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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

A quick introduction: I'm a guy in his early thirties living in the Netherlands. I have been struggling with myself since, well, forever. I'm not going to elaborate about this all at once here, as it will be a long story. I have never been here before, nor have I read anything. I intend to slowly become acquainted with this place.

As to the reasons why I'm here now.. basically I feel that I am now at a moment in my life where I am going to have to choose a direction for my life to take. I am very good at avoiding, and as such I have mostly avoided all the difficult things in life, most notably the social aspects of it. I've had some group therapy a few years ago, but at that time I didn't have as good a view on the way I am as I think I have today. It helped me a little in feeling more comfortable in moderately-sized groups (say, 8-10 people), I suppose. Also, I have had a single relationship with a girl several years ago, mostly because she threw herself at me, and I didn't have the chance to avoid the situation. But it was very difficult and I was nervous many, many times during the relationship, including the rare panic attack.

Currently, I strongly feel as if the choice I have to make is an impossible choice. It's like one part of me wants to break out of the social anxiety, so that I can get ahead in my working career. My fears are making me miss opportunities, and it won't be long now before it's too late at my current employment. The other part of me is _extremely_ conservative, and wants nothing else but to be left alone, sheltered from the big, bad, outside world. I think that's the defence mechanism I built up starting at early childhood.

The problem is that the conservative me is _really_ strong, and is the decision maker most of the time. By avoiding difficult social situations like confronting someone with something negative, avoiding arguments, avoiding people from getting close to me. However, that other part that seems to want to move ahead and break the chain, keeps on getting me in trouble by sending out signals of social availability that the conservative me really fears! This inner conflict is driving me nuts! But since avoidance has worked reasonably well so far, life has been just bearable enough. I suspect that it won't be too long now until I cannot keep this up anymore. Also, it doesn't help that I always seem to want to appear nice and normal to others, which often prompts me to send out those social signals, which will in turn induce fear in me if I have to follow through on them. This also confuses me because I never seem to know what _I_ really want. It feels more like how I apparently want to appear to the outside world.

So, the conservative me thinks I should just give up on trying to be social and stick to the few people I know. And keep on slacking (because I don't do much, really, lack of motivation). But I just cannot seem to find peace with that. That other side just can't let go, constantly nagging me, trying to get me in social situations, which I will then fear a lot. This has been going on for several years now, and there seems to be no end in sight. I guess I am hoping that it will all somehow resolve itself. Oh yes, occasionally there are shorts bursts of energy that give me strength to conquer some social situation or problem. But I always return to good old conservative me. The good, positive happenings never seem to stick, no matter how positive I may temporarily have been. It seems like what goes up, must come down.

I don't know what to get out of this forum.. I have trouble sticking around in places, I guess because I have trouble letting people get close to me. There is a very strong hunkering for someone to take care of me and love me unconditionally. But of course, that just doesn't happen when I don't let anybody near, so that's one of the biggest frustrations right there for me. Yet I'm glad there at least is a hunkering, because otherwise there would be no point for me to post this here. I guess I want to know which road to follow from here. And perhaps mostly, if there is a comfortable enough ride to make the journey possible. For now, I have difficulty believing that such a thing exists. Graduate, slow improvement seems to be the way to go, but even the smallest change seems so damn hard!

Well, there you have it. Hi. Sorry this got to be long after all.
 

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Hey root welcome. :)
 

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Welcome, Root! :)
 

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Welcome Root. I could relate to much of what you wrote, esp. the part about wanting to keep up a "normal" front and, in the process, sending out social signals on which you really can't follow through. It sounds like you've got to get in touch with what you really want and make a commitment to it. I'm also in my early thirties and feel like I've made a huge turnaround in the last few months. Today I actually initiated a social outing with some people I don't even know that well and who know I have anxiety issues; this would have been unthinkable not long ago. As it turns out, they weren't able to join me tonight, but in talking to them I found out that they really do want to hang out in the futre, and we've already set plans to do so. Point is, I've finally decided for good that I cannot live like this anymore; I cannot continue to keep people at such a distance like I've always done. Cliche but true: change is so hard. Anyway, welcome, hope to read more of your posts. I hope you decide to listen to that other, non-conservative voice (I don't listen to conservatives in general!).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Welcome Root. I could relate to much of what you wrote, esp. the part about wanting to keep up a "normal" front and, in the process, sending out social signals on which you really can't follow through. It sounds like you've got to get in touch with what you really want and make a commitment to it. I'm also in my early thirties and feel like I've made a huge turnaround in the last few months. Today I actually initiated a social outing with some people I don't even know that well and who know I have anxiety issues; this would have been unthinkable not long ago. As it turns out, they weren't able to join me tonight, but in talking to them I found out that they really do want to hang out in the futre, and we've already set plans to do so. Point is, I've finally decided for good that I cannot live like this anymore; I cannot continue to keep people at such a distance like I've always done. Cliche but true: change is so hard. Anyway, welcome, hope to read more of your posts. I hope you decide to listen to that other, non-conservative voice (I don't listen to conservatives in general!).
Hey, thanks for the warm welcome! I'm glad to hear that you're experiencing positive change, and kudos on the social initiative :)

I love the conservatives remark. I don't listen to those either, except for the one in my own head! If ever I heard a convincing argument not to, this must be the one! :D
 

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Hey Root. I have a hard time making decisions as well. But I have found lately that if I just make a decision at the spur of the moment, which is very hard. Than I just deal with whatever happens, you dont have to commit to your decision you can always back out. You never know though you might find yourself being able to stick with some decisions. No part of getting better is easy, it is very hard for me, and I am most deffinately at a turning point in my life. I know that I have one shot and I cant screw it up, I keep slowly moving foward despite a whole lot of fear. I think you will be able to stick around this site. Good Luck!
 
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