Whats happening to me?: I don't... - Mental Health Sup...

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Whats happening to me?


I don't understand.

I have always been a bit anxious, a bit nervous but I always managed to keep this under wraps and be the loud, happy, fun person in a group. I had so many friends, people wanted to be around me, talk to me and I had no problem going out in a group and having a great night. I made people laugh and laughed along with others. I was uncomfortable in one on one situations but I could deal with them and after a few drinks it was no longer a problem I could chat to anyone and everyone for ages about anything.

Its all changed.

I just went out with my BF and his sister and a big group of lovely people I am, if not friends with, at least well acquainted with. I started off a bit quiet, a new thing for me but I kept telling myself it was fine. I laughed along as everyone had banter etc. But it just got harder and harder. My old trusty friend (alcohol) didnt do his job as he used to. Instead of relaxing, becoming more comfortable and chatty and joining in the fun I sat there watching everyone else having a laugh and not knowing how to join in. The few feeble attempts I made were quiet, meek and quickly ignored. to be honest no one probably heard me talk. My bf noticed something was up and asked if I was ok, I got a lump in my throat and it took all my strength not to burst into hot embarrassing tears right in the middle of the bar. I knew it wasn't gonna improve so I made my excuses and left to the safety of my flat.

I just kept looking around me at this full up bar and all I could see was happy confident people, talking animatedly and laughing and having a good time. I cant even remember how to do that anymore.

I feel like ive lost the person I used to be forever.

Im so scared :(

2 Replies


I'm sorry you are feeling scared and anxious, it has obviously been a really difficult evening for you to find yourself unable to behave in your usual sociable way.

You say you have always managed to keep the anxiety under wraps and be the loud, happy, fun person in a group but that must have taken an enormous amount of energy and also can't have helped you to gain real confdience that you will be liked in a group as the person you are.

You say you were uncomfortable in one to one situations and I think that says a lot about your anxiety. It sounds as though you have put on a front for a very long time but that who you are underneath has been hidden and that you are uncomfortable in one to one situations because in those situations it is more likely that the person you are underneath will be seen.

I wonder what your fear is, what you think people will find if they see who you really are. You sound popular with people when you are loud and sociable, do you imagine people will not like you if they see you as quiet, or anxious? The loud sociable part of you is still you it's just that at the moment the other anxious part of you needs to be seen and recongised and accepted. Do you have a really close friend with whom you can share your feelings? If not then it suggests you keep people at a distance because you are afraid of intimacy. You do not say whether you have a partner but it wounds as if you do not. Perhaps you find it safer in a crowd because you then have control over how close people can get to you.

We learn about how comfortable we are with closeness and distance within relationships with our parents so perhaps you had a difficult over-close relationship with one of your parents or with a sibling, or boyfriend, or perhaps someone else? Clearly something about being one to one unsettles you which suggests you have had a bad experience in that context. Once you share that experience and your feelings about it with someone who understands then you will begin to feel able to allow yourself to be known more closely and then you will not have to worry about whether you are the loud sociable one, you will feel ok as you are and be liked for the person you are which includes the loud sociable one as well as the anxious one.


I understand these feelings. Sometimes in social situations I feel like I'm standing on the outside, looking in on everyone else's evening. It's quite a surreal experience. I feel unable to join in naturally. My comments seem awkward. I didn't used to be like that. It used to be a bit of a standing joke in work, that people would invite me out, but they knew I wouldn't turn up. Now they just don't ask any more :(

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