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Social Anxiety, and Not knowing what to do

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Old 10-20-2013, 08:25 PM   #1
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Default Social Anxiety, and Not knowing what to do

I did post this in another area, but thought I would also post it here, just in case some people don't check the other area as much, or have any words of wisdom for me because they may not have gone through it themselves, but maybe a loved one of theirs have? Just looking at all kinds of avenues, cause right now I'm feeling really really lost and not knowing which way to turn.

I could really really use some help, advice, a listening ear....So, here is my story.

I'm almost 35. I have zero relationship experience. That's right. Zero. My anxiety has....probably everything to do with that. Mostly, I don't think I'm good enough for the other person. Even though I think of myself as a great person, not terrible looking, honest, good heart, etc. I have social anxiety in general as well, but most of it revolves around meeting new people, or more specifically men. I don't know where this fear came from, but it is most certainly there. Scared I'm not good enough, scared they will reject me, etc.

I want/NEED to get help. But I'm lost on where to turn. I do not have a ton of extra money to seek a therapist ( although, at this point, I'm not against just charging my sessions ) My health insurance doesn't cover anything for mental help. So, my options are.....

1) Make an appointment with my GP, bring it up there about my anxiety, and what her recommendation might be.

2) Make an appointment with a therapist, be prepared to spend $100 just to sit down and talk with them.

3) Deal with it, and never be truly happy.

Now, I should mention, it took a lot for me to even make this thread, so please be kind, and don't just say it's something I need to "get over"

I'm terrified ..... TERRIFIED of bring this up to my doctor, I'm also scared of taking meds, as I don't take anything prescription and very little over the counter stuff.

But I do feel very lost, and VERY alone, and I just don't want to feel like this anymore. I want to have a normal relationship, but not sure I even can at 35 with no past experiences in one. But I recently told a great great guy who showed interest in me that I wasn't ready to date-when really I'm just scared out of my mind, and that is what is making me think some sort of professional help may be needed. I don't want to feel sad and alone anymore.

Thank you to anyone who reads this whole thing, and a bigger thank you to anyone who has any kind of advice on where I can go, or what I should do in my next couple of steps to overcome this.
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Old 10-20-2013, 08:42 PM   #2
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I have two suggestions, and it won't cost any money. I think you did a great job of stepping up and talking about how you feel, so I would continue to do just that. Keep talking about this. Say it here as much as you need, however you are feeling about it that day. The more you confront your anxiety (in steps that are comfortable to you), the more comfortable you will begin to feel. It sounds like really want to be free of your social anxiety, so you're already making a huge step in writing this post. A therapist can help you direct your behavior plan, but if you have your own plan, then I would see how your plan checks out before running up a bill with a therapist.

Have you researched social anxiety disorder? I'm sure there are plans out there for goal setting and appropriate steps to take. I would check that out, outline a plan, and talk about your success here in the General Chatter area. There's also a website I've used in the past called depression-understood.org. I'm sure there are other places to talk about your feelings and seek out support.

Hope this helps! Good luck, and let us know how you're doing
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Old 10-20-2013, 09:04 PM   #3
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Hello Sara

I read this a day or two ago and I've been thinking of how to respond. I also have social anxiety, which used to be worse before I met my partner. I fear the expectations and the possibility of things going wrong (arguments or rejection) that come from relationships. Not only that, I have trust issues too and it takes a long time for people to get to know me and my feelings about things.

I think that realising where your anxieties lie is a good start. All the counsellors I've seen have encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone and try new things. At the time I didn't listen to them, but doing something new and achieving it does wonders for confidence! Try something small. For instance, if friends always say hi to you first, you say hi first. Ask a friend to go to the mall with you. Start a conversation with a stranger while you're waiting in a queue (that may be ok in NZ only?)

In my opinion, seeing a therapist is great to start you off but I believe that friends and family are the ones who make the most impact. They are training dummies who will still be there if you make a slight slip and congratulate you on your successes. As for men, pursue that avenue when you are feeling ready. If you are interested in a guy and he shows interest in you, be honest and explain to him that relationships scare the crap out of you. The right guy will understand and the wrong one won't. I don't mean the 'there are plenty of fish in the sea' wives tale either. I mean temperament and willingness to help you through anything.

Sorry if this isn't helpful. I'm the 'do it myself' type, so I'd discourage doctors in a heartbeat. Anyway, if you ever need a friendly ear or anything, feel free to PM me.
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Old 10-20-2013, 09:05 PM   #4
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Kudos to you for talking about your fears and anxieties.

I think that like the Previous Poster said, you have made a huge step in coming forward.

Personally I think that a lot of people have social anxiety issues, some more severe than others. I also think that most people could use a few sessions with a therapist, or at the very least an impartial person who just wants to listen.

That being said, we are all basically anonymous third party listeners here, who probably at some point have felt anxious about a relationship, starting a new one or even ending an old one. Please feel free to talk about whatevr you feel comfortable talking about and sharing.

Now, as for your new guy...my two cents....You were not wrong in telling him that you were not ready to date, you are not..not yet. But, do not shut him out. Take the time to get to know him and he to know you. Explain as much as you feel comfortable explaining and let it follow its natural progression. If he is any kind of man worth anything...he will take the time to get to know who you are, and will be more than ok going at your speed.

If it means anything at all, my husband did not have relationships either. I have known him for 20+ years and he was always very awkward and well, lol, weird. As he got older, he obviously became less weird and more comfortable with himself, but he was always in "the friend zone" when he went out with a girl. Five years ago we met back up at a party, he had sort of resigned himself to being alone, never being married or anything. He had actually never had sex before. at 35 years old.

But two years ago we got married. He now has everything he thought he had given up. Wife, kids, house..everything, and I have a super amazing absolutely fantastic life partner and step dad to my kids (who are mostly grown).

So do not give up, that option is not ok! Something in the universe is just making you take your time to find the right person to share your true self with.

Anyway, that is my two cents and part of my story as it were. Take what you want from it, leave the rest

*hugs*
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Old 10-20-2013, 11:46 PM   #5
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You can maybe look into cognitive behavioral therapy:

http://www.temple.edu/phobia/int/pub...try%202002.pdf

You can also find books on Amazon under Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder. Some of these should be self-help books. Besides this forum, there are likely specialized forums, as well. Maybe start with small steps.
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Old 10-21-2013, 08:14 AM   #6
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First I would try to research inexpensive options for finding therapy. I briefly googled "free or low cost therapy" and came up with a bunch of helpful links, this being one of them http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/21/he...ient.html?_r=0 Other helpful suggestions were to look for a university in your area that may have a training program where you can see psychology students for free or a very low fee. You may be able to find a support group that deal with your particular form of anxiety. There is help out there, you have to dig a little to find it.

It must be really difficult to be in your position. I can only imagine how scary it might be to open up to someone. It sounds like you're pushing people away and I agree that therapy is the best way to get help for this. If you're ready to be in a relationship and telling someone (a great guy) that you're not ready to be in a relationship then you're right, it's time to get help. Let us know how it works out and you can always come here and talk to us!
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Old 10-21-2013, 09:49 AM   #7
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By the way, I was just looking for a hiking group on meetup.com and I saw that they have a Shyness and Social Anxiety Group that meets up in my area which I thought would be of interest to you, you may be able to find a similar group where you live.
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Old 10-21-2013, 12:12 PM   #8
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I was diagnosed with a SAD in University... it came about because there was a 3 day period where I was unable to leave my apartment because and I quote myself "I'd see people". Everywhere I went I heard voices... people were talking about me, laughing about me.... I couldn't concentrate and almost failed one of my University classes...

That's what prompted me to get help (though I had been in and out of counseling for years for other issues)....

1) It's good that you are finally accepting that you don't want to live like that.

2) GP's can help a lot.... mine did... and I went on Prozac (honestly the only meds I had before that were for Asthma because I like breathing and Birth control because I hate acne) Prozac helped a lot, and I did counseling.... I was tired of depression and SAD running my life, so I went for help and that was actually my last year in counselling, because I finally felt control...

I still deal with both issues, but instead of feeling like they run my life, I feel more control over them.

3) It's good that you sought out a support system, even a website... it's a start.

I honestly think you should talk to your GP first. they might have some other options that you hadn't thought of or been aware of. If you aren't sure you want to jump righ into meds, tell them that (but I have to say it helped me a lot, and I was only on them for a year and then I've done 2 other 6 month periods on them for situational issues that brought things back.... my GP can tell when I'm suffering from anxiety because my entire demeanour changes and he is very aware of that)

Don't let number 3 be an option....you deserve to be happy.... and to find control over this. And things can get better

If you ever want someone to PM to talk about about Anxiety issues my box is always open, just please be aware that I am in Egypt so on a different time zone.... I would always respond though.

I wish you luck and send supportive thoughts your way whatever your decision is.

Quick edit- just wanted to add my diagnosis happened 7 years ago...
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Old 10-21-2013, 05:12 PM   #9
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Talk to your doctor if you can stand to. Or just look around for a therapist directly. Ask questions about their approach. You probably want a results-driven approach, not to spend a lot if time talking about your mom (though of course, you might need that too. I don't know you.)

DO SOMETHING. TAKE ACTION. Don't let this moment be the cry for help that went unanswered. Last year I told my doctor I was depressed and needed help, and he said he'd check for vitamin deficiencies first, which I had...but I needed help too much to make it clear that I really did need a therapist too. Don't do that. You are not too old. You have not let life pass you by. But at this point you really do need some outside expertise to have the fulfilled life you want. Get what you need. You're worth the fight.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:07 PM   #10
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Thank you everyone for the replies. It really does mean a lot to me. *group hug*

I am slowly coming to terms with talking with my primary doctor. It will be very scary, but it's something I have to do. I've always been really quiet and shy, but it's gotten worse over the years, and really bad for probably 10-12 years, with the worst of it happening probably 5-7 or so years ago. And it's been bad ever sense.

If I was sure that therapy would be helpful to me, and "cure" me, I"d make the financial part work, I don't have a lot of extra money ( even still living at home while I try and save up for a home ) but my fear is spending a lot of money and having it not work.

I've been able to be more open about this online, and I have a couple of friends I am able to talk with in real life about this, and they tell me I should go to therapy. But I haven't been able to tell my mom, I'd like to, as she may have some ideas for me since she worked in the medical field, but I can't do the "why are you anxious, what makes you depressed" convo with her, and I know she'll ask.....but only cause she cares.

I'm really interested in lower cost therapy, or even maybe some sort of group therapy, where you aren't alone. ( that may be cheaper as well ) But taking the first step is scary! I hope my GP doesn't just disregard what I tell her and says find therapy. ( I don't know if she would, I've seen her the last decade, but only every other year for a pap )

I realize that everyone has been anxious at one point or another in their lives about things, but I avoid parties, I turn down dates with guys who seem great solely out of fear. That isn't normal, I don't think.


For others who have been on meds, did you gain weight? That is a huge fear of mine in regards to trying meds. I worked so hard to lose weight, and have even put quite a bit back on ( currently 220 ) and I am scared of putting on more weight while trying to do everything in my power to take it off.

You guys are awesome. I'm in tears with how kind you've all been.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:07 PM   #11
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Hi two places to look for low cost therepy one is an Employee Assistance program see if your company has one. The second is a local college or university that has psycology students as they offer low cost or no cost therepy with the students under the watch and guidence of a professional. Also try to find the therepy provided for medicare patients as their cost is substantially lower and will cost you less.
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