Social anxiety

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by crazyeights, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. crazyeights

    crazyeights New Member

    I'm new here. I found this site because of my children, so it's slightly ironic that my first post is because of me :)
    I am a stay at home mom, have been for 5 years. I have a wonderful husband, a great church family, and a dog that seems to care about my every need. Blessed, right?!

    I have had issues with depression and social anxiety for all of my life. I really thought that with a stable life things would start to mellow out for me. Well, not yet I guess.

    My husband and I are in a Bible study that we've been in for 5 yrs. The same people, the same place, a great group. I enjoy it, don't feel judged by anyone. Should be a comfortable place for me. But last night, it became very obvious just how uncomfortable I still am. I never talk during our study. I just take it all in. After study, we all eat and talk. I find that if I can find a subject with one or two people that I'm knowledgeable about, I'm fine. A friend of mine and I were talking about speech therapy. Comfort. Until I was talking and realized everyone else in the room had stopped. I looked around and everyone was looking at me. I smiled (nervous reaction I suppose) and said "Awkward" because they know how I am. They laughed and I thought I could just go on and continue our converstaion. Until my whole body caught on fire, I started sweating and my voice shaking, and tears welled in my eyes. I had to leave the room and compose myself. It was that sort of uncontrollable crying where your body convulses. We left shortly after that :) Oh, and I should add, there were only eight other people there. Not a huge crowd. :)

    I don't understand this. It was like an allergic reaction. I didn't feel anything like terror or embarrassment (until afterward) but it still happened. It was like it was just being done to me. Is this a conditioned response? Has this happened to anyone else?

    I've been on paxil and celexa in the past but I don't know that it really did the job. Does anyone know of any medication that can really help this? Or do I need therapy?
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I used to have a problem like that and yes, it is social anxiety. Altough tdocs and psychiatrists (therapists and psychiatrists) might say otherwise these days, it used to be that therapy was recommended over medications and therapy worked for me. I guess I'm considered old-school in that area but in my humble opinion, for problems like that, medications are only a bandaid that cover it up. It takes therapy to get past it. There are many good tdocs who can treat this and it might not take as long as you fear- just get a good fit for a therapist.

    I'm also a trauma survivor so I don't know how different it might be for you, but for me the anxiety resulted from the trauma (PTSD), I just didn't see the connection until after therapy. The key was to figure out what it was I really feared in those situations and why- what it resulted from specifically , then deal and work thru that. It still comes back but it's rare and I'm able to identify what it is I'm really concerned about.

    That's just my 2 cents....
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    And Welcome to the board!
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board. And yes, that is social anxiety.

    I also recommend therapy to help you learn to cope and keep it at bay. I took medications for it for a while, but the purpose was to help the therapy, not to just sort of cover it up. Once I made significant progress with therapy, medications for anxiety were weaned away. medications aren't a cure all for it by any means.

    I still have anxiety, social and otherwise. No medications. I use the skills the psychiatrist taught me to cope and I function pretty well. The more you place yourself into positions that trigger the anxiety and successfully deal with them, it lessens the anxiety in that area, sometimes can get rid of it completely. If you'd had had skills to handle the "everyone has stopped talking and now staring at me"'d have mentally talked yourself through it and would have been able to continue. It's hard work, but it can be done. :)

  5. crazyeights

    crazyeights New Member

    Thanks for the advice! It's so nice knowing others have been through this!

    I guess I was just dreading more appts on top of all the kiddos appts! I know medications aren't the answer, just wish they were:) hehe.

    It would make sense if there was a trauma that created this trigger; I just don't know of any. My mom says I have always been like this. My family loves telling the story of when I was three, and we were at my grandparents house. Apparently I never talked to anyone, and when my uncle heard me talking, he said "I heard you". So I said "No, you didn't" and went to hide behind a chair. Sounds creepily similar to what I did last night. Haha! Maybe I'm scared of finding out why I'm like this. I don't know

    It's very encouraging to know that therapy has worked for you guys. I'd love to think I don't have to be like this anymore. Pills and skills, here we come!

    Thanks again!
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I think the tendency is hereditery- or at least it worked that way in my family. I guess it's not always that way though. It boils down to 'there's nothing to fear but fear itself' although internalizing that so you can get past it, or as Lisa worded it, talk yourself thru it, is easier said than done. I understand the PITA thoughts about finding time to work another regularly scheduled issue in- I'm in the same boat for other reasons.
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    medications aren't the COMPLETE answer, but they are part of the answer. And it's possible that what you've tried in the past (SSRI's) was not the right class of medication for you, so keep asking your doctor for better solutions. They are out there.

    Therapy is the other piece of the answer, and instead of thinking about it as one. more. appointment. Think of it as something special that is just for YOU. Say it out loud to yourself: I DESERVE TO FEEL BETTER AND A THERAPIST WILL HELP ME ACHIEVE THAT. Say it every day until you believe it!

    A good therapist that specializes in anxiety disorders can really help teach you coping skills and exercises to learn how to manage your feelings better in these situations. And then it's up to you to go out into those situations and practice these skills you are trying to learn. It will be hard at first, just like learning anything new is hard. You probably fell off your bike the first few times you tried riding, and this is no different. You'll have some panic attacks early on like the one you described in your bible study group -- but that's OK. It's part of the process. That's probably a good group to practice in anyway. They know you, they accept you, and they can help you work through this until you're comfortable enough to graduate to a tougher crowd -- like people you don't know!

    In the mean time, congratulate yourself for reaching out here -- it's an important step towards helping yourself master this issue! :bravo:

    P.S. My difficult child 1 had a very real needle phobia when he was younger, and because of a health condition that required frequent blood draws, it was horrible to go through his panic attacks and meltdowns at the lab every few weeks or months. We hit the problem with medications (which took a while to find the right ones) and therapy (guided imagery was a tool that helped a lot at first) and after a couple of years, he was finally able to go into the lab by himself and get through the procedure without completely falling apart. (When he was very little, he kicked and bit and fought to get away, then as a young elementary school aged kid, he would try to get out of the car on the way to the lab or run away in the parking lot and then down the block once we got there and screamed while I had to physically drag him into the lab, then in middle school he would have a major panic attack, sobbing hysterically, going white, cold sweat, vomiting, nearly fainting -- you get the picture. It was awful.)
  8. crazyeights

    crazyeights New Member

    I know I'm in the right place here :) Thanks for all the advice! I'm going to start looking for a therapist in the area this week. I guess sometimes with everyone else's issues, it's easy to forget to manage my own. I'm sure everyone here understands that. But I'm ready.