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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have found myself in an unusual situation. For me, having this social anxiety disorder is very embarrassing. I don't want people to know that I'm not normal and don't like to explain why I won't eat in public and why I turn down every offer to do something "social". Instead I just politely decline and after a while people get used to this part of my personality, and while they still ask they no longer try to convince me to go and do something I don't want to do. Here lately I've been thinking about just coming out and telling people (my friends, co-workers, etc.) the "real" reason why I am this way.

The thought of this is terrifying though. I don't want people to know that I have this because I feel from that point on that is all they will associate me with. I finally broke down and told a friend the other day. He suggested that he along with my other friends could help me. He said I should go out with them some place non-threatening like to the movies. He said he would be there along with my friends to offer as much support as I needed and would constantly reassure me and talk to me to make sure I was ok. If at any time I found myself getting too anxious or wanting to leave just tell him and we would leave no questions asked and he would not be embarrassed by and neither should I.

I told him while that was a really sweet offer I would have to decline. I told him I knew he was well meaning but having EVERYONE know that I could potentially "freak out" at any given moment and everyone would have their good time ruined by me would be mortifying and an event I would replay in my head for the rest of my life. He says it's no big deal. Well maybe to him it isn't. I've only had two people to see me have an anxiety/panic attack and it wasn't a pleasant experience. I told him I would die if my friends saw my hands shaking or me blushing uncontrollably because of my anxiety and I couldn't bear the thought of being the reason why they would have to leave a theater or restaurant. He kept on saying it wasn't that big of a deal.

I now regret telling him about it because he now knows that I'm "abnormal" and I told him it's so embarrassing not being able to function like a normal human being. I want to tell people so they will know but the shame of this is far too great for me to overcome. How do you all handle telling people?
 

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Do you think that telling people will make you feel more at ease with them, and make a difference for you? If so, then you should definitely let some of your close friends know. It seems like your one guy friend is extremely sweet if he was willing to support you 100%. I'm sure that you are more concious of your SA than others are, and letting some of them know would be sharing a part of your life that you're struggling with. They could help you, and have a better understanding of what you're going through. I have one best friend who I tell everything to, and she knows about my SA. It's good to have someone there for me that understands what I'm going through, and who I can vent to about some of the problems associated with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you. I'm just too scared. I don't want to be different. I want to be normal. If I tell them then I'm forever changed in their eyes and I don't want SA to be my label. I'm pretty much "label free" at the moment and prefer to keep it that way. It's like a double edged sword and I'm getting so depressed right now. I'm scared.
 

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That's your decision, and if you don't want to be treated any differently, then you don't have to let anyone know. I just know that from personal experience, my true friends and people close in my life do not label me by my SA. I was so scared to tell anyone about it, and thought they would think of me as a freak. But they treat me exactly the same, and sometimes I think they've even forgotten I've told them. I think that label is more apparent in our own eyes. It's the same me they've known, and now they just have better insight about why I act how I do. I probably only have 3 people that know about my SA, but having to appear completely "normal", sometimes faking being out-going, and forcing yourself into social situations can be so draining. It helps me to have people to go to that I can be completely real with.
 

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i've always wondered if it would help if i wore a t shirt that said,"i'm not stuck-up or mean, i have social anxiety. i won't make eye contact with you and i don't know what to say to you so please don't talk to me" lol. i'm serious. it's so hard and i wish i could just put it out there and not have to act like a normal person.
 

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God I can relate to this so much. People keep commenting on how quiet I am and it's got me thinking that I should just tell them why this is. But I have the same problem as you. I don't want to be seen as abnormal. Then again, I'm always thinking that's how people view me anyway (with how nervous I look and all that).
 

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Thank you. I'm just too scared. I don't want to be different. I want to be normal. If I tell them then I'm forever changed in their eyes and I don't want SA to be my label. I'm pretty much "label free" at the moment and prefer to keep it that way. It's like a double edged sword and I'm getting so depressed right now. I'm scared.
You don't need to let everyone know, just maybe one friend. And if you have SA and act awkward, you already aren't normal, so what's the point in destroying something that will help speed your healing just to cling on to this "normalness" which you don't have?
 

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I've only told one friend and he didn't question too much. He has his own issues so its all cool.
I've thought about telling family and co-workers but really I can't see where it would go from there. They can't do much to help me, it's a personal battle. I do hint at having some sort of problem when the subject is brought up, so if they really want to know they can figure it out just by asking and piecing it together.
 

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Your Assumptions
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Informing people about my conditions when they need to know has both benefits and drawbacks.

The benefits are that my differences are accommodated more and not attributed to character flaws.

The drawbacks involve people (e.g., an old supervisor) misattributing the causes of any problems and blaming my disabilities. The aforementioned supervisor informed all our research collaborators that a paper had not been submitted due to me having problems in my life; the largest factor by far was actually his disorganisation, which I had previously gotten the Dean to acknowledge. He would also use this reason to obtain extensions for me when he was the cause of the delays, and obtained £6000 worth of funds from the research council.

Furthermore, people tend to condescend to and underestimate me once they get to know me; however, the majority would do this anyway, without learning of any labels. Overall, the benefits of disclosure outweighed the drawbacks because I could no longer progress without accommodations.
 

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I have found myself in an unusual situation. For me, having this social anxiety disorder is very embarrassing. I don't want people to know that I'm not normal and don't like to explain why I won't eat in public and why I turn down every offer to do something "social". Instead I just politely decline and after a while people get used to this part of my personality, and while they still ask they no longer try to convince me to go and do something I don't want to do. Here lately I've been thinking about just coming out and telling people (my friends, co-workers, etc.) the "real" reason why I am this way.

The thought of this is terrifying though. I don't want people to know that I have this because I feel from that point on that is all they will associate me with. I finally broke down and told a friend the other day. He suggested that he along with my other friends could help me. He said I should go out with them some place non-threatening like to the movies. He said he would be there along with my friends to offer as much support as I needed and would constantly reassure me and talk to me to make sure I was ok. If at any time I found myself getting too anxious or wanting to leave just tell him and we would leave no questions asked and he would not be embarrassed by and neither should I.

I told him while that was a really sweet offer I would have to decline. I told him I knew he was well meaning but having EVERYONE know that I could potentially "freak out" at any given moment and everyone would have their good time ruined by me would be mortifying and an event I would replay in my head for the rest of my life. He says it's no big deal. Well maybe to him it isn't. I've only had two people to see me have an anxiety/panic attack and it wasn't a pleasant experience. I told him I would die if my friends saw my hands shaking or me blushing uncontrollably because of my anxiety and I couldn't bear the thought of being the reason why they would have to leave a theater or restaurant. He kept on saying it wasn't that big of a deal.

I now regret telling him about it because he now knows that I'm "abnormal" and I told him it's so embarrassing not being able to function like a normal human being. I want to tell people so they will know but the shame of this is far too great for me to overcome. How do you all handle telling people?
Paragraphs 2/3 are very heartwarming. I think you're crazy to turn this offer down. People dont think like that, its your paranoia talking, but it's not reality. Any money says this friend doesnt think of u as crazy or that it's a massive weakness, all he did was be completely supportive and try to get u to face your fears with the comfort zone of having him with u.

Thats just an amazingly good opportunity for you, and to be honest if you dont change your mind about declining then you have only yourself to blame. However scary it is, that fear/paranoia will ALWAYS be there. which means, if you ever want to fight this, in your ENTIRE life, you HAVE to face it. go with this friggin guy to the cinema jeez.
 

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Thank you. I'm just too scared. I don't want to be different. I want to be normal. If I tell them then I'm forever changed in their eyes and I don't want SA to be my label. I'm pretty much "label free" at the moment and prefer to keep it that way. It's like a double edged sword and I'm getting so depressed right now. I'm scared.
most...nah all "normal" people have scars they dont show the world. it's not a theory, its the way animals work. it's a defense mechanism, simply, the same way other animals might hide an injured leg, we too hide our weaknesses.

This is obvious. People aren't stupid, but in oral communication our thoughts are often dumbed down, less defined or perhps we cant communicate them as eloquently as through written word for example. U can see this clearly with 1-everyday life, 2-lyrics compared to interviews with some musicians.

Pont being, we all know that we all have problems. whereas you think that admitting your problems will make u a pariah of sorts, the opposite is infact true. Bearing in mind the [email protected] in my above few paragraphs, when a person IS brave enough to admit their weaknesses publically, they are often hugely admired, because for alot ppl (the admirers), they DONT have the balls to admit their weakness, and they respect you for being able to do it.

Normal is just an illusion, and most human personalities are a facade. you can see this everywhere. go on youtube.com, look up some random introspective song, by whoever, and you'll see FLOODS of replies from people getting all emotional about the whoe thing.
 

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Telling people I have SA has made things a lot better for me. I was able to cure my depression because I don't have to feel bad from lieing to get out of doing things. Now that people know there is a reason why I don't want to go out with them or why I am so quite all the time they don't get upset with me as much. I actually go out more now that people know because they can help me deal with other people when we are out. I am closer to some people now because they don't think I don't like them. They now know it had nothing to do with them. It's the other people I don't like. Telling my boss actually saved my job. He was cool about it and we were able to rearrange somethings to make everyone happy. I was about a week away from getting fired or quitting. There have been some negative effects effects to though. I lost a few friends because they couldn't deal. There have been a few times that people haven't invited me to do something I would have done because they didn't think I would. All in all I am glad I told people though. If anyone has people they trust and feel they will support you I suggest telling them.
 

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Perhaps you should ask yourself what you will gain (or lose) by letting people know? Are you being open so as to avoid having to work as hard to overcome your SA?

I recently told someone that I have SA, and I feel I lost a lot more than I gained... perhaps even the friendship. The majority of "normal" people just don't get us - and by being open, you're just verifying that something's "wrong" with you, IMHO. Just my experience, though... take it for what it's worth.
 

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I suggest that you do tell people. I mean, you don't enjoy having it do you? And you want to overcome it don't you? But I suggest perhaps doing it one person at a time and perhaps you could tell you friend that you would go if it were just him and you alone and then slowly introduce other people into the equation over time since he already knows you have it...believe me, once you do it, even baby steps are better than no steps and you begin to gain confidence and are able to do a little more each time. Some people aren't gonna understand and you gotta just take that and move on to the people who you can trust...they're the only ones who should matter anyway. Don't just sit back and let the fear be your master. Face it, even if it takes a long time and even if it's small. Believe me, you'll feel great about it later even if you're thinking about how you screwed up on the situation at the very least you know you tried and gave what you could at that particular point.
 
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