Aa
A
A
A
Close
Anxiety Community
23k Members
Avatar universal

Do I have social anxiety?

I believe that I have social anxiety, but I am not completely sure because my symptoms are not exactly like those described in most of the research I have been doing.

I am 23 and I enjoy going out for a night on the town. I recently moved to a new city and have made a some friends that I have hung out with only a handful of times. When they call to go out, or meet up with some people that I have not yet met, I am excited to go. I enjoy the time that I spend while I am there and generally I get along really well with people and most people seem to like me. I get invited to more parties and introduced to more friends. I never feel anxious while I'm chatting up new people, in fact, I feel rather in my element. I am, though, usually having some form of alcohol while these encounters are happening which could be contributing to the calm. When I am sober, I tend to nervously talk, try to anticipate what the person would like to hear and follow through, and many times I think I over do it or unintentionally say the wrong thing. And yet, I hardly ever receive a strong or lasting negative reaction from people.

So you're thinking, "and this girl thinks she has social anxiety?" I know, I know. But the trouble comes the next day.

I obsess the next day over the events from the night before. I can not, no matter what I do, stop thinking about them. I pick every single thing I did wrong. Everything I said that was just wrong (and usually from me trying to say the right thing) makes me cringe in horror and self hatred. This "self hatred" is really what sums my whole day and feeling up to, I just think whyyyyyy did you do that? Whyyyy do you always do this? You looked so so stupid, and everyone knew it. I over think what every person at the party was thinking about me. This especially happens if I had one too many beers and legitimately said or did something rather stupid or embarrassing. I know that that happens to everyone at some point, but I amplify it, obsess over it, and just can't stop hating myself for it. And its never anything that horrible! I become a perfectionist and because I was not the most perfect person at the party, I failed. And even if I don't know the people, or Ill never have to see them again, I care what they are thinking about me!

All of these thoughts spiral into a panic attack that lasts all day. I have read that for some people a night of drinking (a depressant) can leave the body overstimulated the next day which can lead some to have "anxiety-overs". My symptoms are mostly a racing heart, feeling of being out of control and out of my body, on edge, self loathing, and chest pressure. Since many times I feel this way the day after I drink, I am thinking that the actual alcohol could be causing the attacks. If it is the alcohol, obviously the wisest thing to do would be to quit drinking all together. But I'm 23! The thought of giving up a night out with friends, socializing (which in the moment, I love, enjoy, and am good at doing), and the inevitable cocktail that accompanies it makes me really sad! And I'm not sure I have the strength of character or maturity to become my wisest self right now...

But even if it isnt the alcohol directly, I want to know what I can do about  these obsessive thoughts about what others are thinking about me and self loathing that I experience after any social outing, sober or not. I have told myself and heard from others, "just be yourself" and "stop caring what others think of you", but the sad truth is, i really really can't. And it's ruining my life. I am incredibly indecisive, and want to begin on a career so badly, but I don't even know what I truly want to do or who I want to be.

Sorry about the long post, but I am just wondering if anyone can tell me if I have a form of social anxiety, and what I can do about these panic attacks. Thanks so much for reading!
1 Responses
370181 tn?1428180348
Did you have this "problem" before you moved to a new city? If not, it could just be simple nervousness about meeting a bunch of strangers and like all of us, wanting to make a good impression. I think for the vast majority of us, going to a party or any social event where we know virtually no one is pretty intimidating.
And quite a few of us will down some alcohol to help us relax and feel more social. You have written:

    "I never feel anxious while I'm chatting up new people, in fact, I feel rather in my element. I am, though, usually having some form of alcohol while these encounters are happening which could be contributing to the calm. When I am sober, I tend to nervously talk, try to anticipate what the person would like to hear and follow through, and many times I think I over do it or unintentionally say the wrong thing."

What I read there is that you also use alcohol to help you relax. But then you write,  "When I am SOBER" I tend to nervously talk................"
Just how MUCH alcohol are you consuming to feel "relaxed?" One or two glasses of wine will often take the edge off our nervousness, more than that and we may cross the line.

But when you write about what you go through the next day does point to a problem. I'm just not entirely sure what that problem is...........is it social anxiety, extremely low self-esteem, an alcohol issue, something else altogether, all or none of the above? You seem to think that you do and say a lot that is "wrong," and spend a great deal of time picking it apart which eventually results in you having a panic attack.  

You say this happens often after a night of drinking, so possibly it IS the alcohol that is the culprit here. You've even said you realize yourself that may be the problem but would find it very difficult to give up.

But as you say, even if it's NOT the alcohol directly, you are still plagued with obssesive thoughts about what others think of you and even more disturbing to me are your feelings of "self-loathing."

I do believe you have some issues here that would best be discussed with a therapist, preferrably a psychiatrist. If this is social anxiety, they can help you with that through talk therapy and possibly some medication if you both feel that would help.
What you have is treatable and I urge you to get some help. There is no reason why you should continue to put yourself through this.
Please let us know how you're doing, OK?
If you have any other questions or concerns, please post again.
I wish you the best.
Peace
Greenlydia  

    
Have an Answer?
Top Anxiety Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
370181 tn?1428180348
Arlington, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out what can trigger a panic attack – and what to do if you have one.
A guide to 10 common phobias.
Take control of tension today.
These simple pick-me-ups squash stress.
Don’t let the winter chill send your smile into deep hibernation. Try these 10 mood-boosting tips to get your happy back
Want to wake up rested and refreshed?