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I have no friends offline
#1
I am incredibly anxious and scarily awkward in person. I have no trouble functioning online, or even our voice chat. But the moment I have to look at people's eyes, I feel like I'm suffocating. I can't hold down a job for longer than 6 or 7 month blocks without having anxiety attacks that gradually increase (also due to health reasons.) I always feel like i get along with people, but then I meet them in person and I completely freeze up and make excuses to leave. 

I've been like this for basically my whole adult life. The moment I graduated high school, I stopped going out with people unless I didn't have a choice. I work online now, and took college online, and all my friends are online. I'm happy with my life, but i also kind of feel like I'm damaged? All of my friends want to come see me because we live in the same tristate area, but I keep avoiding it. Sometimes it makes me feel really lonely. It's weird, because I have someone I can talk to almost 24/7. But my anxiety, I feel, keeps me from making a real connection with anyone. 

I was wondering if anyone else here experiences that kind of crushing social anxiety, where you function fine until you have to see people. Even in my own apartment, I still feel the need to escape when people visit. 
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#2
(07-25-2020, 09:53 AM)Madrigal Wrote: I was wondering if anyone else here experiences that kind of crushing social anxiety, where you function fine until you have to see people. Even in my own apartment, I still feel the need to escape when people visit. 

Nope, but if it make you feel better, I'm worse off than you.

I recently turned 30 and I'm still trying to earn my bachelor's degree, I don't have a place of my own (live with parents) and I don't have offline friends either.  I don't feel anxious whenever I'm in public, but I do feel an unbearable sense of self-shame, I feel embarrassed of myself, due to that, I instinctively withdraw myself from others; I don't think, I just do it, as if my body moves on its own.  It sucks, because I do want to be part of other people's lives, I simply can't due to how I am, pretty much the only real-life friends I have are my computer and my bed.

I know I'm not the most appropriate person to invite to a conversation, but feel free to PM me if you want.  Welcome to the forum, by the way.
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#3
Everyone is pretty rough off. I don't feel like it's a contest to see who has it the worst. Rather, if everyone who had the same issues came together to discuss them, we'd likely be able to find common denominators that allow us to grow past them or help our current situations.

Not having a college degree isn't something I'd add to a list of things that are wrong. I know a whole lot of people without a college degree. It's not for everyone, and that's fine.

My mom was still living with my grandmother when my dad introduced us. She was 29. Families all function different. If it's something you don't like, figure out how to change it. Sorry if this next line is rude, but if you have the attitude of not being able to fix it, you never will.

You sound like you have some self esteem issues. I do too. I violently hate myself and everything about my physical appearance, and I do everything i can to change it when I can. I have wildly colored hair, I wear probably way too much makeup, and I constantly get new piercings and tattoos, because I do like those. If I don't like my appearance, I can change that. Will my face be the same face underneath it all? Yeah, but I can change how other's see it.  I hate my personality. I feel like I'm a bit too shallow, a bit too rude, a bit heartless. So I work on changing that. You can change yourself with enough thought and work. Your weight the issue? Work out. You think your smile is bad or your hair is awful? Get better hygiene and cut your hair or dye it. Control how you are.

My anxiety is something beyond my control. My brain doesn't function properly. I don't produce serotonin, I have an extremely heightened flight or fight reflex from childhood experiences, and my amygdala is constantly overworking. I don't have health care right now, so I can't take medications to fix any of these things. No offense to you, but I was hoping someone might have social anxiety disorder and might have tips on how how to at least leave my house and go grocery shopping without having a panic attack.

I hope none of that sounded mean.
Take the blade away from me, I am a freak, I am afraid that
All the blood escaping me won't end the painAnd I'll be haunting all the lives that cared for me
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#4
Most of the time I only manage to interact normally with other people when I'm not seen too much as a human being. I work better as a brain in a jar (online), a cog in a machine (at work) or as just another consumer (while shopping). I avoid eye contact and casual small talk whenever possible. I can only make it work with family, my few friends and my partner. But I have not made a new and permanent social contact in real life in...15 years or so. I might have some form of social anxiety that manifests mostly in horrible heat waves and sweating when I'm put on the spot or I have to perform. My only advantage is that I'm a good enough rhetorician to cover it up, to the point of being praised by people who are much more extroverted (apparently I'm in the 99th percentile for introversion).

What goes through your mind when you are in one of these anxiety-inducing situations where you have to face another person or be in public? Obviously your body shows some harsh responses towards it, judging by your last paragraph and your (self?) diagnosis. I'm doing okay when I just don't think about other people or their thoughts, that was a much more persistent problem in my teenage years, the constant worrying about looks and judgment. I'm trying to be invisible, non-confrontational and to merge with the crowds. After all they are too busy with their own business to get involved with mine - as it should be when you're just going about your daily tasks. Same goes for the clerks, they just want to do their job.

I used to make lists and I thought about all the stages I have to go through in order to do a thing. I'm not sure if it's something worthwhile for you. I've often heard that in order to deal with aversions you should attempt to take small steps in the direction of where you want to go. Don't make it harder on yourself than it needs to be. With regards to grocery shopping: If you don't like crowds and want to reduce exposure to others, go shopping in the early morning or late evening. I'm not sure where you live but I hope there are some differences in "traffic" depending on the time of day. Know exactly what you want to get and keep it simple if you can. If you don't want to make yourself extra uncomfortable, don't rush through with your cart chock-full and nothing but small change for the cashier - I'm being hyperbolic of course, but I'm sure you get my point.

If you are already struggling to leave your house, it's trickier. How far are you willing to go? Can you open the window and look outside? Can you open the door, can you go for a walk around the block? Can you go *to* the store without becoming anxious? I don't know, it's something you have to ask yourself and carefully test while analyzing where you brain goes, even if your body is going haywire at the time. Hell, write it down if it helps.

Hope that was some food for thought.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I go...
[Image: d8mV4rP.gif]
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#5
(07-25-2020, 03:13 PM)Madrigal Wrote: If it's something you don't like, figure out how to change it. Sorry if this next line is rude, but if you have the attitude of not being able to fix it, you never will.

You can change yourself with enough thought and work. Your weight the issue? Work out. You think your smile is bad or your hair is awful? Get better hygiene and cut your hair or dye it. Control how you are.

No offense to you, but I was hoping someone might have social anxiety disorder and might have tips on how how to at least leave my house and go grocery shopping without having a panic attack.

I hope none of that sounded mean.

Well, I am working on my issues, I made a list of all my flaws and bad traits a long time ago and I've been slowly checking things off, I hope it changes me for the better.  Although I think the core of my issues is my appearance (I am kind of chubby), but I am going to re-start lifting weights soon and with more workout knowledge this time, hopefully that boosts my confidence in the future.

As for your issues, sorry, I have no advice to give, I don't know how social anxiety works.  However, I've always been of the thought that people like you and me aren't accustomed to being outside and maybe we'll better ourselves if we just put ourselves out there, accustoming our brain to notice that there's nothing wrong with the world and us, but I really don't know; theory and practice are two entirely different things.  Also, nah, nothing of what you said was mean, although you were pretty harsh on yourself, don't be like that, it doesn't help.
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#6
(07-25-2020, 09:21 PM)Rodent Wrote: What goes through your mind when you are in one of these anxiety-inducing situations where you have to face another person or be in public? Obviously your body shows some harsh responses towards it, judging by your last paragraph and your (self?) diagnosis. I'm trying to be invisible, non-confrontational and to merge with the crowds. After all they are too busy with their own business to get involved with mine - as it should be when you're just going about your daily tasks. Same goes for the clerks, they just want to do their job.

I used to make lists and I thought about all the stages I have to go through in order to do a thing. I'm not sure if it's something worthwhile for you. I've often heard that in order to deal with aversions you should attempt to take small steps in the direction of where you want to go. Don't make it harder on yourself than it needs to be. With regards to grocery shopping: If you don't like crowds and want to reduce exposure to others, go shopping in the early morning or late evening. I'm not sure where you live but I hope there are some differences in "traffic" depending on the time of day. Know exactly what you want to get and keep it simple if you can. 

If you are already struggling to leave your house, it's trickier. How far are you willing to go? Can you open the window and look outside? Can you open the door, can you go for a walk around the block? Can you go *to* the store without becoming anxious? I don't know, it's something you have to ask yourself and carefully test while analyzing where you brain goes, even if your body is going haywire at the time. Hell, write it down if it helps.

Hope that was some food for thought.

I have clinically diagnosed social anxiety, but I don't have insurance, and I don't make enough to afford my own, so no medication. Hence the inquiry!

The physical effects I suffer from are excessively high blood pressure and heart palpitations and a huge rush of anxiety derived adrenaline. These cause shaking, skin itching, dizziness, etc. So I'd say they're more than moderate, but I don't know where that would place me on a scale, if one exists. 

I make a lot of lists, so I know exactly what I need when I got places, but I've never considered one as like a walk through of my day. I do tend to go very early in the morning, as my work allows, or like an hour or two before closing. 

As for your questions there, I find that leaving my house doesn't really bother me, if I'm alone. My anxiety has everything to do with people and not much to do with the outside world itself. Visibly seeing people is where it starts to become hard to bear. Having anyone try to talk to me, or look at me, bothers me the most. If I open the door to my apartment and see a person, I immediately close it again. I have all my deliveries paid for in advance with explicit instructions to leave it on the door mat or my shelf. 

However, I like your ideas. Thank you!
Take the blade away from me, I am a freak, I am afraid that
All the blood escaping me won't end the painAnd I'll be haunting all the lives that cared for me
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#7
(07-27-2020, 08:54 AM)Madrigal Wrote: I have clinically diagnosed social anxiety, but I don't have insurance, and I don't make enough to afford my own, so no medication. Hence the inquiry!

The physical effects I suffer from are excessively high blood pressure and heart palpitations and a huge rush of anxiety derived adrenaline. These cause shaking, skin itching, dizziness, etc. So I'd say they're more than moderate, but I don't know where that would place me on a scale, if one exists. 

I make a lot of lists, so I know exactly what I need when I got places, but I've never considered one as like a walk through of my day. I do tend to go very early in the morning, as my work allows, or like an hour or two before closing. 

As for your questions there, I find that leaving my house doesn't really bother me, if I'm alone. My anxiety has everything to do with people and not much to do with the outside world itself. Visibly seeing people is where it starts to become hard to bear. Having anyone try to talk to me, or look at me, bothers me the most. If I open the door to my apartment and see a person, I immediately close it again. I have all my deliveries paid for in advance with explicit instructions to leave it on the door mat or my shelf. 

However, I like your ideas. Thank you!

Thanks for answering diligently. This is quite insightful since I'm not diagnosed with anything, I've only done something resembling a questionnaire for related disorders when I was evaluated for military service and ended up scoring a lot of points for avoidant personality disorder. As far as I know I'm only getting high blood pressure when I'm at the doctor which caused a bit of confusion at first and led to me going through a 24-hour ECG to clear that up once.

I also avoid leaving my apartment when other people are in the hallway just to avoid awkward interactions, but I still find it relatable because of the human component. One-on-one interactions are the most bearable for me if there is a clear agenda such as an interaction with a cashier or said postal workers.

What is the most tolerable real life interaction you can imagine? One which could provide a foundation to practice how much you can control your anxiety that is. Are strangers easier to handle than friends? Or could you ask a friend that knows about your anxiety to practice a simple interaction on webcam? This can make it easier to opt out the moment you find it overwhelming because it's just a button press away compared to real life. These are all options I'd consider in order to push my own boundaries a bit.
Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I go...
[Image: d8mV4rP.gif]
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#8
The three of you communicating are very interesting and so very real. I have snippets of feelings like those that you all are talking about mostly anxiety and also a inferiority complex thinking other people are better than me and this puts a uneasy feeling to my life when I am around other people. I also when I leave my house if I see someone walking or neighbors I shut the door and wait for it to get vacant again.. I just wonder about the picture that looks like someone lying on a couch or something hitting their head with a pillow---what does all that mean?....I would like someone to analyse that...no judgement here just wanting to know..I cannot walk in parks alone for I get a scared feeling for no reason at all--don't trust too many people and fear them...Sure enjoyed the ride that you three presented and thank you for my world became a bit more understanding ....Thanks.. priscella...
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