Overwhelming social anxiety

*Hey people, I’ve realized a 5.5min in depth read on my everyday life and why I’m posting this is much too much for most people - even me, so for anybody just looking for the long story short, I suffer a lot from social anxiety and all it’s consequences, and would really love to hear some of your tips, advice or experience if you can relate…?!

For anybody willing to dive into my short story long, and what I would’ve otherwise told my psychologist if I had adequate sessions, thanks for listening…

I’m in quite a bad headspace right now. Although rarely visible from the outside, I suffer from a lot of anxiety and my heart rate is usually always on edge with something as my mind often is… I often overthink, or detach to observe and judge myself almost from third perspective whilst thinking/talking/acting instead of just living them! I can be easily influenced by external stimulants like work, people, chance events, but the effects are unsurprisingly temporary before my mind wanders into uncomfortable territory again. I’ve allowed myself to sink to great, depressing depths thanks to overwhelming stress or anxiety, where I’d isolate myself pretty badly without thinking twice. I’m over that extreme stage, but not my anxiety.

So here’s a snippet example of my life in the wrong rhythm and headspace (particularly bad in the last two days after honestly having looked up again routine and mentally-wise when I was being mindful, interacting with housemates, eating and sleeping well and meditating more committed…

Yesterday I woke up late after having gone to sleep late as usual, worked during the day, starting off a little uncomfortable (due to judging myself as an observer) but soon loosened up again over time as usual (as that’s what exposure does), skipped breakfast AND middays without thinking about it (though it was busy), a rare, stressful system failure where electronic payments stopped working popped up in the last half hour, leaving me doing a stressy hour’s overtime to help my colleague, got back home, didn’t shower nor eat healthily but made pasta with pesto which I just brought to my room to eat alone there (I’m in a sharehouse). Aimlessly browsed youtube after until 2am, after which I decided it was the right time to piece together a bunch of the uncatagorized receipts, license pics, ph nrs etc I had (until 5am) as mine had been less organized than my colleague’s (I’m still new though so they’re super unrealistic expectations for myself). Didn’t sleep for another hour or two, then woke up around 12pm (I had a day off today). Was in a shitty headspace, browsed and loafed around in my room, avoiding going out so as not to need to meet neighbors despite only chatting happily the day before?! Postponed going out until I knew most were likely gone around 4:30pm (for evening/night shifts), but spent another hour writing this first. I SHOULD HAVE HAD NO BLOODY REASON - just social anxiety and lack of momentary esteem!

What’s DOUBLY bothering me, is that I still haven’t fucking mustered the goddamned strength to reach back out to former friends (after cutting off over a year ago during a nervous breakdown). A small handful of people have tried to get in touch - two months ago one former friend tried to contact me from another country a week after my bday, and today a different friend (the second time god bless them after around half a year ago too) reached out saying they hope I’m doing good (obviously due to my unexplained retreat whilst I was soulsearching to pick myself up again)… They’re great people I’ve often thought about, but not mustered the courage to get back and open up to…

I always see myself as inadequate, both mentally and physically. I’ve always seen myself as too skinny even if it’s not true - stemming from my childhood abuse. More relevantly recently, I’ve seen myself as inadequate because I was unemployed, now it’s that my accommodation isn’t good enough, or that I’m affraid to admit to being introverted, single and now self-conscious of alcohol just to top it off (though never admitted still being a virgin, nor my social anxiety - which alcohol initially helped compensate and to seemingly solve everything, but I was kidding myself just when everything appeared great - I had a good home, friends, job, was flirting/dating, going out often) but I realized my growing dependency and some eye-opening experiences during my nervous breakdown. Instead of the happy prowlers they often are and I once seemed to be more than - but never actually was either (I wouldn’t have it in me to just pick up a girl for a one night stand for example, as all of this even coming into question has only really been in the last 4 years or so (I’m 24) when I began regaining my before then subconscious, PTSD and addiction riddled life…

That goes back to my constantly heightened tension and heartbeat I mentioned earlier, which I know still stems from my scarring and severely stressful childhood abuse… How could I explain to people, being such a different person now, taking so many things so much more seriously as nobody knew the extent of my addictions and unresolved PTSD before? I’d harbored these secret and deep-rooted problems for SO long, thought I could just dismiss my past and unresolved effects and addiction coping mechanisms (for me: maladaptive daydreaming and masturbation) and was actually struggling to face them much more than anybody could know once I was on my own again (and nobody did know). They’re not exactly easily shared or admitted addictions either so naturally the burryable type. Or I fear that I could fail these undeserving and awesome at heart people again if my mental health isn’t stable enough… I’m clean of my addictions for 33 days now - further than ever really, and don’t currently doubt a promising future with boundless opportunity… But although I love (and everybody needs) spending time with others, especially once the ball is rolling, it’s doesn’t come entirely natural to me anymore and I can still feel overwhelmed or need alone time out when others don’t, or have an unpredictable mood swing where I don’t want to engage with others anymore and feel off…

Ehh… It’s not easy, I know that. I want SO MUCH to be over my past, and in a lovely relationship with someone, have an awesome friends circle, kick ass in life and making the most of it - but I’m still so hesitant, procrastinating, affraid, anxious, overthinking etc, and though I’ve been truly shining like my own mini-superhero this past month in so many ways, some things are taking longer than I feel I need, as I can’t live alone, negative and stressed forever, with or without my addictions or PTSD remnants…

My psychologist isn’t available enough. Once in 2-3 weeks is not adequate, and it was a good spring board at first, but is now practically gone…

Respect for reading through this marathon post if you did by the way, phew hahah :joy::heart:

I hope you enjoy your day guys, I mean that, I feel better already after unloading some of my mental struggles here. Maybe I need to make that step and reach out to those people, even if it’s overwhelming!! And join a helpful club or group, even if it’s hard!! And force myself out of me shell, even if I’m affraid (now that I’m transparent and there’s nothing to be affraid of)!! On the other hand, I’m still obviously in a vulnerable stage and don’t want to be too hard on myself like my past so often unfortunately was when I couldn’t afford to… Feck eternal dependency now my eyes are opened! Feck addictions, PTSD, depression, anxiety, subsequent loneliness… And feck failure! No way in the long run!!

Has or does anyone of you suffer from phases of severe social anxiety or depression, and have any relevant suggestions, what helped/helps you? Anyone able to relate and help…?!


Thank you for sharing your feelings. It would have taken courage to write so personally.

There is no quick cure at all, small steps in the right direction….
When this was first suggested to me I pushed back against it but then I gave it a go and it’s helped me to calm down.

I use coloured pencils and draw in a mindfulness colouring book. It helps me to pass the tough times and it helps me relax.
I like it.

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I’m sorry your going through these feelings. It can be so overwhelming. I do not have severe social anxiety, but I experience it mildly/moderately especially when other areas are being neglected such as sleep/nutrition . It’s a viscous cycle really. I have also suffered from depression. I wish your psychologist was more available for you if you feel that would be helpful. Are you in any other types of therapy? I’m glad you’re here and are able to share.
I don’t know if this will help, but this meditation has saved me a few times:

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OK I’m just starting work so not read properly, but hugs :hugs:

Definitely able to relate!

You say you had a breakdown, that’s a lot. I have started describing my year off work like that, although it wasn’t one big event. More a gradual decline into nothingness after a few years (more?) of accumulated anxiety, depression, overwhelm etc.

The best thing that came out of it for me was finding some acceptance of where I am now. Not comparing myself to how I felt like I used to be, or should be able to be. Who says we have to be busy, productive, sociable, rich, whatever…

I had CBT and for me the most helpful thing that came out of it was a non-CBT thing. My therapist showed me a model for chronic pain management, I don’t know what it’s called, but it really fit with my mental health. Basically letting go of expectations and commitments and allowing myself to find my baseline of activity that could be sustained on a bad day. And then not going too far beyond that on my good days! Getting out of that habitual pattern of highs and lows is something I am still working on, but it’s getting easier. Sometimes it feels like avoidance, but at other times it feels like what I need to do to protect myself.

All the usual suspects - yoga, walking, meditation, diet, medication - have played their part at various times. I mainly credit being on the right medication with the improvements I’ve seen in the last year, but I still feel that trying to keep things more even has been beneficial and makes the lows less low.

I have also recently found out I am iron deficient, and learning about the role that basic nutrient deficiencies has on our health has been interesting. I’m not saying it is a fix all, but it is something that has been routinely ignored by my GP and seems to be the case for a lot of people. I do believe that taking some action to address my ferritin (iron storage), B12 and vitamin D levels should help with some of the physical and psychological symptoms I’ve been experiencing. So I would recommend getting a blood test (full blood count), getting a print out of the results, and learning how to interpret them in case that helps.

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Absolutely amazing advice on all of it and sooo true for me as well with the iron/B12 deficiency.


Thanks so much for this actually! A very personal response to a very personal post, thanks for this unique suggestion @Quinnzo! :slightly_smiling_face:

Small steps is true… Sometimes zooming out into the bigger picture is a good thing if I’m in a negative headspace, and there’s a lot of potential in it, but when I’m in a positive headspace I’m still learning to deal with it… And to relax myself… ODAAT of committed and mindful love does it, very true.

I hadn’t thought of coloring, though loved and was enticed by it as a kid so surely would now too, though I’ve often thought about going back to drawing or writing… Though the art needs some serious touching up again :joy:

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You’ve just come up with a great idea without even knowing it!
You can write about your anxiety, write down what you think is going to happen or what you think is happening,
then write about what you want to happen in a positive benificial manner

Visualise the latter because dreams do come true. :innocent:


This is actually super relatable and true, my diet and sleep have proved to be huge in determining my headspace and subsequently my anxiety! It’s rarely overwhelming in the moment, but easily avoided (like with my former friends). They’re probably amongst the top two goals I have to get under control so my mind and body can work together to heal and move on from my past insecurities. Iron deficiency was a thing during my youth, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was still the case, maybe I should at least temporarily take some nutrition supplements (iron, vitamins, omega etc) for that adequate boost until they’re figured out…

No other therapy to speak of other than here if that counts, though I have it on my to-do-list to find a ‘social anxiety’ focussed group if that exists around me… And a meditation club/centre if free.

Thanks for your meditation video, I already use them frequently and will check it out tonight to sleep after posting this! :slightly_smiling_face:

Yeh I added an update to the start to let people know it’d be a lil read incase they wanted a long story short :slightly_smiling_face:

Reading up it was a classic nervous breakdown I should’ve seen the signs for but didn’t. Accumilated stress due to prolonged yet unresolved PTSD addictions were a matter of time as I was practically living two lives. But in many ways, I’m glad, as although it by no means was the start of my consciousness and sobriety struggle, it did mature me in many ways, to help wake me up and face what’s been long overdue and so important…

It’s very true that we don’t HAVE to be anything or anyone! And acceptance and not irrelevantly comparing yourself to irrelevant others are big points too, even if they’re easier said than done… I am consciously working on myself in these areas amongst others though, and can relate to much of your post actually! The definite tendency towards extreme ups and downs rather than the stable moderation I need; the healthy little activities sometimes being big saviors in the everyday scene… CBT sounds like something for me actually, I’ll ask my psychologist about it next time!

And diet hasn’t been much of a topic with my psychologist despite me mentioning it being notable once or twice. Like that I abstained during depressions for example, or had a terrible habit (skipping breakfast and lunch only to hoard later)… Though I’m working on that too. Even my private doctor actually, only suggested fresh foods, fruit etc and left it there).

Thanks for your reply @siand, as well as those hugs btw!

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Your meditation video was lovely, thanks for the share @Miranda:ok_hand::v:

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Sorry for late reply, I read a little then wanted to reply when I had more time.

First, for childhood abuse ptsd etc, therapy once every few weeks doesn’t seem enough. Have u explored all avenues to get more? This core issue needs to be worked on :purple_heart:.

Second, I bang on so much about this book, but Brene Brown’s ‘Gifts of Imperfection’ was great to help me accept me as I am. As a little example, I have terrible imposter syndrome at work. Like high heart rate, blushing in meetings. I have not beared my soul, but have put some of my feelings of inferiority into words. It was scary, but felt authentic, and it was accepted warmly, and guess what, I felt more confident later.

I also watch myself in the third person, and judge myself as awkward, dumb, boring, etc while I am doing it. I have never heard of someone else doing it! Which of course makes me extra awkward, and hard to follow a conversation, which makes talking even harder. I try to focus on the other person, be really interested in them, rather than focus on showing myself as interested in them, if that makes sense.

I am also convinced that people don’t want to be my friend. The last couple of times I went back to the UK, before Covid, I didn’t get in touch with old school friends that I would usually meet because I was sure they were only meeting me out of a sense of obligation, not really wanting to.

I also feel physically inadequate. I actively avoid mirrors and windows, and hate getting dressed up because I think I will never be attractive. No point putting glitter on shit.

So u are far from alone :purple_heart:

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No worries @Misokatsu, glad for your post. :hugs:

I know - the sessions started off promising on a weekly basis, but have since declined way to much for my liking or needs right now - and I could really do with that baseline to turn to, especially now after my first abstinent month, and with lots going on! It’s literally as if it stopped once I started! I’ll definitely raise the issue with her next time (which is next friday - and my last session was 2 weeks ago for barely 30mins before work too, again having been after 3 weeks…), and will try to find out if a different psychologist would be more available if that won’t change.

Also if or once I join a ‘social anxiety group’ (should one exist around me? - would be awesome) and/or meditation centre, maybe they can help too…!

Wow, the rest of your post is almost a mirror description of me - we are not alone, yay, high five!! :joy: But we can do this my friend… That necessary avenue exploration you mentioned counts for everything! :muscle::wink::heart::sunflower:

Thanks for the recommendation! I shall have to note that book down… :slightly_smiling_face:

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