Severe social anxiety
December 13, 2016 at 7:36 am #180156
I am not really sure where my query would fit in onto this site. I don’t think this is really a rant but here goes…
I struggle socially and always, always have. I have experienced bullying as an adult on two separate occasions which I think is where my social anxiety stems from.
I was bullied at university because I more introverted than the others on my course and for just generally being ‘different.’ They made my time at uni a nightmare. Sometimes it was too much and I would hide in the loo’s in between classes.
Despite this I continued and achieved my degree.
Afterwards I was not sure where I wanted to take my life and so I got a job and worked.
This was my first job (I had previously always studied,) and felt nervous. This was also the first time that I remember feeling a sense of distrust toward others. I didn’t know if any of them could treat me in the way I had been treated at uni. I had a few friends who I felt ‘comfortable’ with but I never fit in with the rest. I would take my breaks alone when possible and avoided large social functions with work, especially as they either involved drinking (I really do not drink much and have never gone to clubs, etc,) or spending large amounts of money. I had to save mine to pay off a few things I had incurred during uni.
Some people implied I was ‘too good’ for the job. This seemed to act as a red flag and put me on alert, thinking what had happened to me previously could happen again. I panicked and began to fear going into work.
The thought of conflict of any sort made me feel queasy. I also started to wonder if it was all my fault. Maybe I behaved oddly or wrong.
I left in the end to go into a job that I really wanted and it was here that, for he first time in my life, I was truly happy and felt I had finally found my place in life.
Our office was a family and we all worked well together.
Sadly, the company that I worked for was closed down and we all lost our jobs. I was there for four happy years and still keep in contact with almost all of my old colleagues.
I do not have many friends and so this has been important to me.
I went straight into another job without really thinking. At this point I was in my late twenties and had a home of my own and responsibilities, so I couldn’t be out of work. I did not realise the issues that were happening within this new place of work due to management.
My confidence was very, very low after being made redundant. I also found it hard getting to know new people and was desperate to just find ‘my place’ among them. I almost wanted to just disappear in a way and be almost like a part of the furniture: completely unobtrusive, just there.
Because of how bad what went on to happen here was, I received therapy and was told by my therapist that I had come into contact with a sociopath after recalling many events that had taken place.
I won’t go into it but it was a form of stalking and abuse that I was neither able to detect until it was too late, nor was I able to deal with the enormity of what was happening.
I left like a mouse. I did not raise any complaint with upper management and just wanted to escape.
My confidence was now non existent. I trusted no one. I all but stopped leaving the house and spent my entire time with my partner or my mother. If I was not with one or both of them then I would hide away at home.
I received counselling for this and managed to then find work in a place that I again enjoy, but I feel completely unable to deal with work related social events. I force myself to go along but am clumsy and uncomfortable and do not know where to put myself.
When I am at work I get terrified of upsetting anyone and over analyse some conversations long after they have happened.
I see certain personalities that are loud or confrontational in some way and just want to run away from them.
Most of all, because of how anxious I feel I must seem at work, I am paranoid that people spot how I behave and think that I am either crazy or stupid (or both.)
I worry they will fire me or treat me like an outsider.
Some days I feel completely mentally incompetent and incapable of going into work and so dread it.
What can I do to stop being like this around people? Am I beyond help?? I have few friends to chat to about this as I have hidden away for so long and my old work colleagues are all busy with their new jobs and so it is not often possible to meet.
I am quite lonely despite being seemingly terrified of people. Help 🙁
December 17, 2016 at 10:31 am #180254
Thanks for sharing your story. Severe social anxiety is more common than you think and it is a treatable disorder. You may find some of these past posts helpful:
My sense is that it would be very worthwhile for you to speak to a mental health professional to see what types of treatment would make sense given your history and symptoms. Hope this helps!
Best, Irene, the moderator
December 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm #180342
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