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post #41 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 09:06 AM
 
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Re: anyone has fully recovered from social anxiety?


The topic of this thread is "has anyone recovered from Social Anxiety" , I feel I have. Not that I never have anxiety or fear but it is not very often and definately not the severity that it once was. I would say that "more often than not I feel calm and confident when interacting with people", once in a while when I'm not I look upon it as just part of being human and am not overly upset about it.

It took quite a few years to get past SA. I had to work on many things. I had to work on my thoughts and self judgements. To acept myself as doing the best I could at any given time, while also looking at what stratagies, knowledge, actions would help move me forward. Not a smooth process. Often very frustrating and often I felt like giving up.

In a nutshell I worked on developing myself from an insecure/fearful/anxious person to a confident/secure/calm person. Alot of this was a skills approach. In my teens I really relized that I was very inexperienced and lacking much of the skills of abilities to interact with people. This is back in the 70's when the internet did not even exist. What work for me then was books. Personal Growth type books, books on how to interact with people, how to assert myself, how to talk to girls, which as introverted young guy I was just a disaster at. Was not just one book but something from this one then something from this other one. I practised different things until from a skills/ability stand point I reached a certain level of compentcy, experience and in a way mastery. With this came a spontanious and natural level of confidence and calmness.

When I look back there was a lot of time that I would not have believed it possible, in a way I am even kind of surprised that I have "transformed". I want to say that it was hard, really hard quite a bit of the time. In writing about it might make it sound easy or simple, it wasn't, it was hard. Having said that I will also say there was a time when it did become easier and in fact when I was far enough along that I knew I had made it, that I was no longer the insecure young person/young adault and was a confident person able to live my life without undue anxiety, what a relief!!!!!!!!!!

Now days I come on this board because I relate to the struggles of the people here. I try to be encouraging and supportive and also share a certain amount of my experience that for some it may be helpful and/or encouraging.

So yes I think that people can either cope well with SA or in fact get past it, so keep going, this board shows that you are not alone and that atleast some people are moving ahead well.....

Well that is my bla bla bla I do hope it is ecouraging to some......

John H
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post #42 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 09:55 AM
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Re: anyone has fully recovered from social anxiety?


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Originally Posted by Recluser
Over the past 3/4 years I've read both of those well-known books in your signature, as well as a few other CBT books like the 'for dummies' one. I've also read other social anxiety books like dying of embarrassment. I've had a few face-to-face therapy sessions - none of them enjoyable, none of them helping. I've practiced probably all of the CBT exercises I've read over the years and I've been on meds - and still am - for half a year with no help. I've never had any fun doing any of it.
OK last questions - how long and how frequently did you apply the exercises? That is very important as they must be applied and re-applied - ESPECIALLY if you are severely depressed, as you seem to be. Lastly, which meds do you take at what dosage? I was diagnosed dythymic and for this research has shown that only high dose SSRI / SNRI works, along with therapy at the same time. Have you had combined meds and therapy?

I'm sorry to say this - but a 'few' therapy sessions will not do anything for you, so its no wonder you felt miserable. If I were you - which obviously I am not - and I was desperate enough to stop feeling awful, I would try EVERYTHING and stick at it as long as I could.

Finally, I want to say something to you. You have every right to feel angry, thats for sure. But when people post here with their experiences of what helped them - thats all their posting, their experience. They just want to post in the hope that SOMEONE feels better. Maybe things have not worked for you, and yes that means they are not 100% successful, but it doesnt mean it should be ignored. One of the most powerful underpinnings to a recovery is simply having the desire to get better. If you convince yourself that you will never be better and push away any thoughts of trying an approach or of anything working, thats where you will stay - stuck. You obviously feel very alone and bitter - but do you think that attacking every post where someone claims to have got better brings you any closer to the people that you want so much to have back in your life? Its not your fault that you are depressed and angry - but it IS your responsibility as to what you do next. But.. anyway, I didnt write this post to attack you, its just something I have felt for a while.

I'll just say this. If you PM me and let me know where you live, I will ask my old therapist if he knows of a very good, patient therapist in your area. My therapist was awesome - probably one of the best in the UK with links to the Priory Hospital. He's very active in psychotherapeutic cirlces and he may know someone who can help. When I was on low wage he charged me half price.

Other than that, i honestly feel that you deserve a second opinion on your diagnosis. Its clear that your suffering is very deep rooted and is much more than Social Anxiety Disorder alone - your obvious depression is another factor to consider. Ask your doc for a referral to a psych if needs be, but get it checked out. For some people just finding a name they can put to it is the boost they need.

Good luck dude

Ross

On to concentrate on bright things Stuck around in hopes to help, didnt seem like there was much left I could do anymore ... good luck and comfort to those who are on their own path and hope for those yet to take their first step! Much Love
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post #43 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 11:05 AM
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Re: anyone has fully recovered from social anxiety?


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Originally Posted by yeah_yeah_yeah
Finally, I want to say something to you. You have every right to feel angry, thats for sure. But when people post here with their experiences of what helped them - thats all their posting, their experience. They just want to post in the hope that SOMEONE feels better. Maybe things have not worked for you, and yes that means they are not 100% successful, but it doesnt mean it should be ignored. One of the most powerful underpinnings to a recovery is simply having the desire to get better. If you convince yourself that you will never be better and push away any thoughts of trying an approach or of anything working, thats where you will stay - stuck. You obviously feel very alone and bitter - but do you think that attacking every post where someone claims to have got better brings you any closer to the people that you want so much to have back in your life? Its not your fault that you are depressed and angry - but it IS your responsibility as to what you do next. But.. anyway, I didnt write this post to attack you, its just something I have felt for a while.
I'm not attacking anyone. I'm responding frankly. And no, people are not only posting what worked for them, they are often posting what they believe works for everyone. If other people don't address things that they disagree with, that's their style, not mine. There are plenty of other people here who will limit their posts to support and nothing else. Thanks for the offer to recommend a therapist.

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do you think that attacking every post where someone claims to have got better brings you any closer to the people that you want so much to have back in your life?
Which people would they be?
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post #44 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 12:32 PM
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Re: anyone has fully recovered from social anxiety?


Anyway, I hope something eventually works for you. Happy posting.

Ross

On to concentrate on bright things Stuck around in hopes to help, didnt seem like there was much left I could do anymore ... good luck and comfort to those who are on their own path and hope for those yet to take their first step! Much Love
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post #45 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 03:57 PM
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Re: anyone has fully recovered from social anxiety?


I just wanted to reply to recluser because I feel like he was very disrespectful to me. My post included only positive things and what my experiences with certain things have been. First of all, as to whether CBT works is dependent on an individual to individual basis, however, it is VERY important that one actually extensively practices what they learn in therapy. If not, you will just end up mending your social anxiety during that one single hour while you are with the therapist. Practice, practice, practice. I'm not saying this completely fixes everything, but it makes life manageable.

You seem very bitter and defensive and I really have no idea what you are on and on about. Everyone here suffers so I don't realize why you are attacking people.

CBT is a very common way for treating people with SA and there is a reason for this. It sounds like you have benefited from nothing? You have to give things full effort before you can claim they do not work for you. And as for trying to change your thought behaviour, it is an ongoing thing, every day, you don't just do it until you are "cured"...

Anyway, I'm not devoting any more time to this post or your comments.

I work and forever try, But I'm cursed so nevermind
Better times seem further and beyond
The top gets higher the more that I climb
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post #46 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 04:11 PM
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Re: anyone has fully recovered from social anxiety?


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Originally Posted by Social_butterfly00
I just wanted to reply to recluser because I feel like he was very disrespectful to me.
Have you considered that maybe Recluser wasn't being very disrespectful to you? What I said is there for you to re-read.
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post #47 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 04:54 PM
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Re: anyone has fully recovered from social anxiety?


I haven't fully recovered, but I'm well on my way, and I do believe SA can be fully cured. YOU GOTSTA BELEEEEEEEEVEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111 It's all about the mentality you adorn. You can either sit around and feel sorry for yourself, and downward spiral until you hit rock bottom and lose all hope, or you can keep the FAITHHHH!! HOPEEEE!! COOLNESS! OMFGBBQHAX, etc

That's all... =D

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post #48 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 06:10 PM
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Re: anyone has fully recovered from social anxiety?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Noca
I would assume those who have fully recovered from social anxiety do not frequent this board as they are feeling better.
There was a guy who came back last year after getting better through CBT. He posted but got slightly flamed by people saying "how can you know what you're talking about? You don't even have SA.". That one made me chuckle. Others said "You probably weren't severe SA - this is much harder to get over", when in fact the guy hadn't even been able to hold down a job. It sorta felt like unless he was the elephant man and only recovered via neural implant, no-one wanted to hear from him.

Seemed like inverted logic to me, and I guess it did to him too because he never came back

On to concentrate on bright things Stuck around in hopes to help, didnt seem like there was much left I could do anymore ... good luck and comfort to those who are on their own path and hope for those yet to take their first step! Much Love
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post #49 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 06:13 PM
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Re: anyone has fully recovered from social anxiety?


Quote:
Originally Posted by yeah_yeah_yeah
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noca
I would assume those who have fully recovered from social anxiety do not frequent this board as they are feeling better.
There was a guy who came back last year after getting better through CBT. He posted but got slightly flamed by people saying "how can you know what you're talking about? You don't even have SA.". That one made me chuckle. Others said "You probably weren't severe SA - this is much harder to get over", when in fact the guy hadn't even been able to hold down a job. It sorta felt like unless he was the elephant man and only recovered via neural implant, no-one wanted to hear from him.

Seemed like inverted logic to me, and I guess it did to him too because he never came back
Yeah, that's pretty weak dude. Instead of being happy for others, people would rather be dicks.
*Sigh*

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post #50 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 07:08 PM
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Re: anyone has fully recovered from social anxiety?


I dont think they were being dicks - it was more that special brand of depression logic we all know and love. About 15 years ago when I was in the bottomless pit of hopeless bleakness stage (plus teenage angst), this is about how I think I would have gaged it:

I have SA and its incurable --> I am hopeless and beyond help --> This guy recovered. --> But SA is incurable --> Therefore this guy never had SA or was a mild case, or is exaggerating how bad he was. There's no way he ever felt like me --> he is suggesting I do what he did but he doesnt realise its incurable and I have SA and I'm hopeless --> Therefore he is being insensitive or vastly overgeneralising - and even though I do not have figures, I feel depressed and so know it will only work for a special few cases not relevant here --> I am angry at him for that --> Other people here are angry too and they have 'real SA' and so are right to be angry. The more people who agree with this feeling the more true it must be --> I can safely ignore what he said and go back to how I was before --> If he persists he is being insensitive, doesnt understand its incurable and so I can accuse him of belittling my suffering --> Now he is getting angry and asking why people are being so defeated. Him getting angry proves he's insensitive --> So I definitely shouldnt have to follow his actions to overcome SA, because I have SA and SA stops me doing the things he's saying I should do to overcome SA. Doesnt he realise I have SA? He can't have ever had SA if he thinks that, which proves he's a fake just trying to get attention. *goes back to frustration forum*

Ah what a difference time can make

On to concentrate on bright things Stuck around in hopes to help, didnt seem like there was much left I could do anymore ... good luck and comfort to those who are on their own path and hope for those yet to take their first step! Much Love
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post #51 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 07:41 PM
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Re: anyone has fully recovered from social anxiety?


I have no belief that SA is some sort of mystery curse that can't be beaten, sometimes i've told myself that it is, but i've never really believed it...

i dunno man...who knows...ya know??
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post #52 of 53 (permalink) Old 02-14-2008, 11:31 PM
 
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Re: anyone has fully recovered from social anxiety?


I've outgrown alot of it so that I felt pretty normal.. but it can relapse. Things I find to help:
acceptance rather than trying to control it. Read articles about this, it will talk about learning to embrace & love it rather to be afraid of it. To love yourself.
Giving my worries to God, memorizing scriptures.
Working out, doing things even if I don't feel like getting out & when I wanted to isolate myself & not do anything I pushed myself to & felt better
Not using alchohol or drugs as a crutch for my problems. Learning to face my anxiety & then be proud of myself afterwards for making it through.. often I reward myself in some way.
If I felt uncomfortable talking to customers or strangers etc I would self talk "ppl love me, they love me, I love them" .... And I envisioned it. This gave me some peace of mind.
Imagined myself as how I would feel if I was drunk (comfortable) or seeing myself as an actor etc.. I tried to trick my mind to think a different way & feel comfortable.
Accomplishing my goals, self actualization.. developing pride in myself
Making others feel good, complimenting them, focusing on their feelings instead of mine, faking a good mood even if i don't feel it... eventually I'd get into one.
Reading articles on how to boost self esteem, small talk, studying questions to ask others..
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post #53 of 53 (permalink) Old 06-02-2013, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by yeah_yeah_yeah View Post
I'm about 75% better

Still to be brought down to size:

1) Dating (10% better)
2) Mild friendship paranoia (50% better)
3) People with a Manipulative Style (75% better)
4) Motivation at work (5% better)

The next alleyway in my journey is filling my life with positive things. Scheduling stuff to do in evenings. Exercise. Positively vibed stuff.

SA beatable? You betcha, but you gotta work at it. Its not like the measles - there aint a quick course of meds or a surgical procedure that will make it go away forever. Steady, consistent work on reversing what got you to where you are now.

The brain is a muscle and you've been working it out the wrong way for a long time! If you went and lifted one set of weights for one day, would you expect to be Arnie by the next morning? NO! The brain is the same! Get a brain workout routine that puts you on an upward slope and start working out today!!

Worked for me: CBT (from books and face to face), Mindfulness, Effexor, A LOT LOT LOT of reading, understanding the disorder, understanding the brain, understanding my past, honesty, letting my emotions out and acknowledging them, being honest about my weaknesses - even the ones I was too ashamed to really admit, focusing on intimacy and closeness instead of social excellence.


Ross
I see that you haven't been active on this forum for 3 years now.

Anyway, excellent posts you gave in this thread. They are pretty detailed. I just read them for the first time.

I hardly see anyone contributing much words. It feels more like an instant messaging forum in here. It can be very constructive and helpful to put in detailed descriptions of personal experiences and on how to fight this disorder.

The hardest part of fighting this disorder is the start - no brainer.

I would like to share some things I learnt over the course of overcoming a lifelong SAD situation. I'm not completely done yet but life surely is less tensed these days.

- read up on books, articles on improving well-being and SAD, gain knowledge and make sure you think through them and absorb
- don't be too hard on yourself; internalize that we can only learn through mistakes; learn to be courageous and yet easy on yourself
- criticism is hard to bear for anyone; but your rational self is able to tell you which criticism is good; internalize these criticism; the sooner you do so, the better
- i like the articles on marc and angel's site
- don't be a perfectionist; hardly anything in life is perfect
- accept who you are and recognize some realities of how long it might take to reach to that future you
- envision what you want to see in the future you and believe it; if you can't even believe it can happen, how would it happen?
- slow breaths and closed eyes to calm yourself; plan before any challenges on how to execute the actions; think through them in your head first
- don't get too serious and reprimand yourself when you get it wrong
- learn to take challenges light-heartedly; it really is just your mindset; your mind is limitless; stop putting these unhealthy restraints on it (pessimism)
- support the belief by having courage to rise up to small challenges in daily life
- sometimes you just got to tell yourself "stop being a pus-sy, let's go grab some ballz"
- don't rely too much on someone or something for support; you'll be too reliant and it will overwork that person who loves you
- personally, i find the more support I have, the more I wallow in my vomit of pity and exaggerate the situation more than it is
- improve your self-esteem; start dressing better if this works for you; exercise religiously (we all know the benefits of exercising)
- do smth you love because this will give meaning to your life; learn smth that you've been wanting to learn (guitar, swimming, rollerblading, whatever)
- start on the small challenges and slowly progress to bigger challenges
- the start is the hardest as you learn to embrace your deep seated fears in its highest density
- eventually, you will reach a stage where you feel you don't really care about what others think; you're sick of the life you've been leading and how many opportunities passed you by
- many with or without disorder have a painful story; start seeing that we're not the only ones who suffer
- SAD is crippling but it isn't the only thing in this world that makes people miserable
- love more, judge less
- stop allowing negative external influences control your life (for me, it was my parents; I'm glad I care less for them now because that was holding me back)
- learn to love yourself in a meaningful manner, not in arrogance

This list is in no way exhaustive.

And I don't claim to be some almighty conqueror. I still struggle and have my troughs.

Everything is a balancing act. The more you practise, the more refinement you cultivate in balancing.

I don't reside in North America and Europe, so I can't relate to the extrovert outgoing culture there. I do reside in a city, so things are pretty fast paced here. It's an asian city. Although extrovert personalities are favored (as they would be in many places), the general culture is still more "introvert".

I've battled SAD my whole life, as early as age 7; I never knew what it's like to feel normal. I know clearly what it does. Being labelled the very/most quiet by people in every part of my life. Not wearing spectacles when I needed to, just so that I don't see people in high resolution. Being told I'm strange/weird by the few who did dare to tell me so. Targeted in situations where I was thought to be lazy and passive (I was just too overwhelmed by SAD and couldn't act naturally). You'd bet there're so many more things in my memory. And I know many of you relate to this.

Shame, I only know what SAD is 2 years back. And I learned about it on the Internet. God bless Google and the World Wide Web. So, my treatment started late and even then, I didn't have that many psychologist sessions (15, at most). My biggest turning point came when I was down and out emotionally with hardly any emotional support and reality is biting me hard in the rear. I'm close to my mid 20s. I can't work a career, have a relationship, establish a family and live a life with all these in my backyard.

Any longer you drag, any deeper you allow yourself to sink in the cesspit, the harder it is for you to overcome SAD. I'm not sure about you all, but in the past, subconsciously I like to use SAD as an excuse for all the things I couldn't achieve, like it isn't my fault. And then live in the fantasy that if I hadn't had SAD, I could have been that outstanding likable individual.

I've had OCD and depersonalization too. I eradicated the former and still seeing how I can deal with the latter.

True enough, SAD is hellish and it wasn't my fault I developed it (the body acts as a defense mechanism to warn us; and the cause & effect of contributing factors). But I had to stop the blaming (even when the blaming has truth in it) and have a positive hold on my life. All these blaming won't go anywhere. What will bring us to somewhere meaningful is our will and system of thoughts.

A friend shared these quotes with me (along with some good honest criticism) and it hit me good and woke me up; this friend suffered from SAD too:

Man is condemned to be free, because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.

Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.

Jean-Paul Sartre


Once you get into all these modes of thinking and start to improve, you'll totally see what people like yeah_yeah_yeah were talking about. Once you're caught in the web of positive belief, you will look back at your past in disbelief and be amazed at how far you trekked and conquered.

After all these, you might not be that rich charismatic influential social animal. But at least, you become more of a normal social being, rid of all the nerve wrecks that you used to have.
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