Thursday, 22 May 2014

Social anxiety and me

You may have noticed there haven't been too many posts about our impending wedding as yet, well that's partly because I just am not enjoying the stress of organising it all, particularly because it is bringing up some horrible feelings for me.

I am out of my comfort zone, completely and utterly lost.

I don't really cope well with stress.

I don't really enjoy social gatherings that I have to organise.

Meeting new people, speaking on the phone, organising dates to meet friends and family is something I mentally find hard.

This wedding planning is bringing out lots of insecurities that I usually manage to suppress or avoid by not putting myself into a situation I know it will occur.

I have never been to the doctor about any of my anxieties over the past, I think family who know I get this just assume I am an extremely nervous person, so I guess I tell myself that to. I mean there is nothing physically wrong with me after all...

But the other day I found this when searching the symptoms I get and I think I have finally found what I have: Social Anxiety Disorder, and I think this is something I have lived with my whole life.

As a child :
Fear going to school and participate in class-I used to feel sick before the first day of school, in fact I was the year returning to school in Y1, but throughout my school life the odd day I would get unusually nervous for no real reason. Once there I was generally ok, but dreaded the times I had to talk out loud, answer on the spot etc.

As a teen and adult: The dreading of everyday activities such as:
  • meeting strangers-I feel physically sick before meeting strangers, particularly if I am meeting them alone. Recently I have almost had panic attacks about it. 
  • talking in groups or starting conversations- I have always hated this, always known for being the shy one, but it has grown into much, much more. I worry about what I say, if we are writing down things I worry about my awful spelling, I never know what to say and generally just feel a bit awkward.
  • speaking on the telephone-I have never called a friend unless it's it for a quick "I'm running late" or "are you still coming", I cannot stand talking on the phone. When I used to work in a shop I would always let it go to answer phone to see what they wanted before ringing back afterwards. Only before ringing back I would get a ball of nerves, I pace, I go over and over every scenario before hitting that call button. It's the same if someone I don't expect to call, calls me, I'll wait until they leave a message or a text. 
  • talking to authority figures- Going back to work, any and every call to the office for just a general meeting would leave me fidgety, panicking, and anxious, I'd get that horrible claggy mouth, and go all hot and sweaty. 
  • working-before the boys I found work ok, on the odd occasion I might have got a bit nervous, but since having the boys I would dread work. For some reason I would panic about feeling and being sick (think this was brought on by all the sickness I had when pregnant with the boys) and one thing I get when feeling nervous is the feeling of being sick which doesn't help! 
  • eating or drinking with company-I don't totally remember this but in part of my first year at school I didn't eat with anyone-I was too nervous to sit in the hall with all the others (my Mum didn't like this so as soon as she found out I was back in the main hall with everyone else) I do however remember coming home and eating all the lunch I left because of only nibbling at it at lunch time, and never get my lunch play! I remember any party, or any visit to a friends house I would dread meal time, and not really eat, and any mouthful I did eat I chewed round and round in my mouth and made myself swallow it. Now though, I am no different, I can't enjoy a meal out with friends, have a romantic meal with James, because by anxieties make me feel sick, I get hot and I panic I am going to be ill in front of everyone (as a teen I was ill outside of restaurants a few times because of this nervous 'thing'), yet eating outside I am usually fine... 
  • going shopping- I hate shopping with other people, I'd much rather go in by myself do what I need to do and get out of there! The only person I like going out shopping for the day with is Mum.
  • Low self esteem- I've never had confidence, I'd love to be one of those bold people, but put me in a situation where I am supposed to have an opinion, or take charge I shy away, I think this also plays a big part in the fear of the workplace.
  • Fear being criticised- I don't take criticism well, I never have, not sure if this is actually my anxiety this time mind you, more of a personality trait!
  • Avoid eye-to-eye contact- I have noticed recently that I don't hold conversations well, not only in the vocal way but also in the physical way, I really struggle keeping eye-to-eye contact whilst have proper conversations with people, not general chit chat, I am always ruffling the boys hair, looking where the boys are and if they aren't there I really struggle!
  • Misuse drugs or alcohol to try and reduce anxiety-now thankfully I don't do this, but I can see why others would.
So I pretty much tick every box, so where do I go from here? 

Now I have a title, a name to put this thing that people think is all in my head, and yes I guess it is all in my head, but how do I stop it? 

How can I be who I want to be? How can I live a normal life without out this cloud hanging over me in certain situations?


  1. Hello *waves*. It must be nerve wracking with your wedding coming up. I got the jitters myself and nearly swapped for a very quiet affair with just me and the husband but on the day I was so glad I didn't. It was magic. Perhaps it is worth a visit to your GP - they might be able to advise some therapy / coping mechanisms to help you. As an aside, the mantra I have tried to adopt is 'Feel the feel and do it anyway' - title of a self - help book on the same subject (which is v. good). Think of what the worst case scenario is (in terms of your fear) and work back from there. Often it doesn't seem so bad when you rationalise it. Good luck and I hope you can work through it to have a super day. xxx

    1. Thank you, yes have to pluck up the courage to book GP appt! I have been tempted to cancel on a few occasions and just opt for me and James and some random people to sign, but could not do that to our family, it wouldn't be us at all either. Thanks will look into that book. Yes I need to find a way to rationalise I think! xx

  2. Thanks, yes I have been tempted to cancel the whole thing and elope somewhere just us-but could not do that to our family and I know deep down that is not what we would want anyway! Yes I think I need to pluck up the courage to go to GP about it rather than hiding it! Thanks will look into that, yes I just need to find a way to rationalise! xxx

  3. Oh goodness, yes, I know where you're coming from here. Believe it or not, I am a very anxious person, with some of that relating to social anxiety (although I'm more of a natural introvert than anything - this does NOT come across on my blog ;-) ) I found our wedding quite nerve wracking. Like Mummy Plum said up there, though, I just gritted my teeth and got on with it, and it turned out to be such a lovely day, and I wasn't anywhere near as bothered about being the centre of attention as I thought I'd be. Remember that everyone who will be there is there because they love you - nobody wants to make you feel uncomfortable.

    1. I think grit and bare is the only real way to go! Thankfully the nerves/anxiety haven't been as strong as I've calmed down the stressing the last few weeks. Yes trying to tell myself that, I am sure the boys will take the attention away from us throughout the day anyway (fingers crossed ;) x


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