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#51 Posted by axialcartographer (5 posts) -

You're not alone. I was the victim of verbal abuse regularly throughout elementary and middle school. This not only destroyed my ability to socialize in a healthy manner, but also purged any ounce of self-confidence and self-worth that a healthy individual should posses. It also destroyed my desire to do well in school, as I was typically more pre-occupied with being made fun of than I was with paying attention in class. As a result, I was consistently failing and barely passing my classes in school. In High School, kids got much less confrontational (not everyone's experience, just mine) and instead of making fun of people "they" didn't like, you were simply ignored. This kind of "shunning" was in some way just as bad as the bullying I experienced beforehand, and further encouraged my social exile from humanity.

I experienced my first "break" in Senior year, after being assigned to a weight lifting elective. I couldn't work up the courage to actually go to the counselors and select my electives for the new semester. If you didn't select your own electives the school would assign them to you at random, but I was absolutely opposed to spending any more time at school than I had to so I never selected them. My experience in weight lifting was an immense boost in confidence. I lost weight, got in much better shape and people began to actually notice me, which in a way tells you how fucked up people are. With my slightly improved confidence, I started being able to actually talk to some people and made a few friends. Our little group was all alike in that we were the outcasts of the school, but they were good people generally. I found a job at a local grocery store, which actually helped even more as I was forced to interact with people everyday. I finally started to develop social skills that had escaped me for so long. I learned how to approach people, how to greet them, and how to make general conversation.

I still struggle with it somewhat, but not necessarily anxiety. Because of my life experiences I've become a very cynical and jaded individual, and can have difficulty relating to others.

You're not alone.

#52 Edited by Cyrus_Saren (528 posts) -

Yes, all the time. It is something that I seem to have always struggled with. It is one of the reasons why I am so god damn nervous about finding and keeping a job. I am just someone that prefers being alone.

#53 Posted by RandomHero666 (3181 posts) -

y...yes

It's ruining/has already ruined my life, fun.

#54 Posted by Splandon (15 posts) -

I've dealt with this kind of thing for a long time, which is ironic because I'm a performer and completely at ease in situations that would definitely make other people uncomfortable. For me it's crowds and and general lack of control of a situation that leads to panic attacks. I lived in Manhattan for a while and taking the subway became a problem to the extent that I mostly just walked everywhere. Things got better when I started reading things about being aware and present in your surroundings and controlling your breathing. A lot of panic attacks start with irregular breathing.

It's still something I deal with and some days and events are better than others, but it's a process.

#55 Edited by pyromagnestir (4190 posts) -

@scrawnto:

Actually, mine's much more like this. Essentially, people are supreme assholes waiting to shut you down and make you feel like shit at the slightest provocation.

Oh yeah! Well mine's more like I believe I'm a boring, stupid, worthless, empty, pathetic excuse for a human being who doesn't deserve anything good in his life and thinks that nobody in the world should ever have to be subjected to the ordeal that is interacting with me, so when out in social situations I suppress my urge to do anything that I might find myself wanting to do or to say anything I have the urge to say in an attempt to make life better for those around me.

#56 Posted by Video_Game_King (35783 posts) -

Oh yeah! Well mine's more like I believe I'm a boring, stupid, worthless, empty, pathetic excuse for a human being who doesn't deserve anything good in his life

I get that, too. (Minus the human being part, obviously.) Doesn't gel too well with my belief that I have absolutely no control over my thoughts and mental processes.

Online
#57 Posted by Buble (71 posts) -

If you get the chance, for any Canadians/students on GB, I would suggest trying to find someone that will do CBT with you. I had OCD following a brain injury and, at first, I thought it was social anxiety until I spoke with someone about it. After a few months of CBT I was almost entirely symptom free.

Still have good days/bad days, like anyone, but overall my quality of life has improved 10 fold. I couldn't recommended seeking out professional help enough for anyone suffering. It's a medical condition, and someone with a broken arm wouldn't feel bad about seeing a doctor, so nor should any of you.

#58 Edited by slyspider (1130 posts) -

Bullied in most of schooling till highschool when I went to a much smaller highschool and ended up being part of 'that couple' that everyone knows and such. In college, or university i guess, I've reverted back to the state of not knowing how to talk to people. Got 2 years left till med school, I think I can beat it before then! So yes it sucks.

#59 Posted by Brendan (7663 posts) -

It starts in the feet.

#60 Edited by Turtlebird95 (2283 posts) -

Yup. It has gotten way better over the last couple years though.

#61 Posted by Superkenon (1348 posts) -

Man, we're all a bunch of stereotypes, aren't we.

I definitely have social anxieties, though it'd be hyperbolic to say it's ruining me. I just have no social life (outside of the Internet), on account of avoiding such things like the plague.

No complaints though.

#62 Edited by Demoskinos (14510 posts) -

I used to but a certain point I just quit caring about trying to relate to people. If I have a connection with them then I have a connection If I don't then I dont. I don't really like being in large crowds either but If I have to I have to like tonight with all these stupid pre-black Friday sales.

#63 Posted by TobbRobb (4549 posts) -

Generally no. It still shows up from time to time though. But that goes for anyone I guess, it just all depends on the atmosphere.

#64 Posted by Jeust (10448 posts) -

I look for a secluded place to rest for a while at least.

#65 Posted by SteadyingMeat (1101 posts) -

Yep. I kinda just stand there and hope whatever situation I've found myself in will be over soon.

#66 Edited by Hunter5024 (5503 posts) -

I don't really, but it sounds like a whole bunch of you do. I wish I could help but I can't really think of any good advice for you :(

The only times I ever get anxious are around girls I really like. The way I try to overcome that is by trying to get out of my own head, and realizing that even if I fuck up, or act like an idiot or something, nothing really all that bad can come of it.

#67 Posted by Video_Game_King (35783 posts) -

nothing really all that bad can come of it.

Online
#68 Edited by muffinmcmuffin (23 posts) -

I struggled with it for a ridiculous amount of time, and still have my moments now. My advice for those experiencing frequent or near constant social anxiety: talk to a therapist or a psychologist. I know that not everyone is comfortable with this option or has the means to do so, so I'm not saying this is some kind of catch all.

However, I spent a lot of time telling myself that I would be weak if I sought assistance from anyone about anxiety. My wife actually had to convince me to go when things got sort of bad before I entered law school. It's not weakness to look for help, it's strength. Also, they didn't put me on meds, just talked to me and taught me some strategies for dealing with it. That really helped.

#69 Posted by Flappy (2107 posts) -

I don't really, but it sounds like a whole bunch of you do. I wish I could help but I can't really think of any good advice for you :(

The only times I ever get anxious are around girls I really like. The way I try to overcome that is by trying to get out of my own head, and realizing that even if I fuck up, or act like an idiot or something, nothing really all that bad can come of it.

This sums up my situation pretty nicely. In addition to the attractive chicks, shady shit going down at shady places also get under my skin.

#70 Posted by Hunter5024 (5503 posts) -

@hunter5024 said:

nothing really all that bad can come of it.

Maybe the reason I don't really get anxious is because I'm good at handling people being mean to me. It rarely bothers me.

#71 Posted by SilverBolt (11 posts) -

Yeah, it's definitely been a problem in the past for me too. It's considerably more minor these days though, and that probably has to do with getting an internship a couple of years ago that forced me to act a bit differently than I was comfortable with. This has led me to try to become involved in activities and conversations that I am unfamiliar with despite my anxiety, and to an extent, it's been working.

My advice would be just to look for opportunities -- anything, really -- to get away from what you are usually comfortable with, and you might be surprised at how well things go.

#72 Edited by Canteu (2821 posts) -

Nope. I just kinda ignore my family. And when I have to deal with that shit, it's only for a few hours. Social stuff is easy. Shady people doing shady things doesn't bother me, since when I'm in that situation it is self imposed, and I usually know the parties involved. I work as a support desk agent. I hardly know shit about computers, I'm just really, really good at talking and making people feel comfortable with what I'm telling them is true.

Apathy and Pragmatism help immensely.

#73 Posted by jkz (3998 posts) -

Absofuckinglutely.

That's why I'm an artist. Just excise the whole "social" part of my life

#74 Edited by ViciousBearMauling (845 posts) -

When i get hammered with tons of question, I crumble. I feel like I'm on trial.

But normally I'm okay.

Big swarming crowds make me feel like I'm on death's doorstep too, but I don't know if that counts. (Also doesn't stop me from going to conventions for some reason.)

#75 Posted by ervonymous (1297 posts) -

Just on the internet, which is a bit backwards. I'm always the one talking about people's childbirth and colon therapy experiences irl.

#76 Posted by Chop (1991 posts) -

I've mostly gotten over it but it still pops up now and then when my phone rings (yes, I hate talking on the phone)

#77 Edited by Oldirtybearon (4513 posts) -

I've never had any social anxiety. At least not the kind described in this thread. Sure I've tripped over my words talking to an attractive girl but really, that's happened to every guy out there.

Wish I could offer some advice but the truth is I don't have any. Everyone matures at their own rate and I don't think anyone can really help you get there. I think there are a series of epiphanies you need to have, and whether or not you have them is just pure luck.

#78 Posted by Dimi3je (286 posts) -

Use to get it all the time, a bit less rescently.It seems to me that the cause is actually a need to be accepted in with a single person or a group. But then when you realize that you shouldn't give a damn about that kind of thing it goes away :)

#79 Edited by erhard (378 posts) -

I had about as much social anxiety as the average introvert but I gradually outgrew it and it was mostly gone by the time I was 17 or so. It was a question of becoming comfortable with my introversion. I think I just realized I didn't care.

#80 Posted by brooksee (234 posts) -

The best thing I ever did to help with social anxiety is working a face-to-face customer service job. It taught me the importance of small talk and how to go about doing it - something I didn't really understand before that.

#81 Edited by Rxanadu (502 posts) -

I always feel social anxious, even with other game enthusiasts in the room. I always feel as though I'll flub the name of a game or not remember a specific part in a game being discussed. Ultimately, my social anxiety comes from a self-imposed sense of unpreparedness. I'm really bad at "just winging it," since I tend to get my information from written sources (blogs, news articles, books, etc.). I think it also comes from not being "street-wise," as it were.

I also tend to do what I'm doing in this post: blurt out as much facts as I know to seem smart and then cower in the proverbial corner until everyone forgets I'm there. This personal flaw is one of the main reasons I don't post much on the Internet.

#82 Edited by Falx (344 posts) -

@xeiphyer said:

Something tells me you're going to find a lot of people suffering from social anxiety on a videogame website. I think that's part of why so many of us play a lot of videogames.

I definitely get it every so often, it'll make me randomly cancel plans and be unable to leave the house for a day or two. Its really shitty and usually completely unwarranted. I don't really get it when I'm out at places, but only when I'm home and am thinking about going out. Its tough and most times I just try really hard to force myself to go and then once I'm there its totally fine and I'll have fun. Definitely helps to have friends that guilt trip and force me to go.

Are you me? But seriously, I am exactly like this.

#83 Edited by Sayishere (1838 posts) -

@axialcartographer said:

You're not alone. I was the victim of verbal abuse regularly throughout elementary and middle school. This not only destroyed my ability to socialize in a healthy manner, but also purged any ounce of self-confidence and self-worth that a healthy individual should posses. It also destroyed my desire to do well in school, as I was typically more pre-occupied with being made fun of than I was with paying attention in class. As a result, I was consistently failing and barely passing my classes in school. In High School, kids got much less confrontational (not everyone's experience, just mine) and instead of making fun of people "they" didn't like, you were simply ignored. This kind of "shunning" was in some way just as bad as the bullying I experienced beforehand, and further encouraged my social exile from humanity.

I experienced my first "break" in Senior year, after being assigned to a weight lifting elective. I couldn't work up the courage to actually go to the counselors and select my electives for the new semester. If you didn't select your own electives the school would assign them to you at random, but I was absolutely opposed to spending any more time at school than I had to so I never selected them. My experience in weight lifting was an immense boost in confidence. I lost weight, got in much better shape and people began to actually notice me, which in a way tells you how fucked up people are. With my slightly improved confidence, I started being able to actually talk to some people and made a few friends. Our little group was all alike in that we were the outcasts of the school, but they were good people generally. I found a job at a local grocery store, which actually helped even more as I was forced to interact with people everyday. I finally started to develop social skills that had escaped me for so long. I learned how to approach people, how to greet them, and how to make general conversation.

I still struggle with it somewhat, but not necessarily anxiety. Because of my life experiences I've become a very cynical and jaded individual, and can have difficulty relating to others.

You're not alone.

Your experiences remind me alot of my own. I wouldnt say i suffer from serious social anxiety, but i say i do have some tendencies. I was also bullied, made fun of, verbal abuse, sometimes even physical. Got less worse over time, but theres a nagging feeling in the back of my head that wants to run away from social situations. I try to adapt and be friendly...sometimes that isnt enough for me, my brain just tells me 'get the fuck outta here'. But as i say its got much better, but i still find it hard to connect with people. If your my friend? DAMN im the best friend you could ever have. Just an acquaintance? well you won't get me at my 100%.

#84 Posted by colorbrandon (160 posts) -

I used to have problems speaking in front of a large crowd, but I had to get over it. It took a while, but now I have given talks in front of 200 people, I present on a weekly basis to a board of directors, and I attend weekly networking events. The weirdest thing about it is that I'm an engineer. I liken it to training a dog. If you never socialize it, the dog will always feel insecure around other humans/animals. For me at least, social anxiety is an experience thing.

#85 Posted by ProfessorEss (7253 posts) -

I'm the opposite. I suffer anxiety more often when I'm alone and nothing cures it like a big social to-do.

#86 Edited by armaan8014 (5313 posts) -

@acidbrandon18: WOW how weird is this. I woke up today feeling pretty shitty about this and spent nearly the entire morning googling this topic. Almost diagnosed myself as a narcissist. :/

I meant to write a blog about this topic but then felt too lazy and didn't. But it's really strange to find this topic on the front page. As always, Giantbomb forums save me once again!

#87 Posted by rmanthorp (3850 posts) -

@peakborn: Wow. That's so crazy to read. I feel like this all the time. I've avoided travelling for the longest time because of how bad I get. I always feel like I'm going to throw up so I force myself to freak out. Last couple of times I've tried to bus home I've had to get off and walk back. Man. It's so crazy reading how close my feelings are to everyone else here.

I certainly do how my ups and down and I can go out and have a great night with friends but more often than I'd like I'm trapped home by crippling anxiety... :I

Moderator
#88 Edited by Dick_Mohawk (375 posts) -

I used to, I was painfully shy and a real fish out of water at social events. It felt like I had nothing in common with the people around me whether at a party or gathering or not. Any type of gathering was incredibly stressful.

Time has helped me. Since I'm an old bastard now I just don't give a shit. I don't do social events anymore as I don't do small talk. There are 3 people on this planet that I can tolerate for extended periods of time, I pretty much ignore the rest.

#89 Posted by Dimi3je (286 posts) -
#90 Posted by marc (472 posts) -

I used to when I was younger, but I forced myself out of it over time. These days I am an absolute social butterfly. a total 180 from where I was just 5 or so years ago.

#91 Posted by Tireyo (6408 posts) -

Yeah... I've been the new person on the block several times, and I've been uprooted from everything that I know and started over a few times too many. I do have social anxiety, and that's because I do not know how to really talk to others or really know what it's like to have a friend or keep friends. I don't care anymore though, because I've come to enjoy my solitude... even if I go through spurts of depression and loneliness. It's just all part of the process, and I've come to accept it.

#92 Edited by ReCkLeSs_X (457 posts) -

In high school I definitely had bouts of it. I decided that it just wasn't healthy for me the summer before college began. Opened myself up to any experiences, wound up joining a dance team my first semester and got into acting as extracurriculars. 40+ performances in front of 600+ students later... haven't looked back since.

#93 Posted by mikethekilla (328 posts) -

Constantly.

#94 Posted by Devil240Z (3250 posts) -

I once bailed on my own families Christmas dinner in the middle of a blizzard I barely made it two blocks before my car got stuck in snow.

#95 Posted by Scrawnto (2432 posts) -

@video_game_king said:

@scrawnto:

Actually, mine's much more like this. Essentially, people are supreme assholes waiting to shut you down and make you feel like shit at the slightest provocation.

Oh yeah! Well mine's more like I believe I'm a boring, stupid, worthless, empty, pathetic excuse for a human being who doesn't deserve anything good in his life and thinks that nobody in the world should ever have to be subjected to the ordeal that is interacting with me, so when out in social situations I suppress my urge to do anything that I might find myself wanting to do or to say anything I have the urge to say in an attempt to make life better for those around me.

Pyromagnestir's is actually a better description of how mine works. It's not just that I don't know how the other person will react, but a baseline assumption that I'd be inconveniencing them, even if they were nice enough to pretend I wasn't.

#96 Posted by pyromagnestir (4190 posts) -

@scrawnto:

Yeah. It's pretty fun, ain't it?

:\

Since I've opened up here already I might as well go on and say that's only part of the reason I don't talk. It's probably the larger part, but still there's more to it than just that.

Another reason is I genuinely dislike small talk, as I find it to be insincere and a waste of time. If I'm gonna talk I actually want to talk about something that's worth talking about, you know? Not exchange platitudes in an effort to avoid silence. I have no problems with silence. (What is worth talking about? That's a tricky question I suppose...)

But a problem that crops up with only wanting to have a sincere conversation is I am currently rather miserable as my life isn't something I enjoy at all, and that's pretty much clogging up my brain so much that the only thing I can have a sincere conversation about right now is how shitty I feel, and no one wants to hear that shit. Hence I'm even more convinced people are better off if they don't have to deal with me.

#97 Edited by Turambar (6631 posts) -

5 years of group leadership / management experience later, nope.

#98 Posted by beard_of_zeus (1659 posts) -

I get very anxious about really dumb stuff. Like driving 20 minutes to go to a store to buy running shoes, sitting in my car in the parking lot for 10 minutes going "OHGODOHGODOHGODAHHHHHH", and then immediately spending 20 minutes driving back home. Happens a lot when I (try, sometimes succeed) go into retail stores that are busy or I know I'll have to interact with someone. Probably the same reason I get nervous trying to call up a business...although luckily pizza delivery can be done online :)

As a comparison, grocery shopping is the one thing I can do without a problem, luckily. Probably because it's so routine, and I can be left to my own devices.

I get weird in social situations too, like most of the people commenting here, but that seems pretty rote at this point :P

#99 Edited by Video_Game_King (35783 posts) -

Oddly enough, that's exactly my problem with small talk and conversation. Partially contributes to my belief that small talk and conversations in general are people's excuse to speak at you and use you as a means of talking about what they wanted to talk about, anyway. Something like that.

What's my solution to this? Well, I don't have one........I suck at at being helpful, don't I?

And man, the one clip that perfectly illustrates what I'm talking about also makes me look like a complete asshole, largely because of the subject matter in the video. I swear it's not like that in real life. (Also, the video might not be safe for work? Just a head's up.)

Online
#100 Posted by stryker1121 (1323 posts) -

Yeah, it's definitely been a problem in the past for me too. It's considerably more minor these days though, and that probably has to do with getting an internship a couple of years ago that forced me to act a bit differently than I was comfortable with. This has led me to try to become involved in activities and conversations that I am unfamiliar with despite my anxiety, and to an extent, it's been working.

My advice would be just to look for opportunities -- anything, really -- to get away from what you are usually comfortable with, and you might be surprised at how well things go.

That last line is great advice, and something I need to start practicing myself. My biggest social anxiety is networking events or other situations where I'm going in alone to deal with a large group of people. Going into one of those situations with the thought of not knowing anyone is mortifying to the point where I just dont' want to deal with it at all. If I have a friend/colleague there introducing me to people (a 'buffer' if you will), then I'm fine. But approaching someone without pretense is a social anxiety i've always struggled to overcome. Advice is welcome haha.