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Feeling disconnected - Social anxiety

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Feeling disconnected - Social anxiety

Postby snookiebookie » Wed May 29, 2019 5:45 pm

Hi

I've posted here as this post could fit into more than one forum. I suffer from Social anxiety & Generalised anxiety. My social anxiety means I fit the criteria for Avoidant Personality Disorder, although I've never formally been diagnosed. Following lengthy therapy it's been suggested that I'm suffering from Complex PTSD due to mental and emotional abuse in childhood and emotional neglect/abuse by my mother from my teen years up until my mid forties.

My mental illness mainly manifests itself as anxiety, and in particular it is triggered when dealing with people. Consequently work is a big trigger.

I'm okay with superficial relationships but struggle the closer I get to someone. So I can function quite well. I can make phone calls. I can go to shops and ask for directions etc. I can even stand my ground and complain, if necessary. I can do all this if the person I'm dealing with is a stranger or someone I don't know well. I suppose the logic is that, "well, it doesn't matter if they judge me, I won't see them again".

The problem seems to be if I get to know someone. Then the anxiety kicks in and gets worse the closer I get to them. So if I have to make a phone call IN FRONT of someone, then I will get quite anxious. I seem to be ashamed of who I am, and fear being judged.

And the thought of making small talk at a work function is my worse fear!!! I feel inadequate and that I'm being judged.

Almost a year ago I changed jobs. It was very a difficult thing to do, in view of all my mental health issues. I have done amazingly well though. I've made an impact in my new role and I know that on a work front they are very happy with me. However, I'm feeling increasingly disconnected and lonely.

As the new person, I would have thought people would have been curious and would have wanted to know me. But this doesn't seem the case. There's only one person who really chats and she's only in three days per week.

I'm the oldest in the office and I have a teenage daughter. Most of the others are in their twenties and thirties without kids, and they tend love going out drinking. That's just not my thing. I prefer staying at home doing crafts, or going to the theatre to see Shakespeare. I seem to like different or odd things, like heavy metal and punk music and tattoos. So I have no common ground with them. The few times that I've gotten into conversation I'm greeted by blank faces. And I feel like I'm a bore or just a miserable person. Or just little weird.

I have got to a place (with the help of therapy) where I like and accept who I am. But we all need approval from others. And the lack of connection with my work colleague is bothering me. I feel totally invisible as a person. It's making me try to overachieve as a worker to compensate. I need attention, so if the only way is to get brilliant results in my work, then I'll end up over stretching. This rarely ends well, as it effects my emotional well-being and mistakes happen, triggering a bad case of perfectionism and anxiety. Then it's a spiral, as the more errors, the harder I work to prove myself and get approval. The pressure just builds... And then I breakdown. I don't want to go down that road.

I've tried to stay mindful, and to accept who I am. I've tried saying that if they aren't interested in who I am, then that is how things are and I cannot change anything. But I feel hurt and it does nothing to reduce the cravings. I'm trying not to feel ashamed of who I am, but it's hard not to give in the negative thoughts and feelings.

I have tried smiling more and maintaining eye contact with them. I've tried joining in the office banter. I am aware that I sound nervous when I do. I sound a little pathetic and weedy or intense and serious. It makes me want to run and hide.

I have gotten to the point where I feel like not trying. It's hard to compete with all the big personalities.

I don't have many friends, and I've had strife with all my family. I just want someone to like me, and like me for who I am.

I kind of wish they knew I had social anxiety, so at least they would understand why I come across the way that I do. But I don't want to seem weird by announcing it. That would seem odd too.

Thanks for reading.

SB
No official DX but I still struggle with mental health issues constantly.
Symptoms of Social and Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
Strongly identify with Avoidant Personality Disorder.
Feel that I possibly have some kind of emotional trauma/Complex PTSD.
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snookiebookie
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