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I've started college a month ago, hoping to create a fresh start for myself as NOT the shy, introverted girl who never contributes to the conversation. Unfortunately that didn't work out and now I'm feeling much, much worse. I didn't live up to my own expectations, and I think that's why I feel disappointed with myself, causing me to retreat further into my shell..

I am seeing the school psychologist for help on this matter, and also reading online in this forum for possible advice, but I just keep seeing and hearing the same thing, that it will get easier if I practice and put myself out there.

Now I know that that is true, it makes sense and all, but the thing is that I'm so self conscious that I can't even bring myself to do that. All I think about whenever I'm in conversations is how socially inept I am, so I never have anything to say to the other person besides talk about how little I have to say, and that's never a good conversation topic.

In conversations with me and 1 other person, I usually only say a lot of one-word answers and laugh at everything that's not sad. When there's more than 1 other person I tend to sit and listen and just laugh at the appropriate moments without ever contributing much. I rarely ever talk unless spoken to, and even then.. not many words come out.

I feel like I've trapped myself in my own thoughts. Earlier yesterday after seeing the psychologist, I felt a little bit more confident that I could change, but then last night when I was sitting out in the lounge area (trying to convey with body language that I would like to be around other people, as the psychologist suggested), I thought I heard from one of the closest dorm rooms somebody talk about a "she" that only says "yeah" and it's like "she's following people around!" and something about "weird" and I automatically assumed it to be myself. That was disheartening.

The thing is, I know it's stupid to assume these things, but it's like my mind does not want me to break out of my shell at all. I'm suppressing myself with all these negative thoughts and feelings about how others perceive me that I'm keepin myself locked in this hellhole and I dunno how to stop it. The psychologist even told me I need to stop being so harsh and judgmental on myself, but that's always so much easier said than done. I've been in this zone for 6-7 years now. Yes, I do remember a time when I wasn't this socially anxious, but since then I can feel it getting progressively worse and worse as other peoples opinion of how socially awkward and how little I contribute to conversations affect me so much..

I'm not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel here. I feel like I've dug my own grave already. My impression on the suitemates has been made, I've been branded as the socially awkward, dead end conversator that just "follows people around" awkwardly. I want to start fresh somewhere else but at the same time, I feel like this cycle is just going to repeat itself and I'm never going to get out of it.

How can I stop thinking so negatively and take the first step to changing my life?

Also, is it a good idea to let other people know about my social anxiety? So that they won't consider me as unfriendly and weird as much? ... or would they think I'm weirder and that would also be a self fulfilling prophecy for myself..

Sorry for the long post.. I just feel like I had to get my hopelessness out..
 

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avast ye landlubbers
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and I automatically assumed it to be myself. That was disheartening.
Heh, I used to do the same thing.

The thing is, I know it's stupid to assume these things, but it's like my mind does not want me to break out of my shell at all. I'm suppressing myself with all these negative thoughts and feelings about how others perceive me ...
This is VERY good, actually, that you recognize the problem. Sounds like you're a prime candidate for cognitive-behavioral therapy. Look into this, please.

Look. This is a serious problem and can't be overcome in a month of seeing a school counselor. You've got work ahead of you, no denying that. But you're not in a hopeless situation, by far. Take my word for it.

Also, is it a good idea to let other people know about my social anxiety? So that they won't consider me as unfriendly and weird as much?
Save it for when someone asks, or you otherwise need to explain yourself to someone.
Anyway. Going to school, trying to meet people like in that lounge area, you're not doing that badly at all. Do more of these things and you will become comfortable with them. As far as that train of thought, in conversations, that just keeps on telling you how socially inept you are..

That's going to be difficult but you can break and abandon that, too. Here's the truth. You can be socially adept because you're a human being with a human being's store of empathy and emotions. The ineptitude comes from this inner monologue that tells you you can't... the mind cannot function socially and convince itself it cannot function socially at the same time, see? Make that monologue stop, and I know this is easier said than done, and you'll be alright. CBT-ish techniques to track and stop unwanted thoughts will help here.
Instead show genuine interest, show genuine humor, genuine empathy, which you CAN do... and that will be more important than the exact words you use, or how many.

Good luck!
 

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Suite mates - How many people are in your room with you? What do you think of them? Are they nice? Are they people you would like to become friends with? Are you living with them all year?

I would ask your psychologist about it, but perhaps talking to your suite mates about your social anxiety may not be a bad idea. I imagine this will be very difficult, so this is where your psychologist could give you some ideas. Assuming they are open minded and respectful, I think they will be more receptive to you and take your struggles in to mind. If all goes well, you can use them as a network to branch into other people. Sure, you may be the quiet one, but that isn't always a bad thing and plus, someone has to be the quiet one in a group. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
vagueresemblance - thanks for the input and encouragement! I really hope you're right that this is not a hopeless situation.. I'm actually going to do this group therapy on building social confidence next quarter. it just sucks that right now, each day feels like a week and each week like years..

velocicaur - there's 13 other girls living in my suite, and I have 1 roommate. the roommate seems to be talkative with the other girls.. but when she tries to talk to me, I'm like a dead-end so we don't converse often, unless theres other people around to keep the conversation flowing. the other suitemates are nice.. friendly enough.. but 2 of them seem to really like my roommate more than they do me. actually, all the suitemates seem to like my roommate more.. and thats whats really getting me down since I am living with them for the next 9 months. I'd like to at least be on good terms with them. I'm feeling really left out now.. but when they do include me, its not like I contribute much anyway..

I see my psychologist in 2 weeks time so.. we'll see then. I kinda dont want to share with them my anxiety anymore, since they might just befriend me out of pity instead :/ I just feel really trapped right now..

thats what my psychologist said too! about how theres always the quiet people and the loud ones in a suite, and that in time the loud ones get annoying and the quiet ones are more liked. for now though, it seems like everybody is clumping with the loud, talkative people and I'm just kind of outcasted in my room.. today I didnt even bother going into the lounge because I dont want to be seen as "following people around".. my roommate even left for lunch with the 2 girls who I thought were talking about me the other night without asking if I wanted to come along..

I dunno. I just feel really down about this whole thing.
 

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wish i could help.

i never made any friends in college. :/
 

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avast ye landlubbers
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...the roommate seems to be talkative with the other girls.. but when she tries to talk to me, I'm like a dead-end so we don't converse often, unless theres other people around to keep the conversation flowing.
Alright she, she would benefit from knowing you have social anxiety. Just to make sure she knows what's happening, in your place I would tell her - nothing wrong with being quiet but an explanation would be appreciated.

It's absolutely NOT a hopeless situation. :D
The group therapy thing is an excellent idea. I wish I had something like that available. Again good luck!
 

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electric
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I guess I don't need to tell you I think you're being a little hard on yourself? :b You don't make friends immediately ... and that's the way of it. You're ok. Give it time. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I appreciate all the input, but I feel like if I told my roommate about my social anxiety, she may spread the word to the other girls and I feel like I'd be more outcasted than right now so.. I think I'll just ride it out and try to change my negative thoughts into more positive ones.

I feel really awkward around some of the girls though, I still feel like they're talking about me behind my back.. :/ even if theres no evidence supporting it.. and it's a stupid reason for someone to not like somebody because they're quiet...

all these conflicting thoughts are draining my energy..
 

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Overcontemplating,

I can totally relate to your situation. It is a very rough place to be in and I have empathy for you. I actually ended up dropping out of my college classes for this semester, not solely on the fact that I can't make friends very well, but that defiantly was a big part of it. Anyways, since spring I haven't really done much socializing because of fear and past experiences. However, now that it has been several months, I'm getting tired of being alone and not having friends. I want to start to pursue friendships but it is one of the scariest things! I am thinking about going to a young adult church group in my area soon, just to see how things go. Just the thought of this is so scary! As soon as I get into these kinds of situations, I become so consumed with thoughts and fears about what they are saying, feeling, and thinking about me. I am hesitant to start to go to this young adult group because I don't want to get myself labeled as "the shy, quiet, awkward girl," which is my usual. So all of that to say, you're defintaely not the only one struggling with this problem.

I see my psychologist in 2 weeks time so.. we'll see then. I kinda dont want to share with them my anxiety anymore, since they might just befriend me out of pity instead :/ I just feel really trapped right now..
I am glad that you are seeking help. I can totally understand why you don't want to tell people. I have a few "friends" who never initiate conversations or want to hang out with me unless I start it. It is always awkward with them and I always beat myself up after I hang out with them because I can tell that they'd much rather hang out with their more outgoing and fun friends. It sucks for the only reason that people hang out with you is because they feel sorry for you. However, maybe consider telling your roommate and asking her to not tell the other girls. Maybe having one person who understands where you are at and that you are trying to get better, will give you the confidence to be yourself more often. I've found that it is helpful for me to be able to be honest with at least a couple people in my life. :)

How can I stop thinking so negatively and take the first step to changing my life?
This is something that I've been trying to work on as well. My therapist has given me a list of like 5 little positive sentence that I have to say out loud to myself a few times a day. It is very mechanical and feels very fake and kinda dumb sometimes, but I can already tell that it is helpful. I would suggest you doing something similar to this...and if you do decide to do it, don't consult your feelings...just do it. And don't quit after just a few days if you haven't seen any progress from it. It takes time. :)
 
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