Social Question

Shippy's avatar

Has anyone ever suffered from a Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder?

Asked by Shippy (9870points) November 16th, 2012

This is for a friend of mine, I think this is the one phobia out of all the others I have, that I don’t suffer from.

If you would be so kind as to share the following:

What type of help did you seek? Did it work for you? What things or thoughts stopped you from seeking help initially? (Or perhaps you never did?). I’d really appreciate some feedback on this, as I really want to assist this friend of mine. Much appreciated.

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12 Answers

filmfann's avatar

I have trouble being in crowds. I cannot go to large parties. Shopping on Black Friday scares the hell out of me. I began to panic while in Costco last weekend, because it was simply too crowded.
I haven’t done any kind of therapy for this.

lightsourcetrickster's avatar

Hey Shippy wassup. Have a GQ.
As with @filmfann, whereas two years ago I could quite easily work in a crowd or walk around in a crowd (hey, a clothes store can be very busy on a Saturday!), I couldn’t do it now. Earlier this year I went to my Mom’s, she lives in a city. I used to be able to go around that city all day and not bat an eyelid about any notion of panic or some such, but I got the motherload of a panic attack for no apparent reason last time it nearly knocked me out I was that distraught.
I had to sit on a bench for over twenty minutes to just get myself back together again.
Straight into the chemists and getting some stuff to calm the nerves (I’m thinking some people would smoke something to do that but hey, that’s not legal in a lot of places). So I got a whole bunch of meds and stuff from Boots and my God it cost sooo much.
My Doctor’s bloody hopeless at pointing out what is wrong with me, but seems great at trying to find out what might be wrong with me. Worse still, when he suggested going to see someone from a mental health team, that mental health team is located miles away and I don’t do travel very well at all!
I spent five years working in a busy supermarket, surrounded by people, and I did my job pretty well, I was great at customer service and all sorts of other work related endeavours, but these days, I couldn’t even dream of doing that.
I don’t even know why I have this kind of problem in the first place. I used to be outgoing and like to socialize, but these days I tend to avoid any notion of going out unless I’m with someone else, and I hate any other form of getting out and about for too long because it always causes difficulties even when I don’t think about them ever occurring in the first place.
Thankfully, with a girlfriend like mine, and she has mental health issues (which I’ve plastered over a few responses before now), she knows a thing or two about therapies and help and stuff. So I’m doing an online cognitive behavioural therapy course – which isn’t really doing much for me right now. I’ve never stopped trying to get help for it, it’s just a matter of getting the idiots in the white coats (not the nuthouse employees, the doctors) to understand that I am having problems. People in the UK with mental health issues seem to be so largely ignored or not even understood or worse, both, that it makes life increasingly difficult for people in that kind of situation to even begin to hope to have something close to a normal life again.
I think I’m going to post a link to this on Twitter to some folks see if I can get them to put their few cents in on this one.
If any of this doesn’t make any sense, it’s because I’ve been awake since 13:30 yesterday afternoon and it’s now 0438. Sorry!

PeppermintBiscuit's avatar

When I was younger, I used to get really anxious in large crowds. Shopping centres around Christmastime were the worst because everyone around would always be in such a hurry. I would have to go with a friend, and put up with their complaining when I clung to their arm.
I don’t get nervous in crowds anymore. I never sought professional help; I think that enough exposure eventually did the trick.
The big one, though, was always phones. Whenever one rang, it would bring on a mild panic attack. I only ever answered if I recognized the number (thank goodness for Caller ID!). I would have to get friends to place calls for me, if I needed to call someone I didn’t know. But I’m getting over that one, too.
All things considered, I think my advice is: baby steps. One small victory at a time. You might not get there as fast, but you’ll get there.

augustlan's avatar

I’m like @filmfann, and when I was younger, I couldn’t even really handle walking through a shopping mall if I was by myself. I tried cognitive behavioral therapy, but that didn’t work for me. What does help is taking anti-anxiety medication daily (Effexor XR), knowing my limits, and when I must exceed them, taking extra medication (Xanax).

Unbroken's avatar

I had a friend with this issue. It was xanax. But she got really addicted. I have troubble in crowds i wear head phones and listen to jazz or confidence or stress reducing reiki or if its not too bad just whatever

Aethelwine's avatar

I don’t like crowds or parties or small talk with people I don’t know. I’ve accepted this and have no desire to fix it because some people think it is wrong for me to be this way.

jazmina88's avatar

I’d rather be at peace with myself at home.

Blueroses's avatar

There are many of us who don’t feel like we “fit in” and many reasons for that feeling.

The best advice I got was from a teacher who said “act as if.” Act like the person who is glad to be there. Act like the person you’d like to be, even if you don’t feel it.

It’s true, and it can take years, even, to finally see people respond to that acting before you realize they are responding to “you”. The real you.

Act like the person you want to be. You will become that person. And…
someday, it will even feel real.

newtscamander's avatar

It’s why I don’t like to say something in lessons at school, I can’t stand it when everybody looks at me. So I’m rather quiet. And also, I can’t to go class late or to the bathroom during, because all students look at the door when it opens and I hate being stared at like that. So if I miss a train or oversleep, I can’t go to my lesson, and if I need the bathroom during a lesson I tough it out for 90 minutes until breaktime. Games like Bingo are really bad for me because I don’t dare to shout “bingo!”. It’s uncomfortable, but I talk to my therapist about it, and she has helped me to tune it down a little, it’s getting easier to raise my hand and say something, which has also improved my grades.

laineybug's avatar

I’m really socially awkward so I can’t really deal with new people well at all. Like others in this thread I also can’t be in a place with too many people for very long, especially not by myself. I can barely even walk to the bathroom in school by myself. I’ve never had help for this, I don’t really think it’s wrong to be like this.

augustlan's avatar

In light of @jonsblond‘s and @laineybug‘s answers, I would like to add that there isn’t anything wrong with feeling this way, unless it negatively impacts your life. If I didn’t have panic attacks in the situations I describe, I wouldn’t have felt the need to seek help. It was the panic attacks I needed help with, not the introversion, if you see what I mean.

Paradox25's avatar

I still suffer from panic attacks. My medication helped a lot, but not the counseling. I don’t have problems talking to personable individuals and having conversations, but there are certain social arrangements and scenerios that still get to me.

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