Social phobia only focused on eye contact ? - Page 2 - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #21 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-02-2010, 11:30 PM
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Extreme self consciousness and fear of "wierding people out" is where my SA is worst, although I have other symptoms too.
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post #22 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 05:21 AM
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this thread talks to me as well. My eye contact never really felt real untollerable until I started smoking weed ( had a couple panic attacks while out with others), and the last time I did shrooms.
It is similar to what is being talked about with the eye contact except I felt like I was getting sucked into their faces, into their eyes in a very intense way.

I can socialize great sitting in a car, not looking at someone, but when eye contact is involved, becomes very difficult.
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post #23 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-06-2010, 03:58 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AndyLT View Post
Well Scofield, I know exactly what you are going through.

You don't have a fear of making eye-contact. You have a fear of giving strange/tense eye-contact. To be more precise, you fear negative reaction from others about the way your eyes look. And the fear of producing tense eye-contact actually does that.

Stargirl described the same process in different settings. The fear itself causes the feared results.

So, Scotfield, I have the same issue. I believe, that this problem has to do something with SA, but it's being fueled by catch22 circular thinking more, than negative beliefs or thoughts. I guess, you (just like me) know that your eyes are perfectly OK, when they are relaxed.

The only technique that seems to be working substantially, I've discovered, is called Paradoxical Intention. Though, I've been applying it only for a month.

And man, I know how much this ridiculous thingy sucks and damages social life.

Hi Andy, well it's comforting to see that other people are going through it too.

Concerning Paradoxical Intention, how do you do it exactly?

Because using this tehcnique w'd mean looking at people in a really weird way and scare them.
But the "social rules of behavior" prohibit it. And people will always avoid you in the future.

So how do you do and it is working for you?

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post #24 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 12:34 AM
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I think that we can't make eye contact since we are always so self focused and wondering what people think of us all the time. Plus, we think of that every thing is a social threat all the time and that really screws up our opportunity to want to get close to others. I worry about my own startle reactions as well and I am uncomfotable about them. Plus, we are sensitive to rejection.

Maybe, if you worry about repulsing others you wil have to work on your self-esteem.
My eye contact is bad, too.
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post #25 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-07-2010, 01:17 AM
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i am very afraid of making eye contact... for some reason i just get so tongue tied when i'm looking someone in the eye. i only have speech and conversation comprehension problems when i'm making eye contact so i naturally avoid it.
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post #26 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-10-2011, 01:39 PM
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post #27 of 29 (permalink) Old 03-20-2012, 04:23 AM
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Eye contact, watery eyes, SA

Hi guys,

I was an active member of this site for a while last year when my SA had got so out of control I was beyond desperate. It's awful isn't it how something as slimy and seemingly uncontrolable can get the better of you.

Anyway I wont make this long, just want to quickly share my experiences of the lats 6 mnths.

I had a terrible problem with making eye contact (which hasnt completely vanished) and being close to people, especially loved ones, and I had transformed into a person whom in my early and mid 20's was a social beats and 'life of the party' kind of guy to a nervous and shy shell of a person.
There was also a healthy dose of OCD that Ive had since teen yrs, this not so much a concern as its manageable. Don't exactly know how this came about or why, combination of some bad experiences and some bad people maybe.

I refused to go any further the direction this was taking me, which would have eventually been complete isolation and emotional exhaustion. I still shudder remembering the worst of it.
I decided I needed to see a psychologist and or Dr of some sorts.

I started on a 4 mnth cognitive behavioral therapy plan with this psyc. It did a bit of good to help get things sorted out in my head and to at least get things off my chest, a huge relief as Im sure many of you know.

Now just to confirm what I'm about to say is not an endorsement for drugs or 'taking the easy way out', but it is my experience none the less.
I was advise to try a low dosage of anti depressant Zorloft which is known to help with SA and OCD both. I was desperate to try everything and so i definitely wanted to give it a go and did.
Some necessary side affects aside, it was really the turning point in my battle of dealing with these illnesses.

My OCD eased off and most of all I found the drug eventually after about 4 weeks helped me maintain a level of happiness and security that helped me deal with a lot of my **** in a better head space. I suppose it gave me more courage and slightly easier platform to be able to work with.
My SA eased off and I suppose my better frame of mind helped me be more adventurous in trying out new techniques and just going for it. Courage I suppose is what I mean, it gave me courage which I needed, desperately.

Anyway I stayed on the drugs for 3 months which I deemed a fairly short period but enough for me to really feel the difference. I think the best senarios with these drugs is that they are a temporary solution and provide a releif so you can deal with your strategies of getting better -well 'better'.

Now that I'm off them I can honsetly say I feel they have done me good and I've gained some really positive esteem and self confidence due to them, or rather they provided a bridge to allow me to get to a better place where I can deal with things more rationally. You can't deal with your demons and insecurities well enough when your that sick - its just too hard, you need some help. Thats my experience I find.

I suppose what I want to say from this is that each of us had our own very specific and individual pain and struggle. If your really adamant in getting better and/or getting help, drugs can really help with this and give you the strength you need. They are of course not a final answer or solution on the matter, but they bloody helped me. They may not have the same effect on you, but you know what, they just might, and maybe even better. If your considering the use of drugs for anything from OCD to SA to depression/anxiety I wholeheartedly recommend giving the drug option a go and Zorloft was a good one for me.

Happy to receive any messages and happy to share my experiences.

good luck and best wishes,
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post #28 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 10:21 AM
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Yes it's treatable! with determination!

I have done a lot of research, over the years, about this. I too suffer from the "condition" started slowly when I was about 14 and it progressively made itself dominant in my life the older I got. (apparently that is common, so i've read) I'm 27 now. yea....good times :/ I too contemplated and plotted suicide, but realized that I'm more afraid of God than I am of people. God has a purpose for my life. His word tells us that suicide is wrong. Therefore, I have forced myself to endure this and overcome it.
There are many other websites/forums/blogs where people are coming forward about this. I read one book in particular about a woman who suffered from severe anxiety and social phobia. Her story is much more extreme than mine and probably many of yours but she digs into the science of what happens in the brain to cause certain behaviors. She, apparently, would have extreme nervous breakdowns. I don't recommend buying it. I skimmed through a lot of it because she rambles and it's disorganized. the book is titled "A Spider in the Palace" by Jeanne Pricer. It's not the easiest book to follow but I was desperate for any answers. Here is what I have learned so far and what I plan to do about it:
Basically, this is something we have trained our brains and eyes to do. After the first time it happened, a memory was recorded in our brains of that moment. (I can remember specifically the first few times it happened to me and all the other times, as i'm sure most of you can) Due to the awkwardness of the situation, embarrassment and fear, we we're doomed to recall that incident the next time we were in a social situation, causing us to panic and repeat the behavior. It probably only took one or two incidents for us to create what is called "MUSCLE MEMORY". Each time you are forced to speak to someone, your brain recalls what happened and repeats the behavior. It's like a reflex. I and others i've read about, recognize that it is "out of our control" and there are no other thoughts besides "DON'T DO IT" going on in our heads during each encounter. The wonderful thing about muscle memory is that it can be trained to do something new! I read on another website similar to this one that someone had found a way to slowly overcome it....
She said she read a book that gave an exercise to practice daily in order to learn maintaining eye contact. She wrote that the book said to find someone you trust or someone you can at least talk to about this and ask them if they would be willing to sit down with you each day and have a "staring contest". lol Well, kinda. You sit directly across from this person, and look into their eyes WITHOUT looking away for 5-15 minutes. While you are looking in their eyes, put your mind at ease that there is nothing to be paranoid about. Make it fun and enjoyable, train your brain to recognize social interaction as something POSITIVE, not something to be feared. Even if you look away, immediately regain eye contact and tell yourself thats its ok to break eye contact once in awhile.

After a few days of sitting in silence, try holding a conversation with them without breaking the eye contact. Practicing listening to them instead of thinking too much. Ultimately that is what we do to ourselves to worsen our condition. Do what works for you until you feel comfortable. Knowing that you can trust this person not to judge you will help to eliminate the fear. Also keep in mind that this is only to be practiced with someone who understands why you are not breaking eye contact (basically, don't do it without their consent). In a normal social setting, it's perfectly acceptable to only look someone in the eye occasionally. People who never break eye contact are over achievers in my mind and make me very uncomfortable. lol.

I am lucky enough to have my husband to console about this. He's the only one that I have ever shared it with. Never mentioned it to my counselor but I would recommend a counselor to anyone who doesn't have someone they can trust. There are some in churches and schools that are free. Look online too. My insurance covers mine. If anything, try using a camera or mirror until you find someone to tell.

Talking to someone about it is very embarrassing, i know, but being alone in this is unhealthy. Maybe ask someone on here that shares the same condition to do it through skype or w/e....They definitely could help and wont judge!!

My counselor said it takes 90 days of consistent new thoughts to re train your brain and about 3-4 weeks to retrain muscles. So if you do this exercise daily (at least try to) and also keep a journal of positive thinking (each morning or before going to bed, write down positive thoughts about yourself and what you've been blessed with) you will see a difference. Pray that God will help you overcome this! Stay positive.
if you have trouble staying positive, an excellent book to read is "Battlefield of the Mind" by Joyce Meyer. She is a FANTASTIC author and it's her #1 seller.
I have made tremendous strides!! and I have accepted this as something i will probably struggle with from time to an alcoholic or someone with bipolar disease. It should comfort you knowing you are not alone. It's much easier to walk through something when you know you aren't alone. I am determined and confident that this...thing...will not keep me down. I strongly believe God has asked me to endure this for a reason. As with any other trial a person must endure, we will be stronger because of it. A quote from joyce meyer that has given me strength and hope is:

"Courage is not the absence of fear, it's action in the presence of it".

Each time you face your fear and speak to someone (regardless of what happens during the conversation) you are living proof of true courage. Let that be your inspiration and hope. Continue seeking advice and help from others. You are not a freak!!! I used to say that to myself constantly. It's not true!! You are perfect in God's eyes and he loves you! and that is all that matters!

Good luck and God bless.
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post #29 of 29 (permalink) Old 11-08-2012, 02:35 PM
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I hate making eye contact especially while driving
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