• Quote of the Day
    "Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life;
    not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens."
    Kahlil Gibran, posted by David Baxter

moonriver

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I logged onto your forum looking for information on social anxiety. I know you are presenting shyness as positive but it doesn?t feel positive to me. I feel so hopeless, everything social makes me anxious. Parties, work functions, speaking in public, going to Doctors, dating, returning items to a store, confronting people, having to leave my office at work, taking coffee breaks with people, being around groups of people. I went to see a psychologist and we worked on exposure to some things and I did what he asked me to and he said I was ready to terminate therapy because I made good progress with my assignments. The thing is, although I did the required assignments, I don?t feel any different, I only did the assignments so I wouldn?t be criticized or embarrassed for not having done them. I feel no diferent and this after six months of working on this problem in bi monthly sessions. One of my assignments was to go for a coffee break and I did that but I have not done it again since.

I physically can not go to a doctor about this, I know its dumb to care what people. I cant go back to the therapist, he will be angry or impatient with me for pretending to make progress. I don?t know why I did it, I just didn?t want to look bad. There is no way I could join a group like it talks about in some of the threads, I could never do that.

I am bored, I am lonely and I am fed up with myself but I feel too pathetic to overcome this problem. I hate making a fool of myself all the time, I always say the wrong thing, people laugh at me. Tonight I actually went out and I said something stupid and people were laughing at me. I hate that feeling.

Sorry to sound so negaative, I am Just venting and I am mad ar myself, I guess, there is no one to talk to and its my own fault..:(
 

busymom

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Hi Moonriver

Welcome and I am glad you posted how you are feeling. The first step to moving forward is to admit you have a problem. Starting here with the support network that this forum provides is great.

It is normal to feel embarrassed about this type of problem. Different therapies work for different people. Has your psychologist gotten upset with you in the past? If he is not understanding perhaps a fresh start with a new psychologist would be best.

Stay connected with the people here, they have many stories to share and suggestions to make.

Do you have family support to help you work through this anxiety?
 

Retired

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Welcome to Psychlinks, Moonriver. May I say that you have expressed yourself in a most eloquent and assertive manner.

An interesting commentary with regard to person with social anxiety, but not uncommon.

As I am sure you know, social anxiety is a medically treatable disorder, recognized by physisicans. There is no need to feel uncomfortable discussing the subject with your doctor.

I have often wondered if just about everyone of us experiences some degree of social anxiety in the situations you listed.

Hopefully by talking about it here and in other support venues you might find along the way, you can find some strategies to help cope with these feelings.

Glad you've joined us here on Psychlinks!
 

Daniel

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Parties, work functions, speaking in public, going to Doctors, dating, returning items to a store, confronting people, having to leave my office at work, taking coffee breaks with people, being around groups of people.

A few years ago, I was at least slightly anxious every time I left the house and sometimes quite anxious. I would obsess over almost every human interaction and would be very self-conscious. With grocery shopping, however, I noticed I would be less anxious if I went to the store 2-3 times per week as opposed to only once a week. It also seemed to help if I exercised prior to going out, which makes a lot of sense since exercise is often at least as effective as anxiety medication.

Regardless, you will get better. I rarely feel anxious in public now, partly because life tends to habituate people whether they know it or not. In other words, the little exposures add up, and progress tends to be gradual and difficult to see except in retrospect.

I cant go back to the therapist, he will be angry or impatient with me for pretending to make progress.

All the more reason to go back, to confront your fears (which, in this case, are ungrounded).

Anyway, as you said, you were doing the assignments, so you were making progress. You may feel now that you weren't making progress, but many people feel very differently about their progress on any given day.
 
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moonriver

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Thanks for the advice you gave me, I spent the week thinking about it. I am going to go back and I will keep doing more things more often. Funny how easy it is to talk to strangers when you cant see them face to face. I wish it was that easy when they were right in front of you. You both were very kind and non judging.
 

ladylore

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Hey Moonriver, Welcome to the forum :welcome:

What everyone has said so far, goes ditto from me too. I also know what your talking about as I deal with the same anxiety. A gentle reminder that it is also a process. Feeling the anxiety lessen won't happen all at once, so please stay gentle with yourself and push the limits a step at a time. The forum threads have great ideas about dealing with that anxiety while keeping you feeling safe, expanding your territory, so to speak and so on.

See what works for you as it is individual.

Ladylore

P.S. Having the computer as a boundary does seem to make it easier at times to open up. :geek:
 

moonriver

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Thanks for the advice everyone, I feel silly posting with all the serious issues on here and my problem is just that I am afraid of people. But yet, I am afraid but I feel like I am always looking for constant reassurance from the same people I fear.... everyone, like from you guys on how not to be anxious, from people I know, from my family, maybe even the therapist. Is there something I am missing? Is needing constant reassurance just a sign of anxiety or is it a dependency problem? I dont think I am a dependent person, I am all alone so I have no one to depend on. Why do I deperately feel like I need someone to tell me I am ok all the time? i decided not to go back to see the therapist because I am afraid I will be fine while I am there and then when I leave it will be panicked city again. Does anyone out there think I am a lunatic because I feel like one?
 

David Baxter

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There are no little or trivial or silly issues when you are the one facing them, moonriver.

I think wanting someone to share your life with and to reassure you when you're feeling anxious or insecure is human nature. No matter how confident a person may appear or how old he may be, there are going to be times when we all wish Mommy or a best friend could just pick us up, hug us, and make it all better.

That doesn't make you a lunatic - just human.
 

ThatLady

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I feel silly posting with all the serious issues on here and my problem is just that I am afraid of people.

This statement struck me as important, moonriver. It seems to me that living on a planet full of people, and being afraid of people, is pretty darned serious! In fact, anything that troubles you, or makes you feel badly, or anxious, is serious. If it's serious to you, it's serious. If it troubles you, it needs to be dealt with. Therapy is the very best way to deal with problems like yours. If I were you, I wouldn't reject the help that can come from therapy. :hug:
 

Halo

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i decided not to go back to see the therapist because I am afraid I will be fine while I am there and then when I leave it will be panicked city again. Does anyone out there think I am a lunatic because I feel like one?

Although you may feel like a lunatic, I can assure you that you aren't one. I can relate to some of what you are describing especially the part about needing reassurance from people and I am definitely not a lunatic although even I at times will think it.

I believe that I need reassurance at times because I don't have the confidence in myself and therefore look externally to others to validate my thoughts, feelings and experiences. It has only been through therapy that I am beginning to have a better understanding of myself and to trust my own thoughts and feelings and I really believe that if you continued on in therapy that you would get to that point as well.

I really hope that you will reconsider about continuing on in therapy.

Take care
 
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i decided not to go back to see the therapist because I am afraid I will be fine while I am there and then when I leave it will be panicked city again.
don't let fear get in the way of improving your life. if you don't go, you guarantee that it will be panicked city regardless. with the help of a therapist you can learn to change your thinking and your behaviour, and you'll get past the anxiety. it'll take time but it's well worth it. you can also bring up this worry to the therapist and together you could work on a strategy on how you'll handle things when you leave again.
 

moonriver

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Thanks you guys, I am really touched by your kind words of support. I hope to return the favour someday, I didnt know that people could be understanding about things like this. Thank you sincerely.

:heart:Thanks you guys, I am really touched by your kind words of support. I hope to return the favour someday, I didnt know that people could be understanding about things like this. Thank you sincerely.
 
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Daniel Baxter

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Moonriver,

What your therapist attempted before was a behavioural technique known as shaping, characterized by exposing the person to closer and closer approximations of the object of fear. However, you identified a crucial point: this activity can be quite biased on the patient's side of things. You gave him the answers you thought he wanted. Thus, the procedure failed. However, the idea of using it, I believe, is still sound. I have a different strategy for you that you might employ that combines two theories into one. We're going to call it "secure attachment shaping" because I'm too lazy right now (just ate lunch) to think of something better (sorry, you'll have to forgive me, bogged down by pizza...slowly...getting...slow..er...j/k).

Some preamble: there's a lot of research that has gone into/is going into Secure Attachment Theory, originated by a guy named Bowlby and furthered by other very exceptional researchers. The idea is pretty widely supported by actual scientific experiments. Now, in a basic run-down of the theory, many social interaction styles and relationship styles are highly correlated with a previous attachment style. Some people are secure, meaning they are ok when they're attachment figure leaves, and express joy on their return. Some people are ambivalent, meaning they express great distress when the person leaves, and are hard to soothe when the attachment figure returns. Still other people are avoidant, and show no signs of caring about the attachment figures absence or return, as a sort of punishment. Now, all of this might seem irrelevant, but here's the kicker: research has clearly shown that no matter the previous attachment style, a person can change if they enter into a securely attached relationship. In essence, one can be ambivalent, but then have a relationship with someone who is secure, and can thus become secure themselves.

So how are we going to combine this idea with the technique of shaping? Here's the idea: it's too much to send you out into the world to try to slowly build yourself up to significant social interaction. What you need is something there to calm you in the situation. So, you're going to go with someone. If there is someone in your life you can think of, any person at all, a family member, a close friend, anyone who you are close to, you should approach them. Ask them (and this is the very first part of shaping, how genius) if they would be willing to go to a coffee house, a park, anywhere with you that you want to go where there will be people. The first time you go, just sit with the friend and try to keep yourself as calm as possible: breathe deep, do not follow thought patterns that are familiarly anxious, close your eyes for 10 seconds at a time and try to center yourself. what you're trying to do is associate a relaxed emotional state with social/public environments, because right now, you associate them with a nervous/anxious emotional state. Having the safe person with you is bringing a secure attachment figure into places where normally you feel very insecure. Then, once you can feel comfortable just sitting there, the next time you go out together, have you friend approach somebody with you. Ask them something small, like if they know the time, or if they have a newspaper they're not reading. The next time, try something a little bigger. Once you start feeling comfortable with this, then try going back to the beginning, but this time, without the friend. Go back to just sitting somewhere public, but by yourself, and practice the relaxation techniques you built up (even if its just one that's still awesome) while going out with your friend. Work through your exercises all over again, but this time on your own.

Not only will the secure attachment figure help you to find a comfortable emotional state in an otherwise stressful environment, it's going to help build a stronger social network. And, as we saw with your prev. therapist, having somebody's expectations to meet actually propels you into trying things you normally wouldn't do. So, we're gonna try to use that to our advantage instead of calling that a weakness in the therapy.

Give this a thought. And then, hopefully, give it a try. At the very least, you'll just lose a little bit of time, and let's face facts: you would've lost that time anyways. At least this way you spent it trying to accomplish something. It is better to fail at something we want to do then succeed at doing nothing.

- Dan
 

ladylore

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Cool Post Daniel! :2thumbs:

Definitely have given me some new ideas. Thanks :)
 

moonriver

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Thanks Daniel, you dont even know me yet you spent all this time putting this post together. I do have someone I could try these things with I think, but I dont really feel comfortable telling anyone what I am trying to accomplish. I think it might be much easier to try things with someone else, I did not have much luck on my own.

Thank you again for your ideas.
 

moonriver

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Today I went to the gym, sounds like a lame accomplishment I know but I was happy that I did this with all the people there and feeling very self conscious but I went anyway. I did alot of things wrong but it was still tolerable.

And, yesterday I went to the cafeteria at my job by myself. Another stupid one I know but I never go there, it is so busy.

I know these are tiny accomplishments, but it still feels kind of nice

Thanks for your ideas you guys.
 

David Baxter

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They're not lame, or stupid, or tiny accomplishments at all for someone with social anxiety. You did well. :2thumbs: :)
 

ladylore

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I agree with David Moonriver :)

Not small accomplishments at all - Great work. :hug::goodjob:
 

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