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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I'm new to this forum but, I'm pretty sure I have social anxiety issues.

So this may be long. But I'll appreciate anyone who reads it. Lol.

I try to be a really positive person, as I have mentioned in my first thread posting :) So I don't want to get all depressive sounding here, or invoke and discuss really negative ideas. Just kind of want to get some advice and/or help.

Lol. The truth is I'm just very shy around people. Lately I have been looking for another job. I've held jobs before but to be honest, my biggest problems in the work place has been appearing friendly and smiley to people. I'm 20 years old and in college right now. I plan to not have a long term career in the Customer Service or Sales related fields. However, working a part-time (or basically full-time) job for me is a necessity. I have a scholarship, but I'm not that wealthy and need the extra money. I also feel like, regardless of the career path you choose, speaking and getting along well with people is a crucial part of any job.

Anyway. Here are some of the biggest problems I have:
- Dealing with a nervous situation, or something I label nervous. For example, a job interview. Everyone gets nervous, but I have realized I get actual PHYSICAL symptoms from this, such as: Lack of eye contact, smiling (at all!) some twitching even. Luckily I do not turn bright red lol. And last, just acting like myself, and not a robot who looks like she's very uncomfortable.


I would say the biggest problems I've had with SA ever have been eye contact and smiling. They seem IMPOSSIBLE when I'm in public like 80% of the time. The truth is, that itself invokes more agitation in me and leads to me feeling negative. Surprisingly, I can speak well in public. If I'm extremely nervous I might stutter a bit but, usually my voice is my strength. I like to speak clearly and raise my voice, it actually helps me. The only reason I've been successful in my jobs and been praised previously, is because I'm honestly a hard worker, and people have thought me to be really intelligent or friendly because I speak well, even if I don't smile much.


Even though it isn't very important, it's a positive thing about myself, and I have always felt like I can't show or even enjoy it ,because of my SA issues. I have always been the "cute girl that looks sad" or "doesn't talk much". At work, at school, and often anywhere, people have always told me "oh your so cute why aren't you smiling?" or "you're so shy!".


I've been teased and basically... just made out to be a weirdo really because of this. I lack social skills or physical abilities to make myself look friendly and really truly BE myself!




So to end this, I just would like to know basically if, my symptoms are common to a lot of people??? What can I really do about it??? And will these solutions be affordable and not involve drug or alcohol usage?:|
 

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Howdy,

Try this questionnaire to see which symptoms match and get an empirical-ish measure of how bad your SA is: http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/disorder/liebowitz/

You may find that there are things you do/experience that align with SA that you might not have thought of: it can be really enlightening. If you do have it (or even if you don't but want to learn how to deal with nervousness), just reading around on SAS is immensely helpful. There's great comfort, I find, in simply finding out you're not alone.

So far as treating it goes--drugs and/or alcohol is one route. There's also exercise and diet to boost mood. There are mental training exercises and exposure therapy, too. There are a bunch of self-help guides out there as well. A lot of working on SA is trial-and-error, it seems--personally, I'm taking the exercise and drugs route, but there are oodles of combinations, and it'll be different for everyone.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Addler.

Thanks for that. I think I'm somewhere around the 60-75 range honestly. Depending on what you would classify as SEVERE.

Would severe mean that the situation is very stressful and you'd probably, have some type of physical reaction to it? Or that the situation is literally unbearable and you would probably have a panic attack?

If it is the type of unbearable/panic attack, the only one I might say I have that reaction to is stage fright. I have horrible stage fright. Lol.

Otherwise, everything is mild or moderate. Or none :p


Also, I have been taking the route of alcohol usage to calm my nerves but, I think and have read, that long term alcohol use actual heightens your overall anxiety levels (when your not drunk :p). So I want to drop that, at least for the most part. But picking up a better diet, exercise, and techniques to cope would be great :)
 

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It'll vary person to person. I scored 130, but I still function reasonably well. I go to school, I teach, I buy groceries, etc. I have anxiety attacks all the time (had one this evening, even), but I've only once had an outright, feeling-death-happening-now panic attack. Some people use the terms interchangeably, though. Today, I finally went to the bank to deposit checks I've had since August because I couldn't bring myself to go earlier, but other folks in my situation can't bring themselves to leave the house at all. There's a long-running thread on here by a person who hasn't left the house since 1999, for example.
The things we find difficult--eye contact, hanging out, answering phones, and shopping are popular ones--will be different for each person, and the degrees of difficulty will vary, and even the times they're difficult will vary. Some days, I'm okay to teach, and some days, I'm terrified of standing in front of my students, for instance.
Anxiety can come out of nowhere and make no sense sometimes. Other times, like in new or threatening situations, like interviews, it makes more sense even if it's unwelcome. So the ways we approach/deal with it have to be adaptable...I dunno--it tends to take a long time to figure out what works, especially if we're working with unpredictable kinds of anxiety.
 
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