I had this when I stopped taking drugs in my earlier years, I sympathise with you as it was horrible.
I had it for around 2 years, I saw a behavioural therapist but it never really helped me at all. Probably cos i had to suffer the 45min bus ride to get there.
The only thing that helped me in the end was getting any job that someone was willing to give me & force myself to do it. It was hell for the first 3 months, but slowly the anxiety reduced until i was fairly comfortable around my work mates, then finally i became fairly comfortable around the customers.
I am still proud of myself for getting that job, it may sound small to most people, but i think it is at the top of the list of the most difficult things i've ever done.
I remember that I started to have my anxiety attack after one artist banned me on her Livestream chat that changed my life for good. She started spreading my name to other people saying I was the "Awkward of all penguins" and not legit. After that, one person already blocked me in DA, another one blocked me in MSN, three of my friends left and never come to the anime club and cancelled it and one of them blocked me on my cell phone, then my best friend who moved away, blocked me out of Facebook that lead me into a anxiety attack at college and the police took me to the hospital, and after that I got a probation, got banned from a Steam chat and blocked due to the fact that my speech is disturbing so many people, and then one person who hated me, called security on me. I was in great fear that I would easily get banned in DA, arrested in real life, and/or posted my name into 4chan to treat me like a Chris-chan due to the fact that I have a high-function autistic disability.
I was looking to help and give advice but okay... I know exactly what you are talking about. I have anxiety problems. I worry if I'm doing something wrong and if I'm not I go very hard on myself. Which is weird for me, for I am the type of person that doesn't care what other's think of me, but I learned it's more how I view myself. Don't be hard on yourself, doing that led to deep problems for me. "I'm trying my best" is what get's me through not having anxiety. "Take it one day at a time" I tell myself when anxious about the uncertain future. And most importantly "If they can't accept me for who I am, they're not a true friend." I just gave advice didn't I? I just know how you feel, from experience this is what I've learned to do. Good luck.
Okay so from what i've seen most of the people on this thread really need to pick up a psych book and try to really understand this kind of syndrome can do to people. I've dealt with all sorts of psychological maladies since my dad;s accident. I feel for Pseudo and give 'em major grats for getting out there and trying to deal with the issues that come with it.
I know how you feel. Last year I had lots of issues with it especially. Somehow over the summer it seems to have gotten better, but there are a few moments when I can still really feel it. The most annoying thing for me, being in high school still, are those people who feel the need to ask why I'm so quiet. But the way they do it really puts me on the spot and I can hardly find enough of my voice to answer.
my doctor said i have smething llike this, but not sure if same. i used to want to not be looked at and to be invisible. i just wanted to live by myself in a dark hole. i take nardil right now. i can work, little bit. i think i still need help but i can live.
umm... this is how they try to fix me. otherwise i would be crazy.
I'm 25 & female.. and I have the exact same thing you're experiencing. Everyone is different, but I have found talking to other people who are like that helpful. Most of my insecurities draw from me being over 320+lbs a few years ago. I'm 143 now and still suffer from my panic disorder. Don't take to heart any negativity some people come to you with. It's not so much ignorance as they don't know how you feel maybe because they never been to the specific point your at. If you ever want to talk or anything, I would love to be your friend! Keep your chin up.. and although some comments come off harsh, it's very true when they say you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone and let new things in. Things can't change unless you do. <3
Uggh, I know exactly how you feel. Granted, I've gotten just a bit better at it since I've been working customer service for about 5 years, but some things are still harder. Like when dealing with a difficult customer, I try to stand my ground but when they start staring (you know, that moment when you tell someone something they don't want to hear, they stare and don't say anything for a long time) I get so uncomfortable and feel like my awkward self again.
I absolutely hate eye contact, even with people I know and trust. It's like looking directly into the sun. >.<
I'm 24 and there are some days I feel like I'm still going through that awkward phase. It's a little shameful to know that there some tweens that are more confident, outgoing, and can hold a better conversation than I can. Granted, I've never had a panic attack (although there have been days it felt like I was going to), but I hate those little moments that you mentioned where I constantly think, "No, I'm going to make a fool of myself. I'm so slow. I'm stupid. I'm not as smart as they are. I wanna leave. Kbye."
High school was the worst, though. I would always walk with my head down and rarely respond to anyone who spoke to me. I used to have paranoia where I always thought people were making fun of me and talking about me. Some days I still have that, though not as bad. Oh, and you know how people say, "No one will care what you did in high school"? Wrong. Somehow I always seem to be stuck around people who want to talk about the crazy shit they did in high school. All I can really say about myself is, "I did nothing." Which makes my social sutuation even more embarrassing and shameful. I can't even say I was a smart nerdy kid who never went with the crowd, which would have been a lot better than saying I was a C-and-D student who just didn't want to be there or do anything.
Aside from all this, I'm still trying to take it a day at a time. I've taken time off college to find myself a little more, and letting go of "what-ifs?", "should-have-beens", and "could-have-beens". I'm hoping one day I can have a good, meaningful conversation with a complete stranger and not worry about how I look and what I say. It's all I really can do.
Solum-IpsumFeatured By OwnerNov 13, 2012Hobbyist General Artist
Social Anxiety Disorder? That's just SAD.
Okay, pun aside (no offense intended), this is something you can only learn by experience. I've been a bit like that, so I understand what you're going through. Yes, there will be awkward situations, and if possible, ask those who are closest to you for advice on what and why is normal, and don't grieve over faceplanting. Observe others and try to understand them.
It kind of contradicts how you say you have a social anxiety disorder when you post so openly about yourself on these forums. You know why these people shoot you down? Because it sounds like attention whoring. How do you even know you're too socially awkward to get a job when you don't even try? And how do you think that's going to work out in the future? You'll let other people pay for you because you're not willing to get off your ass and try something? Hasn't your therapist told you that?
Eugh, I wish people wouldn't be so completely insensitive... I don't know what this is meant to achieve other than hurting me. So much for the 'love and support' that this forum is supposed to be about.
Social Anxiety seems to affect different people in different ways. I've been baffled by the way it affects other people who claim to have it; some of them can perform easily on stage in front of a crowd, for example, which I never could, but they also hide their problems from those closest to them (I read about one sufferer who only first told her *husband* about her anxiety after they'd been together for four years; to me that seemed incomprehensible), while I talk about my feelings and issues openly. Both me and them have anxiety, but our upbringing and personality types lead to a different approach to handling it.
My social anxiety largely stems from feelings of incompetence in situations that have a specific sort of 'ritual' involved, where something is 'normal' and something else isn't. It's deeply painful to do the 'wrong thing' and get the weird looks and things like that; I want to curl into a hole and die out of shame when that happens, and it can lead to panic attacks. However, when I'm in a place where there's no 'wrong or right' as such, I can talk about my feelings openly... It's just unfortunate that insensitive people like yourself feel the need to kick me for doing so. It's not nice... but thankfully I can at least understand why it happens and take comfort from that.
Other people seem to experience anxiety about being perceived as 'weak' in some way, which isn't like my own but can lead to similar avoidance issues.
It's irritating that you're assuming that since I don't have a job, I'm a moocher who doesn't contribute. I spend most of my time working on my own personal projects, games, which I've successfully sold several of and I make money from them every day. I've made a name for myself in the Flash game community through effort, hard work, and devotion. I'm carving a path for myself... but I am scared of getting a 'normal job' for reasons that I suppose would be difficult to properly communicate to someone who doesn't have anxiety themselves.
Anyway, do you feel good about yourself when you talk to people with that kind of tone?
Holy moly, such judging! I didn't mean to come across as insensitive, more as insulted because I am a person that actually suffers from extreme panic attacks including hyperventilation and you know why? Because I keep encountering things. I'm going to see a shrink for the third time to get him/her to help me through this nasty business because I'm sick and tired of not being able to function in society. What I see you doing here is locking yourself up indoors and completely avoiding any situation that triggers your social anxiety (which sounds more like huge failure anxiety and lack of confidence anyway) whereas you should continue to fight because it's the only way to get it to get better.
I know very well how it feels to be afraid to be a failure in front of others because I have the same problems that lead to panic attacks and hyperventilation too (on top of a sickly fear of death and hypochondria) and how it only comes along in certain situations. Making a test in school, on paper on my own, doesn't bother me one bit while practical assignments such as group work, a presentation or internship completely cripple me. But should I then just quit an education I like because I have trouble getting these things done and sit at home and become a hermit (which I have been close to several times)? No. That doesn't solve shit, that is running away and putting your head in the sand.
"Holy moly, such judging!", that's exactly what I thought reading your first post. Well, actually I didn't, but if I did, it wouldn't be exactly unfounded, now would it? ^^' While you didn't mean to come across as insensitive, I can see why you could be perceived as such, especially if the person you're speaking to doesn't react well to bluntness. Now if a complete stranger burnt your kitchen trying to make pancakes especially for you, would you think it's so adorable that they tried to do something for you or rather complain about their clumsiness? I probably would stand dumbfounded and wonder what the hell happened there and why that stranger came into my home, anyway. But that's me, both of you might react other way, because we're all different. Which was the point of my pancake analogy, yes.. I think? O.o'
Err, anyway, since people are different, I'm not really convinced by statement that "[he] should continue to fight because it's the only way to get it to get better". Usually what works for one person, doesn't for another, and the other way around: if some solution doesn't work for you, it doesn't mean that it's completely useless; hardly anything has "universal" or "only one" solution, maybe except puzzles, and even those not always.
Also, maybe I have some sort of huge failure disorder, but I fail to see "completely avoiding any situation that triggers [his] social anxiety". I mean, does seeing a therapist weekly count as complete avoidance (yes, it could be better, but it could be far, far worse... probably)? Does trying "'going to classes' and things like that to meet people" count as complete avoidance? I'm not saying that such state is perfectly fine and there's no need in improving it, but rather than telling someone that they're losers or that "they're not willing to get off their ass and try something", perhaps it's sometimes better to cheer for them when they actually do something right (like, "Maybe you'll find some course where you'll be more able to relate to people", but maybe in a less awkward manner O.o')? Encouraging rather than ordering around, so to speak? ^^'
Providing emotional support is an art, too, as well as frying pancakes. Or something.
I have social phobia, so I can kinda understand. I get too nervous to the point that I feel sick if I even think about trying to engage someone I'm not comfortable around in casual conversation. Some might criticise me for suggesting this, but I've started using hypnotic suggestion to help me deal with it. Maybe you can use it to supplement your current course of action.
This (as well as general anxiety disorder) runs in my family and I used to have it and related depression. I saw a therapist for it for a while as a formality but didn't really like therapy. My therapist always managed to make me feel bad about the only things I still felt good about and I stopped seeing her because I dreaded it. But I was prescribed some Paxil and needed to attend the therapy in order to get the prescription and fortunately she kept renewing my prescription even after I stopped seeing her.
The Paxil helped, and I also made some changes in my life. I moved out and moved far away from my parents. At the time I was living with a boyfriend but the drugs helped me get a stable job and the stable job helped me get enough independence that I outgrew that relationship. Working is probably the thing that has really "fixed" me since it made me less afraid to talk to people and gave me the confidence to feel that I could take care of things and function in society. But I wouldn't have been able to keep a job without the drugs. They're like crutches. The broken leg can't heal right if you don't use them for a while, but once you're better you don't keep using them.
I'm still a pretty awkward individual socially, sometimes a little shy, but I don't have panic attacks or anything anymore and I'm not afraid of social situations. I'm just laughably bad at them. Although I still get anxious about using the telephone sometimes.
I've been thinking of my anxiety as fairly severe, but reading peoples' replies here makes me wonder if it's not as bad as I thought...!
I should be thankful that my own therapist is really nice; I don't even know if she's a *qualified professional* or anything, or just some nice friendly person who guides people through CBT... The great thing though is that she's conquered social anxiety herself (while still being sort of awkward and shy and stuff), so she actually knows how it all is rather than seeing me like some broken specimen to fix. I've probably come a long way since I've been seeing her, just because of the positive support and understanding that she provides. "I know how that is" is such a magical thing! To me, anyway.
I'm really very reluctant to even consider drugs, since my early life was a wreck due to my father's dependence on medication... I'd definitely rather solve the issue through psychology stuff than by altering my body's chemicals, though I also understand that that approach is very useful for people...
I'm also reluctant to get a job, but it's entirely because I don't know what job to do. I'm already sort of doing my dream job - making games at home and having complete artistic control and freedom - so anything else would be like a frustrating step down, and a 'waste of time' or something, even if it'd be very valuable in terms of life experience. Perhaps it's something I should very reluctantly think more about though, if it was as useful to you as it was...
But currently, while my anxiety does lead to me avoiding things because I 'don't know what to do', the panic attacks are very rare (I've not had one in over a year), and I'm able to talk to people when I need to (though usually I don't want to because of who they are rather than because it's a social situation, which is a horrible thing to say!1 o_O). So maybe my anxiety isn't all that terribly bad after all?!
I have social anxiety disorder as well. I used to be so bad that I would have a horrible anxiety attack any time I tried to interact with people, online or off. Going to the store would require weeks of psyching myself up, and even after getting the courage to go to the store, something like, 'Hi, how are you?' at the cashier would freak me out totally to the point that I would stammer and leave the store with a panic attack.
So I know how you feel, and I will say it does get better. I still have the social anxiety problems always running in the back of my head, but I'm actually very functionable socially now.
The only thing that helps is exposure therapy. You have to expose yourself to socialisation to undo all of the shit in your brain that prevents you from exposing yourself to it.
I have a new policy implemented, where, unless I have a legit reason to do so, to stop making excuses any time I had something social offered. Instead of saying, 'sorry, I have to study' when I really didn't or whatever, or 'I have plans, sorry', I force myself to endure social activities and eventually they get better.
I would really recommend getting a job where you have to interact with people.
And uh, maybe go to a weekly social anxiety support group if you can find one. Interact with a small group of people weekly. That's why I recommended a job too -- you need to be out interacting every day with more than one person if you can. Exposure to socialisation is the only reason I got better.
That sounds horrible, having had that level of anxiety... D:
I should feel glad that mine's not nearly that bad; I've only ever had a handful of panic attacks, and only in really extreme circumstances; my last was well over a year ago. I certainly feel *uncomfortable* doing things like talking on a phone, going into a shop, etc, and I tend not to go out of my way to do them if I can help it, but when I do need to do them, I suppose the worst I feel is a fluttery feeling in my chest, a sort of light-headedness, and thoughts that last for the rest of the day about every little thing I did or said wrong or whatever.
I know that exposure is the only real solution... though currently it's proving elusive since there's not really anything that I *want* to go out into the world to do. If I felt like I *had* to do things, though, I could; anxiously, maybe, but I suppose my anxiety isn't ultra-crippling to the level that yours seemed to be...? (Wow, it seems strange thinking that my own anxiety might be *mild* in comparison to someone else's, since I've always thought of it as fairly severe!)
I just wrote another comment about how I recently went to do this part-time art course at some college thing, and I was able to do that well enough for the brief time I was there (I dropped out, but not because of anxiety). I was one of the most chatty in the group, even (though I assume the things I said were sort of weird due to inexperience). Things like that show that I *can* do things when I really set my mind to it; it's just that most of the time, there aren't things that I feel any great desire to do.
Getting a job, for example... Anxiety is a big reason why I've never had one, but it's not the only reason. Mainly I just don't know what I'd do, and I spend almost all my time currently working on games anyway, so it's not like I sit around twiddling my thumbs and wishing I had a life. I feel like I can't fit a job in anywhere, and it wouldn't be as satisfying as my current work even if I did.
Going to *social gatherings* isn't something I desire to do either; not just because of anxiety, but because if they weren't people I wanted to talk to, it'd be a test of endurance, and if they *were* people I wanted to talk to, I wouldn't feel anxious.
I have been wishing that the place I go to for therapy had an anxiety group, but even if it did, I wonder if I'd actually feel relatively normal compared to the others who'd attend... if their anxiety would even *allow* them to attend. o_O It doesn't do an anxiety group though, unfortunately. I actually asked the staff if they'd run one a while ago, but nothing came of it; maybe I should mention it again.
Yeah, it was pretty crippling, haha. I'm a lot better now. Like, very close to completely functional socially. It took like three years and it was very slow, but things are fine now overall. I still have social anxiety, and I can feel those parts of my brain light up a lot, but I'm able to move past it now a lot more than before. I still get some days here and there, though...
I used to get the thoughts after social interactions too -- they would last weeks sometimes and I would agonise over every little, tiny, insignificant detail. Everything was blown up into mammoth proportions. Turns out nothing is really that big of a deal and no one you interact with really gives a fuck, haha.
Those thoughts do go away eventually, too, with exposure... I still sometimes have the thoughts, but they don't last weeks anymore; a day at the most when they do come.
It wouldn't hurt to ask the staff again, or maybe post an ad online or where ever and see if there's interest. You really don't need a lot of people to get together a group and talk; and it might give you guys a way to socialise and relax a bit with people who get it, maybe meet some friends.
I don't know, haha. I just wanted to say, even when it's really bad, it does get better.
I would say 'ask someone to hang out, like in the art course! Make friends blah blah blah', but I know it's not that easy. Just keep yourself open to social stuff when it's there. You don't have to push ridiculously hard, but boundaries need to be pushed if it's ever to get better.
And remember not to make excuses. It took me a long time to admit a lot of the things I was saying to myself were excuses, but they were, and they were just a way out to keep myself in a rut.
Also, when I say 'any time I tried to interact with people, online or off', I mean it... I mean like, posting this thread you posted would freak me out and would've required weeks of planning and rewriting. Chat rooms? Nope. Online games? Too panic-attack-inducing.
Things do get better if you put yourself in the right situations to improve.
I've had social anxiety. Shit is getting better now, but it's an ongoing process.
The only things I can tell you is to keep pushing your boundaries. Don't go out to socialize if you don't want to, but please at least leave your house on a regular basis. Go to music shows, go to the park and draw life drawings, or just to a cafe and take something warm to drink while working on your next game manuscript. You don't even have to talk to anyone, maybe except for the cashiers. And if you don't even want to talk to THEM, then bring a pen and a notebook, write down all your request, and pull a white lie saying you're temporary mute due to vocal cord health issues/a cold/you went to a rock show and screamed too much/something whatnot.
The other thing is to ponder on why exactly this is the case. When I had issues with this, I tended to hole myself up and shield myself from the emotions I was really experiencing. They were quite strong, and I understand why I did this. Otherwise I would've eventually crumbled. But they were still there, and rather than experiencing them I just shut myself 'off', if that makes sense. Eventually, I felt it as if I was going through life on auto-pilot, and that wasn't how I was willing to live the rest of my life.
So my advice for you is to think about going outside, or anything else that brings up the fear and the discomfort. Allow yourself to experience that fear the best you can, without 'shutting off' or forcing anything. You don't have to force it to come, because it's already there, and it's probably been waiting for you to take it seriously for a very long time. When you feel this fear, try to remember the first time you felt it. Recall WHY you felt it, and be honest about it. Think 'I feel (insert-blank-here) right now because in the past I (insert-blank-here)'.
Example: 'I feel fucking afraid of talking to this person right now, because when I was little, I had very bad self esteem and was made a fool while talking to my classmate and s/he ended up bullying me for the rest of my pre-school years'.
But the person you're talking to now probably won't bully you for the rest of your pre-school years. It's rather UNLIKELY that the cashier of the local supermarket is going to bully you for the rest of your pre-school years, because most likely you are not in pre-school anymore. In fact, since you are talking to a stranger, that person probably won't even think much about it at all and you will risk losing nothing but the respect of a person you probably won't sit down and talk seriously with in your life. Figure out why you are feeling so terrible about socializing, then try to distinguish the life you have now from the experience/s that initially brought on the behavior.
I did say I was mainly looking for empathy rather than advice here... and it's because in many ways, I do understand my situation. Partly it's from doing CBT and reading about personality type stuff (which lets me understand why my mind works like it does, and not like the minds of other people that I've known), but also it's because (again due to my personality type) I've never really 'run from my emotions' or anything like, uh... it seems a lot of people do... I'm introspecting (that's not a word?!) constantly, and I've always readily accepted my own weaknesses and have no desire to be any tougher than I actually am. Personality type stuff interests me greatly because I'm always trying to explore the root of emotions, the reasons for behaviour, especially in myself.
Inexperience is my biggest problem. Incompetence... I simply missed out on a lot of experiences that other people have had, like having to go into shops by myself or things like that. It seems that a lot of teenagers are forced into that by circumstance or because their parents force them to, but I've always been very sheltered and just... missed out. People always did it for me. Now I'm having to learn the very basics, but I'm 24, so it's embarrassing, and I'm very emotionally sensitive (due to personality type, etc) so I end up thinking for ages about the weird looks that people give me when I have to ask really basic questions that anyone would know about really basic things that everyone does every day. I'm not afraid that people will bully me, but that I 'won't know what to do', and will end up in a situation that I don't know how to get out of or for which I won't be able to prepare. And I pick up on the feelings of others easily, and try so hard to be easy to deal with and *not a bother*, so it pains me when I'm making some poor cashier uncomfortable with my awkwardness, or when they're clearly looking down on me for that awkwardness.
Once I've done things two or three times, I get used to them and they're a lot less terrifying. I'm still always anxious, but knowing the *procedure* makes things a lot easier. Like going on buses... I only learned to do that this year, and I panicked a whole lot before trying it, but now that I know *what to do*, I do it every week. I feel anxious on the bus in case something unusual happens and I get lost and don't know what to do, or in case some of the thuggish young men start teasing me for my appearance or something, but overall it's no longer something I can't do.
I, uh... could explain all this at great length in terms of the personality models I'm so fond of, but I understand that many people find that sort of thing annoying so I won't...
I have little *desire* to get out of my house very often though. There's nothing that I *want* to go out and do, but if there was, I'd probably be making better progress with my anxiety. As it is, I keep having to search for excuses for why I 'should' go out, which I'm never very passionate about, so I often just decide to stay inside and do something that I *do* care about. I suppose the main reason my anxiety has been a bother for as long as it has is because I've never had any interest in putting myself into situations where it'd be tested... When something that I *do* want to do comes up, though, I tend to be able to prepare myself for it, and to do it; anxiously, but successfully.
Anyway, I understand my situation and how to get out of it (though it's a slow crawl due to lack of interest more than anything), but receiving empathy from people who 'know how it is' is essentially a mood booster, and that's what I hoped to get out of this thread.
I've been there, so I know it is a mood booster. But it is essentially an ego stroker, and that is the last thing you need in your current situation. Trust me; most likely your subconscious is just looking for people to tell it that what it is doing right now is fine. Which is YOUR way to 'shut off' and mute out the discomfort that you really need to learn to accept. It hurts like a cactus in your rectum to feel this pain, but you're gonna have to feel it, or it will be an insult to the part of yourself that you have so far failed to even acknowledge. I have a bit of an interest in psychology, so I can tell you this - all the knowledge in the world is going to be useless if you don't act towards change. CBT can be an excellent form of therapy, but even full knowledge about your 'personality type' or whatever isn't going to do anything for you. Acting, somehow, WILL do something for you. In your case, even the negative stuff is a good place to begin.
So here is a suggestion - you have to stop caring about having no motivation to leave your house. If you really want a motivation, here is one: YOU NEED TO DO SO TO GAIN THAT SKILL THAT YOU FEEL IS LACKING. YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE TO GET OUT OF YOUR SEMI-DEPRESSION AND *GAIN* SOME DAMN MOTIVATION IN THE FIRST PLACE. If you're more passionate about videogames than anything else, then bring your computer with you somewhere that isn't your house. There are tons of cafés with free wi-fi that will let you sit there forever for virtually no money at all. Look, you said for yourself that until a little while ago, you didn't know how to ride a bus. You learned by watching and trying, and now you do it all the time. So if you spend no time around other people, how will you possibly learn how to interact?
As for the cashier? Dude, they deal with people all the time. You would be surprised what sort of strange weirdo's they have to put up with in their jobs. The mild annoyance that they MIGHT feel towards you is going to be nothing compared to the drunk shitheads, the morons who ask for free cigarettes, the people who get pissed at them for missing a penny when they hand over the change, or the almost suicidal parents of small children who tend to buy half of the stores supplies in one go and think they can fit three shopping carts worth of stuff in the trunk of their hybrid car. In fact, you're going to be a pleasant break in their schedule, because most people truly are idiots, and you only think you are one. You aren't feeling discomfort because they feel discomfort. You cannot experiencing their feelings. You are feeling discomfort because you are feeling discomfort, because you are sensitive, because you were hurt at some point in the past/have bad self esteem/whatever whatever. The problem does not lie with the cashier, because the cashier does not have a problem with you. You, on the other hand, have a problem with you. And you need to understand that while that problem is fear, and fear is painful, humiliating and outrightly terrible, it is still there, and you must deal with it. Neither your parents, your therapist, or me can deal with it for you.
You also give other people too much credit for being confident and super awesome. People aren't always what they seem to be - sure, there are people who are as confident as they appear, but those people are very rare. Everyone, save for maybe Buddha and Jesus and a few similar exceptions, have insecurities that you can't begin to fathom. To quote some wise ancient Chinese guy; 'never envy others of the perfect life they seem to have, for you know nothing about the shadows that you cannot see.' For example, me and some of the few good people I've had the pleasure to meet as a child. When we were twelve, we admired you a lot. We had just stumbled upon the first chapter of Mardek, and it was awesome. We'd make reference jokes about invisible inventories that the adults never understood, and tied together sticks to make wooden swords. Hell, we literally placed candles in a circle, and prayed to the Unknown God that made you Awesome - in a slightly Monty Python-esque manner, but still - so that it would smear off on us. Your work is still an inspiration to me. We wouldn't have dreamed that you had such issues back then, just like you can't fathom the things that might be going on inside that poor cashiers head. She is not a perfect being, and you obviously respect that and are able to live with the fact. What you must learn is that all the things that applies to others also apply to you. Just like you respect the cashier, you must also respect yourself.
And.. well, you also confuse being 'tough' with being 'yourself and comfortable with it'. Contrary to what most people think, being yourself is very, very hard, especially for someone like you or me who haven't been doing much living yet. I'm sorry to say that staying inside won't help you learn anything about the outside world. And CBT might help you get to know the issues you are struggling with but it will not help you solve them unless you use that knowledge and act upon it. Yes its scary, no you won't get away with not doing it. Not if you ever want to be happy about your life and they way you are living it.
I'm sorry. But if inexperience really is your biggest issue... then staying where you are is the worst thing you can possibly do for yourself right now. You can either start now, and you'll notice that you will have come a very long way by a year, or two years, or three years. Or you can keep doing what you are doing now, and nothing will ever change at all. Yes, change might be slow and you might not even notice it at first. But having a heart that is just slightly lighter than it was a second ago - it is an amazing feeling.
How about this - since you seem to place more credit in the opinions that you imagine other people have of you, pay some credit to *my* opinion. Why? Because you can. What is my opinion? My opinion is that you are still one of my biggest childhood heroes, and I would be very disappointed if you gave up on yourself here and now. The human mind always strive for excellence. You are not the super-special-snowflake exception to this rule. You don't need to prove that to me, because you did so when I was twelve and I still don't think otherwise. There is only one person you need to convince. And that person is yourself.
I won't give you the empathy you wanted, but if you still want that ego stroker, then I will happily cheer you on and say that I believe in you. Do your best, and don't disappoint yourself. You will regret it if you remain where you are for the rest of your life. It's not a good place to remain. You already know that for a truth, though.
I'm sorry, but I'm unable to finish reading this reply...
You mention familiarity with psychology... Perhaps you know about positive and negative reinforcement? And if you do, are you aware that positive reinforcement tends to work better? This situation isn't reinforcement exactly, but the concept is similar.
I started this thread because I was hoping to find people to find positive, supportive connections with; I wasn't looking for 'ego stroking' or anything, and I've found from past experience that having people who'll relate and support me gives me the push that I need... in the way that vitriolic force really doesn't. The rough, shouty, sweary approach - especially from strangers - just makes me frustrated, and more likely to retreat even further into my shell if the world is going to be that way.
My anxiety is an impediment, but when I *do* want to do something in the real world, I'm able to. Recently, there was an art course at a nearby college that I was interested in, so I looked into it, learned about it, and actually did attend. It was a small group, and a part-time course, and if anything, I was one of the chattiest in the group for the day or two that I was there; I felt somewhat tense, but I was able to talk fairly easily to people and so on, probably because in situations like that, there isn't really a 'proper procedure' to worry about. The people even seemed to like me... or at least they didn't *dislike* me. I did drop out very quickly, but not because of anxiety; it was because the class was me and seven middle-aged women, so I didn't fit in (the main reason I went was to find friends; I didn't care about the work). It did show that I was able to do things when I *want* to; the main thing that makes me reclusive at the moment is honestly lack of interest in outside world things. I'm not just 'making up excuses'.
Anyway, my point is that hearing empathetic, supportive things has done me a world of good in the past, which is why I seek it out again, especially since I'm lacking in support in my life at the moment. Being shouted at and having my own understanding of my situation belittled by strangers on the internet, who don't understand the nuances of my position or my personality, is not helpful, I'm afraid.
I understand that 'tough love' works for some, but it doesn't work for me. If it worked for you in the past, or if you're saying what you wish someone had said to a past version of you, then that's fair enough, but one size does not fit all. I also understand that this might just look like more excuses, avoiding the problem, etc, and it bothers me that there's no way to make it seem otherwise, but... oh well.
Heh. There is positive reinforcement in that reply. But it's down at the very bottom
Listen to me, Lone. That post wasn't tough love. It was merely truth. And you will have to learn to live with it in the end, whether I am the one to break the ice, or whether you figure it out by yourself. Though I have to say that spending 45 minutes trying to explain something you do not want to see, in a psot that you won't read, is a bit of a waste of time. Especially since it's 3 a clock in the morning.
Oh well. You have a nice life. I hope it works out for you, mate.
Hmm, I can't help but imagine some imaginary situation where two people comment on a sensitive person's latest piece of art...
"This is very flawed", says one. "The anatomy's all wrong. Have you even SEEN a horse before? You want to be a professional? Not with work like this. The only way you'll get better is to seriously buckle down and learn anatomy. Here, do these tutorials. This is a fact and you need to accept it if you want to go anywhere in the art world." Mr Sensitive reads this, feels deeply hurt, looks at his own work, sees only the flaws, wonders 'why bother? D:' and gives up art for several months or maybe forever.
Or, maybe another were to say: "Great work! I love how you drew the dynamic pose! Something that really helped me when I was drawing horses was learning anatomy from these tutorials! You look like you have skill; maybe you can go a long way if you put your heart to it! Good luck!" Mr Sensitive feels warm and fuzzy and eagerly does the anatomy tutorials in order to improve his craft in order to get even more warm and fuzzy feelings...
I know I'm just saying the obvious here and everything, but the first example is 'just facts', but is it helpful? Not to everyone. Sometimes stating the 'facts' does more harm than good, even if your intentions are pure and good... I suppose it depends a great deal on the person, and I just happen to be one of those annoying sensitive feely types that prefers emotional support to objective facts. I am a Chinese Finger Trap!1
Not reading what people have said to me is one of the worst things in the world to me, and I feel so bad about that... but I was feeling literally sick and shaky and just couldn't take it, I'm sorry... I do appreciate that your intention was to help; I'm just sorry that different things work for me, I suppose...
"Not reading what people have said to me is one of the worst things in the world to me, and I feel so bad about that... but I was feeling literally sick and shaky and just couldn't take it, I'm sorry... I do appreciate that your intention was to help; I'm just sorry that different things work for me, I suppose..."
You don't have to apologize for that. You forget that I've been in your seat, I know it's awful. However, that sick, shaky feeling is actually exactly what I've been talking about this entire time. I see the pathways of the mind as... roads. Ideally, we would all be cruising down on empty, open, sunny highways on awesome-looking, flamepainted motorcycles in 160 km/h, going towards where ever we're supposed to go in life without as much as a bump in the ride. But in reality, it does not really work like that. That clump of fear you've just described is like a road block, and it's going to be very difficult for you to make it past it without at least a couple of though calls. You have to make it past it, or you cannot advance down the main road and will miss out on your important destination.
And as for your image scenario... well, I do understand your point, but if mr. Sensitive is drawing because he want praise from others and not because he enjoy it, then he is ultimately drawing for a very bad reason. That 'warm and fuzzy feeling' that comes from praise, should not be coming from the person giving the praise. If mr. Sensitive looked inside for a moment, and ventured into the mental hazard that is his Roadblock, he would, given enough time and courage, find several things. He would find that the 'warm fuzzy feeling' exists inside of his road block, trapped, and waiting for him to sort it out, sort of as if the roadblock is made from a rockslide, and the 'warm fuzzy feeling' is the little pockets of air that are trapped inside. He would find that the 'warm fuzzy feeling' is actually a false form of self esteem that he forgot about, and he'd eventually even discover that it should always be there, by default, because it is his right as a human being to feel good about himself even if he isn't praised by his peers in this very instant.
Ultimately, you must pick yourself up. Fear is very difficult, and gets trapped in the little pitfalls of your mind. I'm sorry to say that you'll have to sort these little pitfalls out by yourself. But you've already found at least one, and that is positive.
So I will repeat and try to make myself a little clearer. The next time you feel that shaky, nauseous feeling, stop whatever it is that you are doing, and do nothing instead. Allow it to come, observe it. If you allow too much of it to come, you will probably be overwhelmed, and if you allow too little, you will miss the point of this. Just do it, don't shut it off. Meditate lightly on it. Allow yourself to feel the full spectrum of emotions that is trapped in this wave. Perhaps it is anger with yourself, or shame, helplessness, or sorrow for something. Allow yourself to feel it, take note of it, then let it go. Think back to the first time you remember feeling that way, because that emotion have been stuck with you ever since. If the idea of a 'personality type' doesn't let you change who you are, then scrap those. Only the temperament of a person can be described as their 'nature'. Your insecurities isn't your nature at all, because temperaments come with birth. The rest come with life, and it can go away too, with more life. Your insecurities are traumas and feelings of hurt that never left you, but that *will* leave you if you promise yourself to deal with them and then follow through.
I've had plenty of panic attacks and have found myself relating 100% to the things you have said. I have been panic attack free for about three years now... something to try to comfort you, panic attacks are 100% harmless, though they are scary. The way I have appeared to thus far overcome them is by no longer being afraid of them. And trust me, I've thought I was as good as dead on several occasions, lol...funny to look back at. But aside from the actual feelings you get from a panic attack and the sense of overwhelming inevitable death, it's really just a trick your mind is playing on itself and nothing bad can come from it.
we are more than capable of lying to ourselves, and believing it.
I know that panic attacks will never result in *death* or anything... but they can certainly cause *mental* harm if not physical harm! I mean, having a panic attack in front of your friends will greatly affect how they treat you from then on. Having a panic attack during a job interview might be like being in a car crash; even if you survived, getting back into that situation - job interviews or travelling by car - would be a highly anxious situation... That's what I'm scared of, rather than dying. I had a panic attack in an exam once... and every exam from then on was almost unbearable because I feared it happening again for the same reasons.
Though thankfully, I haven't had a panic attack myself since I started doing CBT about a year ago! I still fear them, though, but I'm getting better at controlling that fear. It's stronger the more unusual the situation is, so I'm having to take things one step at a time rather than diving into the deep end.
I noticed there are many artists with this problem. I have it myself too. And I try to make money at home too because so far I fail at getting a job (too scary). But it's too depressive, I thought of how my life would end without doing the things I love just because I'm scared. That thought was more scary than going outside and be around people, having a job etc. An empty life, not using my life. Terrible!
I discovered I'm not shy on stage, I can make a fool of myself on stage or when I play a foolish character without being a real fool. This world of acting is a world where you can be what you want. And that helps me. Actually, this helps me a lot. Better than normal therapy. I'm now on my way to have a real life by being different. Last year I've been more outside, had more contact with people just because I really did what I wanted to do. Of course, this thing is too scary for many people who have this social anxiety, I know it takes a lot of willpower. So if you're not into acting or something similar, I understand you don't want this.
By the way, if this helps: job interviews are not so scary, it's just a talk with a person about something you know a lot about (if you want to do a job you can do). It's just a getting to know eachother and not really a judgement. It helps also to look around you and not inside your thoughts. Just listen to people.
I have the same problems as you, but I want to help you. I feel like I can help myself and understand it better if I can help someone else too. Also because I don't see myself worthy enough to just only help myself. Maybe we can set up a group chat for people with the same problem. As artists we're more similar than people who only have the same problem, then we could also talk about art and stuff. I've joined a social anxiety too, but it was too depressive and slow for me, so I quit.
Hmm! I was going to mention my social anxiety to you and wondered what you might think (I still need to reply to your note!), so it's interesting to hear that you have - had? - it yourself!
It's inspiring to know that you've made real progress with it... though I rather envy you for having a real interest that you can do outside the house, even in front of a crowd. Unfortunately, I've never been interested in acting or performing or anything like that; not necessarily because I'm scared of it (oddly, I sort of *enjoyed* speaking in front of my classes at school, and drama classes, because I tended to use humour and liked seeing people react positively), but just because, well, it doesn't really interest me... I'd probably have to *force* myself to do something like that, and it wouldn't be strong enough to overcome the anxiety.
Basically all my interests and hobbies have always been solitary things... which is why I'm struggling so much now; to find others who share them. Because they're not really things I want to do *with* other people...!
Another thing is jobs... I'm scared of getting one not just because of the anxiety, but because I've no idea what job I'd actually want to do. When I think of the standard jobs that people get, like retail stuff or being an 'office drone', I find it hard to imagine them as anything other than completely soul sucking... I'd be unable to be happy with a job that didn't need my creative skills. But then I don't really like the idea of jobs involving those skills either! o_O
I've been making my own Flash games for a while, doing all the stuff like code, art, music, etc myself, and I really, really enjoy the artistic control and freedom it gives me. The idea of working on any of those things as a job is scary, though, because I feel like I've never really *focused* on any of them - so I'm 'mediocre' at them all, and not professional quality with any - and I hate the idea of *not* having the artistic freedom that I crave, and having to work on someone else's idea... So I'd want to do something creative... but being 'creative' for other people is something I'd hate! (People say to me "You should work for Nintendo!!" quite often, as if it's some goal that all game developers should strive for, but I just think "eugh" because I'd just become a drone, doing grunt work on someone else's vision...)
So I feel like I'm in this tricky situation where my anxiety holds me back, yes... but not really 'from' anything. I'd be satisfied with my life as it is... if only I could find someone to share it with. If my anxiety was holding me back from some specific hobby that I wanted to do, or some path of life I wanted to pursue, it'd probably be easier to overcome... but as it is, I've been doing 'Cognitive Behavioural Therapy', but it feels like learning to swim while living in the middle of a desert. Or something. o_O
I was on a social anxiety forum once, but it wasn't a nice place... Everyone seemed so bitter and it got me down; I suppose my experience was like yours in that way! I actually DID make a site specifically for 'introverts'! Though it was meant to be for social anxiety people specifically... I ended up abandoning it though when there wasn't really anything to *talk* about, and most of the members ended up being male (which I know I should have accepted in a professional manner, but basically everyone I've known has been male and being surrounded by only males all the time has been making me really frustrated lately)... It looked like this, though I haven't visited it myself in ages: [link]?
By the way, sorry if I give you too many suggestions what you should do. I'm just a person wanting to help people and find solutions haha. I almost think like a man (men like to find solutions and girls just want to talk about their feelings).
Apparently that solutions/empathising difference is an area of interest to me! One of the parts of the 'Myers-Briggs' personality system thing divides people into 'Thinkers' or 'Feelers', with 'Thinkers' favouring objective analysis and solutions, while 'Feelers' are more subjective, emotional and empathetic; most males are 'Thinkers' and most girls are 'Feelers'. I'm a male Feeler though... which has caused me quite a lot of distress on my essentially all-male personal website thing when I want empathy but get non-stop advice... o_O
Isn't that interesting?! I could totally talk about personality stuff for days, but I know it's dull to other people...
Haha, now I understand why you didn't like your site being all male.
Well I think I'm both a feeler and a thinker. I like talking about my problems, but I like finding solutions for them even more! And there are also talkers and listeners. I'm a listeners, so if you want to talk to me for hours, I will listen for hours.
Everyone has aspects of the 'thinking' and 'feeling' things (I don't like those terms; maybe I should start referring to them more accurately as 'objective' and 'subjective' or something), though one tends to be 'more important' to them and stuff. For example, a 'Thinker/Objective' person might feel that their emotions 'get in the way' of important decisions, so they block them out to 'think clearly', while 'Feeler/Subjective' people wouldn't make important decisions *unless* they had really strong feelings about them! Of course, none of it's black and white or anything!
But yes, I don't like my sites overly-maleness because everyone's so... macho, in a nerdy kind of way, while I'm very un-macho!
I still have social anxiety, and it's still very strong. But now I try to use it. Still a long way to go. But I'm a little happier. My life has more meaning now. And a clear goal. I already thought acting wouldn't be something for you.
Hmm, that sounds indeed as a difficult one, sharing something you don't actually want to share. I think you were/are on the good way, to create an art site of your own. If it helps, I know a lot of challenges/themes people could do (I even made a 136 page book of it). Maybe it's an idea to make an art contest with the theme social anxiety/shyness? I don't know. I have been trying for years to get my favourite art site more popular, I know it can be hard and create some sadness.
These standard jobs sound indeed very boring. I wouldn't like something like that either. If you're someone who can socialize it still can be fun, but our kind need more of a creative job. I know e-learning is something somewhat creative and website making too, my boyfriend does that too (e-learning) and he likes that because it can be creative. Also, I completely understand someone else's vision can be annoying to work with. I think you should choose between working for someone anyway, or do the hard way and develop your own ideas. I myself choose the last one and some quick commissions meanwhile, I'm quite happy with that. I have too many ideas myself to waste my time on working on someone else's crap.
Hmmm, I understand you just want to share your life. I myself am happy how I'm working on my 'career' or doing things I like, but I'm still not happy because I don't have friends besides my partner.
Again, I think you're on the good way creating an art site, as you say your biggest problem is contact with people being like you. Actually, maybe you can create a site for introverts AND artists? There are so many artists who are shy/introvert too! I haven't seen something like that before. I would defenitely join, I would feel more connected with other artists knowing they're shy too. And then there would be more to talk about than only this social problem and too much negativity. Just an idea. It's stupid deviantart itself has no forum feature in groups.
Actually, I think I've seen your site before! But I was confused because I'm not really 100% introvert and mainly just shy. I've read a lot about creating communities and I moderate a site myself, maybe I can help?
I'm sometimes confused wether I should focus on reaching my art goals or trying to get more contact with people. It's difficult.
I've considered doing web design for a living before... but I doubt I'd be able to, because of all the sites that people would ask me to make that, well, I wouldn't *want* to make, either because I deemed them 'worthless' or disagreed with their subject matter or just simply had zero interest in them... It's hard enough working on things I'm passionate about!
I have actually made money from my games before... I could probably make a living from it, too, if only I could finish more things, but I often don't because I spend too much time searching for people, for these 'soul mates' that I hope are out there... Sometimes I think that finishing a game would bring them to me, but then I feel I need them to finish the games in the first place, so it's a vicious cycle! My current game is an RPG which is essentially about being different, or even about social anxiety in some way, so I'm hoping that when it's done, it'll bring like-minded people to me who'll say "your game really spoke to me!" And I'll hopefully get money for it, too!
I considered making my new art site thing based around introversion (and art, of course)... Since it's still not *properly* started, I might actually change it to that, though I'm worried that'll further reduce the number of interested people... Currently I'm having trouble starting it, though, because most of the people who've shown interest are male, and while I've nothing against them personally, I'm just couldn't bear to run yet another male-centric website, for various reasons...
Hmm... You have an interest in oekaki, right? That's sort of social, isn't it...? Have you ever met people through doing that? I'm personally too *anxious* about art-related stuff to join in with things like that... I'm currently trying to get out of a years-long phase of avoiding the whole world of art (which is why my skills are less than impressive), and I'm having to take small, scary steps into it... Things like contests still make me uncomfortable, as would drawing with other people... but I'm hoping that once I can work up to it, I might have a chance of meeting people... That's what I've been hoping, anyway!
Your RPG sounds very interesting. RPG is my favourite game genre, and if it's about this social anxiety, it would be even more interesting. Have you thought about putting it on Kickstarter?
I have the same thing lately, spending too much time finding friends. Well, you're trying to find a soulmate, but I'm also pretty desperate. Especially since I want/need a best girl friend (is almost as hard as a soulmate I think...)I keep myself telling I should make art and not waste my time on spending it on the internet, but I keep feeling lonely so I'm trying to find some kind of contact, but internet is not enough.
Hmm, I barely had this problem fearing art related stuff. I see the internet as a safe place to socialize and practise social skills. Most of the time I forget there are real people on the other side of the screen. When I first discovered this oekaki site, I was very happy I could finally show my drawings to the world! (well, more my own country) I was scared to join at first, because I was not that skilled yet, but I joined anyway (also by the thought of maybe finding a partner). And yes, I did meet people with this! Actually, I met my partner because he made this oekaki site! So it was very good for me to join! One of the reasons I fell in love with him was because he had some kind of power, (being the boss). Girls like men with power, that's natural (I normally fall in love with cute, which he was in real, actually, luckily). So if you have succes with of your own site, you might meet a girl. Maybe. It's possible. I also met other (and lots of nice) people because of the meetings, but I never got the guts to ask someone to do something together without a meeting. I think you underestimate your skills, your gallery is full of interesting stuff! And you can even make games all your own! That's pretty impressive I think!
Apparently Kickstarter is for Americans only... or it was last time I checked. There are other international alternatives, but I don't really feel comfortable doing that with any of my games because I have a terrible habit of never finishing them, and don't want to disappoint people! It seems that you're expected to give various rewards and prizes to people who donate, which is more effort than I can be bothered with.
My social anxiety extends to the internet, and I feel very aware of the humans attached to the usernames that I interact with... So social interaction isn't much easier here than in person, unfortunately! Though there were some very specific events that gave me awkward feelings about art... I was fine and active on deviantART for the first year or two I was here, but then things happened and I started avoiding things.
It's very interesting to hear that you'd actually have become attached to the owner of a site you were on! It gives me hope, actually, because I'm the sort who makes sites to draw people in, and I always hope that it might draw close friends or a partner to me, but people have said before that that's unlikely because the members would never see me 'on the same level' as them.
I don't like my current level of art skill because I know where I could or *should* be if I hadn't had a several-year-long absence from drawing... All I can do is try to catch up now, though!
I see you're from the UK. Kickstarter is now in the UK too. But if you're afraid you don't finish your games, I understand.
Ah, well appearantly you're not afraid to talk about this social anxiety here. Talking about personal problem is scarier to me than just normal stuff. In real I never even mentoin it. I'm afraid I annoy people or make them sad by talking about my problems. I'm also a scared to start talking to people actually, like in a chat. I just always hope someone start to talk to me, but when that happens that person asks "how are you?". That's a conversation killer. I am not afraid to write comments and in forums, because I don't expect answers anyway. It's like writing on a wall and hoping someone anonymous answered when I take a look at that wall again.
I'm glad it gives you a little hope. There is no such thing as unlikely, people find their partner in so many different ways. It helped me that he started to talk to me first. If not I would be too shy, at first I indeed thought the boss wouldn't want to talk to a noob like me. But when he started to talk to me I felt he saw me as someone on the same level. And just because of someone seeing me more than just a noob I started to like him. (I'm very insecure about myself, so that was a boost)
Ah, well good artists are never satisfied with their own skill level. I should become better too, but that doesn't stop me from making and showing it to people.
I know how it is I've had SA since I was little and instead of 'growing out of it', it's only gotten worse for me the older I get. I also don't have a job and hardly leave my house. And my only 'friends' are people online that I talk to on occasion or RP with. I don't have any real life friends or anyone to hang out with so I can relate. :/ SA really sucks and holds you back from doing what you want/need to do and it doesn't help that a lot of people don't get it. Even my parents don't seem to understand how bad it effects me sometimes and makes me feel like crap... The only thing that seems to help me is talking to others who do understand, like most of the people on SAS. Something else that helps me is research, I know that doesn't sound like it would do much but learning about the condition and all it's causes, both mental and physical, have really helped me cope and find ways to live with SA.