But I've always had huge ambitions on being a cartoonist one day.

I honestly had no idea if I was ready, or how things would turn out but I was feeling better and decided it was go time. So I applied to an art school in a new city where I'd have to start all over, and make new friends. I even decided to live on campus knowing that if I isolated myself in an apartment off campus, it'd just be that much harder. But yeah, overall, a really good year. I've always been the type to only have one on one friends, always too shy to speak up in a group of people. But there I was, fairly talkative (at least for me) at the caf, and ended up getting very close to my first ever real group of friends. Presentations weren’t easy but I practiced a lot the night before, I’ll admit I’d pop two pills instead of one on the day, ha, but they went pretty well. CBT helped me not obsess over them like I used to and I moved right along. Art’s a field that’s so competitive and hard to get a stable career in, but I feel like I’m at least not going to be stopped by SA. I’m good to go elsewhere once I graduate next year.

Everyone’s different, even though everyone on here can relate so well with one another, I still feel like it’s very unique in how it affects all of us. There’s no way anything anyone writes on here is going to let you know how things will go. But it’s your passion, you’ve done CBT, and you have a little extra help with meds. The same combination that worked for me.

Best of luck with whatever you do.
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