You've described precisely the issues I have with going out and social interaction; in particular, my fear of who might be there and of seeing faces that I know vaguely and not knowing whether I should speak to them, and the fear of painfully awkward conversation if I do. I'm not a clubber, but I like my live music. However, the last few times I've forced myself to go to a gig, I've felt extremely conspicuous, self-conscious and uncomfortable and have come home in a worse mood than when I went out. I've actually given up on going out until I can find a solution to this. I know it's all in the mind, because a gig is probably the very situation in which people are least likely to be paying attention to the fact you're there. Yet, once that anxiety and discomfort sets in, I find it almost impossible to shake off. I've often woken up in the morning looking forward to going out to a gig and interacting with my fellow human organisms, but the closer it gets to time to leave the house, the more my subconscious fears weigh down on me until I decide I'd rather just sit at home in front of the computer-screen. Then I hate myself for being so bloody pathetic!
Incidentally, I added you a while back as we have a few mutual interests. There's no pressure to reciprocate, but you're most welcome to if you should so desire.
Hi! I don't come here too often anymore, but I've added you back :)
I used to go to lots of places by myself. Sometimes it doesn't bother me. I think what bothers me is being somewhere unfamiliar (where I don't know the rules/quirks of the place) coupled with there being people there who ARE familiar with the place. I don't want to draw attention because I'm obviously out of place and won't know where to run away to if I need a moment. I liken it to social claustrophobia - being trapped in people-walls with no easy escape!
I hear you on the gradual creeping feeling throughout the course of a day. Often it happens that the more time I have to get ready, the later I am to something because I have more time to think... which often leads to over-thinking.
I keep recommending this book to people I talk to about these issues, but it really did help me... somewhat, I need to pick it back up and read the rest of it. It's called 'Feeling Good' by Dr David Burns. It's basically CBT - reminding you of things you already know, but that get clouded by anxiety. It just helps to give you a better chance of talking yourself out of states of particularly bad anxiety. I really recommend giving it a try - it's a non-commital, non-'badgering people for help' way to try and combat it.
Thank you for adding me! It seems to be exceedingly difficult to persuade folk to add you on LiveJournal these days, so I feel this is quite a privilege.
I'm completely with you on the whole anxiety/social-phobia thing. Sometimes I can go out and if I'm with a friend or I bump into someone I feel comfortable with, everything will be fine, but that's more the exception than the rule. With me, it's all down to deep-rooted self-esteem issues. They're very resistant to change. It's also difficult to talk about, because I fear that spelling the issues out risks reinforcing them, when what's really required is positive thinking.
You may not be surprised to know that I've read various self-help books, though not the one you've suggested. I shall keep my eyes open for it.
Yes! I don't want to give it any more publicity by talking about it - like you said, you don't want to reinforce it. Like ignoring a bully until they go away. I think that's why I come here to shout about it all, since there aren't many people here anymore.
I never know if I should talk about it - I fear I'll go on too much about it. On the other hand, I find myself never really sharing how I feel with people... and that's what people do, right? I want to share things with people, but I'd prefer to share more positive things - so it's sitting around and waiting for a positive mindset to happen, which doesn't help it happen, argh!
Yeah, I think I let my issues go unchallenged for too long, which is why I'm trying to slam on the brakes now and try to help myself.
Even when LiveJournal was very much busier than it is nowadays, I felt much more comfortable about writing about personal and intimate issues here than I would elsewhere. Perhaps it was the fact that most of my LJ contacts weren't people I knew IRL, so there was a certain degree of anonymity to it. And yet, I found LJ far better than Farcebook for getting to know people and forging lasting friendships. I'm still in contact with quite a few folk whom I first got to know during my first few weeks on LJ, and that was way back in 2003. But I simply find LJ conducive to writing in-depth about personal stuff, though I've got rather out of the habit of it due to the malign influence of Farcebook. Much as I hate myself for it, I've got into the horrible habit of writing glib one- or two-sentence posts, and I'm struggling to get back to my old way of doing things.
I do think we need an outlet for our innermost feelings. We need deep and meaningful communication, or at least I do. Also, it's undoubtedly very harmful to keep things bottled up. Getting it down in writing can be quite therapeutic, and any feedback you receive can help to clarify things and put them in their proper perspective.
As a long-term sufferer of anxiety and depression, I've been challenging these issues for longer than I care to remember. One recent thing that's definitely made a positive difference is a Lifestyle Management Course that I did late last year. The emphasis was very much on positive thinking and identifying strategies that actually work for you. I found it motivating and helpful in clamping down on negative thinking. But it requires constant work and effort in order to avoid reverting to old ways, and I'm so damn lazy!