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Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:03 pm

Hey Emma! :D

Thanks for your kind message.

Well, this morning I was actually feeling a bit 'meh'. A familiar feeling that I would always respond to by pulling the duvet over my head, giving up, avoidance and then feelings of guilt, shame, sadness and regret. I seem to experience the 'freeze' response opposed to 'fight or flight'. But I went to work regardless. Turns out the Chef told everyone apart from me to come in an hour later. The old me would have thought 'stuff it' and would come back home, happy for an excuse not to go. BUT! I am now in Costa sipping coffee and will return shortly. My mood is still a bit 'ugh'. Honestly, I think I need a serious dopamine boost! Onwards and upwards though. Only I can do this. :) Besides, it gives me an insight into how everyone can make genuine mistakes. The chef said he will still pay me the hour just for turning up! :lol:

I was given some great advice once - don't make an important decision if you are very happy or very unhappy. Be neutral, measured, level-headed. 8-) That way you can be sure.

Is the low energy and tiredness a priority for you? Yes, you say? ;) Then it's a priority for the doctor! If someone breaks their leg, does it warrant treatment any more than if someone breaks their ankle or their big toe? Doctor Em (specialised in persistent nagging and excessive waffling) recommends a super multi B vitamin and iron tablets.

Not sure about the nap. If it's not affecting your sleep at night and if it's not an escape mechanism to avoid feeling worse if you're awake, then it seems your body needs it. You had all your bloods checked, right? Are you deficient? How's your diet? There are lots of self-help techniques you can implement, otherwise do you think the exhaustion could be a physical symptom of the mental strain of anxiety/depression/worrying/stress?

The anxiety group went well yesterday. I learnt how to reframe anxiety, e.g. interpret the anxious thoughts and physical symptoms as excitement rather than anxiety/dread. Also, body language e.g. Standing tall, head up, shoulders back, triggers the brain to feel more confident. I also realised that anxiety/worry causes symptoms of low mood, dread, lethargy and low motivation in me rather than the typical heart racing, breathless, butterfly tummy sensations. Hence why I feel I am deficient in dopamine......

It was nice to catch up with the two other ladies and there was another familiar face at the course too. Both the older ladies were talking about how Sundays feel like a 'meh' day to them, so I invited them for coffee on me next week! :) You know the expression young at heart? Try 'OLD at heart'. :lol:

Not sure about the weight loss. Maybe my activity is more? I don't over-exercise but I am certainly out and about much more. I get weighed at the surgery fortnightly. My body mass index (the ed team were obsessed with this. :lol: ) is 14.4 I believe. But I'm a titchy little person. Small boned and only five foot. The ed team would have suggested I gain one and a half stones/9.5kg to be at the lowest end of a 'healthy BMI'. Nobody (besides my mother) ever remarks on my weight or asks about my eating/whether I am anorexic. I mean, people can be rude. People would ask. :lol:

Glad you enjoyed studying psychology. I'm fascinated by how brain composition affects individuals differently with regards to perception, personality and behaviour. What aspects have you most enjoyed learning about? :)

Hope you enjoyed your day off yesterday and that Tilly didn't frighten the poor cat too much. :lol: Right, almost time for work. Can't beat a waffle whilst you wait. ;)

Thank you too for reassuring me that I have this safe space to talk. I am grateful that each waffle is received without judgement and with genuine compassion, empathy and respect. All your encouragement, support, advice and positivity is very much appreciated. I am glad to know you! :D

Right! Those dishes won't wash themselves! :lol: Speak soon.

Em xxx

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Sat Nov 24, 2018 12:05 pm


I'm going into work with a spoon in one hand and a burger in the other! Thanks for making me laugh. :lol:

But seriously, I really appreciate your kindness and concern. Thank you.

Much love, bud! :D

BA-DA-BA-BA-BAAAA! 'EM' - LOVIN' IT! :lol: xxx

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby andthistoomustpass » Sun Nov 25, 2018 2:56 am

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby emloja » Sun Nov 25, 2018 9:51 pm

Well done Em for pushing through and still going to work yesterday despite not feeing too good- re-conditioning yourself- how did the rest of the day go? At least you got paid for the extra hour! What is the plan for this week?
I had a really pants day on Friday but just accepted it- remembered your wise words- and it passed. I had a lovely day yesterday- met a friend who cooked for me and we had a lazy day together- all was fab until my windscreen got smashed on the way home- by bad luck- but like massively smashed- it deafened me- luckily that was all and i was safe. I also bought a karaoke machine in Black Friday- i used to love singing and so can be sad and spend time with my family and friends singing in the front room!!! It even has disco lights!! he he.
Yes the tiredness is a priority- i got a reduction in my meds but plan to see the doctor to check about this lack of energy and see what she thinks in terms of it being in my head or not. I already take multi vitamins following your advice! The nap does not affect my sleep at night- just takes a number of hours i don't have out of my day and doesn't seem to energise me. I will probably ask for an update blood test- the last one i just passed (for not being anaemic) but i was taking prescribed iron tablets at the time. Sosurely that was all it measured- that the tablets i was taking were staying in me?!?!
Love a bit of reframing! Hate dread!! I used to live in constant dread! Looking back it has improved lots- i am going to try and be calm tomorrow when i visit the doctors. My main issue nowadays is motivation and energy. I watched my friend's husband make his lunch- a salad and how carefully and organised he was, and i realise that to me making that salad would be perceived as a big deal and lots of effort- i do not like this part of me. But i guess if it is the main issue left out of the depression and anxiety, then things aren't too bad.
So you really are little em- did i tell you one of my secondary teachers used to call me little em? There were two Emmas in my class and as she was taller she was called grande em and i was petite em. However as school developed i grew taller and so the names no longer made sense!
I loved social, forensic and developmental psychology. I would have studied social psychology more if there was more of a job linked to it. I did love my degree as we got to do so many different modules. I didn't love the statistics. It was a good job that i loved the subject as i struggled socially at uni. I'd always had a good group of friends and then suddenly i didn't have any- it was tough as i was also away from home. I therefore buried myself into my books and got a part time job too.
Anyways, tomorrow i am sorting out my car and hopefully seeing the doctor (i have my list already ready! ha ha).
Hope you are well and have congratulated yourself on the past week and facing your demons!
Emma x

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby alanrock » Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:06 pm

Hi Littleem

I know what you're going through. I'm now in my 50s and can function as a normal person (lol). Throughout my childhood I was crippling shy. I couldn't walk into a room without beaming red. In company with others I wouldn't say a word, sometimes for hours. When I started work at 16 I couldn't make a phone call in the same room as others. I've seen myself going into town shopping only to have to turn straight around and go back home as soon as I got off the bus or out of the car. These are just a few examples. As I got older I discovered that alcohol could allow me to be the person I wanted to be, confident, friendly, happy. Obviously this was a temporary solution and led to years of excessive drinking, bad behaviour etc, etc.

However I have learned some strategies to help and develop. I started reading self-help books, it showed me that behaviour can be learned. I find If I have a purpose in a situation I can cope with it. I have given speeches and have ran business events and am in sales. I still have social phobia and feel uncomfortable in social situations but I know it is just my mind doing this. Everyone isn't looking at me or judging me (actually most people are worried about their own stuff).

Have a goal, i.e. going to university and doing the course. This helps take your focus off your anxiety and what others think. You are doing this for a reason, to have a better life in the future. So what happens in the here and now isn't important because you are doing something more important for you.

Just my thoughts, maybe a little bit of them will help. Let me know what you think.

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby emloja » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:50 pm

Hey Em, i hope all is okay! I'm missing my regular dose of waffles!!!

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:37 pm

Hello Emma!! :D

My apologies for not replying sooner. I kept on burning the waffles. ;)

How are you? :)

I'm sorry to hear about your recent driving incident, but I am relieved that you are safe and well. Your friend sounds lovely and the kareoke machine.... Love it!!! :D Sounds great fun!!

I've actually enrolled with my mother into 'Rock Choir' in January. Can I sing? No! Does it matter? Maybe? :lol: It will be a good laugh though! Besides, I mime like a boss. 8-)

How did it go with the doc? Are you feeling any less tired/have you had any delightfully epic naps? Depending which way you want to look at it..... ;)

Well it shows a real strength of character to commit to university and get stuck into your work despite having a lot of struggles socially. Besides, all those areas of study sound really interesting, too. It also shows real strength how (despite pants days) you don't let the anxiety and depression spoil everything. Keep it up!

Tomorrow, I will have completed two weeks at work. My mother knows I'm working but not the ins and outs of it all. She said she thinks it's a good thing. :shock: I like it there. Nice hours, nice people, clean place, not crazy busy. I've worked with chefs whose language makes Gordon Ramsay blush, but here the chef actually turned the radio off in response to inappropriate and unpleasant lyrics. SO refreshing!

I'm tired though and when I am doing what is GOOD for ME, anorexia wants to pull me back. Food restriction is how I cope when I am anxious. If I want to work, I have to eat. I'm silently embarrassed when the chefs talk to me about cooking and food because I naturally show enthusiasm, but nobody knows I'm anorexic. Then my head is questioning, 'Do I look anorexic? Do people really think I'm a normal person with no mental health problems?', 'How do people actually see me?', 'Does everyone suspect it deep down?' ..... And then I feel guilty, uneasy inside, and as though I need to excuse myself and apologise! Anorexia isn't on people's radar's. I just feel like I'm portraying the opposite to what lies inside. It's nice in a way because I can feel 'normal' and accepted, but I am ashamed of having anorexia. Why? I don't exactly know.

I also feel guilty for the secrecy around food restriction and for lying to my mother who thinks I'm doing so well. Part of me is thinking, 'Shit! At some point something really bad is going to happen. If my mam finds out, world war three will commence!' But she suspects nothing so I just need to get back on track with the eating. I'm much better but I don't want to slip back. I'm scared that 'doing well' equates 'being well' which means 'now I'm fat so now I've failed'. Stupid crappy nonsense talk.

I have not heard from the ED team since my angry and emotional phone call with them. That hurts but it is what it is and I am functioning without them. Bit flat because my care coordinator hasn't contacted me about an appointment since that time either so my head is wondering if she can't be arsed. Probably, she just knows I'm okay without the support. I just feel a bit... left. :? But I do have therapy starting in about ten days and the creative therapy the week after that. Not going to the self esteem group therapy run by ED team. If it's even running. Not that they've contacted me. Four buses and two trains to get there. Stuff that. :roll:

On the up, I am feeling less isolated. I know and interact with more people. I don't avoid and I am growing in confidence socially. Yet the detachment is still there. I feel this is enough for me just now. I used to feel I 'should' have lots of friends and a great social life. :roll: I'm a little more realistic now.

Things at home are sometimes tricky. My dad's only topic of conversation is WORK but that's how it is with him. He's in better spirits now he knows he has a job lined up. I can't take his low moods though. They suck the life out of everything. My mother is okay. Still up and down with feeling unwell and she gets a bit down but things aren't so tense as of late.

I am also acutely aware of a lingering sense of unfulfillment. Perhaps revisiting rewarding voluntary work in the new year (which used to fulfil me) might help with this. But still, I don't need to think about the social life and fulfilment issues this side of 2019. :lol: I want to have more fun in my life next year, too. Sometimes I feel like I could really do with a hearty belly laugh. Ain't had one of those beauties in.... I don't remember.

How I have rambled on. :lol: Sorry for presenting you with my latest waffle tasting menu.

Let me know how you're doing and what's been a' happenin' with you!

Much love and waffles,

Petite Em xxx

P.S. pre-packaged salad is the way to go!!!

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:15 pm

Hi Alan,

Thank you for posting. I really appreciate you sharing so openly and honestly. It's always reassuring and encouraging to hear how others have overcome struggles with their mental health. You really have come very far and should be really proud of yourself. :)

I totally agree that behaviour can be learned. Cognitive behavioural therapy has helped me massively in this respect.

I find not falling back into unhelpful safety behaviours (i.e. namely avoidance!), can enable us to put things in perspective (people are probably more concerned about their 'own stuff') and can give us more confidence to continue despite set-backs (e.g. 'I might have felt embarrassed in the moment, but with time and on reflection, it's really not that big of a deal).

This happened to me the other night in college. As I was sharing my point, I felt my face burning up. I KNEW I was turning bright red. Knowing others knew this too made it worse! In previous times, I would have bolted. I would never return to that class. I probably would avoid all college classes for at least a year. But I didn't. I stayed there, I spoke again and I even had a lift home for the first time with another lady on the course! She's picking me up next week and plans to come to church with me soon! I returned to college last night and will go again next week. Nobody mentioned my red face. Nobody laughed or mocked. I may or may not blush in front of these people again, but if I do, I know it will be okay. :oops: 8-)

I hope that makes sense. I do have a tendency to ramble on a bit. :lol:

The goal/purpose definitely helps. A few months back, I read at a funeral in a huge Cathedral in front of hundreds I both knew and didn't know. I wasn't at all anxious which was bizarre..... But I had a bigger purpose. What the reading represented and the action of me reading it both meant far more than my anxiety and if I read well or blushed or tripped up on a few words.

Also, the more we do things despite anxious predictions and actual mistakes.... the easier it gets and the more we realise that other (seemingly!) 'SUPERHUMANS' have imperfections, too. We also learn we're not as 'bad' as we might think and that other people reeeeeeeeeeeally aren't as bothered about our little (normal!) mistakes as much as we fret that they are. But of course, this is an ongoing process. As you will know yourself. :)

Anyways, I am impressed by what you have achieved and think you are doing great! Thanks again for posting.

I hope you're as well as you can be. :)

Best wishes,

Em x

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby emloja » Sat Dec 01, 2018 2:24 pm

Hey Em,
Glad you are back and okay- i started to worry that you weren't okay- obviously i could have chosen one of two rational explanations as to you not replying so soon- but my brain decided it was the more negative one- then i worried something had gone badly at your work and you would never come back and if you didn't i would never know if you are okay! I guess it is the randomness of this online relationship which is through this site on this page. I Just wanted to be honest- i no way want you to feel any pressure to respond- i am thinking maybe i have been relying on our chats a bit too much- perhaps i need to reduce my use on here and start up my diary a bit more. I enjoy our chats but don't want to ruin them by being too needy!!! When actually less chat is probably good as it means we are both getting on with our lives!
My supporter from my online programme has tried to call a few times- they review us every two weeks and after both sessions he wanted to chat to support his written feedback- the first time i called him and he wasn't there, then i went away. This time i didn't want to talk to him as i felt a bit pathetic- i also don't feel i am using the programme well enough- i think he thinks i am just a perfectionist and because i read it and answer the questions- i think he thinks i am using it lots- I'm not applying it though- not living it! I don't like the fact that i used to be a good student and then when it comes to the most important lesson of my life then i don't feel i am good enough.
Anyway- i love you have joined a choir and you cannot sing-as long as you are not tone deaf!!! he he. Love that you have compensated for your lack of singing talent by miming like a boss!
The doc- errhhh. I chickened out and didn't go. This is a pattern- i think about something, plan it, procrastinate over it and then don't do it- it can be for positive or negative reasons. So annoying and such a waste of energy. I haven't reduced my meds yet- i have my current strength until monday- then i have lower- so if i am thinking it isn't right to reduce yet then i need to go on monday. I had some good and some bad days this week. Yesterday i actually cleared out some of my cupboards, which had a positive affect on me- i have decided i might make a list of house stuff and do a small thing each day- the problem is i don't stay small but go big and then!!! I also got a ten pound brand new rug from the charity shop which fits my bedroom perfectly and should have been 50 (i cannot for the life of me find the pound sign!!).
Yay to 2 weeks at work and that your mum knows too! And extra yay to nice people and environment. I think that is def 5 points to you and minus 10 to anorexia (if i consult my mental health scoring booklet) If the chef talks to you about cooking and food it is because that is their job and passion- i think they must not see you as anorexic as i would have thought they might try and avoid talking about food if they suspected. I can empathise with feeling like you are portraying the opposite to what is going on inside- when i was really struggling- the mask i wore got heavier and harder to wear. I don't like the word normal- who is and what is normal??? Do you mean you feel normal and accepted in that moment during that conversation? Do you have any other negative feelings during these conversations, or mainly ashamed about the anorexia? Could be like the anorexia doesn't like those conversations and is making you feel ashamed or you are apologising to the anorexia?? Do you think there are any other ways you could act- would you prefer for those you work with to know about your anorexia?
Sounds really tough Em- Anorexia sure is a buggar!! It tries to make it so you are dammed if you do and if you dont. Do you talk about your food restriction with anyone? I don't know much about anorexia but this is the bit i worry most about for you- as i think it would be awful for all your efforts to be brought down by your physical health- and you deserve to be well.
I think you should contact your care coordinator- otherwise you are doing an Emma and your head is running away with you. From what you have told me about her i certainly don't think she can't be arsed. So excited to hear about the creative therapy when it starts- sounds exciting. When are you starting the family therapy? Yay to your dad getting a job. what a relief.
Unfulfillment- welcome to my life! yes to rewarding voluntary work- that was part of my plan. Love a belly laugh! I will now attempt to retell an event from my holiday which resulted in an ongoing belly laugh. If my translation doesn't produce a laugh then it was one of those things you hd to be there for. We stayed in a desert camp and were the only guests. The staff were just working for us and were really sweet local lads- who tried very hard and always had a smile on their faces. Their english wasn't too great though and they started off by telling us they had just opened and when we asked them how long they had been closed for they said 7 years (when it was 7 weeks). At dinner (the spread was laid out for us and in those metal containers with the heat canisters underneath). I asked what the soup was and the young man said- packet and water- but so seriously- it was so funny. The fact all the food was cold as the heaters were just for show didn't lead to a good dinner but we couldn't stop laughing about the soup! i have just re-read and not sure it sounds funny- but since i bothered to write it and there is a small chance although it won't provide a belly laugh, it might raise a smile or a tomato throwing grown.
Anyways enjoy the rambling. Glad you are all good and plodding along, have a good weekend, Emma x
P.S- was just going to say i don't understand about the salad and then i thought about my friend - ha ha yes! thanks x

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Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:32 pm

Hello! :D

I'm back! I wanted to reply sooner. :) This working lark is great but it takes the oomph out of me! ;) I therefore wanted to reply when I was able to send a nice hearty waffle bursting with excessive EMoji-use and Dr. EM recomm-EM-dations. I didn't want to send anything less than my full commitment to the message. :D In future, I will pop a message to let others know I am okay (as all of your possible scenarios were completely plausible. Similar incidents have played a part numerous times in my life previously) so that others don't worry. It was a little insensitive of me, actually. We are all worriers on this site (I mean, everyone worries!), so I apologise for being a bit careless. You are not at all needy. I enjoy our chats and they help me a lot. I don't feel pressured to respond. Rather, I WANT to respond. S'all good. :)

Be gentle with yourself. Go at your own pace and don't beat yourself up about not doing things a certain way. Nobody is perfect. *hugs* :)

The only way out of the anxiety is through it. It does get easier. I was the same with work as you with your doctor. Honestly, up to around fifty different jobs. :oops: I quit, walked out of or didn't even turn up for ALL of them (never been sacked though!) And then unemployed for eighteen months bar three weeks (walked out) and two days (walked out). But only now I am feeling able to cope with sustaining work. (Okay, only two weeks now, but my attitude to the quality of the job, whether the other people there like me, my confidence in my own ability to cope at work and my acceptance of imperfection and not giving 110% at all times have all changed for the better.) I feel different about it. :) Going to a support group with my mother enabled me to get here. I avoided social situations (hence the title of this thread!) but going to that group let me see that I could do what I thought I couldn't. This spurred me on to access other things, to want to access them and to feel more confident in my ability to do so. I have a long way to go, but when you face the anxiety you will discover the reality is not as 'bad'.

Could anyone accompany you to the doctor?

Little and often is good. Small goals. Definitely keep going with this. :) Well done on making a great start. Lots of positives there.
Especially loving the charity shop rug!

Haha, I can hold a tune. Kinda-sorta-maybe. ;)

I lost it today. Totally unexpected. A lot of 'stuff' was curdled up inside me - dorment anger, hurt, rejection, negativity... I was unexpectedly provoked and BAM! Verbal diarrhoea and home truths and tears. :shock: :x :o :cry: :? :oops: I ranted about certain people in my family (namely my brother and the 'larrr-deeee-darrr' pretentious family he's married into :roll:) ..... highly trigger me by talking excessively about food, getting fat, losing weight, blah blah blah blah either directly to me or amongst themselves despite me being in the same room! I don't know what they expect? Weight loss advice or something?!? So insensitive and rude. They have no empathy for people with mental illness and spew shit about the contributory factors. The content of their opinions amidst the 'larrrs' and the 'darrrs' is actually quite ignorant. I told my mother this and she said objectively in response, 'this must make you feel as though you are a non-entity'. I told her she hit the nail on the head with that one. Spot on. We are due to spend Christmas there. :roll: I don't want to so I might not, actually. My mother said I should use my dry and sarcastic sense of humour in response to their idiotic comments. ;) One of my therapy goals is to be able to 'calmly and confidently assert myself in response to their triggering comments'. :D PHEW!! Rant much?! :lol:

Yeah, I know my care coordinator does care. :) Family therapy is probably about April time?

By 'normal', I meant it's nice and refreshing not to be seen as purely a mental illness. It's nice that nobody knows or mentions my anorexia. Maybe I am apologising to myself for embarrassing myself by engaging in anorexic behaviours. Such behaviours are often alarming and bizarre (compared to any form of 'normal') and whilst it's not me (it's an illness), it physically and literally IS me carrying out all the behaviours. Think 'elephant in the room' situation. :? :oops:

When people give me a chance (e.g. my employers) and are nice to me, I feel guilty for letting them down by withholding the truth about my anorexia. Thing is, if I told them, they wouldn't employ me in a kitchen! :lol: I don't want others to know. I just feel uneasy at the thought that others know but don't say anything! :oops: I don't want to look foolish.

Finally, I feel guilty for how the illness affects others, namely my mother. I don't want to hurt her. I hate lying.

Haha!! I can definitely see the humour in that situation! Can't beat 'packet and water' soup! :lol: My late grandmother had a very basic and bland diet. We went to a British restaurant in the UK once and when she asked for the soup of the day (expecting bog-standard tomato or cream of vegetable....), the waitress said completely seriously, 'curried banana'. My dear gran's face!! :lol: We left the restaurant. ;)

Golly gosh I have written a novel!! :lol: See, I DO care. :D

Much love and peace, my friend! You are doing fabulously wonderful. :)

EM xxx

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