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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here are my personal thoughts on social anxiety.

Social anxiety is basically having a fear or irrational thought about YOURSELF. We think it's about other people's perception of ourselves, of our "weirdness" or "faults", but it's our own voices and minds telling us these things.

First off, let me say that I truly have a special spot in my heart for everyone that deals with social anxiety - I don't even know if that's a correct description- more like a personal hell. It affects your entire life, and no one would understand what you've been through and what it really is like, unless they themselves have been there.

Why is it so painful? We are social beings. Only humans have the ability for such complex language skills and communication. For most of us, social interaction is a necessity, after our basic living needs are met. And let's face it life is pretty boring with out it and you feel invisible and almost pointless if you don't have interaction or some connection. Social communicating helps you achieve certain needed relationships.

People who have studied feelings of embarrassment, which we all personally know very well, say the people who felt the most embarrassed during their studies in which everyone was given the same "embarrassing" situation, they were the ones who had the most empathy and sensitivity to others. I really believe most of us have that compassion deep down.

I feel like social anxiety can be compared to a physical disease that destroys our body, which we rely on someone else to help us. But with SA its our own minds and we are our own cures, we get to treat ourselves. Even if we go see a therapist, we will be doing all of the work OURSELVES! ( I know there are different severities for everyone, I'm not saying medication isn't helpful for some people, but I know I would prefer to not rely or depend on it if I can do so.)

Facts you need to know.

1. You are not weird, and there's nothing wrong with you.

I don't care if you have an extra eye on your forehead or you have a giant mole the size of Texas on your nose, you are human, not perfect - no one is - but there is absolutely nothing wrong or weird about you. None of us are identical (a very good thing) but we're all still human beings with hearts (for the most part lol).

2. It's about MY thoughts and irrational fears, and no one elses.

I know we've all had them. Oh she thinks I'm so weird I can't make eye contact when we talk. He probably thinks I'm a loser because of what I did. I'm such mess up I can't even do that right. What's wrong with me? I'm so ugly people don't want to be around me. Yeh, we've all had them. The first step is that you need to identify them, and realize when you're thinking these thoughts. Because you're being your own worst enemy, no one else is, believe it. *The only reason why we have social anxiety is because of our OWN thoughts.* It is a Catch-22, you're so scared of making a mistake, you end up making yourself scared and making that mistake, compoundig the problem. We need to realize that I'm OK as a person and its my own abusive thoughts causing my problems.

I don't like to talk about it, but a lot of you can relate and even more so. I was physically abused my entire childhood by one parent, my parents were divorced and was never close with the other. Out of my siblings, I always felt the least important. I was teased and tormented practically all through high school. And wouldn't you know it, I developed Social Anxiety.

I can tell you I didn't feel loved and honestly, I still don't. I've been dealing with SA for over 10 years now. I think people who deal with SA need and want to be loved sooo bad because we don't love ourselves or don't feel loved and secure. A lot of us feel broken, and alone. We desire so much for acceptance and love (not in a vain way, in an every person does kind of way) that we put so much importance into these seemingly little things. This is what a "support system" does, its kind of like a silent safety net that tells you you're OK because someone loves and accepts me, so what if I made a mistake, I'm human, all humans make mistakes. Some people are fortunate enough to have strong ones, others aren't so fortunate.

But let me tell you, theres one constant in life - you're always gonna have yourself. So even if you weren't blessed or fortunate enough to feel loved, you can learn to love yourself. It took me practically this long to believe such a simple sentence. *I know that we are more than just our physical appearance, our fears, our rejections, our faults, and our hurt.*

3. If you make a "mistake" or embarrass yourself, you need to say to yourself.. Ok self, why does this conversation, experience, person's approval mean so much to me?

Is it because I'm not loving myself enough? I'm not giving myself enough acceptance? Am I separating the situation from myself? (Remember no one's perfect, people without SA are humans, just like us!, and trip, stutter, say the wrong words, have nothing to say sometimes too.) Again our fears and anxiety don't describe us as people, we are much more than that. Whether we have a million friends and are as outgoing and fearless as anyone, you can not attach yourself to your perception of what other people are thinking about you good or bad. "So what, who cares, it happens to everyone" is the attitude you need to have.



We all need some kind of human connection and bond, but let me tell you it starts off with yourself. You have to love yourself first.

Social anxiety is a blessing in this, that it forces you to truly love and accept yourself, to see yourself in a different light, unconditonally. And we have our own internal thermostat, telling us if we're on the right track. Is the fear still there? Am I still thinking negative thoughts about myself? More work to do. Remember we are our own cure, which is good, but we have to continuously work on our inner selves. It will get easier and things will get better. We will overcome this!
 

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Everything you wrote is correct.

For me, and presumably a lot of other people, even after realizing this it's hard to act on your knowledge. Your pattern of thought becomes so negative over time that it's hard to rise from it. It takes a lot of willpower to change and every little step towards improving yourself is critical to the final outcome. It's a slow process.
 

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I agree with what you wrote.
However, this loving and accepting yourself idea is totally foreign to me. I absolutly hate and despise everything about myself and have done so for at least 20 years. I wouldn't even know how to start changing that. And quiet honestly don't know if it's even possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
PM sent Michael, and you don't have to ask to PM me, I'd be more then happy to talk to you. Thank you, I just hope what I wrote helps someone, even it's just a little. I know loving and accepting yourself is very hard, it might be one of the hardest things for us to do, and it's a process. We might not believe that, but I really feel for the majority of people this is a struggle, not just for people with SA. You have some days that are good, some.. not so good. But you have to keep treating it before it gets better. And I agree little steps are important. We need to separate ourselves from our perceived failures and downfalls, because that's NOT US it's not who we really are. I think all of us could make a list of all our faults, and be like this is why I can't be loved and love myself and carry it around with us forever. Imagine if every person on the street had this invisible list of things with them, explaining why they can't be loved. I ask myself, if I had a twin somewhere else, that I had never met with my same exact life, would I love this person? I know I've been through, what I've done, my heart, the good the bad, some of it understandable some I still dont understand. We do the best we can with what we have, that's all we can do. We need to look beyond the physical, like hating our looks or hating ourselves because we feel awkward and different, and forgive ourselves if we feel bad, for hurting someone else or ourselves, we're only human. I know if I attached myself to my physical attributes, the things I have, the things I've done, how many friends/people love me, I could never really love myself. Some days I would despise myself to no end, I've been there, still there sometimes - it's a process. Again, we deserve to be loved, we just have to look past what we see in the mirror that makes us hate ourselves so much.

Life seems hopeless sometimes doesn't it? Especially for us with SA, it's hard to stay motivated about anything let alone life. SA has forced me to find things that I enjoy and like and feel proud of myself for doing. I read about history and current events, I force myself to lol but I feel good about myself after I do, like I accomplished something. I'm finding theres a whole lot out there that I'm interested in. I know for me watching tv or killing hours online made me feel worse about myself. I still do that, but I try to incorporate other things as well, that make me feel good. I'm trying to teach myself how to play the guitar, not easy! but I'm proud of myself for trying. I'm not saying Im an expert in world affairs or gonna be the next jimi hendrix or something, but SA has helped me find things about myself, what I like what I enjoy doing or what I'd like to be able to do one day. I have little goals, and bigger ones, but one day at a time. I don't think being alone and by myself sometimes is so bad anymore. And I know when I eat healthier and sleep better, these things help me as well. My SA is a lot worse when I lack sleep and I'm eating horrendously. And I know it's hard to eat and be healthy, when you don't feel good about yourself.

Looks like I wrote a novel again lol I can only go by my personal experiences and thoughts, I know everyone is different, and no one can make us feel better but ourselves. Its a hard thing to have to go through, and learning to still accept and be ok with yourself at the end of the day is difficult. But I know all of us have the potential to get better and be better and to actually be happy one day. I know because it's been a long journey for me, I'm still going through it but I am better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm sorry I just have to add that we with SA tend to take things very personally, even though we shouldn't. I know there are people out there, with their own issues obviously, that lack empathy and compassion for people, even if they know it causes them hurt. When people with SA come in to contact with these types of people, we blames ourselves for whatever happened and how bad we were treated "there must be something wrong with me". I just have to say that I know for a fact these people exist, you have to realize that some people just don't care and are spiteful and mean on purpose, but this really has nothing to do with you. I just had to add this because it took me a long time to realize that some people are like that, and it wasn't because of my faults.
 

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Why is it so painful? We are social beings. Only humans have the ability for such complex language skills and communication. For most of us, social interaction is a necessity, after our basic living needs are met. And let's face it life is pretty boring with out it and you feel invisible and almost pointless if you don't have interaction or some connection. Social communicating helps you achieve certain needed relationships.
first of i would like to say thank you for your kind words, they are very inspiring and hope you find a solution. i'm in the same path, i'm looking to be enlighten and take action as i believe SA can be beat. second is that i agree with this paragraph but i would go as far as to say it's a requirement for everyone to socialize. by being social one finds their place in life and one finds oneself. because if i was alone in an island by myself i would not even know if i was 'bad' or 'good' looking. one finds out if one is 'ugly' or 'good' looking by others not by what we think about ourselves. this may be a poor example, but where i'm getting at is that alienation is a huge contributor, if not the root, to SAD, the lack of people skills if you will. every social experience one goes through is an experience that one, subconsciously, remembers and acts upon it the next time one goes through a similar social experience. kids learn how to act like kids by socializing, teens learn how to act like teens by socializing, and so on. now this alienation is part of what causes SA IMO. the other big contributer is WHAT CAUSED one to become anti-social in the first place. so i believe this is how one can get SAD (i also believe SA can be inherited, but thats not the point here).

stages of SAD

1 - something causes one to avoid going out. (first stages of SAD)
- abuse
- computer
etc

2 - one becomes anti-social.
- as the years pass by in isolation one forgets (or never learned) how to act in social situations. people around the anti-social can 'sense' something is wrong with that person. their natural reaction is to look at that person as the 'enemy' sort of speak. hence the infamous question 'why are you so quiet?' in other words the person asking the question doesn't understand why the people who suffer from SA don't talk like the rest of the people. they assume for that not to be normal because that's what they learned by socializing, normal people talk. etc..etc..the alienation cycle continues.

3 - one gets stuck and can't seem to find a way to get out. (full stage of SAD)

i'm on #3 and trying to find a way out. the way i work though is i first have to understand the problem in order to find a solution. like a vaccine. that's how i am. but one thing for sure is that there is a way out of it. my goal is to 'forget' that i have SA and socialize and think about what is being said in a social situation and not think about how i'm going to 'fack' up.

thank you for you kind and positive words.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You guys don't have to thank me, I'm so glad to help even it's just a little.

mrfixit, I know what you mean. I know thats what we're "supposed" to do, just be totally emersed in the situation and not thinking about what can happen or how we can mess up. But with SA thats so hard just to forget about that, because it seems like thats always in the back of our minds. If you're worried about messing up, you're going to, for me anyway. Again for me, to get rid of that worry I couldn't do that unless I had some sort of confidence, knowing that I'm ok, theres nothing wrong with me, and that its only my own fears and negative thoughts, and that anxiety from it that makes me "mess up". That I'm not a horrible person or a major 'fack up' lol Now even if I do something that's embarrassing or whatever, I really don't care and take it to heart. But that rarely happens because I don't have that fear. Some days like I said are better than others, when I do have a bad day I just look at it like I'm not loving or accepting myself enough and I need to squash the negative thoughts, and I know that if I can overcome it even once I can do it again. I used to think it was because I lacked social skills, but honestly it wasn't. It was just that anxiety/fear. When you don't have that, being yourself, saying/doing what you want comes naturally. You're not a roller coaster of adrenaline, you're calm before, during, and after the situation. You don't go over what you said or the other person, or what they might have thought about you. It is completely the opposite when you're dealing with SA. I really hope you can work through it, all of us. And I really believe we can.
 

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I can tell you I didn't feel loved and honestly, I still don't. I've been dealing with SA for over 10 years now. I think people who deal with SA need and want to be loved sooo bad because we don't love ourselves or don't feel loved and secure. A lot of us feel broken, and alone. We desire so much for acceptance and love (not in a vain way, in an every person does kind of way) that we put so much importance into these seemingly little things.
First off I'd just like to thank you for that post. It was honestly really touching. I enjoyed it a lot. Also, what I quoted and highlighted there really hit home with me. It almost made me cry. Because I am totally going through that right now. I mean, I know I have people around me who love me, my friend, my family- but I just don't love myself. Love and acceptance- my fruitless quest for acceptance. That is so true because I can never accept myself. I'm never right, never good enough.

Peekyboo said:
I think all of us could make a list of all our faults, and be like this is why I can't be loved and love myself and carry it around with us forever. Imagine if every person on the street had this invisible list of things with them, explaining why they can't be loved.
That's a really interesting perspective. Really eye-opening. Some people would have a harder time than others, some people's lists would be longer. Like ours, for example.
 

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mrfixit, I know what you mean. I know thats what we're "supposed" to do, just be totally emersed in the situation and not thinking about what can happen or how we can mess up. But with SA thats so hard just to forget about that, because it seems like thats always in the back of our minds. If you're worried about messing up, you're going to, for me anyway. Again for me, to get rid of that worry I couldn't do that unless I had some sort of confidence, knowing that I'm ok, theres nothing wrong with me, and that its only my own fears and negative thoughts, and that anxiety from it that makes me "mess up". That I'm not a horrible person or a major 'fack up' lol Now even if I do something that's embarrassing or whatever, I really don't care and take it to heart. But that rarely happens because I don't have that fear. Some days like I said are better than others, when I do have a bad day I just look at it like I'm not loving or accepting myself enough and I need to squash the negative thoughts, and I know that if I can overcome it even once I can do it again. I used to think it was because I lacked social skills, but honestly it wasn't. It was just that anxiety/fear. When you don't have that, being yourself, saying/doing what you want comes naturally. You're not a roller coaster of adrenaline, you're calm before, during, and after the situation. You don't go over what you said or the other person, or what they might have thought about you. It is completely the opposite when you're dealing with SA. I really hope you can work through it, all of us. And I really believe we can.
i admire your positive thinking and hope that soon i can view the world the way you do. you should be very proud of yourself for not giving up and keep fighting. i know how hard it can be being raised with an abusive parent. i know how hard it can be living with family who do/did not understand you. how do i know this? because i went through that. one thing is having SA, another is having an abusive parent. those two are major road blocks in the path to a fulfilling life.

how does one learn how to drive? by learning the state laws, learning the road rules and by practicing how to drive with a mentor. how does one learn how to play the guitar? by buying a guitar, learning the cords, learning the music notes and practice...practice...practice until it becomes second nature.. (side not. i might give this a try since i have a guitar in my closet. was a gift). this two examples have steps from point A to point Z. the result will always be the same if one follows through. one has to KNOW the steps and TAKE ACTION to reach the goal.

now if i look at SA with this mentality i can see that we have 'LEARNED' how to be social anxious. the thing is that we didn't CHOOSE to be this way, it was just brought upon us by fate.
the goal now, to get rid of SA, is to LEARN how to over come it and TAKE ACTION.

by taking the above in consideration i can come with a conclusion: first, i need to find the path that works, the blue prints if you will. second, i need to learn those blue prints. third, take action and build the mansion.

to put it in perspective i need to do the following (not in any particular order):

WORK IN PROGRESS.

NOTE: ONE SHOULD APPROACH THE FOLLOWING STEPS AS THE EXAMPLES ABOVE (DRIVING AND GUITAR).

- socialize socialize for the sake to learn how to socialize not because i want to but because it's a step towards learning how to over come SA.

*...
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* force oneself to talk more.
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*join some type of support group or make your own.

- think positive whenever some bad thought come to mind, i should find something to replace those negative thoughts.

*...
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- forgive and forget i need to forget those who have hurt me so i can go on with my life and not have hate in my heart.

*...
*...
*...
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- and so on!

WORK IN PROGRESS.

ok i'm done rambling, have a good day.
 

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Definitely not as verbose as a novel - you should look at some of my old posts.

Very logical conclusions; I'm impressed :)
 
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