Living with Anxiety
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Are they right?

I’ve been dealing with social anxiety for over 8 years now and my family still fails to understand or support me. A few weeks ago I had a big anxiety attack while in a restaurant and had to leave, which affected my family’s outing as well. Recently I decided to attend a festival because they are a comfort zone for me and my family keeps saying “oh you can go to a festival but can’t go out to a restaurant full of people with us?” And i just wish they would understand for me they are completely different environments and trigger different emotions, but are they right? Do i seem to contradict myself ? And are they basically the same thing because both are full of people?

3 Replies
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I can see their point of view. But I can also understand yours. A festival is probably outside, with music or something else as the main focus. You don't have to interact with people as much, even though there are more people. It is more impersonal.

A restaurant is a confined space and you're almost forced to make small talk with a few people. So the emphasis is on you and the people chatting. This can aggravate a fright or flight as you found.

So it isn't just the amount of people its the whole context that probably triggers you.

In any event it is your experience and therefore true and valid. Even if other people don't feel it doesn't make it any less real or true for you.

At the end of the day you can't make someone understand. Sometimes we don't understand it ourselves. So explain as best you can, but don't beat yourself up if they aren't supportive. Be there for yourself instead.

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Thank you so much. Yes exactly, it’s really the space that is different from me and in a restaurant like you said, is more confined. I really appreciate this!

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Social anxiety affects us all differently, I often feel like a contradiction. I suffer with social anxiety, I can go to another village and have coffee in a coffee shops, but I struggle to do it in the village I live.

I’ve thought about why, and I think because people who know me are in the village I live at and could possibly stop to talk, asking questions and I could feel judged, whereas in a different village, less likely to happen...basically social anxiety is a complex thing, some fears are so deep rooted....

Best wishes x

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