Please tell me if you experience social phobia and how it manifests itself in your daily life?
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I deal with different anxieties I believe,though I do truly fall under the characteristics, signs and symptoms of Social Phobia. I am most comfortable being alone and do not like social situations at all. Some days are better than others. You never can track how social phobia/social anxiety will affect your day…you just know it will in some degree. I obsess about what I may have said wrong, how people think bad things, how much I am disliked and that people see me as just strange and out there. These thoughts are after social interactions. Prior to, there can be anxiety days before social interactions that paralyze me and makes me try to search for reasons not to attend gatherings. with medications, the anxiety has decreased and been a bit more controllable, though it is creeping back up again, even on meds. I am looking into group therapy and this is why I have signed up to this wonderful site.
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Thank you for answering. I experience very similar effects that you describe. Even though I prefer to be alone and not have social contact I am aware that this is extremely bad for my mental health and well being. The result is that I get into all kinds of negative dialogs with myself that makes it even harder for me to communicate naturally in conversations with people. I can’t seem to think of things to say or how to carry on a conversation except with a very few people in my life. And I hate being lonely – it makes me very unhappy. I need people to reach out to in order to keep myself from feeling low.
Social phobia is something I have struggled with for a long time. Some would call me shy and introverted and quiet. The main problem is I become self-conscious and my brain freezes and I become nervous like having butterflies in your stomach. Medication has helped me too to a degree. Unfortunately alcohol helps me overcome it and now I have a problem with that. I find that knowing that I am not the only one out there that has social phobias or anxiety helps. Hang in there and remember some days are better than others Jim
I too am more comfortable alone and am prone to long bouts of self-discussion that goes in circles, usually to the tune of “I should get out and be with people” – but when it comes to the point, it’s just too overwhelming to think of spending an evening (or whatever length of time) trying to think of things to say that won’t make people look at me as if I’m a bug they want to squash, trying not to look as if I’m self conscious even though I am at every moment. Whatever comes out of my mouth sounds stupid the minute I say it; even before I say anything I feel stupid for not saying anything. Then I just end up saying something that is, in fact, stupid – I know it is, but it doesn’t prevent me from saying it because if I say nothing, I worry about missing a chance, or something. How’s that for self-defeating? The alcohol thing came into play for me too, with some very bad results. I’ve since given up the alcohol, and that hasn’t helped with the social anxiety, but at least it’s not one more crutch.
I’ve lost a lot of friends and chances to meet someone to spend my life with and now it feels as if it’s too late to change anything. It doesn’t help that I live in an area where the demographic is radically different than my own, where there are few people with whom I have anything in common. I enjoy being with people who are slightly quirky, artsy and generally less “mainstream” than the white-bread population here. And yet even when I was in a more artsy town I still had problems mixing with people. Whenever I would be invited to parties and so forth I’d just sit there wondering if so-and-so thought I was too boring, or common, or whatever. Which gives rise to another by-product of social anxiety, and that is a strange tendency to judge other people based on my own perception, when in fact it’s just sour grapes. There’s also the idea that unless people make a concerted effort to make sure I know I’m accepted, I feel unaccepted and unacceptable. Which is all more self defeating because other people should not be burdened with the upkeep of my self-esteem.
I realize now that a lot of my anxiety must be the product of my own projection of a bad self-esteem. To enter a social situation with the presumption that one is not going to be accepted almost guarantees that one won’t be. In general people in social situations take their cue from you and accordingly treat you as how you see yourself. Not saying it’s right, but it’s the way of the world. This is not something I was ever conscious of as a child or teen, but only recently have become aware of it. Being aware of something, and being able to do something about it, are two radically different things, though. I also realize that there’s something deeper there that has to do with a repressed sense of self-worth but it’s not something I’ve been able to get at. But that’s just as well perhaps. All that self-examination has ever gotten me was more self-consciousness and self-criticism.
Thank you Margot, I too have suffered with this issue of social phobia most of my life. It is very difficult just going to the store. If I do, I must get what I need fast and leave as soon as possible. I can be your friend on this forum if you wish.
I’ve had it for a while. I get very tense when at the shopping mall, market or anywhere else with larger amounts of people. My lips get clenched, I sometimes sweat and I feel like I have to disappear away from the scene.
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