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Discussion Starter #1
I wanted to post this to see if anyone else is in a similar situation and can share coping mechansims or advice. I was diagnosed with what my doctor called a "minor case of SAD" several years ago.

About me: I lead a pretty normal life. I'm married to a wonderful wife (she is a social butterfly), have three children, and have a good job. What I have realized over the years is that most all of the stress in my life comes from the anticipation of social situations, whether it's meeting new people, public speaking, or even socializing with friends. I use avoidance when I can but when I can't, I stress out prior to the event (I may be stressed two weeks or more prior to a social event where I don't know anyone). The strange thing is that once the event begins, my anxiety usually passes and I end up just fine. No one would ever guess that I have SAD but it eats me up on the inside. Some people might say that I'm just introverted but I think I'm a step beyond that. I feel as though my SAD is preventing me from getting all I can out of life. For instance, I try to avoid public speaking at work and therefore limit my opportunities for advancement. This past week, my wife had a series of social events to attend and I dreaded it for weeks prior. Of course, everything turned out fine and I even actually enjoyed some of it.

I feel kind of silly posting here because I don't think I have a severe case of SAD but I do think my enjoyment of life is being limited by it. Any help or advice is appreciated.
 

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Yes your life isn't as restricted by the social anxiety as some other people (like me--I can't work and don't have friends). But you have the anticipatory anxiety specifically tied to social events, and you use avoidance when it's convenient. Those two things are definitely related to SA. So I don't think you are being silly posting here.

I totally agree & understand that there is a difference between "just being introverted" and having SA. They are NOT the same thing and don't always coexist in the same person, altho most people on this website claim to be introverted. (I feel more like an extroverted person trapped in a body that is straightjacketed by SA!) But SA is very uncomfortable, and being introverted isn't. At least not in itself.

The fact that you end up enjoying yourself once you get to the event is great! That happens with me too. It is a bit confusing tho.

I don't know if my advice will apply to you or not, but here are some things I try to do:

Remind myself that it is perfectly normal to feel anxiety--everyone has it sometimes. Even tho I feel anxiety, I'm still normal--not a defect.

Remind myself that I don't need everyone's approval for what i say or do because I already approve of myself inside.

Remind yourself of how many areas in life where you are successful.

Remember that most of the time you do end up having a good time, and if you don't this time, that's ok--the world isn't going to end.

It's perfectly fine to be quiet, or leave an event early, if you feel like it.

Other people aren't paying nearly as much attention to me as I think they do--meaning they aren't scrutinizing me like I scrutinize myself sometimes.

In reality, there's nothing actually wrong with me! :D

(I don't know what your specific negative thoughts or worries are, but you get the general idea.)
 

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Thanks for the advice and encouragement. As I've gotten older (I'm in my 30s), I think my SAD symptoms have begun to get better as I've tried to apply some of the advice you've given. It's all about confidence in oneself and realizing that no one person is any better than you--they may be better at something but we are all equals when it comes to humanity. Your presence alone in this world is enough for you to matter.

Most importantly, I think the realization that life is essentially about relationships with others (for me at least), has made it easier for me to get through situations where SAD rears it's ugly head.

Of course, this is all easy to write but it's sometimes tough to apply it which is why I have anticipatory anxiety and sometimes use avoidance.
 
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