Social Anxiety

Socializing

One of the things I have the most trouble with is socializing. I have a hard time with family events, and sometimes I can’t even hang out with my extended family. When it’s an event where I don’t know anyone, I just can’t handle it.

Now if any of my old friends or family read this, they would laugh and disagree. They would tell you I was the life of a party and in the past I was very social. This is true, even with the anxiety and depression I was a very sociable guy.

The reason for that, was I was always hammered or high back then. I couldn’t go to a function without getting messed up. I would get drunk at parties and act like a fool, to the amusement of others. I would have to get high just to see my parents. I wasn’t socializing, I was giving myself what I considered a “valid” reason to get fucked up.

Now that I am sober, I struggle. I can go out to places with big crowds, I get a lot of anxiety, but I have medication for that, so it’s manageable. As long as I don’t have to talk to anyone new, not a fan of new people.

Most family gatherings I go to I try and find one person I know. I zone in on them or I hide behind my wife until we leave. I haven’t gone to a big social event in awhile, and so have one today.

It’s a wedding, one of my wife’s friends. She’s excited to go (We haven’t had a day out as a couple in awhile), So I am too. The only problem is I am a scared also. I don’t know anyone at this wedding, so I want my wife to be able to socialize without me cowering in a corner.

I am going to try and just focus on the fact that this isn’t about me it’s about two people who have found love. This is a celebration of that, and I will do my best to be a good guest, and just be myself.

Thank you for reading this post.

If you have any suggestions or methods for dealing with social anxiety, feel free to comment below.

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15 thoughts on “Social Anxiety

  1. Marty says:

    I went to a party tonight

    Just the thoughts before make it hard not to be hyper vigilant

    Really I do not value small talk with strangers enticing for me

    I know not yo avoid or self medicate

    You can go without getting hammered

    You might not have the time of your life but the healing is priceless

    Like

  2. maria pavlova says:

    Yes, of course it is not something you can turn around in a moment. If you had carried this for most of your life, it is a lot of inner work. If you know this in your heart, keep accessing your heart, not your head. The mental mind can come up with all kinds of stories, that are really imaginary, but we start to believe them.
    Glad you are making progress, that’s wonderful.
    If you feel really ‘stuck’ in the head in a particular situation, there are many things you can do to ‘get out of the head’ – for example refocus on something else – conversation, something in your environement, remind yourself that this is not actually a threatening situation and surely you will get through it.
    Another thought about anxiety – when it is strong, the person starts feeling like a victim, like it is something that is there, against you , but in reality you are always in charge. (yes i know sometimes it is almost impossible to see). It is knowing that no matter what your body may be feeling or the storm of anxious thoughts in your head, you still are in control. YOU do know that this is not real, not true, and you dont really have to believe this. In the end , it is a array of sensations and thoughts in your mind. You are much more than that. You dont have to take this for any kind of reality. (it takes very persistent practice to get this down, eventually you start feeling empowered and ‘anxiety’ looses its grip)

    Have you been able to determine what in particular makes you anxious? What others think of you, being judged? Being different? Embarassing yourself? Difficult to connect with other people?

    p.s. this is not any kind of advice, it is only suggestions based on my knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One Regular Dad says:

    I have get panic attacks daily. I obsess over little and big things alike.
    I know I am in control, but sometimes I forget. When I am home behind a screen, I am fine. It’s when I am in the real world that I loose myself.

    I do practice breathing techniques to center myself. I meditate daily, and I am trying to cut caffeine completely out of my life, because it definitely doesn’t help.

    Sometimes all of those thoughts you mentioned go through my mind.
    Sometimes I get anxious and I don’t even know why. The whole world seems to trigger me.

    I am trying to learn through therapy what triggers me and why. So honestly I am still searching for the answers to those questions.

    Thanks for the knowledge.

    Like

  4. maria pavlova says:

    If it is this severe, then may be right now it is more about calming and finding positive things in your life. I went through similar thing years ago and it took a long time to recover. When i felt that i could not ‘see’ anything, i had to hold on to faith – knowing that everything is temporary. That if you keep trying , you will eventually find a way, and you start seeing glimpses of light – here and there, until there is some clarity and hope..
    Developing gratitude is very helpful (and it eventually becomes a way of life), doing things that bring you joy/make you smile (now, not in the past). I understand your family is a source of joy which is wonderful. Is there anything else? Volunteering may be a good option – focusing on something that you like. When we are suffering, we also tend to overfocus on our ‘issues’ – serving others may be helpful. Depending on how much anxiety you can tolerate , you can choose as safe an environemnt as you need right now – for me it was community gardening – a place out in the world where you feel safe enough and enjoy your activity. May be teach a very small group?(you mentioned you like teaching). If you are able to enjoy something in spite of feeling anxious, that’s your path to healing. What i had found is the more you battle how badly you feel and the more you think about it, the worse it becomes – you inadvertently make it much bigger than it actually is. Do you feel ok when you are by yourself?

    If you are in a place right now where you panic daily, then my thought would be that analyzing things in not a good idea right now. You body/mind need to be in a relatively calm place to do that. Have you found soothing activivites that are helpful for example gentle yoga, walking, meditation, light reading, singing, looking at artwork ?
    Journaling can also help – blogging is reaching out to the world, journaling is reaching out to yourself. We all process things in our own way, writing about your day for example may help to process/get clarity about something. Or just noting down a few positive things/things you are grateful for. If something makes you smile, do more of those things:)
    (for me it was looking at beautiful flowers )

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jean says:

    In the past, I felt like everybody else had an instruction manual for living life, and I didn’t. And they wouldn’t share. I was afraid of putting my foot in my mouth and, the more anxious I got, the more often I did say stupid things. It sucked, year after year.

    Finally, at age 81, I am fine with small talk and strangers, as well as groups of people I am close to. It’s actually enjoyable!

    Here is what has helped:

    1. Finding out the source of my estrangement from others and facing what really happened to me. Reassuring myself that I am now free of that abuse and that in no way was it my fault.

    2. Self-talk. “Nobody gives a damn what you are wearing.” “Nobody is going to ruin the party by killing you.” Sort of giving myself reality checks.

    3. Time, practice, and patience.

    4. Wellbutrin, which works not only for my black depression but also takes the edge off of anxiety. Gabapentin, which I take for nerve pain, also has an anti-anxiety effect. And maybe it is a very good placebo, but I take a broad spectrum probiotic, and it seems to help a lot.

    I’ve never tried it myself, but I have seen other people with high levels of anxiety do wonders with DBT (dialectic behavioral therapy.) I think there are some free self-help courses on the Internet.

    Like

    • One Regular Dad says:

      Thank you for sharing.

      I am currently on therapy, working on getting to the route of my problems.

      I totally agree with self-talk, just sometimes I get that bug in my head that whispers those insecurities ack in, but I am working on it.

      I am currently on Wellbutrin, Gabapenton and a few other meds. The definitely help a lot. I am in a much better place then I used to be. I am not self destructive anymore.

      Thanks again for the excellent help, I will continue to be patient as you suggested and hope that with time and therapy I will get to am even better place in my life.

      Like

      • Jean says:

        You will get to a better place! Because you are headed in the right direction. I’m happy for you that you started to work on this years before I did. Some people think it is harder if you start young cause you don’t have as much life experience. Others think it is harder if you start later in life because you have wasted so many years. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

        Funny we are on the same meds. It’s such a joy not to be battling suicidal urges!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Harry says:

    When I’m meeting friends, and it’s only going to be us two wherever we’re going, I either make sure we go to a cinema so we don’t have to talk, or I think of a list of all the things we can talk about, so I don’t get anxiety when I’m there and freak out. It’s still very stressful though, so I go out rarely, unless it’s the cinema.

    Liked by 1 person

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