Christianity - Going to church - Page 4 - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #61 of 110 (permalink) Old 02-23-2012, 11:59 PM
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social anxiety and going to church

I have not gone to church for a very long time because it is the single most stressful thing I do all week long. It is misery going into the foyer after 20 years in the church and being uncomfortable talking to people. I finally quit. I love the lord and watch church on t.v. and worship in my home. I do long to go to church and be in the seems to be hopeless though.
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post #62 of 110 (permalink) Old 02-24-2012, 12:09 AM
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I've skipped 3 weeks before because of anxiety. I don't like dressing up because I'm over weight but at my church your kind of expected to. So I had anxiety about that. So I just didn't go.
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post #63 of 110 (permalink) Old 02-26-2012, 09:40 PM
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It can be very stressful to me, even miss now and then but there are great people that are always friendly. The super hard part for me is playing lead guitar for youth service.
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post #64 of 110 (permalink) Old 02-27-2012, 04:42 AM
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every week i say i am going to go to church, but never do, due to SA. i am terrified of the giving/receiving the peace and of having to talk to people after the service.
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post #65 of 110 (permalink) Old 02-27-2012, 05:17 AM
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i go to church every week however i don't stay around and chat after the service because of sa, although my friends at church are great i still feel that i am being judged when i do stay after. the fear of judgement is controlling my life and it sucks!!
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post #66 of 110 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 12:20 AM
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haven't been in so long now and i really miss it. ): i hope we can all find a church we feel comfortable in!
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post #67 of 110 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by koininea View Post
I have not gone to church for a very long time because it is the single most stressful thing I do all week long. It is misery going into the foyer after 20 years in the church and being uncomfortable talking to people. I finally quit. I love the lord and watch church on t.v. and worship in my home. I do long to go to church and be in the seems to be hopeless though.
Catholic churches do not have talking after the services, people leave.
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post #68 of 110 (permalink) Old 03-01-2012, 04:38 AM
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I've been getting like this for the last several months... it comes and goes. I'm Catholic and lately I drop my son to CCD (Relgious Education Class) and I sit in the car and read instead of going to the hall for coffee and breakfast. Then most of the time now I go home and watch the Mass on TV... it's gotten a lot worse... we used to just go in and attend services and leave... a few years ago I even volunteered in the kitchen after Mass to serve breakfast and coffee to those after that mass. Now I see all the cars and people... and have had enough crowded pews/claustrophic experiences inside the actual Church to make my heart beat fast and my tummy seize up. So I just drive home.... disappointed in myself for not physically attending.

I used to have a perfect seat... though it was right up front - no one sat in front of me, or behind... or tried to get into the same pew... now people are right in front and in back and even sit next to me... even when there are SEVERAL other places to sit... it freaks me out... and makes me nervous and makes me annoyed and I want to leave. It's not how I want to feel when I'm in Church... so that has contributed to me not going.
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post #69 of 110 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 08:55 PM
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I had no idea so many people felt exactly the same way as I do!

I've tried out 3 different churches since moving to the city (4 years ago) and finally I've found one I enjoy - the atmosphere is great, music great, service great, people are so friendly (a few I went to uni with). But even though I've met some really nice people I can't stand staying afterwards to chat. The first time I was there everyone seemed to want to talk to me and it was great. But now after a few months I find myself sitting/standing alone afterwards. I have such fear of going up to people and talking to them because I think what I have to say is boring and I don't want to annoy anyone.

A lot of the time when I am talking to someone there always seems to be someone better to talk to for that person and they go off and leave me (not intentionally). But they all have their friends and they seem so comfortable with each other. I'm so scared they think I'm a snob for not joining in, but little do they realise I'm petrified out of my mind!!

Lately I've been making up excuses to leave and I just feel sick to my stomach when I do that.

It's nice to have a place to vent though, and know that we all understand each other! And can relate with awkward silences!

~Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind~
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post #70 of 110 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 09:02 PM
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I'm actually almost in the exact situation as you. Except that I left my old one for my current one. I get all the trying to talk afterwards only to have them walk off when someone more interesting is there so yeah I know how it feels. I've been there for two years now, I miss here and there when I don't feel good. Half of those times its brought on by anxiety just makes my stomach really upset even the thought of dealing with it sometimes even though I enjoy it as a whole.
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post #71 of 110 (permalink) Old 03-12-2012, 08:51 PM
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I've never let awkwardness or anxiety stop me from going to church, but the afterservice part where everyone mingles and hangs around afterward has to be the ninth ring of hell.
I have friends at church, but not a core group or a clique that I hang out with all the time, so a lot of the afterservice bull session consists of me going from cluster to cluster to catch up with people, and feeling more and more like a faker or an outsider with every long, long minute that goes by. Eating dinner with people afterward is one of the highlights of my week, but that awkward, "in between" period is something I can barely bring myself to do.
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post #72 of 110 (permalink) Old 03-12-2012, 10:45 PM
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I had this issue for about two months about a year ago.

My parents were in the process of moving, and were out of town every weekend. I never really felt like I had a place I belonged, and without them I stopped going wherever they went.

Each Sunday, I'd wake up and say, "I gotta go to church." But I could never bring myself to do it. Afterward, I'd start to feel really terrible.

Finally one week I decided on a church. Though I was sick of the terrible feeling, knowing that not going to church would bring about this feeling was not quite enough. I had to manipulate myself a little bit to go. I told myself, It is just a motorcycle ride, you can turn around later if you don't feel up to it. I ended up going, and am glad I did.

About a month or two later I decided to volunteer. Sending out an email (I find it easier to to send out an email than to have a face to face conversation with someone) to initiate the volunteering process was an extremely difficult thing for me to do. It took me about 20 minutes to press the send button, and I kinda regretted it after I pressed send. It took me way out of my comfort zone.

However in the end, I'm glad I made both decisions. They have been very beneficial to me...I hope to soon join a Bible Study.

I know it is rough, and I empathize with everyone's frustrations. However, imo overcoming SA is all about pushing your boundaries and getting out of the comfort zone. (easier said than done, I know) My church has given me a medium that is helping me to do that.
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post #73 of 110 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Complicated45 View Post

A lot of the time when I am talking to someone there always seems to be someone better to talk to for that person and they go off and leave me (not intentionally).
Before I became a Christian, I suffered with SA, now it dont bother me.
If people wanna talk to me fine, if they dont, fine!

I dont go outa my way to make friends or contact people.
I have been in situations where people come up to you, shake your hand whilst looking the other way, you can look strait at them and they dont even notice.
Perhaps there scared they'll miss someone they really like!

Its all "cosmetic" at the end of the day!

When people ask u "how are u", there not really interested as they expect the standard reply,"I'm fine thank you, how are you", person then replies "I'm fine thank you".
Tish tosh and a bottle of fish!

I would rather speak to one genuine person in a meeting, who mean what they say, than a whole bunch of people who dont!

So b yourself, dont expect them to notice or even b interested in you, dont think you have to talk to anyone just to be sociable.
There often too busy worrying about their own wretched lives to care for others.

Genuine friends are very rare, and u can often count them on one hand!

Yeh I know, I am a cynic, thats true, but I am also a realist!
Guess what, it works for me...................

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post #74 of 110 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 12:48 PM
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I have a hard time making it to church some Sundays. I'm comforted to remember that my church is very large, though, so I can quietly flutter out the back after service and no one will be the wiser. It's always been easier for me to interact with my fellow churchgoers in small group settings during bible studies than those big after-sermon mosh pits. I shake just thinking about it!
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post #75 of 110 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 12:59 PM
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Sometimes I avoid church, but I still go anyways and do my best to not let my SA get in the way. But when I'm sitting in church and I see all the people around me it's so hard to control at that point, and I just want to get away. I feel guilty somewhat but not entirely, because I pray at night and talk to god. By the way I'm Catholic.

Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
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post #76 of 110 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 09:07 AM
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today I went to church again (haven't been in years). I was nervous because of the amount of peole there. I did well half way thorugh, but when we had to give our offerings, I had freaked out. we had to walk near the alter to give the offering, then proceed to our seats. when we went back to our seats, I just broke down in tears, I lost control of my breathing, just had a panic attack. my mom and I stepped out into the hallway and she gave me some meds to calm me down and I was trying to regain my breathing. we went back to hear the preaching (which seems like it was directly for us).

after all the stuff I went through last year and this year so far, I had lost my faith a bit. but I realized I wouldn't be here if He had not helped me. my goal is to attend church more often and regain my faith again.

Disconnect and disassociate yourself from everything and everyone you know, just let go.
Go, don't look back, and see where it takes you.
After a year has passed, you might feel good enough to come home.
Or, there's the excitement that may leave and just stay, never come home again.
Either way, you'll be glad you did.

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post #77 of 110 (permalink) Old 05-26-2013, 12:01 PM
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That's good that you made it to church today I'm sorry you went through that. Thats good that you stayed. More people than we know deal with this, it truly is an epidemic. Just keep taking small steps

You'll notice that a turtle only makes progress when it sticks out its neck
Words are windows to the heart
wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts
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post #78 of 110 (permalink) Old 05-29-2013, 12:47 AM
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Yes, I've never really went to church except for some sporadic times when I was kid a friend invited me, I was also in some youth groups, not in years though. I live in a really small town now and the churches here are tiny, everyone knows each other or has a bunch of relatives that go and have gone for generations I really would feel uncomfortable/panicky about going. I miss when I did go though. The severe social anxiety makes it hard to make friends and connections to go to church let alone actually talk to people, that's the main thing stopping me, the depression makes me feel like I'm not good enough to go to church or there's no point for me to. I think once I go back and get help for this and get my life back in order then I'm going to try to go to church again because even though I only went a few times I really liked it a lot.
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post #79 of 110 (permalink) Old 06-01-2013, 07:37 AM
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Church is actually a really big problem for me I think for a couple reasons. 1 People always hug me I guess I look sad or something, I don't know, but it freaks me out. I could try to act happier, but I'm not happy when that many people are around and I don't want to pretend to be something I'm not, especially at church...

2 I've been around several people that act one way at church and are totally different people in their every day lives. My sister is a pretty good example. She'll talk about how bad something is at church when I know for a fact she was doing that very thing the day before. Logically I know that not everyone is like that, but it's caused a lot of trust issues I guess. I just start thinking yeah they're acting nice, but what are they REALLY thinking.

I haven't been to church in a few years and I feel bad, not because I really feel like I should have to go, but because I feel like it's something I should want to do you know?
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post #80 of 110 (permalink) Old 06-02-2013, 10:46 AM
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Wow, so much has been said in this thread. I'd like to add my own experience with church.

I do go to church even though it is not comfortable for me. Some of the people at the church I've been at for ~5 years have been the first people in my life to truly accept me. No, they don't know about my SA necessarily, but they have known about other things in my life and struggles, and those have not caused them to reject me. I think that's what true fellowship means - accepting each other, including weaknesses.

Even though I feel more secure with these people than with anyone in the world, I still struggle with social anxiety. I am very involved in my church and I know so many people. I attend church service, Bible study group, fellowship, and often go out to lunch after the service. By the time I get home, I am often wiped out, overwhelmed, and angry at myself, replaying all the scenarios and wondering how awkward or unfreindly I seemed to others. I am still trying to figure out how to "de-stress" after church, because I know it's good but it often makes the rest of my day a complete loss. Sometimes I lie in bed and nap or just cry.

So yeah, I totally understand those of you who don't put yourself through this every week. Any advice on what helps for those of you that do?
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