Let’s Talk About J.E.’s Social Anxiety

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I have been very silent about my social anxiety lately. With all my issues over the last month with mania, it just was an outside problem that was unsolvable. It is still there, and it is affecting me a lot. The main issue recently is with me leaving my house. I do leave my house most days, but my anxiety has been through the roof which limits my time outside “my safe place.” It is a daily struggle with social anxiety because I desperately want to get out and do things, but I am always aware of the high level of intensity of my anxiety. When you mix that while still relying too much on my Ativan, it means things are not great at the moment.

When I do go out, like to the store, it’s always a struggle to be around people. I am so comfortable working from home and alone. I am alone most of my day if not all my day. I don’t like human contact (other than meeting with my clients which does not happen every day.) Working as a freelance writer gives me the flexibility to stay home as much as possible, but am I using it as a crutch?

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The “not leaving the house” will start to become an issue as I am just a week and a half away from starting my master’s program. It sucks because I have not been to a coffee shop in months to write or read a good book. Everything has been short trips a few times a week. Coffee shops are my favorite place in the world when I am in school. I am so afraid that once school starts all my school work, freelance work, and my writing will feel so comfortable at home. What does that mean for trying to focus and put me back into social situations?

It is terrible timing really because I am nearing the time of year where the seasonal component of my Bipolar diagnosis starts to kick in. My SAD typically kicks in late October, and I go through the ringer until about April. It was a rough ending to 2017, though I did find myself for a few months with limited depression and social anxiety between January and March of this year. I hope to carry that on, at least to be able to manage my symptoms.

I really thought I would conquer my social anxiety this summer.

It is a real bummer because I had high hopes that my three months sabbatical before starting my masters would give me the opportunity to really change my social anxiety outlook. Social anxiety is still a significant part of my life, and I don’t know how to indeed fix it— at least not yet. The upside is that panic attacks are on the decline, though I have had one or two a week, and at times I on that edge.

I am always working towards that goal of defeating social anxiety, but it has been harder to conquer than depression. Truth is I only really started to work on my social anxiety last year with cognitive behavioral therapy, and while I am still working on CBT, I took a break this summer. I think it was not the best idea, but I digress.

I get so comfortable in my “safe place,” and it becomes so easy to not leave my house for long periods of time. Winter really is coming, and I need to find some level of comfort with my social anxiety. I will do what is best— keep fighting.

Please check out my social anxiety journey: My Social Anxiety Life – The Series

Always Keep Fighting (AKF)

James

Photo Credit:

Gabriel

Ricardo Mancía

Rhema Kallianpur

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38 Replies to “Let’s Talk About J.E.’s Social Anxiety”

  1. Thanks for sharing this post and your struggles with social anxiety. I am similar in that I rarely leave the house (work remote), and when I do – it’s a challenge. I also relate to the comment about not liking human contact – I feel high levels of stress when in a situation where I’m forced to verbally communicate with others. There are very few social situations where I’m able to find a safe feeling – so the way I cope is to zone my surroundings out. I’ll find a spot (it could be on the wall, looking out a window, on the floor) and I’ll focus on it. I’ll focus with such intensity that I’m able to block out the rest of my surroundings (people, noise, atmosphere) for the moment. I then do my best to accomplish what it was that I needed to do – as an example, pay the cashier for the groceries – and then I’m quickly off and back to the safety of my home. I wish you peace and progress as you tackle your masters and keep up the good fight.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It is so easy to become trapped in our cocoons. I live out in the middle of nowhere, which means I have to drive a bit to get anywhere. This makes it too easy to stay home. But I keep making the effort, as I know you will as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post. I have also dealt this with this on and off and right now the seasonal depression is rough with myself and my girlfriend. I am just very accepting of it this time around as I spent a lot of time in therapy last fall because I couldn’t handle it. I tell myself at work that it’s ok to go close the door to my office for 5 min and assess life and breath. It’ll be ok. AKF … Not sure if I am pronouncing that correctly lol

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Once again your posts resonates with me. I also have problems leaving the house. Like you, I like to go to coffee shops to work on my school work but lately I have just wanted to stay home curled up in a ball in my safe place and shut myself out from the outside world. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in my struggles. Stay strong.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. No problem. It has definitely been crippling until I started to really fight through it. I know I will never be cured but I can manage it and still be happy.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Often I think my social anxiety has been so bad for so long that I have developed Avoidant Personality Disorder. I pretty much meet all the criteria for it unfortunately. I wonder if I don’t have a bit of agoraphobia too, especially since I am only comfortable going a certain distance from home, especially by myself, and only ever to familiar areas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe I am agoraphobic as well and possibly have APD though it matters little because I am already so many medications. I think for me over the next year is finding the right balance of what works and doesn’t. I have to stay positive but it’s hard when I spend so little time beyond my safe place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I wouldn’t seek more treatment for those things either, since I am already being treated for severe depression and anxiety, and those are the driving forces behind those conditions as well. Even having the label isn’t all that important, other than to medical professionals and possibly the government I suppose.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh! Glad to do that🍃💖🍃 i sense a more balanced state in you. I mean, it’s like you know n understand the condition but u know it to separate it from u. U have depression at an arm’s length it seems. I sense that u r not eclipsed into it! great! 🍂🍃🍂 it is like you are no longer depressed about being depressed.☺️

        i appreciate depression in that it grounds people. It does not make people too acerbic. I think ur understanding of it leads u to be in command of it, to sense it from urself n others! U are a master! Congrats!🍃💖🍂🍃💖

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do have better balance than my past. It has taken me a long time to get to this point. I still struggle with anxiety and depression. Eventually I will get to the right place with my mental illness.

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      3. Well, i am certain you are in the rigjt track. I suggest that u work towards appreciation now that u can put boundaries🍂🍃 i think everybody has his own limiting disturbances, just undiagnosed or undiscovered. Everybody is crippled in different degrees. What’s great and so advanced about u is that u r aware and most aren’t. So, u r in a way ahead, not that we are in a race but it is better that u know. U r able to prevent relationship disasters☺️ so, hurrah for you!🎖🏆🍻

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  6. Ya anxiety is a bitch, I get anxiety attacks every day when out in public, most of the time there mild and I can just go on about my business other times I have to stop and try and cam my heart down before it comes out of my chest or I get dizzy and have blacking out spelled to the point I feel I’m gonna passout.

    ❤️✌️
    BY FOR NOW

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Your Welcome James, sorry you have to put up with that as well. Stay strong AKF.

        ❤️✌️
        BY FOR NOW

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  7. Thank you for sharing this. My therapist recently diagnosed me with agoraphobia. Not so extreme where I can never leave my house, but I have about a 5 mile radius I feel comfortable driving in and then I begin to panic very much. Your post resonates with me so much and it’s comforting to know I’m not alone. Good luck on your masters! I’m sure you’ll find the strength to do what you need to do to succeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My heart goes out to you. I have struggled with social anxiety as well as agoraphobia in the past. There are still many days I just take my anxiety meds and stay close to home. I’m so glad you are sharing this. It makes me feel safer sharing my own struggles.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I sense u r actually not just able to boundaries but u are like befriending it? Like i know it’s there but u like they are just passersby n not an annoyance! Way to go!!!! 🏆🎖🌿☘️🍀

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  10. Thanks for sharing this. I can relate so much, especially when it comes to focusing on fixing my depression and not really honing in my social anxiety. My depression sometimes feels more important thing to tackle. Especially on those days when I can’t even get out of bed. On the other hand, when I avoid going out because of my anxiety, I don’t think about it as something I should start managing. I should, but because I’m now freelancing there’s really not reason to go anywhere besides shopping for groceries… It’s worse when I get someone in my family to do it for me (really need to stop doing thiat). >.< But anyway, thanks again for sharing! This is a great reminder that I need to once more work on actively managing my social anxiety. Wishing you all the best in your journey!!

    Liked by 1 person

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