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Avatar universal

family social anxiety

I know I keep re-posting and re-posting. I have severe social anxiety even around my own family. Today I ate with my family trying to face my social anxiety.  Whenever I am eating with them I get nervous when I talk to my 5 year old niece.  I feel like they are watching my every move. I feel like they are judging me. Whenever my dad speaks to me its usually because I do something wrong  like forgetting to take out the trash or not locking the door.  I was in the living room talking to my niece and he interrupts and tells me to lock the door. I don't like being around them, they make me feel self conscious.  I am so upset now, just remembering my childhood when my dad would just slam my door open because I left a glass on the table or I didn't turn a light out.  I avoid them by staying in my room all day and live in my head.  I feel like I am in a no win situation, how can I get better in this type of environment? and I cant function in normal society either.
24 Responses
1308134 tn?1295191219
What a wonderful thread. I did have to comment about the idea that you can't communicate well... That seems completely incompatible with the record of your communication here.
One idea that I came across when I was wrestling with my own social anxiety as an undergrad was the idea of making myself, in my own mind the host of events where I was feeling anxious. It is a mental "trick" to fool your brain into focusing away from your anxiety and become more aware of others and their anxiety by striving to make them more comfortable.
At a party as self promoted host I could go around saying "hello" to people, filling their glasses, introducing people to others. Whereas my usual behavior was to cower in the corner until I could escape safely.
Don't know if the idea might be of help in your situation.
Avatar universal
I can relate to this.  My older sister is home at the moment and it has made everything a million times worse.  I said good morning to her this morning and she ignored me.  It just feels so uncomfortable.  I can't wait for her to leave in two days time.
Earlier in the week she said that I need to get a life, need to leave home and do this, do that, etc.  Granted I do but it wasn't even said in a constructive way or at a good time.  I walked away.  Maybe that was an OK way to cope with it due to the situation at the time.  I don't really understand why things have to be said in a demeaning way.  She walks away from her responsibilities and expects mum, dad or I to deal with them and then turns around and says to get a life.  She said the same thing to my brother who is happy.  I think she has issues with her relationship (and is pregnant).  She's pretty messed up if you ask me.  I think she has many of the issues I have.  She is opposite though in that she engages with people whereas I don't.  Sex with everyone doesn't seem healthy to me.  I can't even rationalize or talk to my family about mh issues.  My family are so in denial.  At least, I now, are a little bit insightful.  I wish that they would just grow up.  They are about as immature as I am.

I post a lot too.  I think a lot of the time that is to feel heard and to feel connected.
I had to sit at the table the other day when my sister had a friend around.  It made me feel a little uncomfortable due to everyone sitting so close and making so many sounds.
My understanding of this is that I feel others are in my person space.  Probably ideally I would like about 1.5 m separating me from others (especially my family).  this can change depending on how I'm feeling at the time.  Being around food also makes me feel uncomfortable.  For me I think it is difficult for me to see others nurture themselves (by eating, etc).  It's strange.

Is there any reason why the door has to be locked at that time or why he can't do it?

I too feel anxious when others are around as I feel that they are judging what I say and do.  I'm OK when I'm playing with my nephew and I can engage on that level.  I'm OK for being there for them I just feel uncomfortable when I need to engage verbally.

I don't like being around my parents.  My father in particular at the moment.  I get tired of him burping and farting and talking about rain fall (hello).  I feel grossed out by him a lot.  It could be due to him hitting me when I was younger, him not respecting my personal limits, him not respecting me enough to put clothes on, etc.  I just don't even want to talk to him most days.  Just go away and leave me the hell alone.

My father was away one day just before my birthday.  Mum asked him if he could be home for that day.  He came home.  I said hi.  He walked straight past me without acknowledging me and went and gave my mother some flowers.  ??  It was hurtful at the time.

It sounds as though your father is pretty obsessive or controlling himself.

For me I don't think I can get better in this environment.  At the moment I've been over-eating to deal with the stress.  I can't even get my head around making changes to help myself.  I feel pretty much trapped.  I feel that my family is extremely toxic, or my family environment at least.  I haven't got stuff all support from the health services.
we can't tell you where to live, we can't tell you what to eat, we can't tell you what exercise to do, we don't have the time to do that, ...  I feel that I have to hurt myself to even have a conversation with them.  In fact, I feel like I have been goaded into doing that.  It just feels like lose-lose whatever I do.  The answer should be very straight-forward but it's not.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your response. Yeah I feel trapped too. I constantly have intrusive thoughts that make me feel paranoid.  My mother constantly talks behind everyone's back, so whenever she is staring at me while I interact I feel like she is thinking all these horrible thoughts. My dad barely talks to me, but when he does it is usually to tell me to do something. I constantly feel awkward. I think my personality clashes with my whole family and most people. Lately I have been just isolating myself, I dont enjoy anyone's company, except my boyfriend once in a while. I am on two anti-depressants but I still   like being alone and having my personal space. I am wondering if I am becoming a schizoid. I also get so irritable and annoyed when there is a lot of noise in the room. I dont enjoy the activities they participate in, such as watch T.V all day or I don't like going to the mall, I just don't like their lifestyle, it makes me depressed. I know I would be better if I was self sufficient some how, like have my own place and pay my own bills. I have never functioned well in a corporate environment. I usually get harassed until they force me to resign. I make a little money selling things on the internet but I dont make enough  to move out.
It is nice to know that others can relate to this.
Avatar universal
Not everyone is like your mother, except maybe my mother.  My mother devalues other people.  She has a lot of negative stuff to say about some people.  I think I have a tendency to get drawn into this as part of bpd is about idealizing and devaluing.  I don't think putting others down serves any good purpose, except maybe allowing us to feel good about ourselves for a short period.
My doctor doesn't seem to think like this and many others don't seem to think the way we do or see the things we do.

Maybe your father doesn't know how to talk to you?

Mine too, except for some people in the health field and also some others that are quite empathetic.

Isolating isn't a very good sign.  I like engaging with others, when it isn't too stressful, but I also like my personal space.  I grew up in a garage with the rest of my family with very little privacy or personal space.  I'm not sure if it stems from that or not.  Probably more from others not respecting my space.
I've been feeling a bit withdrawn but I think that is slightly different to isolating.  My doctor said that the report for my review was promised this week.  My doctor said that he would phone me but I told him just to put a copy in the post.  I couldn't even be bothered talking too or engaging with my doctor which is very unlike me.  I wasn't even going to make an appointment to discuss it but thought that that wouldn't solve anything and may even have been a little passive-aggressive.  You'd think that they would have sorted stuff out long before two and a half years.

I use too and sometimes do still find noise quite difficult to deal with.  Sometimes I use to wear earmuffs around because the noise was so intolerable.

My parents seem old and depressing.  They reckon they are doing well for their age but people who I know who are about their age are more active (more with it).
At times it feels I am living in a rest home and to me when I have my whole life ahead of me find it extremely depressing.
I wish I had that independence where I could do what I wanted.  I am thought badly of because I am still at home but then are depended on to take care of stuff when others want or need something or my parents need or want to go away.

If I were in the same area as you, or the same country anyway, I would offer to go flatting with you.

Job wise I can't put a cv together because doing so reinforces my sense of inadequacy.  Going for a job interview ...  Last time I had one I rang up on the morning  of the interview and canceled because I was so stressed and anxious.  How unprofessional is that?

The world doesn't seem to make things easier for people like you and me.

Maybe if you save enough one day you will be able too.

It is nice to have someone listen who doesn't immediately invalidate how difficult things are for me.  Sorry for raving on on your post.

Maybe we just forget our folks and do what we need to do to get well.  I think the longer we wait often the harder it gets (although having said that there are also more lessons to be learned).  I'm better at some things now than I was before just out of necessity.

If you ever find the answer to your question can you let me know.  I don't want to be stuck like this either.  What does the doctor recommend I wonder?
Avatar universal
I argued with my mum again today.  Seems to have been happening a lot lately.  She seems convinced that I don't need support.  Which seems crazy and invalidating when things are so bad.  She seems to think that a) I don't have any problems and b) I can just fix them myself.
I'm wondering whether to keep my doctor's appointment tomorrow as it just seems a waste of time.  The report from the review was going to be back last week but it still hasn't arrived.  There doesn't seem like much to discuss.

We have 29 miners trapped in a coal mine who are possibly dead.  I am starting to feel somewhat resentful that resources are being poured into rescuing them when I feel so trapped and stuck myself.  A lifetime being trapped in a dark hole seems like everything when you compare it to people having fulfilling lives and being stuck in a mine for a short period or being killed.  Those seem very time-limited.  This feels like torture.  The worst part about it is that it seems self-imposed, is a perceptual problem.

Just venting.  It's a good idea to have short-term goals.
Avatar universal
Vent anytime you want, I dont mind. I was wondering if you take medication? I had severe depression,  SSRIs  have helped a lot with the symptoms but not really for my behaviors. I still have the same avoiding behaviors. I feel more content being alone or with one other person. I think its because when I am around my family I feel like I don't have any control, I get stuck in these awkward situations, it feels so uncomfortable.  
Avatar universal
Sorry.  Reading that post from the other member it made me realize that perhaps we aren't all as alone as we feel.  I'm not sure why that persons post was deleted.  Maybe it was the link.  I'm not sure, I didn't check it out.

I've been taking lorazepam again.  I thought it would help relax me and my back but have kept taking it.
I refuse to take meds until the mhs give me access to a good therapist.  I'm not taking meds to mask symptoms which therapy should be addressing.

Do you feel as though you have control outside of your family situation?  I mean, can you tolerate larger groups or is it just your family you can't tolerate?

I argued with my doctor today.  He told me to stay away if the visits weren't helping.  I told him I couldn't afford to come over the next few weeks anyway.  The report for the review is seven weeks over due.  My doctor already said he rang them again asking about it.  My doctor said that he feels I am angry with him.  Partly I am I guess but I just feel so frustrated and unwell in general.  It's really rough just struggling through every day and then at best are only existing.  
I have a lot of negative stuff going on at the moment and honestly don't know if I can do this anymore.  I am just tired of everything.
Is interesting that my GP has backed away during all this too.  He was talking about his role and talking about processess and the need to follow them.  I don't want to know about any of it anymore.  

What were we talking about?  Getting better in our current environments.
Avatar universal
Yeah I was against pharmaceutical medication when I just had anxiety, but I developed severe depression. I think it was caused from experimenting with hallucinogen drugs off and on for the past year. Some people can do these kind of drugs and never have any problems. Some people use hallucinogens for healing and they have studies on it with good results.   But I guess it is different for me. Now I am on SSRIs because my depression was so severe. The doctors gave my Paxil when I was 17, but I didn't need it, I thought I was depressed but I really was not. Compared to how the depression felt this past year, it doesn't even compare. I think I know what true depression feels like now.
Yeah I feel like if I lived alone and had my own business of collecting / selling antiques and making decorative crafts to keep and sell I would be perfectly content. I just feel distracted at home, I stay in my room most of the time because I don't like being barraged.  I never answer the phone, I always feel like I am going to be stuck on it for hours. My symptoms seem to be more of irritability than anxiety. It is like I avoid everything that makes me irritable, so basically I am avoiding a lot of things.
Avatar universal
i have been on both sides of this fence. I both suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders and also worse as a psychiatric nurse practitioner diagnosing and treating these conditions. Firstly, you are NOT alone. Millions of people suffer from these feelings, thoughts, symptoms. From both experience as a patient and a provider as well as from the research, I can tell you, therapy + meds work better (for these conditions) then either alone.
you need therapy to have some objective help to deal with the thoughts, behaviors, etc. And meds can really help regulate the chemical and structural brain changes that occur from long time depression and anxiety especially if there was any trauma involved at any time.
If it is impacting your life to this point- you need professional help. This is not a weakness. If you had seizures, diabetes or any other physical symptom you would get help, see doctors, take medicine. Remember: your brain is an organ just like any other organ. It can get into diseased states and need help. Be kind to yourself, stop judging, find a good therapist and be open to medication.
There is HELP and RELIEF!
Avatar universal
I'm sure many people do experience negative thoughts and feelings, etc.  I kind of feel extremely alienated though.  I guess I have internalized some of the diagnoses.  When only a small percentage is said to be affected by the diagnosis it feels unjust.  I did the maths once and according to statistics there should be 499 others like me in my country.

I have been diagnosed with bpd as well.  At a recent review a doctor mentioned complex-ptsd so I'm not entirely sure where things stand at this time.  My understanding is that meds aren't all that effective for bpd.  My last therapist thought that depression got in the way so maybe meds would be helpful.  ??

On Tuesday my doctor said that I hadn't given meds a fair trial.

I think initially I did think that taking meds meant that I was a failure.  I think I may also have thought that they may have changed me in some small way.  I think my resistance to meds is the same with other things in my life and I think that if I can do them then I don't need meds.  It kind of negates the need for them.
For me, meds kind of ?take the control away from me.  I don't really understand my reticence completely.

I can't access professional help, or not in any sense at this time that is useful.
My doctor said that there is a process for accessing support.  For me that has meant waiting two plus years for a review.  I think in my case maybe processes or whatever are too rigid or maybe they are even too arbitrary.

I spoke with the director of mental health in my area 18 months ago and he basically said that I didn't matter.

It's ironic that you say that if it were physical I would get help (and likely I would) but the same is also true for mh issues.  I have to hurt myself physically to get support.  I told my doctor that I felt I was being goaded, incited, by the mhs to harm myself.

This just sounds like a well worn record to me.  My mh provider and I have an extremely poor relationship and history.

I think I am going to keep judging.  I am not willing to be bullied by my mhs or to feel 'obligated' to accept help that makes me feel worse.

It's really hard to explain everything.  I live in a smaller area and my mhs don't have the resources to deal with my issues or choose not too.  My parents laid a complaint against the service and ... well it is all really complicated when it need not be.

I don't even think that I am open to anything anymore.  Not medication and maybe not even therapy.  I feel hurt and I don't want to make myself more vulnerable yet at the same time staying like this really isn't an option.  I don't want to let down defenses around those who have hurt me.  It's hard having to go back and discuss things with those who have traumatized you in the first place.

My doctor wants to discuss this review when it comes through.  I don't even want to go there.  I guess it is a bit like someone drowning.  They put up their hand and as they are about to be rescued they give up and go under.

Earlier this week I felt like I did before a previous drug overdose.  Then I had been talking with a cmhn and switched off because I didn't feel heard and felt defeated.
I felt like I asked for help this week but was told to wait some more.  My doctor also thought that I shouldn't go back and see him as he didn't feel the sessions were helpful.  It's reassuring that a person can have a frank discussion, ask for help and then be pushed away.  He cares but ... he was comparing processes with recreational fishing.  Life vs hobby.  There are processes.

We just lost our 29 miners in a second explosion.  Rescue and recovery were and are a priority and their processes have been adapted on a needs basis.

I don't know what's going on anymore.  Maybe my doctor even thinks that he is protecting me.  It's just hard when every day is such a struggle and there is no help.

I even feel stupid for highlighting that I have (mh) issues and need help.  Like they don't think I'm disturbed enough as it is.  It just all contradicts itself.  Asking for help doesn't seem healthy but evidence of emotional disturbance.

My mother says that there is nothing wrong and that I don't need help and that I just need to move on.

I just really, really, really don't care anymore.

I don't believe in help and I mistrust the relief.

This wasn't my post though.  It was about how people (whitecat78) can get better in  a difficult environment.
Avatar universal
Maybe you could try having a one holiday with friends and the other with family? I get anxiety about my family too, but I do love them. I try to think of the good things about them and if they are too much I only stay a short time. I sure hope that things get better.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the responses everyone. I have no choice I have to spend it with my family. I don't enjoy holidays it is just one big stresser.  I don't think it is them that is the problem its just the environment of crowds and noise and my own distorted paranoid perception of it all. My irritability is so bad sometimes the smallest things will set it off and the family environment is the perfect candidate.
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