Social anxiety. Would appreciate supp... - Anxiety and Depre...

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Social anxiety. Would appreciate support, hope, and advice.

Rose23456 profile image
10 Replies

Ive struggled with social anxiety for many years now. I get anxiety when i feel others are judging me. This causes me to look suspicious and others to judge me even more. For example, when i go to the store looking nervous it causes the store workers to check on me and look at me suspiciously because they think im shoplifting. It makes me feel horrible about myself and it makes it hard for me to go shopping. Also I do tutoring and work with kids and recently I had lots of anxiety and it made the parents look at me suspiciously and check on me a lot. Now I dont feel as comfortable tutoring and I avoid sitting close to the student or touching anything that is near the student because im afraid the parents will walk into the room and think im doing something wrong. This causes me to be super hypervigilant. Also when the parents walk into the room sometimes i startle and it makes them wonder if im doing anything wrong which gives me even more anxiety even though i know im not doing anything wrong.

Also i get anxiety whenever someone talks about something that is bad and i worry that they will think that bad thing about me because i panicked while they were talking about it.

Anyone experience the same thing? How did you overcome it? I feel stuck and i feel bad about myself because of the suspicious looks i get even though im not doing anything wrong.

10 Replies
Roxylox profile image

I used to get that a lot. I sort of built a wall around me where L do my own thing and don't worry too much about others. I just focus on the task in hand. Believe me l suffered much as you did in the past. I do still hate shopping. I find having a list helps. Then it's easier to focus.

Rose23456 profile image
Rose23456 in reply to Roxylox

Thanks that gives me hope

WantToBeGood profile image
WantToBeGood in reply to Roxylox

Me too. I made a list before going shopping. It really helps,both in managing my budget (buy only things I need for the week) and to focus on what I really need. Mostly because I tend to forget a lot of things, I used to ended up buying things I don't need.

BrainIsFull profile image

I definitely feel (and look) guilty while shopping and have had store security follow me. Weird that I never really related it to anxiety. It is, but I guess it doesn't bother me too much. (My main issues are depression/anxiety related to CPTSD).

(As an aside, I one time confronted a guy who was following me in a store and he firts denied it and then admitted it and showed me his security badge. 😂)

I am wondering if you could be up front about your anxiety with your employers. That has helped me in the past to tell someone that I may experience a symptom and that it is due to my illness. Usually just getting it out there helps prevent the symptom from showing up.

As far as hope goes, anxiety is a highly treatable illness! Many people have worked through it and live lives with minimal effects from anxiety. So there is LOTS if hope! 😃

Hi Rose23456!

I used to think exactly the same, still do in some instances. But, here’s the thing I’m learning: Suspicious looks can be deceiving. My family members tell me that sometimes I look kind of pissed off, or unapproachable, when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Apparently my facial expression doesn’t always jive what’s going on (or not going on) in this brain of mine. In other words, it’s hard to really know what people are thinking just by their expressions without knowing them well.

Maybe the people I think are staring at me are thinking similar thoughts as I am. Maybe they are just as nervous (or paranoid) as me. Maybe they think I’m suspicious of them or judging them. Maybe not, but either way, I was giving them credit for thoughts I could never confirm which eventually gets exhausting to worry about. Now I just smile and say “hey” and go on my way. It’s better for my anxiety and I’m amazed how many people smile back. Just some food for thought.

Sabbath1 profile image

I am the same way. I still haven't quite figured out how to really deal with it . I've had the shoplifting thing happen so many times and they outright said it to me a few times.

I get anxious and uncomfortable and all that and then people look at me funny.

My appearance may or may not add to the "that guy could be up to something looks" not sure tho

But pretty much what the other person said , try and just focus on the task you're doing.

... I also don't tutor. Don't think I'm qualified lol

designguy profile image

Hello Rose, I had social anxiety for years and you can overcome it. It stems from false beliefs about ourselves and misperceptions about how others perceive us and it's behavior that we learned in order to protect ourself and survive and none of it is your fault.

My suggestion is to find a therapist that specifically treats social anxiety and work with them if you can, there are also online therapists and programs available. There wasn't a therapist near me so I did an online program from the that helped me although I would have preferred an in person therapy. The more you can educate yourself about social anxiety the better off you will be at overcoming it. There is a lot of good info on youtube you can check out about it. Also, trying to determine why and how you developed it is helpful for healing it. Mine developed as a result of growing up in an emotionally repressive household and being shamed and punished for showing any signs of being proud of myself or trying to stand up for myself and then i was bullied in school. I had little self-esteem and then being bullied filled me with shame and further eradicated any self-esteem/self-worth which can contribute to or cause social anxiety. You can also find good info on youtube about healing your self-esteem/self-worth. I was astounded a number of years ago one day to realize how much people really liked me and enjoyed me and how wrong my beliefs were about myself, I truly thought people didn't like me.

I also healed a lot of my social anxiety by doing exposure therapy and going out in public and purposely doing goofy things, wearing ragged clothing, etc... things that would have totally embarrassed my before. It took time and persistence but really helped. The other thing was that I realized I also had c-ptsd trauma from the bullying and my traumatic childhood and found a therapist that specifically treats trauma/c-ptsd and worked with them to heal the shame, anger and repressed emotions I had. He used emdr as part of the therapy that was really helpful. I also found the DARE Anxiety book and youtube videos helpful for how to constructively deal with the anxious thoughts and feelings. I'v e also spent time learning to let go of my perfectionism which is a common defense strategy for people with social anxiety and to honor myself and accept myself as I am and enjoy myself. It's a process but it's definitely worth the effort. Hope this helps and feel free to ask me any questions you may have.

Rose23456 profile image
Rose23456 in reply to designguy

Thank you so much

designguy profile image
designguy in reply to Rose23456

You're welcome, hope it helps.

primrose81 profile image

Wow Rose23456, you have really started something here, thank you so much for posting. I too suffer from social anxiety and am very grateful for this forum where we can reach out and say what we really think. There are some amazing pieces of advice on your thread xx

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