#1 Edited by Aomine (18 posts) -

I think I have social anxiety. I've had mild symptoms for years now. Sometimes I would be unable to maintain eye contact with people, or I would get really nervous when talking with someone, but those things usually only lasted a few days and then wouldn't reappear for months at a time. For some reason, it has gotten much worse in the past 2 weeks. I've become overly self conscious, developed shallow breathing and I can't even relax anymore when I'm by myself, let alone near people. I can't even talk with my parents anymore. All conversations are a struggle, and I feel exhausted after them. For some strange reason I keep thinking about my mustache and how it makes me look silly. Even when I shave I still have those thoughts. When I talk to people I keep thinking about how they're looking at my nonexistent mustache, and it feels like they're reading my mind. I know that I should go see a doctor, but I've never felt the need to do so before because I always knew it would eventually pass. I feel as if it wont this time and it really scares me. How do I tell my parents when I can't even talk to them properly.

#2 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Drink a beer or two mun, like all the normal people do. It helps. All the medication you need. Insecurity is not a sickness in my book. Then again, I might be a sociopath or even psychopath, so what do I know about normal? Ah yes, fuck normal.

#3 Posted by Aomine (18 posts) -

@seppli: Nah, I don't want to start relying on Alcohol. I would maybe if my case was mild, but I think it would only make it worse this way.

#4 Posted by believer258 (11680 posts) -

Sounds like it could also be extreme stress, depression, or just a complete lack of confidence. I guess all of those could be root causes of anxiety.

I probably should stop playing amateur psychologist and go ahead and tag @jasonr86

#5 Posted by Aomine (18 posts) -

@believer258: You're probably right. I forgot to add that I don't find enjoyment in the things I used to, but that could be due to the fact that I'm constantly focused on my shallow breathing and how everyone is looking at my non existent mustache. I think stress comes naturally with anxiety.

#6 Edited by believer258 (11680 posts) -

@aomine said:

@believer258: You're probably right. I forgot to add that I don't find enjoyment in the things I used to, but that could be due to the fact that I'm constantly focused on my shallow breathing and how everyone is looking at my non existent mustache. I think stress comes naturally with anxiety.

...or anxiety comes naturally with stress? Is there something you're stressed out about? Something you feel like you need to do or should have done?

#7 Posted by Aomine (18 posts) -

@believer258: Not really to be honest. It's summer, and I did pretty well last semester in college. It started getting bad 2 weeks ago out of nowhere. I was talking with my family and became extremely self conscious all of a sudden.

#8 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@aomine:

So really, it comes down to what you want. Do you want help? Get help. From help lines to self help groups to ringing up a therapist, the world's your oyster. Personally, I'd try to be cool with being stressed out. Just experience the sentiment as detached bystander, intellectualizing the situation, providing myself with ample answers from whatever perspectives I manage to come up with, until finally it's contained (encircled by insight if you will) - a situation of nonimportance that can be stepped out of at will.

#9 Posted by JasonR86 (9611 posts) -

Sounds like it could also be extreme stress, depression, or just a complete lack of confidence. I guess all of those could be root causes of anxiety.

I probably should stop playing amateur psychologist and go ahead and tag @jasonr86

Uh oh.

Well, it could be any number of things to be honest. But in terms of how to tell your parents. Just tell them beforehand that this is really hard to say but...and then start explaining that you would like to talk to someone for help. If that would be too hard try writing to them in a note or e-mail. I hope you start to develop some skills with some help. Best of luck duder.

#10 Edited by Vermisean (154 posts) -

@aomine: As someone who has been diagnosed with SA myself, my advice is to talk to your doctor. Therapy is known to help for sure. I take medication for it prescribed by my doctor. It all depends on your stance on medicine. A lot of my friends think medicating is some sort of evil, but it has helped me, so I'm cool with it.

As far as talking to your parents goes, I think @jasonr86 has the best advice there.

#11 Posted by Aomine (18 posts) -

@vermisean: In what way does medication help you? Does it lesser the effect, or are you able to completely relax when you're on it?

#12 Posted by Vermisean (154 posts) -

@aomine: Well when I started the medication (It's called Celexa btw), I found it overly relaxed me to the point where I was worried that it was going to affect my life negatively... But after about two weeks I noticed I was back to my usual self minus the anxiety. That isn't to say the anxiety isn't totally gone - every once in a while a little bit flares up, but never as much as before. One of my main triggers was tinted windows (On my university campus, I would get stressed that people could see me but I couldn't see them in certain buildings), and now I don't get anxious around them at all.

I am still anxious a bit in new social circles but on the whole, there has been a ton of improvement.

#13 Edited by Aomine (18 posts) -

@vermisean: It sounds like medicine would put me back to where I was before it got this bad which is what I want. Are you also doing therapy? I heard CBT is most common for this.

#14 Posted by Vermisean (154 posts) -

@aomine: Medication definitely brought me back to my normal life before it got really bad, so I can see that for sure.

I'm not doing therapy myself, but it seems like a solid path to take, particularly if you're sketched out by medicating.

CBT seems like a good way to go for sure - I agree that social anxiety can't always necessarily be tamed through rational thought.

#15 Posted by Aomine (18 posts) -

@vermisean: How long have you been taking medication for, and for how long do you plan on continuing? Sorry for all the questions.

#16 Posted by Vermisean (154 posts) -

@aomine: No worries on the questions :)

I've been taking it for about four or five years, and as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to stick with it for as long as it takes (Ive got a good benefits plan at work so I don't have to worry about the dollarz).

At this point, I think it might stress me out simply to know I'm not on it anymore, which could potentially be a problem (especially in a post-apocalyptic wasteland situation), but as it stands, I'll be sticking with it.

#17 Posted by Aomine (18 posts) -

@vermisean: Yeah, I could see that being a problem. How often do you take it, and how long does it last? Do you feel when the effects wear off, or does the anxiety not come back right away?

#18 Posted by Vermisean (154 posts) -

@aomine: I take a pill daily, though originally I was on twice as much. It doesn't seem to really wear off, even if I forget for a day. I think once it is in your system for long enough, things start to get back on track in your brain, so Ive never really felt anxiety come back aside from an occasional pang of it.

#19 Posted by rebgav (1429 posts) -

@jasonr86 said:

@believer258 said:

Sounds like it could also be extreme stress, depression, or just a complete lack of confidence. I guess all of those could be root causes of anxiety.

I probably should stop playing amateur psychologist and go ahead and tag @jasonr86

Uh oh.

Well, it could be any number of things to be honest. But in terms of how to tell your parents. Just tell them beforehand that this is really hard to say but...and then start explaining that you would like to talk to someone for help. If that would be too hard try writing to them in a note or e-mail. I hope you start to develop some skills with some help. Best of luck duder.

Congratulations! You have been selected to offer free mental health consultations via the internet!

Now we just need a real doctor and a mechanic to start posting blogs about their professions so that I can find out why my car is making that noise and what the lumpy thing on my elbow is.

#20 Posted by JasonR86 (9611 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@jasonr86 said:

@believer258 said:

Sounds like it could also be extreme stress, depression, or just a complete lack of confidence. I guess all of those could be root causes of anxiety.

I probably should stop playing amateur psychologist and go ahead and tag @jasonr86

Uh oh.

Well, it could be any number of things to be honest. But in terms of how to tell your parents. Just tell them beforehand that this is really hard to say but...and then start explaining that you would like to talk to someone for help. If that would be too hard try writing to them in a note or e-mail. I hope you start to develop some skills with some help. Best of luck duder.

Congratulations! You have been selected to offer free mental health consultations via the internet!

Now we just need a real doctor and a mechanic to start posting blogs about their professions so that I can find out why my car is making that noise and what the lumpy thing on my elbow is.

Alternator and it's a tumor.

#21 Posted by Aomine (18 posts) -

@vermisean: I see. Thanks for all the answers, you've been very helpful.

#22 Edited by rebgav (1429 posts) -

@jasonr86 said:

Alternator and it's a tumor.

...AT ALL.

#23 Posted by Vermisean (154 posts) -

@aomine: No problem! Best of luck, no one should have to deal with anxiety!

#24 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (2587 posts) -

Fake it til you make it. One of the more useful way to get over anxiety is to 'play act' at being 'you' as if you were more confident. Literally, you think "What would I WANT to do in this situation?" and then do that. Yes, it does require being 'always on' for a night for a for a few hours just as you would suppose a stage actor need to be hitting their marks and saying their lines, but it works. And not you are not lying, like I said, do what YOU would want to be 'doing' or 'saying'.

#25 Posted by Miyuki (176 posts) -

I have diagnosed social anxiety. I've never been on medication though. What helped me was therapy and desensitizing myself to the situations that bothered me. I had a hard time in college because it's a situation where it's hard to be introverted, and it caused me terrible anxiety. I now have a job where I constantly have to talk to new people, and at first it was hard. Now, though, it's ok, and in fact my coworkers were shocked when I referred to myself as an introvert!

For me the #1 thing was to admit that this is how I am, and it's ok. We don't have to all be social butterflies, but our society really prizes extroverts above all else. I found that the anxiety of being different was the worst part. I recommend the book "Quiet" by Susan Cain.

#26 Posted by 5Figh (172 posts) -

oh so not sex addiction

#27 Edited by Aomine (18 posts) -

@vermisean: One last question. Has your anxiety ever caused you shallow breathing? I started having it yesterday, and it doesn't seem to be letting go. It feels bad, but I read that its not dangerous if its due to anxiety.

#28 Edited by Vermisean (154 posts) -

@aomine: I suppose I've experienced shallow breathing in the midst of an anxiety attack, but not for prolonged periods of time.

It probably affects different people differently, but that might be a sign that you should hit up the doctor.

I'm sure you know this, but try to be wary of self-diagnosis, particularly using the Internet. WebMD doesn't always help :P

#29 Posted by Aomine (18 posts) -

@vermisean: Yeah, I should definitely go to a doctor, this is exhausting.

#30 Edited by Vermisean (154 posts) -

@aomine: For sure. Then you know what's up. Best of luck! Keep me updated if you can.

#31 Edited by Aomine (18 posts) -

@vermisean: I definitely will. Thanks for all your help.

#32 Posted by StrikeALight (1114 posts) -
@aomine said:

@vermisean: I definitely will. Thanks for all your help.

That's definitely a good idea.

It also happened to me when I was 20. I went to the doctor after a couple months of feeling like crap, and he said it was a the symptoms from a common form of mild depression, often associated with young adult males.

I was on anti-depressants for a while, but it soon cleared itself up. I've never suffered from it since, and nor do dwell on it. It just hit me like the common cold. I'm guessing it was a chemical imbalance or something.

#33 Edited by Fattony12000 (7093 posts) -

You can come round my house and eat mini pizzas and play Master System with me if you want. My mum can drop you off at home afterwards if you want, we don't have any creepy things in our house and it's super comfortable and nice here.

#34 Posted by Aomine (18 posts) -

@strikealight: Funny to say I turned 20 2 months ago, and this just got out of control 2 weeks ago.

@Fattony12000 You know I probably would if I didn't find the idea of talking to strangers (and family) a living hell.

#35 Posted by Humanity (8861 posts) -

@aomine: Not a sufferer of social anxiety but just wanted you to know that a lot of people go through different things. A couple of years ago when my life was in a rut and a few things aligned just in the right way to knock me off balance I started suffering from anxiety attacks. They would flare up in the strangest of times, shaky hands, pressure in my head, pounding in my chest, shortness of breath.. It was a really tough year as I slowly willed myself out of it without using any meds. A simple ride on the subway could be unbearable to the point where I had to get off early a couple of times because I thought I would suffocate.

My point is that don't be embarrassed about this or let that keep you from getting help where you need it - be it from a doctor or from your family. A lot of people go through weird stuff as they grow up and we all need a helping hand once in a while. Hope you get better with time - and it always takes time.

#36 Posted by Fattony12000 (7093 posts) -
@aomine said:

@Fattony12000 You know I probably would if I didn't find the idea of talking to strangers (and family) a living hell.

That's fine, mum and dad can go to our neighbours for a barbecue for a few hours instead, I'll just sit in the corner of the living room and watch you play Global Defense in silence.

#37 Posted by Aomine (18 posts) -

@humanity: Thanks, it makes me feel better knowing that most people go through similar stuff at some point in their lives.

I've also just told my parents and I'll be visiting a doctor first thing on Monday. They don't think its as bad as I say it is, and they say that they haven't really been noticing it considering I'm not really very talkative in the first place, but they do understand.

#38 Edited by Chop (1995 posts) -

Heh, I remember when I was utterly convinced I had SA...I was just a teenager with approximately zero self-confidence. Hopefully you get your shit sorted, I'm rooting for yah man.

#39 Posted by sqrabbit (106 posts) -

I could tell you that nothing we do really matters and try to relax, but I don't think any existential revelations about life might help you now.

Over a long period of time I found that any anxiety I have experienced, social or otherwise, was almost directly proportionate with the amount of exercise I was doing. What I mean is the less I was doing, the more anxiety symptoms I experienced. Good old balanced diet and exercise. You can take meds to mask the problem or try to fix it with establishing a disciplined routine of exercise, sleep and diet with plenty of veggies. Yes it's boring but it's been working for me.

It may mean less free time for fun or work, but you need to fit it in.

As others have already posted, free Internet advice so enjoy!

#40 Posted by Vermisean (154 posts) -

@sqrabbit: I definitely have to agree with you on the exercise and diet thing - It's wild how much some physical activity can do to amp your health up. Definitely good advice there.

#41 Posted by GaspoweR (2830 posts) -
@jasonr86 said:

@rebgav said:

@jasonr86 said:

@believer258 said:

Sounds like it could also be extreme stress, depression, or just a complete lack of confidence. I guess all of those could be root causes of anxiety.

I probably should stop playing amateur psychologist and go ahead and tag @jasonr86

Uh oh.

Well, it could be any number of things to be honest. But in terms of how to tell your parents. Just tell them beforehand that this is really hard to say but...and then start explaining that you would like to talk to someone for help. If that would be too hard try writing to them in a note or e-mail. I hope you start to develop some skills with some help. Best of luck duder.

Congratulations! You have been selected to offer free mental health consultations via the internet!

Now we just need a real doctor and a mechanic to start posting blogs about their professions so that I can find out why my car is making that noise and what the lumpy thing on my elbow is.

Alternator and it's a tumor.

I believe it's the timing belt...and it's a tumor.

Online
#42 Posted by dudeglove (7688 posts) -

Are you sure you're not a teenager?

#43 Posted by Nethlem (385 posts) -

I second the notion of a healthy diet and at least some workout!
Our bodies are complicated machines and nowadays we are bombarded by so many impulses on a regular basis, that our simple ape-brains can't keep up with this all the time.
That's why it's important to take care of your body at least a little bit.

I also suffered from anxiety, depressions and a couple of other issues that got really bad around my 20's. I always felt worn out, without energy and not motivated to do anything, everything felt like a chore my whole life long. At some point i even started hating people who "got shit done" because i couldn't understand where they got all that energy and confidence from.

A visit with my doctor and a couple of tests revealed that i suffer from a very fatty liver, even tho i'm not that overweight.
So i started being more careful about my diet, less junk food, no more 3 warm meals per day, less meat and fat in general. I also started running on a regular basis.

After i lost a couple of pounds and my liver values normalized somewhat i felt like a new person, a person i've never met before!
Sure when i get too sloppy with my workout or diet i fall back into old behaviors and it's really difficult to break out again. But at least now i know what the "issue" is and how i can fix it when it gets really bad.

So don't be too scared, the reasons don't have to be always psychological!

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