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stardust's avatar

How do deal with social anxiety?

Asked by stardust (10544points) March 16th, 2010

I’d describe myself as quite a sociable person. I love being out and about – meeting new people.

Lately I’ve been feeling slightly depressed – nothing to warrant too much worry. However, in the last couple of days I’ve avoided doing anything much that involves me leaving the house.
A part of me thinks the best thing to do is get out there & get over it. However, when it comes down to the crunch, I simply haven’t done that. I’ve been avoiding much of any social interaction.
I don’t know what in god’s name is wrong with me and why I can’t get myself out of this funk.
I’ll add that I cannot, or rather prefer not to discuss this with my friends.
Does anyone have any experience of this and how best to handle it?

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8 Answers

jonami's avatar

this happened to me when i spent too much time on the internet. as soon as i gave my computer away, it went away, and the following 3 years were the best of my life. now i got a computer a week ago and already have this problem myself.

stardust's avatar

Thanks for the response. I’m pretty confident my computer has nothing to do with it though – my main use for it is an online course and making plans with friends via facebook. It’s more than that. It’s a sense of panic that comes over me when I think I’m going to have to be in a crowded space.

thriftymaid's avatar

A couple of days of solitude is not a crisis, it also is not anxiety.

prolificus's avatar

When you say lately, how many weeks or months?  Usually doctors diagnose depression after the symptoms have been the same or worse for around six months.

Having experienced clinical depression and social anxiety, I know that medication helped me lots!

Even without medication there are little things that can help:

1. Plan an escape route – before a social event, I estimate how long I can stay and make a plan to leave graciously so that I can take care of myself and not draw unnecessary attention. For some reason, unnecessary attention makes social anxiety feel worse.

2.  Maintain a routine – even if I’m having problems eating and/or sleeping, having a consistant self-care routine allows my body/mind/spirit to feel a sense of TLC.

3.  Pay attention to triggers – take notice of what exactly increases the feeling of social anxiety. Ask yourself: Is it something that is poking at something from your past?  Does it feel threatening to the energy you need to care for yourself?  Are you afraid of appearing depressed?  Are you struggling with something that you want to share, but you’re scared to share it or fear someone finding out or wish someone would notice?

Paying attention to my triggers can help me see unresolved problems or concerns. If I see what’s unresolved, then I can move towards problem-solving.

If all else fails, breathe.

stardust's avatar

@prolificus My relapse has been coming over over say, maybe the last month and a half. I acted immediately – set myself up with a new therapist, got some medication for sleep and some for the anxiety to get me over the worst of it.
Just to add, I have a history with depression, bi-polar, but it’s very much in the past.
This could just be a blip for me
I’ll take note of your suggestions – thank fou for that. I appreciate it very much.
Things will come back around again

SeventhSense's avatar

I can be pretty depressed and probably should be on medication yet I find exercise is very helpful and sometimes I just basically force myself by sheer will to act. Sometimes it’s just a going through the motions for a while but eventually I find if I bring the body the mind will follow if I bar all mental escape routes.

mollypop51797's avatar

Maybe you just need to take a little break away from people. Eventually you’ll get tired of it, and you’ll just feel free once you step out that door. And if you’re stressing the crowd rooms, maybe you’re having a mini- claustrophobic stage. No biggie. Sleep, relax, don’t go to crowded rooms :)

JeffVader's avatar

I’ve experienced that at times when I’ve been out of work. I think the more you get isolated from society, the harder it is to re-engage with it. Try small things to start with. Do some work in the garden for example, interact with the postman. Then move further afield, a trip to the corner shop, to the local park. The more you do the easier it becomes, but it does take effort.

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