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Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

For sharing your experiences and feelings about mental illness
phoenix76
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2018 6:36 pm
Location: Colchester in Essex

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby phoenix76 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:32 pm

deb1960 wrote:Hi Em

Personally I think that by not going to college you are looking after your health. Your priority must always be your health. Well that's how i live my life. I was doing a brilliant french course 5 years ago I became ill again and had to pack it in. It really upset me but I couldn't face the pressure



I second this. Social anxiety (which I have suffered from all my life) is not the same as "being a bit shy". In my experience, it is a crippling mental illness that wrecks lives. If you try and force your way through, you risk triggering some kind of nervous collapse.

littleem
Posts: 511
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:30 am

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:40 pm

Hey Emma :D

How are you doing? :)

Ooooo, I do love an EM-oji, I do!! ;) :D 8-) :P :) :mrgreen: :lol: Hahahaha!!

I don't restrict so as to lose weight anymore. But yes, I guess without even knowing, I don't take on enough calories to, erm, gain weight. I can't seem to make that cognitive shift. :|

You're not at all ignorant. :) I will try to explain from my personal experience.

1. Anorexic behaviours (i.e. unhealthy methods of extreme weight loss, e.g. laxative abuse, severe food restriction, excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting) can become a sufferer's way of coping when life around them feels overwhelming, full of uncertainty and 'out of control'. The whole process of losing weight provides a sense of 'escape' from the pain of reality, a shift of focus and something to finally feel in control of. It is all about being in control until the subtle difference becomes apparent to the sufferer that actually the anorexia is now in control of them. :shock: :twisted: :?:

2. Anorexia warps the malnourished mind of the sufferer into believing that anorexic behaviours are the better choice that will make them 'happy'. It's no longer about 'being thin'. Rather, it becomes anorexia destroying the sufferer. :twisted:

3. To overcome anorexia, weight restoration is essential. However, to gain weight, the sufferer has to go against everything the anorexia wants to make them do. Weight restoration (though healthy), will cause the anorexic voice/inner bully to scream all the louder, making me initially feel intensely worse about myself. :twisted: :cry:

4. I do not think any more or any less of others whatever their weight or appearance.
Anorexia, bizarrely, is not about the 'weight'. It is about the methods of CONTROL that happen to result in a low body weight.

5. I know that weight restoration does not automatically equate to 'being fat'. This is black and white thinking caused by anorexia.

6. There is nothing wrong with being fat. It would not make me any more or any less of a person.
For me, there were triggers around the 'fat' word at times in my life when things around me felt out of my control and when I was internally feeling very bad about myself. My sensitive mind built its own inaccurate negative connotations of 'fat' at nine years old.

7. I currently feel awful about myself. I view myself as a complete and utter failure, disappointment and let-down. I live with persistent shame, guilt and the desire to apologise for being mentally ill. I feel less than others. So gaining weight is scary because I will feel worse during the process. It's hard to feel worse than a complete and utter failure. :?

Please don't try to combat this with kind words. I am not looking for sympathy or reassurance. I can meet myself where I'm at and I know that I am mentally ill, but I can't help feeling a let down to those who don't personally understand what it's like to live with mental illness (i.e. Namely, my parents. :cry: )

I hope that all makes sense and that you haven't woken up mid-novel with a waffle stuck to your forehead. :lol:

I will let you know the accommodation outcome. :)

Flower pots.... I paint them all sorts of brightly coloured patterns!! :D

Oooo!! Where are you going may I ask? :D Hope you've had a productive weekend packing!! Is Tilly coming? :D

Much love,

Em xxx

littleem
Posts: 511
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:30 am

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:54 pm

Hey phoenix,

Thanks for posting. :)

You're totally right. I've been discovering this the hard way, but I am slowly learning not to run before I can walk. Reduced my meds too early last week... And crashed. :( Little while before, started work .... Lasted thirty minutes in my first shift but couldn't cope. :shock:

On the plus side, I have been doing some short-term, part time community college courses that I am sustaining and finding interesting. :) So important to pace ourselves.

It's so positive that you have an acceptance and awareness of your social anxiety. Stay strong.

Take care xx

phoenix76
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2018 6:36 pm
Location: Colchester in Essex

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby phoenix76 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:35 pm

littleem wrote:Hey phoenix,

Thanks for posting. :)

You're totally right. I've been discovering this the hard way, but I am slowly learning not to run before I can walk. Reduced my meds too early last week... And crashed. :( Little while before, started work .... Lasted thirty minutes in my first shift but couldn't cope. :shock:

On the plus side, I have been doing some short-term, part time community college courses that I am sustaining and finding interesting. :) So important to pace ourselves.

It's so positive that you have an acceptance and awareness of your social anxiety. Stay strong.

Take care xx


You are welcome. Great post btw. Sounds like you know what you are doing. Social anxiety is a strange thing. It really is a crippling, life-destroying illness. In some cases it can leave people unable to speak or even leave the house. And yet others still dismiss it as "childish", or will say to a broken 16-year-old "aww, you're just a bit shy...you'll grow out of it." At least, that's what people said to me. Thank god there is a better understanding today.

Be very careful with the meds em. They can be a lifeline, but they can also cause immense pain. Ignore what the doctors say and only ever reduce your dose ultra, ultra slowly. I have never experienced pain like I did when I suddenly stopped taking Seroxat/Paxil. Good luck :)

littleem
Posts: 511
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:30 am

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:08 pm

Thanks Phoenix :)

Reducing the meds was actually my idea. Me trying too hard to 'get better'. :roll: Tried it, just too soon. Feeling better on the higher dose.

You take care of yourself.

Much love! Xxx

emloja
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby emloja » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:27 pm

Hey there gosh- had a drama trying to reply to you-for some reason i was blocked so then had to re-sign in and then i forgot my password. Anyway i am here now! Phew. Maybe some of the waffle got into my computer keyboard!
I think i need to find some cotton tomatoes :oops: to throw at you for the em-oji pun! pretty good really!
I can understand the control element yes and the irony that ultimately it becomes the anorexia which is in control.
I know you don't want kind words but i am afraid i am going to give you some as you deserve them. Your messages often brighten my day and i am continually amazed at how articulate and perceptive you are about your own mental health. It makes me feel sad when i hear you say those negative things about yourself and helps me see how complicated the evil anorexia is! I think it is hard for others who haven't experienced their minds and thoughts turning against them though mental illness to understand. It was only after experiencing real lows that i could see how people can get so low that they would hurt or harm themselves or try and end their lives. Before this, i had a view as most people do have, but now i can see how awful it is when you hate yourself and feel so ashamed and let down by yourself. Even having had these experiences i still feel concerned when asking you questions about your anorexia as i don't want to appear in any way insensitive or to say the wrong thing-so i cannot imagine how it is for those who have never experienced mental illness.
No Tilly isn't coming! I will miss her greatly! I am visiting Jordan with a friend on an organised trip to see all the sights- should be warm. Years ago i would be really excited- my excitement is getting there alongside my motivation whilst the procrastination is reducing. Obviously there is a great deal of anxiety too however i am not going to fuel it by writing about it. I booked the trip in Feb so it has been a long time coming. Since i got ill i haven't travelled much. When i did my anxiety was too high before, during and after. I would spend the time away anxiously trying to settle and then half way through worrying about returning and then when i returned worrying more about adjusting to life. I know things are different now and so i just have to be strong and reassure myself that i chose this trip and i will be okay and it will be fun! after all that i didn't get to pack.
Funny enough i have really noticed that the depression has lifted-when it used to get dark my sense of loneliness, desperation, hopelessness was overwhelming. I have been out a few times when it has been dark and suddenly realise i feel indifferent this is such progress.
Anyways- i was probably blocked as i write too much waffle ha ha!
How was your weekend? How's your mood? I hope the meds have kicked back in. I started to read a book by a psychiatrist which was looking at curing mental health issues with diet etc and not AD. At first i got excited as i decided it was going to 'cure' me (acceptance issues?? me?? never!!). However it then freaked me out too much slamming AD and spouting horror stories about them- i decided it wasn't a nice book- scare mongering people like that.
Ha ha as i write Tilly is next to me in bed and obviously dreaming about dinner or a cat- i sometimes have to cuddle her to calm her down. They say your pets take on issues like their owners- well she is def hyper at times and extra friendly and playful (like i was as a kid). She does also get anxious- i worry i have done that to her! When she hears a noise and jumps or gets upset when she is left. Anyways i am going to stop as i am so tired that my fingers are now struggling to res the correct keys.
So laters mi amigo,
Emma

littleem
Posts: 511
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:30 am

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:39 pm

Hahaha!! :lol: Well thank you for persevering! Good to hear from you as always. :D

How are you doing? :)

Knew my EM-oji pun would EM-press you! :P *hides from tomato-pelting* :lol: Love that they're cotton. So considerate. ;)

Thanks for your kind words. *Hugs* :)

Your holiday sounds awesome! It's great that you're going with someone, too. :D Have you been here before?

I'm glad to hear that you are kicking the anxiety and depression where it hurts!! :D Are you still using the SAD lamp?

The AD's have kicked in. PHEW!! Hey, don't knock the pills. If they work, they can be a lifeline. :)

Aww I think Tilly is just having empathy! Dogs are really sensitive and caring. Man's best friend, after all! :D Don't let anxiety try to seep in and tell you otherwise. Enjoy the puppy cuddles! :D

I'm feeling better thanks. Had a good meeting with my care coordinator yesterday. She helped me to see all the positives and how far I've come in my recovery. She's taking me to the supported accommodation next Monday for a good look around and to meet everyone. They have vacancies. :) My mother knows nothing about this yet! Why cause her unnecessary stress? :lol:

Had therapy today. Long waffle short, the only way I can now access therapy with the eating disorders service is if my care coordinator from the separate community mental health team drives me there herself, taking three hours out of her day a week.

I've had an absolute nightmare of epic proportions with the ED service. :shock: I don't want to rant about it because that means recalling a horrific time at rock bottom when I received truly appalling treatment last year in a very traumatic build up to being admitted to hospital. (I actually wrote an incredibly honest letter of complaint to the health board and 'sacked' a certain staff member from my treatment team. She :evil: was the one who caused me most turmoil and who I almost bumped into at Molton Brown! :lol: :oops: ) Haha!

My care coordinator actually offered to go out of her way to take me to this clinic in the back of bloody beyond because, uh you know, she cares!! ;) :lol: and she said I've come so far and went through hell and back that she will not let anything stop me from getting the treatment I deserve. What a legend. :D I'm SO grateful for her.

I get the sense my therapist is hoping to palm me off to the CMHT! :roll: Well too bad for her I'm a scrappy little terrier. I'm bloody getting the help I asked for (but was refused!) from their service some two years ago!! And if there's any more bother, I'll pummel them with extra ripe and squishy-squashy REAL tomatoes! :lol:

Went to a stress control course again today. Very helpful actually. :) Starting a new community college course tomorrow! Oils for aromatherapy. 8-)

My fingers are also feeling squishy-squashy from all this typing! :lol:

I hope your week has got off to a good start! Keep me posted on all things Emma! :D

Take care!

Em xx

emloja
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby emloja » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:06 am

Hey there, Just a quick emptying of my mind- hope you don't mind- i will properly answer your email later.
So things are good and are better but i have had a few triggers this week which have set me thinking too much about my life and direction and started off my manic mind spiralling. It makes me question the role of acceptance and avoidance in my recovery and makes me worry i am only feeling better as i have avoided things. On one hand i feel i have some control over my mind and then experience nights and times like i have recently where i feel out of control and as though i have learnt nothing.
I think my holiday is an issue as i have a massive voice telling me that i am reverting back to before when i just got by by escaping all the time. i know things are different as i have worked hard on settling down more but ??? Then i wonder if this is just me- the old perfectionist traits coming out- never going to be happy- never content. i don't think i am making much sense but wanted to get it out of my head- so unfortunately it is coming out at you Em :)
The energy thing is also annoying- so now i am no longer anaemic-so obvs all my energy issues have gone. I just don't know if i should go with the tiredness or challenge it. For example, i often wake early but don't feel ready for the day so i stay in bed and have a few more naps. Should i be making myself get up? If i am at home in the day i will always have a nap for about an hour- should i be doing this or force myself to not nap? I often feel sleepy about 9.30 so i often go to bed at 9 (as i am worried i won't settle for a while and then won't get 8 hours sleep). My worries are not having enough energy, being too tired and feeling rubbish- which sound ridiculous but are quite strong. So challenge or accept- it is hard as i really truly don't know how much is physical and mental- i decided to ask these questions to my GP when i next visit. I will also ask for another blood test in 3 months time as i was still low just not anaemic and this was with the iron tablets still.
Okay going to stop there- speak soon.
Emma

littleem
Posts: 511
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:30 am

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby littleem » Wed Oct 24, 2018 6:17 pm

Hey Emma :)

*Hugs* Sorry to hear you're struggling.

I don't think you're trying to escape at all! You are achieving balance between the 'everyday-settling-down way of life' and taking a break to 'get away from it all' on holiday. :) You are not reverting to previous behaviours that you feel were unhelpful. Your trip is for a set period of time. You will again return home to the 'settled-down-back-to-reality' way of life. Your decision to go on this trip is positive and it shows self-care. Enjoy it!! :D Think of ALL the positives about going! :D

Tiredness can definitely be a very real symptom of depression. I was always exhausted when my depression was at its worst. I would wake up after a full night of sleep and then 'go back to bed' for more sleep! I would also nap most days!

Might be worth speaking with the doc about your meds? I increased my ADs and no longer have sleepy, in-bed-all-day and cant-get-up-in-the-morning days! You also expressed considerable concern about your anxiety. Are you taking any anti-anxiety medication? Just have a chat to your GP about all this as well as the tiredness. :)

Could the tiredness be a side effect of the meds?

Mindfulness and breathing techniques are both good for anxiety.

I heard from someone at a low mood support group I recently went to that they set a time limit on when they get up at 9am. If they wake earlier, they allow themselves to stay in bed and doze or read or listen to the radio or whatever... But they make sure they never get up any later than 9am. With time, they reduced the time to 8.30am and hoped to reduce to 8am.
Do you have a SAD lamp that gradually brings light into the room during the morning to enable you to gradually wake up?

Another lady at the group would set herself at least one task for the following day so that she always had a reason to get up, e.g. for her it was always to first feed her cats. It could be anything, such as walk Tilly, any domestic chore, something you enjoy.

I cannot recommend a brisk walk in the fresh air enough. Go into nature, take Tilly, say 'hello' to fellow dog walkers, be mindful, and get those endorphins boosted! You will feel more energised and refreshed and in a better mood! :D Any exercise does the trick, just depends what type of thing you prefer! Cycling, swimming, running, yoga, or some funny dance class or team sport for the social aspect are all good options. Walking is just my personal preference. :)

So your iron levels are still low..... Try some iron-rich food (all can be served with waffles. Obviously. ;) ) I suggest:
*Shellfish - clams, oysters, mussels.
*Red meat - beef and lamb.
*Offal - especially liver.
*Fish - mackerel and tuna.
*Leafy green vegetables- spinach, kale, chard, broccoli and cabbage.
*Beans - kidney beans, lentils, baked beans.
*Dried fruits (figs, apricots, raisins), nuts (cashews, almonds) and seeds (pumpkin and sunflower).
*High cocoa content dark chocolate.
*Fortified dried oats.

Vitamin C rich foods are also great for iron absorption.
*Fresh orange/grapefruit juice.
*Oranges, grapefruit, kiwi fruit.

Taking a multivitamin tablet could also be a good move. :)

When I used to really struggle to get up in the morning, I would shower just before bed the night before so that the next day I could just get up and quickly dress. Being dressed as soon as I got out of bed jumped my brain into 'wake-up' mode! :shock: :lol:

There are also 'wake-up' motivating hypnosis tracks for the mornings on YouTube by the plenty! As well as before-bed relaxation and hypnosis sessions, too.

A pre-sleep routine can work wonders to relax you. Hot bath, warm milky drink, puppy cuddles and gentle hypnosis track or relaxation music..... 8-)

I also really think you'd benefit from one-to-one therapy. :) Just saying.... ;)

Also, cut down (or slowly cut out) caffeine if you drink a lot of coffee, tea and fizzy drinks.

Drink plenty of water, too. Dehydration can make you really sleepy.

Do you have trouble sleeping through the night?

Okay, so that's all from Doctor Em. :lol: I hope some of that may be of use to you.

How are you feeling now?

Thinking of you. Be kind to yourself, my friend. :)

Much love,
Em xxx

emloja
Posts: 194
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 4:34 pm

Re: Social Anxiety.... Advice please!

Postby emloja » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:53 pm

Thanks Dr Em- you are too kind! I do apologise for the random over dramatic messages! You don't help by giving such great helpful and advice! I do feel embarrassed- anyway i will stop with that now.
Thanks also for the reassurance and alerting me to the positives. I hate how i can sometimes see everything as a worry- and yet i am a positive person :D honest!
Tiredness can be a side effect of my medication but it wasn't one i felt from it when i increased it- so i don't think it would suddenly come on now (from the meds i mean). It does confuse me. I was hoping to start reducing my meds to be honest! I was put on citalapram as the doctor said it helped with both anxiety and depression- and it has helped in both of those areas- i have come far- it is just the overthinking manic mind :roll: I have always loved my sleep- my refuge.
I plan to see the doctor after my holiday so i will have a think about what i want to talk to her about. I haven't spoken to her about the tiredness as i just got a phone call saying i am no longer anaemic (tick, cured!). Are there any meds that you can take to reduce the manic overthinking- just as and when it happens? I have some sleeping tablets that when it gets bad i will take just to siut my mind up (sparingly as they are addicted and don't give me proper sleep- just some peace in my mind!).
I am the mindful queen- they added a relaxation part to my online CBT bit which was nice but everything i have and practice. So last night i did 3 relaxations; a visualisation, muscle relaxation progression (or something like that!), and a breathing meditation. I listened to 3 different podcasts and also some sleepy music. But I'm not panicking tonight will be different.
I do have a SAD lamp and it is fab. I don't have a problem waking up- i often wake and am wide awake- at all times of night and morning- just like a switch- i am awake. I don't want to get up as i worry if i stay awake i will lose my energy- so then i go back to sleep and have weird dreams or stay awake and think- neither are good. After i messaged you i tried out some 'worry trees' and i realised what i am doing at the moment isn't working so i am going to get out of bed- make myself as long as it is after 7.
I think i am stressed as i have had time off and haven't done any of my jobs- just been lazy. So my house is a bit of a mess. The mess reflects my brain sometimes and again i know i 'should' be on top of things- i never thought i would turn out to be lazy!
I love walking- we should go on a virtual walk with tilly to get some chai and waffles! I had a burger today and lentils yesterday. Generally my diet is an issue to- as i get lazy- omg- there is a pattern emerging! This again makes me feel pathetic as i don't look after myself properly and i only have myself and Tilly to look after. For some reason my "This shouldn't be your life" "what happened to your life?" and "how did your life end up like this" thoughts are raising their heads- boo!!! I can definitely incorporate some more of those foods into my diet- did you know that list by heart? impressive. I will go and buy a multi vitamin tomorrow :)
I sleep much better now- i have a routine and listen to a podcast and some headspace music or sleep visualisations. I just wake several time a night to go to the loo. When i am good it is fine- if i am not then my mind will just be very busy and hard to control- then i listen to stuff and try my sleep strategies to no avail- i no longer worry so much about not being able to sleep- i just observe this crazily busy head.
Today has been okay as i have been busy
I do wish you were my doctor!! Now i am going to read your previous email and answer. Thanks again!


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