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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lately, I've been coming to realize that my social anxiety may just be a symptom of a larger problem.

You see, I'm terrible at putting my thoughts into words. This issue not only affects me in speech, but in writing too. In just these few sentences, I must have made at least three revisions before settling on what you are hopefully reading now...and I am still not satisfied. It's just me trying to appear smarter than I really am. The same thing happens in conversation, only I don't have the opportunity to amend my words.

But forget about speaking properly or trying to sound intelligent, most of the time I can barely think of anything to say -- even on subjects I'm knowledgeable on. One night when I was bored, I decided to give myself a challenge. I thought of a question that a customer in a store might ask to a salesman, and I tried to answer that question (aloud) like a salesman would. The question was about the differences between two similar products. My thought flow was disorganized; I started listing the different pros of each product and then followed with the cons, but as I was listing the cons, I started thinking of some pros that I left out. This is starting to get too long, so I'll just say that my answer was long-winded and rambled (probably not unlike this post).

I haven't talked about body language yet. I'll try to keep this brief. I have little to no body language; I rarely use my hands when I talk and have a very limited set of facial expressions. It never even occurred to me until recently when I had to practice and memorize all the words to a presentation made up of only pictures. Usually, when giving a presentation, my hands are preoccupied holding notecards or hidden behind the podium. In this presentation, I can't use any notes and there's nothing to hide behind. I haven't given this presentation yet (it's due in a few days), but I just know it's going to be awkward from the practice I've done in front of the mirror. Bad news for me considering something like 60% of communication is body language. :(

This might not be related at all, but I also sometimes can't hear or understand what someone said even though I have perfect hearing. It's as if they just mumbled something and all I hear is gibberish. I hate asking people to repeat themselves so sometimes I just smile and nod and hope they don't notice. Just thought I'd throw this out there in case it might be a related disorder.

So...what's your prognosis? Do you think this is just the result of social anxiety or do you think there is another disease at work here?

Apologies for the long post and I appreciate anyone who took the time to read through it or part of it, thanks!
 

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I can relate to all of that. I have poor conversations skills and little or no body language. I think it might be common with SA. I don't use my hands when I'm talking in fear they might be shaking.
 

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That is SA. I'm very similar to you. I only fear contact with people because I am so bad at speaking to people. I even have trouble ordering food at a restaurant. There have been times when I've ordered something at a restaurant by mistake and had to just throw it into the garbage.

The other thing is my heart starts racing, like I'm running a marathon whenever I'm talking. Talking is 90% of my SA.

I can actually write something intelligent if I'm writing something that is not about me personally. It's like I'm unable to speak of or write about me. There is a void whenever I have to tell people my opinions or my feelings or my ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies! I'm sorry to hear you guys are suffering from this too, but it's a relief to know I'm not alone.

Are any of you guys good storytellers? I need to practice that. I have the rare ability of making the most interesting of events sound boring. It's all in the delivery :|
 

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Born Of Blotmonað
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I think my body language often gives away how I'm feeling or what I'm thinking, especially when I'm quiet. I can write fairly well but conversation is often not so good for me. I think it's all part of it, one thing influencing the rest & vice versa
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's true. People can read me like a book and sometimes it's not even true, but I give out those vibes. For example, if a friend jokingly insulted me, I wouldn't take it personally and know it's only a joke, but my face would tell otherwise. Then they think I got offended or can't take a joke. It's frustrating. :(
 

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eleven the thing is anxiety has a strong influence in many psychological and physical ways. your body language represent your mind state and self-confidence. i have recognized that through my gf which suffered of SA. she did very little bodylanguage or facial expression. little gestures. she would make herself very small looks often to the ground and sit in the farthest corner at the end with the back to the wall.

so basically this is all an issue of SA. i am not quite sure that was the answer you were looking for but i hope this helps in a way
 

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I remember seeing somewhere that our thoughts come to us in fragments instead of fluently, so that might explain why it's harder for us to be articulate.
 

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Lately, I've been coming to realize that my social anxiety may just be a symptom of a larger problem.

You see, I'm terrible at putting my thoughts into words. This issue not only affects me in speech, but in writing too. In just these few sentences, I must have made at least three revisions before settling on what you are hopefully reading now...and I am still not satisfied. It's just me trying to appear smarter than I really am. The same thing happens in conversation, only I don't have the opportunity to amend my words.

But forget about speaking properly or trying to sound intelligent, most of the time I can barely think of anything to say -- even on subjects I'm knowledgeable on. One night when I was bored, I decided to give myself a challenge. I thought of a question that a customer in a store might ask to a salesman, and I tried to answer that question (aloud) like a salesman would. The question was about the differences between two similar products. My thought flow was disorganized; I started listing the different pros of each product and then followed with the cons, but as I was listing the cons, I started thinking of some pros that I left out. This is starting to get too long, so I'll just say that my answer was long-winded and rambled (probably not unlike this post).

I haven't talked about body language yet. I'll try to keep this brief. I have little to no body language; I rarely use my hands when I talk and have a very limited set of facial expressions. It never even occurred to me until recently when I had to practice and memorize all the words to a presentation made up of only pictures. Usually, when giving a presentation, my hands are preoccupied holding notecards or hidden behind the podium. In this presentation, I can't use any notes and there's nothing to hide behind. I haven't given this presentation yet (it's due in a few days), but I just know it's going to be awkward from the practice I've done in front of the mirror. Bad news for me considering something like 60% of communication is body language. :(

This might not be related at all, but I also sometimes can't hear or understand what someone said even though I have perfect hearing. It's as if they just mumbled something and all I hear is gibberish. I hate asking people to repeat themselves so sometimes I just smile and nod and hope they don't notice. Just thought I'd throw this out there in case it might be a related disorder.

So...what's your prognosis? Do you think this is just the result of social anxiety or do you think there is another disease at work here?

Apologies for the long post and I appreciate anyone who took the time to read through it or part of it, thanks!
I can relate to all of this, eleven, especially the 'putting thoughts into words' thing. You're not alone! I did wonder whether this was part of something else, too, because it's a symptom of other psychological disorders. I think it's definitely a big part of SA and is one of the most frustrating symptoms. Sometimes it makes me think I'm actually retarded although my thoughts when I'm alone are quite coherent. Occasionally I can articulate certain things that people seem to respond to well, like I've perceived and explained something perfectly. Those times are good :)
 

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I have all these same exact problems.

I had to make a presentation and it took me forever to finalize how I was going to say what I wanted to say. Then when it came time to present that stuff i took forever planning, I was so nervous that i skipped over a bunch of stuff and did my 6:30 presentation in 4:50.

My voice and face definitly doesnt really change when Im talking. I actually thought my voice was good in the presentation but, again, i got a note saying there was no passion in what I was talking about.

wish i knew the solution to all the stuff you talked about..
 

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Is English your first language? Cause it isn't mine, and I have exactly what you have. My English was ok 2 years ago, but since I was diagnosed with SA it's been getting worse. And the worse my English gets, the more scared I'm of speaking. It's a ****ing vicious cycle.

On top of that my sister's English is perfect and now she talks in English to me all the time, while I still talk to her in my mother tongue. It embarrasses me so much.
 

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crazy
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I think anxiety tends to inhibit the higher brain functions like language, and puts you into a more primitive animal panic mode - checking for danger (which with SA is losing social status). So it's much harder to put thoughts together coherently, and to understand what people are saying to you. Also accounts for why your mind goes blank, even when later you realize you actually had lots to say about a subject.

Being able to relax in social situations helps a lot with stuff like this. I'm on paxil which helps a lot with the anxiety, which makes it easier to talk coherently.
 

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Its as if you read my mind.

Although ive recently begun to force the hand movements and eye contact and things like that when doing presentations. I hate it but its expected.

But really.. I honestly wondered if I was just going mad and that's why I couldn't articulate anything. I'm glad to know im not alone. My writing is usually fairly good, DUE to the revisions, but speech.. I cant revise.. and I cant put things together fast enough to speak properly unless im very comfortable.
 

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I remember seeing somewhere that our thoughts come to us in fragments instead of fluently, so that might explain why it's harder for us to be articulate.
You mean people in general or people with SA?
 

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I feel the same

I have had this problem and gets worse when I am in a large group. People always ask me to repeat myself and often just don't speak up at all.
 

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Wow, this is intense... I totally understand/know where you're coming from. I tend to analyze boby language way too much but anyway, I'm gonna try and throw my two cents in:

In the PsychologyToday blogs, i once read something to the effect that everyone feels like people can read their thoughts... it's just a human thing (or something) It's got an actual name but I can't remember it. Something "spotlight" or something.

But it will get better, the whole not finding the right words and stuff... it just just takes a lot of work ( and anxiety) to get thru it.

Remember, it's up to them to understand YOU. Active listening! And you're probably not the dumbest or the smartest in the room so it's just like everyone's trying to get on "the level," even tho none of us really know what that is : )

I've found existentialism to be a big support for me. We humans are ( don't freak out) absurd. We've all been thru ****, felt on top, been a no one, it's just how life is. But existentialism says "Having anxiety means you're an individual." And I think this is so true. People with anxiety care! In a way, we are like the artists of life! As an existentialism says: Every choice we make puts meaning out into the world... I think of every action against my own social anxiety is also a rebellion against the judgemental-ness of society as a whole!

And conversation is always surely to be a little strained when you've had the world to think about... I mean, small talk for instance, it's nothing new really when someone tells you that they were born 3 days before their cousin... I was born 1 day before mine! And? And I've found that being overly expressive is fine and dandy! Of course, it's easier at a party or a group of people, but don't be afraid to give the look that says "wow, this didn't go anywhere, and it's neither of our's fault, it's just how things are!"

I think a social-anxieteer (like me) is always on the look-out to connect and find meaning. However, it COMES and GOES, for whatever cosmic reason..

If you can get real with life, anxiety is everywhere, but I've come to say that living in a comfortable cocoon is as bad as being on drugs... neither is where life really is!

Maybe social anxieteers are really intelligent and thoughtful, and so they KNOW there's nothing you can really say to make the situation better, or worse, or neither, or hellish, or heavenly... it's just all too hard to figure out! When you get in this state of mind, even for a moment, you can tap into the freedom that lies in existing: that there IS no pattern or true rhythm. JUST BUST A MOVE! And to those who want to judge the quirkiness of life itself? Well I have a haughty little song line for: "Be ignored by the stiff and the bored because I'm gonna!" People who won't give the time of day for awkwardness are living-in-a-****ing-cocoon . That's why I like bowling alley's, haha.

But in all seriousness, living with anxiety and acting out of it is awesome, commendable, and ****ing exciting lol. Pleasure, good may come, it may not... it's just the choice of acting which is where life really is.

Peace, Love, and Absurdity,
--royompiscus
 
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