Anxiety Support
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Social anxiety

Hello, I was extremely shy as a child and didn't feel happy in my own skin at all. Aged 30 this feeling improved and I feel much better I myself generally, most days... However, there are situations which set my heart racing, sweating and fear, these are social situation. It is awful, I will even cause an argument to avoid having to go out and face a group of people I don't know. The thought terrified me and I find it difficult to talk to my husband about it.

In august he has a reunion with ex-army mates who I don't know and I am already beginning to worry! I would love to go for my husband's sake,but I simply don't know how to take control of my fear to allow me a "normal" night out with a group of people in a social setting. Do any of you have any experience or tips for this?

Thank you in advance.

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Emma, it can be seen from your posting that you are a sensible and articulate person who can hold her own in conversation in any group. You have no reason to fear attending your husband's service reunion. I don't think it's other people you fear I think your fear is of fear itself.

Do the hard thing in August and attend the reunion and use it to demonstrate to all your ability to initiate and maintain interesting conversation which I believe you are well able to do.

"Do what you fear and the death of fear is assured." - Norman Vincent Peele.

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I agree with Jeff but feel you should try therapy until then to boost your confidence. I think we are all at our best when we feel like we are in charge of our situation. I think communicating your feelings with your husband and discussing your situation beats fighting with him. You can have a plan of escape in place. Someone on standby to come get you. Drive separate cars or something. Talking it out prior to then with a therapist will be beneficial as well. I hope you find your strength.

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Thank you both of you. I know I sound ok here, but when the time comes I cry, get angry (which I know is the fear coming out), feel sick and generally get myself in a right state!

I will talk properly to my husband and see if I can have an escape plan. We are staying away from home, so it would need to be a taxi back to the hotel.

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No one can help you when your not helping yourself...My advice is to go through your motions..you don't want to face a group of people?..go and face a group of people!..you don't want to be social?...Go and be social...now this is all about you..Just do it! Whatever it is..do it, face the fear..everyone else is out of the equation..this is your therapy for you..sorry it's the only way it's going to work..so i suggest you start now with smaller stuff.. by August you'll be more than fine..good luck and all the best! You can do it..

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Anxiety is a horrible thing to exerience. It can trigger our need to control situations that we are in so as not to experience it. Why though. Is this a lack of trust in our partner to take our needs into consideration, or a hangover from childhood where our needs have been ignored and we were forced into situations we felt scared of. If it is your husband who refuses to acknowledge your insecurities, then I can understand your reluctance to go with him, as no intelligent person wants to put themself in the hands of someone they do not trust, or is he not understanding how bad it is for you. If it is a hang over from childhood then perhaps therapy might help you come to terms with it. Either way, what is it about a situation as an adult we actually fear? Do we feel the other people will attack us? Highly unlikely. Even if they were unpleasant a taxi is not a huge price to pay for a way out is it? You can always claim you have a headache. Why not look into booking one just in case.

Most probably they will be nice people who are delighted to meet you, or they may have worries of their own, and will love to see another person who understands them. Some may even have PTSD from their army days. Your pain is just as real as theirs. Perhaps they will have some tips for you. All the best. xx

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Thank you so much for your gentle, understanding words. My husband is a patient man, but I don't think he realises how difficult it is for me (and I'm not just being stroppy!) I have spoken to him so he does know how I feel a little more.

I have always felt uncomfortable in a group of people I don't know. In other situations I can talk to anyone about anything, but a more formal setting, no chance!

I will keep working on my anxiety and have the taxi idea as a back up if I really hate it, but I will go. I want to be there for my husband bless him!

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You are welcome. I too feel like this at times as I find it hard to follow conversations when there is background noise, and this can make me feel as if I look stupid not being able to get jokes or sound intelligent. I find it tiring having to strain my ears, plus I get distracted by other conversations. Might try a hearing aid one day, but it is also an attention thing. I might just be lazy or out of practise. Hope your evening goes well.

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It was suggested to me that you practice when you are alone and thinking about these times when you expect fear, by just letting the fear run its course. I was told it may take a few minutes but do not fight it allow it to happen. I believe the end result is that the fear will not cause any more anxiety. You kind of get use to it and brush it off.

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