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-   -   Moms with Social Anxiety Disorder/Social Phobia (http://www.mothering.com/forum/317-mental-health/1249960-moms-social-anxiety-disorder-social-phobia.html)

FallenofTrack 08-03-2010 08:09 PM

I have recently been doing some research on social anxiety disorder/social phobia, and I have come to the conclusion that I have had SAD since I was a teenager. I think it started when I was in my sophmore year of high school. Up until that point, I was always introverted and somewhat of a loner but at that point, I also started to experience the symtoms of SAD. I basically feared speaking up in class. I dreaded being made the center of attention. I've never liked being the center of attention, but I really started to dread it in high school. I even experienced selective mutism in several of my classes because of the anxiety and fear of being judged by the other students in those classes. I took several Advanced Placement classes, and there was a lot of group work and presentations to be done in front of the class. I just never felt comfortable with any of it.

In my teens, I also experienced derealization/depersonalization episodes when my anxiety got really bad. I would basically walk around feeling very detached from my environment, almost like I was in a dream. Sometimes these derealization episodes would last for a couple of hours. After the episodes had passed, I would then try to recall exactly what I had done during those episodes, because when I was having one of those episodes, the activities that I was doing didn't seem like real experiences. I haven't experienced one of these episodes since my early twenties.

There were also times when I was in college, when I would avoid going outside or going down a certain path to get back to my residence hall, if I saw that there were people hanging around outside. I remember one time, when there were maintenance workers doing work outside one of the buildings, and I felt very uncomfortable having to walk past them to get back to my residence hall. This was when my anxiety was really acting up.

Now, in my late twenties, I am still experiencing some of these symptoms. Today, I went to the zoo with my boyfriend and our daughter. I don't like going to places like this because there are usually a lot of people coming and going. At one point, I had to use the restroom, but there were so many people around outside, and I feared being stared at as I made my way to the restroom. Of course, no one was staring at me, but it was a fear that I had. After we left the zoo, we went to a restaurant, and once again, there were quite a few people in there, and I had to will myself to walk past them to get to our table. I've been able to get through these experiences but I always feel uncomfortable. I couldn't even really enjoy my food at the restaurant because I didn't feel comfortable eating in front of other people.

Does anyone else here have SAD, and has anyone experienced these derealization/depersonalization episodes when the anxiety gets really bad?

earthworm 08-11-2010 12:51 AM

I have social anxiety disorder as well. I know I have seen a few more people with social anxiety post in the Mental Health forum.
I don't have time to post much right now, but I wanted to let you know you aren't alone!

Svarupa 08-11-2010 02:46 AM

Yes, you aren't alone. I have panic disorder and somewhat mild agoraphobia, which manifests very similarly to what you are describing here. I really hate crowds, and I am often anxious that I am being observed in public. If I'm feeling anxious I simply can't go out. When I was in college, sometimes I needed to eat in public by myself and I couldn't make myself (I'm OK if someone is with me). It began when I was 17 and became worse over my 20s. Now I am proud when I go out and do something on my own. When I'm feeling good though, I cope very well. I've taken medication in the past, but acupuncture has helped even more!

FallenofTrack 08-11-2010 01:25 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthworm View Post
I have social anxiety disorder as well. I know I have seen a few more people with social anxiety post in the Mental Health forum.
I don't have time to post much right now, but I wanted to let you know you aren't alone!
Thank you. And I'll check out that forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svarupa View Post
Yes, you aren't alone. I have panic disorder and somewhat mild agoraphobia, which manifests very similarly to what you are describing here. I really hate crowds, and I am often anxious that I am being observed in public. If I'm feeling anxious I simply can't go out. When I was in college, sometimes I needed to eat in public by myself and I couldn't make myself (I'm OK if someone is with me). It began when I was 17 and became worse over my 20s. Now I am proud when I go out and do something on my own. When I'm feeling good though, I cope very well. I've taken medication in the past, but acupuncture has helped even more!

For me, there used to be times when I couldn't go out, either. When I was in college, I used to be able to eat by myself, but only if the eating area at the cafeteria wasn't crowded with students. The more people there are, the more uncomfortable I feel, even if I am with someone. I remember, in college, there were times when the cafeteria would do a brunch for the students, on weekends. I dreaded going to get something to eat, because I knew that a lot of students would be sitting in the dining hall, and that's where the buffet was set up. So even though I was hungry, I'd skip out on getting something to eat, because I felt nervous having to get the food, when there were other students sitting there.

earthworm 08-11-2010 06:15 PM

I have also dealt with the fear of eating in public. This was a big one for me in high school. If I ate, I kept whatever I was eating in my lap or hidden by my lunchbox and took tiny pinches of it to eat while no one was looking. Eventually I stopped eating lunch altogether and sat alone in the hallway during lunchtime.
I actually ended up dropping out of high school mostly due to anxiety and then didn't leave the house for a few months. I still haven't completed college because of it.
I tried medication recently but discovered I am also bipolar when the medication caused me to have a really intense manic episode. I guess I should go back to a doctor to figure something else but that terrified me so much that I've been putting it off.
I do think I make strides every year (the fact that I can even post on a messageboard and check back is something pretty new!). It's just at such a slow pace, you know? And I am sososo worried about passing it on to my children.

Thanks for sharing your experience with acupuncture! That's not something I've ever considered; I'll have to look into it.

SoulCakes 08-12-2010 10:21 AM

I have something a bit different. I don't have a problem with crowds or total strangers, but with people who inhabit that strange land of acquaintances. Largish groups (5-20) of people I don't know well but who expect me to say something socially. This panics me.

I've always had the above, but I didn't develop a fear of speaking in class until college. In high school and before I was always a kind of shining star academically, but in college I disappeared from view because I was terrified of having to speak in front of a large group. The few classes I took online I excelled in because I wasn't restricted by that fear.

I've been struggling with these things for years but have also been (tentatively) pushing myself into situations where I'm forced to interact in these ways. I want desperately to be free of this terrible sort of prison.

muldey 08-12-2010 06:33 PM

You are so not alone.I've suffered from anxiety and panic disorder since jr high.I never finished 9th grade because it was so bad(I had a tutor for 7th and 8th),and no one helped me.I have my GED now,but even that was very difficult for me.I had no problems with the work,I was in advanced classes,but I couldn't take the crowds.Even now I have a hard time getting out of the house,I have to force myself to go anywhere.Just taking a walk with my ds was hard,since we went into a store.I have a concert coming up on Monday and I am terrified(but also very excited).I'm going,it's my favorite band,but the crowd will be huge.I'm on multiple meds for this now,and it's a little easier,but not much.

FallenofTrack 08-12-2010 07:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by muldey View Post
You are so not alone.I've suffered from anxiety and panic disorder since jr high.I never finished 9th grade because it was so bad(I had a tutor for 7th and 8th),and no one helped me.I have my GED now,but even that was very difficult for me.I had no problems with the work,I was in advanced classes,but I couldn't take the crowds.Even now I have a hard time getting out of the house,I have to force myself to go anywhere.Just taking a walk with my ds was hard,since we went into a store.I have a concert coming up on Monday and I am terrified(but also very excited).I'm going,it's my favorite band,but the crowd will be huge.I'm on multiple meds for this now,and it's a little easier,but not much.
Thanks for sharing. For me personally, I managed to make it through high school, but the SA really affected how I did in certain classes. I actually got crappy grades in the AP classes because those were the classes that stressed class participation and periodic group assignments. I hated all of that. Along with the AP classes, I also took some of the regular college prep classes that most of the student body was taking, and those are the classes that I did well in, because for some reason there wasn't any group work, and there was less pressure to participate in class, which actually made it easier to participate if I was comfortable enough to do so.

If I had it to do over again, I would have immediately switched out of any AP classes I had signed up for, and had my counselor put me in college prep classes instead. I would have been able to get into a much better college, if I had done that, because my grades would have been much better, and I would have felt more comfortable asking teachers for help if I didn't understand class work.

I used to have a hard time leaving the house as well, because I don't drive, so if I needed to go to the store, up the street from my apartment, I had to walk to get there. Or if I wanted to go somewhere farther, I had to wait for the bus. These situations made me nervous because of the fear of being watched and criticized by people passing by. So sometimes I just didn't go where I wanted to go.

Well, anyway, I hope you enjoy the concert and that the anxiety doesn't act up too much.

zebra15 08-13-2010 01:56 AM

Yes I probably have social anxiety.phobia

I am on meds for some other issues and they seem to help with this as well.

muldey 08-13-2010 07:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by FallenofTrack View Post
Thanks for sharing. For me personally, I managed to make it through high school, but the SA really affected how I did in certain classes. I actually got crappy grades in the AP classes because those were the classes that stressed class participation and periodic group assignments. I hated all of that. Along with the AP classes, I also took some of the regular college prep classes that most of the student body was taking, and those are the classes that I did well in, because for some reason there wasn't any group work, and there was less pressure to participate in class, which actually made it easier to participate if I was comfortable enough to do so.

If I had it to do over again, I would have immediately switched out of any AP classes I had signed up for, and had my counselor put me in college prep classes instead. I would have been able to get into a much better college, if I had done that, because my grades would have been much better, and I would have felt more comfortable asking teachers for help if I didn't understand class work.

I used to have a hard time leaving the house as well, because I don't drive, so if I needed to go to the store, up the street from my apartment, I had to walk to get there. Or if I wanted to go somewhere farther, I had to wait for the bus. These situations made me nervous because of the fear of being watched and criticized by people passing by. So sometimes I just didn't go where I wanted to go.

Well, anyway, I hope you enjoy the concert and that the anxiety doesn't act up too much.
Everythign you mentioned is why I couldn't do high school.It's even why i couldn't do jr high and had a tutor.I was in and out of the court system trying to force me to go to school.No one thought to look into why I couldn't go!No one thought of anxiety.Only looking back now do I know that was the reason.I wish someone would have helped me back then.

I also don't drive.I'm terrified to.Sometimes I just want to go on the bus to the mall,and I just can't do it.It really sucks.I'm on klonnopin and seroquel for the anxiety,but I hate taking the meds so a lot of times I don't and just stay in.I'm even afraid to get into a car with someone.The 30 minute drive to the concert has me more freaked out than the crowd.But I'm sure I'll have fun,I just have to get there.

FallenofTrack 08-13-2010 10:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by muldey View Post
Everythign you mentioned is why I couldn't do high school.It's even why i couldn't do jr high and had a tutor.I was in and out of the court system trying to force me to go to school.No one thought to look into why I couldn't go!No one thought of anxiety.Only looking back now do I know that was the reason.I wish someone would have helped me back then.

I also don't drive.I'm terrified to.Sometimes I just want to go on the bus to the mall,and I just can't do it.It really sucks.I'm on klonnopin and seroquel for the anxiety,but I hate taking the meds so a lot of times I don't and just stay in.I'm even afraid to get into a car with someone.The 30 minute drive to the concert has me more freaked out than the crowd.But I'm sure I'll have fun,I just have to get there.

Yeah, I think one of the worse things is when a kid has to go through school dealing with severe anxiety, and doesn't end up receiving any help because most people have no awareness of social anxiety or other anxiety related disorders. I attended school back in the late 90's. I even ended up seeing a school psychologist, after I broke down my guidance counselor and admitted that I wanted to committ suicide. When I saw the school psychologist, the topic of anxiety was never brought up in our conversations. But the conversations did allow me to vent some stress.
As far as school goes, now, there are options such as virtual/online school. If that was an option back when I was going to high school, I would have done that.

Also, I have been able to talk myself through a lot situations in which I felt very anxious and nervous. I think this was easiest for me to do, once I had graduated from high school. Because when I was in school, I couldn't just leave the room if I started to feel nervous. I remember sometimes sitting in class, and the worse part of class, was like the last fifteen minutes, when the teacher had finished teaching for the hour, so students would get up and talk and form little groups to socialize before the bell rang When that happened, I felt like racing out of the room, but I had to stick it out until the bell rang. I felt like a sore thumb amongst these students.

I'm supposed to start driving lessons next week, if my boyfriend has enough disposable income to cover the first lesson. I really want to go through the lessons and eventually get a drivers license, but I am not sure if that will ever happen. I hate trying to do learn or practice something with someone right there to observe every little thing that I do. And in the case of learning to drive, obviously the intructor has to be right there, so I don't know how I am going to handle it. It's performance anxiety. But I really want to do it, so that I can have more freedom in taking my daughter to different places, instead of having to wait for my boyfriend to give us a ride or taking the overcrowded public bus, which is always a pain in the rear.

ColoradanMom 08-15-2010 10:40 PM

Hi. Just thought I'd chime in, since I do have social anxiety. I am able to function and have jobs and generally get along with people but in terms of developing/keeping friendships I'm horrible. I hate parties. Besides my husband and my parents, I've never really kept up communication with anyone for more than a few years.
I don't know how to make new girlfriends because I'm too afraid to ask to hang out. I've always had this voice in me that says they're going to think I'm a desperate stalking looser if I ask someone to get together.
I've been this way as long as I remember. Even in Elementary school, I'd play on the playground a lot and And don't even get me started on the high school lunch room
I have on and off depression - I took Zoloft for a couple years in high school - right as all those meds were becoming cool. A couple years ago after some medical stuff with my son I got on Celexa and I just weaned myself off a few months ago because I hate being medicated. Honestly, I don't know what to do about this social issue. Can I just let it go and accept that its who I am and be friendly with everyone I encounter? Or do I need to push myself and build more relationships.

no5no5 08-16-2010 12:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by earthworm View Post
I have also dealt with the fear of eating in public. This was a big one for me in high school. If I ate, I kept whatever I was eating in my lap or hidden by my lunchbox and took tiny pinches of it to eat while no one was looking.
How funny. This is just how I did it in grade school. It didn't help that I'm prone to hypoglycemia.

Anyway, I also have social anxiety issues. I had pretty severe selective mutism in grade school, and even had some issues with it in college. I also have other anxiety issues, which are probably more severe at this point in my life.

I'm mostly over it, though. I shouldn't say that. I still have a lot of anxiety, but I'm over letting it determine how I live my life. When DD was born, I made up my mind that I'd do what it took to keep from passing my own issues on to her. I'm not succeeding 100%, but I'm doing my best.

Big to all of you. It's not easy.

bu's mama 08-29-2010 11:01 AM

I'm just coming to terms with accepting this. Colorado Mom - I could have written your post.

mich 10-06-2010 08:08 AM

Hi all, I just wanted to post a thank you and say how great this kind of support can be. I have struggled as long as I can remember with anxiety. I know very little about social anxiety disorder but I'm trying to learn more.

My son, now 11, seems to struggle a lot with leaving the house. He also will not answer questions when an adult he knows asks. Not me or someone close, but a parent of a friend for example. We homeschool and in a way it's great for him. I spent my entire school experience miserable and didn't even retain anything I learned because I was so stressed out on a daily basis.

But of course I worry about my son. As a homeschooler he is never forced (yet) to speak, or interact. But I keep getting concerned comments for moms in our homeschool group that he does not participate at all in the group activities. I keep telling them I'm fine with it and to please just let him observe. But they are uncomfortable with him not participating, and I just worry about him. I worry, and worry and worry! Anxiety is so fun....

SilverSage 10-06-2010 11:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ColoradanMom View Post
Hi. Just thought I'd chime in, since I do have social anxiety. I am able to function and have jobs and generally get along with people but in terms of developing/keeping friendships I'm horrible. I hate parties. Besides my husband and my parents, I've never really kept up communication with anyone for more than a few years.
I don't know how to make new girlfriends because I'm too afraid to ask to hang out. I've always had this voice in me that says they're going to think I'm a desperate stalking looser if I ask someone to get together.
I've been this way as long as I remember. Even in Elementary school, I'd play on the playground a lot and And don't even get me started on the high school lunch room

Ditto! And I have a very social outgoing DD, only child, that I homeschool, so I have to really push myself to get her out and about as much as she seems to need. Does that count as self inflicted punishment?

almadianna 10-12-2010 01:45 PM

Hello mamas. I think that it might be better for this tribe to be in the mental health forum. You will get more support there.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

lealeigh 06-05-2014 09:21 PM

I could relate to your situation. There are times that I'm can fake my self confidence. But oftentimes social anxiety gets me. I don't even wanna come out of my room specially if there are visitors in the living room or my younger sister has her classmates come over at our house. I was worried they will think I'm ugly and my sis was pretty. I don't want them to compare me and my sis. So I end up sulking at my room and playing a lot of computer games. It wasn't until recently that I got bored being at home all the time. I just couldn't imagine getting old not having to experience the fullness of life. So I did some online research and found some strategies to help me out. One that really helped me was mindfulness meditation. It basically enables you to accept the negative feelings and thoughts as passing by and not treat it as facts. You filter your negative thoughts and replace them with happy and healthier ones. You can learn the meditation here: socialanxietydisorder(dot)org(dot)uk/how-mindfulness-meditation-can-reduce-your-anxiety

Lins21 06-19-2014 04:59 AM

Hi everyone,
I feel for all of you...anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, depression, ocd, is so exhausting to live with. I had severe social anxiety growing up but I was just considered shy, I was help back in school because I was so withdrawn. Well, I had no idea what anxiety was but I went through the last 30 ears of my life with this disorder avoiding situations thinking it was normal to feel that way. Well, within the last 4 years my mom tried coming of benzos and an antidepressant because of how they made her feel, and than attempted suicide twice, thank God she is alive and well now, that's when I went downhill. I didn't know I was getting panic attacks, I thought I had a terminal illness! After chronic panic attacks (I finally figured out what they were) and insomnia, I am still suffering but have gotten better. Tried 2 weeks of clonazepam which barely touched my high anxiety state. I am deathly afraid of these drugs because I have seen the negative effects they can have on someone so I am living life unmedicated and trying natural remedies with little relief. I know a few who are medicated and seem to be functioning fine, but I doubt they will ever be med free. Hope for relief for all of us :)


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