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What can you do when you have severe social anxiety?


JS202
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If you have Social Anxiety so severe that you can't get into relationships, hold down a job, and even walking past people in the street is anxiety provoking, what are supposed to do?

And this Social Anxiety has been severe since a very young age. I started school aged four and literally shit myself I was so afraid of the other kids. Through school, I didn't talk to anyone apart from one or two people who I considered my friends. I was called weird and laughed at by the other kids because I didn't talk.

I went to Horticulture college in 2008-9, and most people there were ok, though I heard someone remark about how little I communicated with them.

I tried to leard to drive in 2009-10 but was too nervous and I gave up after 20 lessons and haven't tried since.

Since 2009, when I left college I've been living as a Hikikomori, never doing anything or going anywhere except shopping with my parents and walks in the countryside, which are nerve racking if I have to walk past someone. I live in the Lancashire countryside, so it's not difficult to isolation myself, it's not like I live in a big city.

What do think my options are?

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My daughter has a similar struggle and I have also struggled in the past with this. I hear you that it is difficult. :( It can be especially challenging if one has acutely sensitive senses as well. Does it feel overwhelming for you on many levels?

I think it's important to challenge fears. Place yourself in many different social situations, perhaps building up from what feels the least stressful to what feels the most stressful. I understand that this can be extremely difficult. I have been trying to help my daughter with this for years. Have you tried therapy? This was very helpful to me. What I learned in therapy put me on a path to feeling more comfortable with myself. Sometimes it helps to talk about fears, what the fears mean, and listen to different thoughts. Every person out there is as human as you are and has their own insecurities.

Are you able to express yourself through writing, art or something else? I think it's important to find a way to connect with self.

I hope your situation improves. Best wishes to you.

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Thanks for your response :)

My daughter has a similar struggle and I have also struggled in the past with this. I hear you that it is difficult. :( It can be especially challenging if one has acutely sensitive senses as well. Does it feel overwhelming for you on many levels?

Yes, I can't stop thinking negative throughts like, "I look nervous" , "I look miserable", "They'll Think I'm Wierd" I get nervous jut walking past people on the street, especailly if I have to walk past someone who is walking in the same direction aas me. I worry they'll think I'm a creep or something.

I think it's important to challenge fears. Place yourself in many different social situations, perhaps building up from what feels the least stressful to what feels the most stressful. I understand that this can be extremely difficult. I have been trying to help my daughter with this for years.

I know but it's very difficult to get into social situations when I don't have any friends or any brothers/sister to introduce you me to people. If I ever get into a social situation I just say nothing or very little because I can't think what to say as my mind starts racing. I also wouldn't be surpirsed if I had Avoidant personality disorder, though I've never been diagnosed. In fact I've never even been diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder but it's obvious I have it. I had a brain scan has a child, something must have been wrong with the chemisty. I think they tested for Autism or something but I didn't have that. They must have known little about Social Anxiety in the 90's so didn't test for it.

Have you tried therapy? This was very helpful to me. What I learned in therapy put me on a path to feeling more comfortable with myself. Sometimes it helps to talk about fears, what the fears mean, and listen to different thoughts. Every person out there is as human as you are and has their own insecurities.

I've thought about it but I just don't have the motivation or bravery to go in. I'd probably be on a waiting list a very long time too considering how long people have to wait with the NHS in the UK.

Are you able to express yourself through writing, art or something else? I think it's important to find a way to connect with self.

I only write on forums, nowhere else. And I'm hopeless at art, I've never been good at that.

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It's very common to fear judgment from others with social anxiety. It helps me to keep reminding myself that others are as human as I am. They likely are focused on their own problems and aren't thinking about judging me. As I have worked toward feeling okay with myself, I know too that another person's potential judgment of me doesn't change who I am in any way. Have you tried encouraging yourself when you begin to feel anxious? It's okay to be you.

Do you have any hobbies, interests, or passions? I find it can help break the ice a bit in social situations to talk about things that I'm knowledgeable in. Likely too if something brings me joy, the other person sees that as well and this is advantageous. I work in retail as well so lots of practice talking with people has helped me over the years. I hear you that it isn't easy.

I don't think it matters so much to be good at art, music, acting, dancing or writing etc. as long as you enjoy it and it helps you to connect with yourself.

I do understand how much of a struggle this can be. :( I have made changes but I also feel some regret that I did not make these changes sooner. I hope you will continue to try to make connections with others.

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