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3581773 tn?1349125510

Anxiety is RUINING my life!!

The past couple of years I have had so much to deal with. My stomach has been acting up and my anxiety has been getting worse and worse in anticipation for starting college.

I have had trouble with supposed "IBS" which I believe it is attributed to my anxiety..when I am stressed my stomach acts up and when my stomach acts up...I get much more stressed. I absolutely dread using public washrooms, whether it be for a number one or even worse a number two. If I absolutely have to go, my anxiety goes crazy..my heart races and I get so nervous and shaky...hoping to God that no one is in there. If there are people in there..I will wash my hands and get out as fast as I can. If there is no one there then I use the washroom fast and get out. By the way, I will NEVER use the urinals.

I have been seeing a mental health counselor and he has given me lots of way to try and cope with this anxiety and he has informed me on what is happening in my brain and my body. These methods work on day to day living but when I have something big to deal with they are not enough to help.

As mentioned, I am in enrolled in college and I had my first day on Monday of this week. I was actually fine on that first day, I woke up without much anxiety and drove to school, I had butterflies in my stomach, tense neck muscles and a rapid heartbeat but I managed. I walked in, got my orientation timetable and proceeded to my first class. I walked into a huge lecture room with about 200 people and my heart basically bounced out of my chest. I was overwhelmed. I made it to a seat in the back and sat down. My heart was racing and my body was uncontrollably shaking, I bounced my leg up and down so that no one would notice my shaking. After about 10 minutes I began to calm down and I was alright. I listed to the professors and dean speak..and all was okay.
I then made my way to my next class, this time it was a very small classroom with about 15 people. Instead of me being scared of lots of people, this time I felt like there was not enough people..I had no where to hide. People would notice me. I made it through that class perfectly fine but near the end my stomach started to have a slight pain because I had to pee badly. In my head I was thinking great..I have to use the washroom. So my heart went crazy and the usual..no one was in there so I made it through.
Then I got thinking, every single day of school I will likely stress out in the morning before I come here, I will stress out because I most likely will have to use the public washroom at least once per day and I am bound to run into people in there, and God forbid I might have a bad stomach pain and have to use the washroom for number 2. (depression and anxiety)
Along with the fact that I will be surrounded with lots of unknown faces! I do not want to have to speak out in class or socialize with strange people (social phobia)There are many many younger students who I feel will be judging me for anything and everything. (anxiety)
Then I come home and think of how I wish I could be normal like everyone else and be able to go to school and socialize easily.
I ended up not going to school for the rest of the week because I have become so depressed about my life and so scared of this new situation. I am stuck in my apartment almost all day every day because I feel the most comfortable here. No one is judging me and I have my own private washroom. I would rather avoid all situations rather than having to deal with my anxiety eating at me! The anxiety is quickly turning into a bad depression period for me. I feel worthless.
I cannot get a job because I am afraid I will not be good enough and I am scared to meet new people and scared about having to use the washroom around other people. I cannot got to school because of the same reasons.
No one really understands me...everyone says "Just go and do it...you will be fine" and I can't stand hearing that sentence anymore. I am not fine..and I literally cannot do it, my anxiety is ruling me.

Does ANYONE have any advice? Do I need pills?
It seems I have tried everything and my life is ruined.
I am now 27 years old and I need to start getting my life on track. I have a girlfriend and I know she supports me but I can tell she is getting fed up with me.
Please help.
7 Responses
Avatar universal
In your third paragraph you mention you have been seeing a counselor which is the best thing. Your problem is different than what most people experience so it is best to keep working with the counselor, rather than trying to get support from friends as they probably do not understand how to help.
I think that if you burden them now you will alienate them now, which will be difficult to overcome later if you are able to work it out with the counsellor. Keep at it.
3581773 tn?1349125510
I barely speak with my friends anymore because of my social anxiety and I recently moved away so I do not see them at all. I also have distanced myself from my family as well. I have a large extended Italian family and I always try to avoid gatherings. I'm even anxious talking with my immediate family. I feel safe and comfortable only when I am by myself, or with my long time girlfriend of 8 years. I do not even like talking to anyone over the phone.
This anxiety really has me shutting down from everyone.
Avatar universal
Are you seeing the counselor regularly?
3581773 tn?1349125510
I have had a few meetings with a service worker at the mental health centre. I cannot seem to find an actual counselor our psychiatrist to speak with. I keep getting told to join support groups, which I have and I will be starting one next week but I'm pretty sure all this talking is not solving anything.  I just want to live a normal life already.
Avatar universal
You live in a big city, Toronto. Why is it that you can't find a psychiatrist or counselor there? The school you attend should have help for that too.
3581773 tn?1349125510
I am actually outside of Toronto. In Peterborough, ON.
I am on a waiting list for a psychiatrist. Should be a couple of months until I can talk to someone.
480448 tn?1426952138
You certainly seem to have a decent case of social anxiety, and you certainly sound fed up, so I'm assuming you have been dealing with this for a while?  Did you feel this way in high school?  If so, how did you cope?

You are definitely on the right track, by seeking professional help.  The other thing you need to do (you won't like this, lol) is you need to push yourself as much as you can, even when you don't want to.  It won't be easy, but it's a must.

Your example about the class is a perfect one!  You felt very anxious, but you stuck it out, and endured it!  The longer you sat there, the more your anxiety decreased!  You know why?  Because you sent a message to your brain that there was NOTHING to fear!  When you avoid people and places, it sends the opposite message to your brain, that there IS something to fear.  THAT'S what you have to do, in general, in all social situations!!  Stick it out, and don't flee the situation.

You don't have to join the debate club, but gradually work to increase your exposure to people.  Just making sure you go to school for each and every class will help tremendously.  Those unfamiliar faces will soon become familiar faces, and as you meet more and more people, your confidence level will go up, and your anxiety will go down.  It's not always going to be easy, but you really have to try.  

Isolating yourself to where you feel "safe" is going to make you ten times worse.  It really is.  It willl be harder and harder for you to engage with people and go places.  It will get very hard to go anywhere.  You don't want that!  You NEED school, you will eventually NEED a job...so it's important that you work hard to address the anxiety and get it to a manageable level, so you can function.  You probably won't ever be super comfortable in some situations, but they WILL become much more tolerable for you, the more experience you get.

Now, the bathroom hang up.  WHAT exactly makes you fearful and anxious?  Is it like performance anxiety, where you don't want others to be in there at the same time with you?  To either hear you doing your business, or see you in the bathroom?  That's my guess, because that goes along very well with the more extreme social phobias like you seem to have.  It's not a germ thing right?  It's just about being in a BR around others?

I see you posted another thread about medication..I'll read that and comment on that shortly, but I wanted to reply here first.  You CAN do this...it's going to take some time and some work..AND some help from the professionals, but you'll get to a much better place socially.

Please keep us in the loop!
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