Pure Imagination

Requesting Help for My Crippling Social Anxiety

28 posts in this topic

I have truly crippling social anxiety, so much so it gets in the way of every social interaction I have. I get this jolt of fear anytime someone tries to talk to me, or if they look me in the eye. (This usually results in me making a jolting motion, looking away from them, but immediately right back. Most people react to this tick of mine in a pronounced way that I notice.) Because of this fear, I seek zero social interaction. (I’m a 28 year-old male). With most people, I only socialize out of a sense of obligation. Basically, except for my husband, I contently don’t start up conversations with anyone. Even my parents and siblings. People usually talk to me first, or not at all.

Now, don’t get it confused - I have basic social skills. Irl I have been described as pleasant and fun. I can tell if something I do or say goes well or bad. I’m purely talking about my inner state here. I don’t think I have felt true comfort while communicating with any human being - texting, calling, face-to-face, or otherwise. I deeply hate speaking extemporaneously, and most of the time I hate listening to others too. It’s not that I don’t find value in what they say, but it’s more that my anxiety outweighs any desire to socialize. Period.

This aspect of myself is something I have tried to heal for years now. Don’t tell me I just need to socialize more. I have a husband I love dearly who is super supportive of me; I am not looking to get laid more. I’m looking for a solution where I can sustainably and reliably socialize comfortably.

I am a highly sensitive person, and that surely contributes to my anxiety. These anxious patterns may have originated from my early childhood, but I’m not sure. It could just be my sensitivity, I don’t know. I do know I am hyper critical of myself and how I come off while I come up with words to say; I know my shame plays a role in this. The only thing I am interested in is a practical solution for me to stop living this way; I would be eternally grateful for any and all advice ?

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Posted (edited)

"I am a highly sensitive person, and that surely contributes to my anxiety. These anxious patterns may have originated from my early childhood, but I’m not sure. It could just be my sensitivity, I don’t know. I do know I am hyper critical of myself and how I come off while I come up with words to say; I know my shame plays a role in this."

My Response: Its this, until you change your opinion of yourself you will keep having these issues. You see your self as less than, and others as somehow more powerful. Your sensitivity may also allow you to feel the energy of others and you allow that energy to influence or destabilize your own.

Meditation would be good for you, to teach you to center and calm yourself. But to deal with your own personal opinions of yourself that is something you will have to work on daily. You can do affirmations, journaling, seek therapy if you think that can help. But the truth is you have control of how you feel about yourself at any moment. You just have convinced yourself you don't. Its called learned helplessness. 

The biggest issue most people have is co-dependency and learned helplessness. This is all stems from you not recognizing yourself as the ultimate authority in your reality. You are the ultimate authority, You are it, the whole shebang, the alpha and omega, the superstar of your own story. You aren't less than, and your value is NOT determined by anything outside of you. Remind yourself of this everyday no matter what happens because its true.

Your value comes from one thing...existence itself. You are valuable because you are here right now in this present moment. Accept that as ABSOLUTE TRUTH and do not let anyone convince you otherwise. If it wasn't true you wouldn't be here right now reading this. I'm just reminding you of something you already know to be true. 

The whole test in life is can you recognize this truth and use it to fuel your day to day actions, or allow others to convince you of the opposite and make you believe a lie. The choice is yours....because you have complete authority to this experience we call life.

Edited by Razard86

The same strength, the same level of desire it takes to change your life, is the same strength, the same level of desire it takes to end your life. Notice you are headed towards one or the other. - Razard86

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I'm 29 and have AvPD since around 15. The only thing that really helps is medicine. I'm on Zoloft, I was on 200mg. I'm taking 150mg rn. I can't really find the "perfect dose", it's tricky to tell the difference and you try to take the least you need.

But yeah...

It allows me to be a lot more functional even if I don't ENJOY the interactions or social contact. It prevents hyperventilating and panic etc.

Sometimes when I get really buff and lean I'm a bit more confident also. But usually that coincides with being on steroids, and they affect mood somewhat, so could just be that in addition.

You're not going to get good advice from anyone who has not had real, medically diagnosed tier anxiety disorders.

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6 hours ago, Razard86 said:

But the truth is you have control of how you feel about yourself at any moment. You just have convinced yourself you don't. Its called learned helplessness. 

Thank you for the response. This is definitely true, but the learned helplessness feels real to me. I have tried affirmations, journaling, etc to change this but to no real avail yet. Rest assured this issue of mine is something I think about every day - I spend most of my free time doing practices to heal from it. And I’m sick of having hardly any results from years of this.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, RMQualtrough said:

I'm 29 and have AvPD since around 15. The only thing that really helps is medicine.

I have been on various medications in the past - currently on nothing. SSRIs have helped a little, but I can tell they’re just a bandaid on a gaping wound. Adderall has helped me with social confidence, that’s probably the medication that has helped me the most. I would preferably deal with this without medication but I am open to anything honestly.

Edited by Pure Imagination
Misspelling

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I would say that social anxiety is the fear of showing yourself. It usually happens when you do not show your true face, for fear of rejection, but you are not aware of it. it is not something that is done consciously, so letting it be done is not a matter of making a decision, but of going little by little. you have to understand the core of fear. mushrooms can help. is something that is probably under many layers

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16 minutes ago, Breakingthewall said:

 

I would say that social anxiety is the fear of showing yourself. It usually happens when you do not show your true face, for fear of rejection, but you are not aware of it. it is not something that is done consciously, so letting it be done is not a matter of making a decision, but of going little by little. you have to understand the core of fear. mushrooms can help. is something that is probably under many layers

I disagree, its done consciously, if it wasn't they wouldn't be posting on here. What the issue is, is avoidance. The only reason mushrooms or other psychedelics work is they FORCE you if you allow them to, to face your fears. When you face your fears bravely you find out it was all an illusion. I'm not saying this to not show compassion either. How I have always been able to overcome any of these issues, was just diving head deep. The fear feels real, as real as your hand or foot, but when you face it you realize it was never as bad as you thought. 


The same strength, the same level of desire it takes to change your life, is the same strength, the same level of desire it takes to end your life. Notice you are headed towards one or the other. - Razard86

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42 minutes ago, Razard86 said:

I disagree, its done consciously, if it wasn't they wouldn't be posting on here. What the issue is, is avoidance. The only reason mushrooms or other psychedelics work is they FORCE you if you allow them to, to face your fears. When you face your fears bravely you find out it was all an illusion. I'm not saying this to not show compassion either. How I have always been able to overcome any of these issues, was just diving head deep. The fear feels real, as real as your hand or foot, but when you face it you realize it was never as bad as you thought. 

Well, she can publish here because she wants to understand or solve something that happens to her. but that is the symptom, not the disease. the disease is deeper, in the core of the personality. don't underestimate the ego's ability to deceive itself, to avoid dealing with pain, in the form of shame, of trauma. the ego at the time could not handle something, but you had to continue living. uses survival strategies and covers parts of himself. Years go by and although now you could face that, it remains covered. mushrooms disintegrate the ego. they take it apart into pieces, and that sort of thing comes out. If you think that just by wanting it, with your will, you are going to discover the core of the ego... well, either you are wrong or you are a special case. the ego is cunning, it hides things from itself. revealing them all is hard work. And when you thought you had done it, you see that you haven't. I think you can only say that you have cleared it up when at last the ego sees through itself, when the limits really dissolve.

 

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1 hour ago, Razard86 said:

I disagree, its done consciously, if it wasn't they wouldn't be posting on here. What the issue is, is avoidance. The only reason mushrooms or other psychedelics work is they FORCE you if you allow them to, to face your fears. When you face your fears bravely you find out it was all an illusion. I'm not saying this to not show compassion either. How I have always been able to overcome any of these issues, was just diving head deep. The fear feels real, as real as your hand or foot, but when you face it you realize it was never as bad as you thought. 

They don't work.

I quit meds because I thought psychedelics cured me. I became unwell again after about 6 months, so now back on medicine...

There is a visceral type of fear reaction, which people probably find hard to imagine, where seeing a person for someone with SAD is like an arachnophobe seeing a spider. But socializing is forced in life, spiders aren't in your face 24/7.

OP mentioned SSRIs. I found Zoloft to be useful specifically. Not the others.

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7 hours ago, Breakingthewall said:

I would say that social anxiety is the fear of showing yourself. It usually happens when you do not show your true face, for fear of rejection, but you are not aware of it. it is not something that is done consciously, so letting it be done is not a matter of making a decision, but of going little by little. you have to understand the core of fear. mushrooms can help. is something that is probably under many layers

I agree. I feel like I can never show my true face because deep down I hate socializing, so instead I must act inauthentically around others. Socialization is necessary, so I feel like I have to put up a positive front even though I actually hate it.

I have done a lot of work with various psychedelics (over 150 trips), but they have yet to help me much with this problem. They’ll get me into a positive state with almost no anxiety, but I can’t maintain that while I’m not tripping.

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7 hours ago, Razard86 said:

How I have always been able to overcome any of these issues, was just diving head deep. The fear feels real, as real as your hand or foot, but when you face it you realize it was never as bad as you thought.

I have dove into this issue head first many times. I have done numerous psychedelic trips trying to heal this problem, but I have yet to have any tangible results. If anything, diving deep into the feelings just make them happen more frequently after the fact. 

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5 hours ago, RMQualtrough said:

There is a visceral type of fear reaction, which people probably find hard to imagine, where seeing a person for someone with SAD is like an arachnophobe seeing a spider. But socializing is forced in life, spiders aren't in your face 24/7.

This is exactly how it feels. It’s such a crippling problem because you’re right, socializing is forced in life. Which is why I want to heal. Life is miserable when I hate socializing, but I’m part of a social species. 

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@Pure Imagination

since when has this been happening to you? Do you remember a time in your life when it didn't happen? with your husband it doesn't happen to you, right? and it is also socializing at the end. what is the difference?

 

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7 hours ago, Breakingthewall said:

@Pure Imagination

since when has this been happening to you? Do you remember a time in your life when it didn't happen? with your husband it doesn't happen to you, right? and it is also socializing at the end. what is the difference?

It has been going on my whole life as far back as I can remember. It actually does happen with my husband, but to a much lesser degree. Probably because I have discussed this in detail with him and he is very supportive. It’s an across the board thing that I feel with literally every person.

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you've done lots of psychedelic trips with the intention of going deeper and nothing...have you ever tried 5 meo? I'm not saying it's  going to help you, but in a case like this I'd try everything. It is something very limiting, and it must have a cause, a root. perhaps the dissolution that causes 5 meo gives you some clue

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4 hours ago, Breakingthewall said:

you've done lots of psychedelic trips with the intention of going deeper and nothing...have you ever tried 5 meo? I'm not saying it's  going to help you, but in a case like this I'd try everything. It is something very limiting, and it must have a cause, a root. perhaps the dissolution that causes 5 meo gives you some clue

I have only really tried 5-meo once, back in 2016. I wrote a trip report on the forum linked below. It was the deepest awakening of my life by far. And it seemed to actually bring out my social anxiety more - almost like it was easier to hide before the trip, but 5-meo made it so I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

I have been hesitant to try 5-meo again for many reasons, but if you think it has trauma healing potential it may be worth revisiting.

 

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I remember very well your report from when I was researching to do 5 meo. that was just a touchdown. even having been 30mg, it seems that your ego's resistance was so tenacious that you couldn't let it go completely. I have a way to do it, especially for fearful people. I vape, I prepare 4 pipes with mg to spare, and I start small, it's like a meditation. first 2 or 3 mg, after 10 minutes a little more, after again,  and your mind opens up. if you perceive that you really want to open up, you vape at once 10, or you can continue little by little. Suddenly, without realizing it, that's it. infinite. total. for me it has been fundamental not only because of the transcendence of the ego but also to go beyond my hatred. My family was problematic, and I couldn't erase it, impossible. just total openness, many times, to the point of leaving a permanent hole in my ego, has worked to erase that shit that tortured me. I did it maybe 100 times, not always completely, but enough to see how the ego patterns disintegrated and reassembled. from seeing it so much, you start to understand

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Posted (edited)

On 6/11/2022 at 5:37 PM, Breakingthewall said:

Well, she can publish here because she wants to understand or solve something that happens to her. but that is the symptom, not the disease. the disease is deeper, in the core of the personality. don't underestimate the ego's ability to deceive itself, to avoid dealing with pain, in the form of shame, of trauma. the ego at the time could not handle something, but you had to continue living. uses survival strategies and covers parts of himself. Years go by and although now you could face that, it remains covered. mushrooms disintegrate the ego. they take it apart into pieces, and that sort of thing comes out. If you think that just by wanting it, with your will, you are going to discover the core of the ego... well, either you are wrong or you are a special case. the ego is cunning, it hides things from itself. revealing them all is hard work. And when you thought you had done it, you see that you haven't. I think you can only say that you have cleared it up when at last the ego sees through itself, when the limits really dissolve.

 

Well I do agree that you can certainly deceive yourself, in that respect yes it can be unconscious ( I recently had a discovery that I had a hidden emotion under layers that was revealed to me in a dream) but even then I don't know if I can call it unconscious because I was able to discover it because of a conversation me and friend had. 

I'll explain what I mean. There is a saying "What people tell you, is what you secretly tell yourself if there is a reaction." So basically if someone can trigger you, its because they revealed a hidden opinion you had of yourself. So I believe that while on a personal level you might have some unconscious trauma, if you pay attention other people will see it and bring it forth. So I know you know that we are all connected. One of the best things I have learned through my friendships with others is we have the ability to both see the hidden and bring it forth. So how can we be unconscious...when we are always forcing each other to wake up? The only time we don't is when we resist our reactions to what other people say. Everyone is our mirror, so even when we refuse to look at ourselves, they'll do it for us and show us our reflection. 

I agree with what you said in part, but me and my friends engage in radically honest conversations. I won't say its perfect, but it puts most things on the table.

Also by know means have I conquered all of my fears. They just aren't unconscious because I make an honest attempt everyday to probe into the layers of layers of my ego. Maybe there is still some unconscious stuff there, I'm not arrogant enough to presume it isn't. But it will be very few. So I guess I'm projecting here, equating my personal experience onto others in this example.

Edited by Razard86

The same strength, the same level of desire it takes to change your life, is the same strength, the same level of desire it takes to end your life. Notice you are headed towards one or the other. - Razard86

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19 minutes ago, Razard86 said:

But it will be very few

The problem with hidden trauma is precisely that it is hidden. it may be that you do not have it, or that you have brought it to the surface, but the normal thing is to have it and deceive yourself. or normal for me. if there is agitation in you, some degree of unhappiness, compulsion, fear, anger, desire to prove something, need for evaluation, etc....it is because there is distortion between what is and what should be. is this trauma? I would say that all trauma is that, although perhaps it has to be qualified. If your mind is equalized, if what is and what should be follow the same track, you are enlightened. are you? I do not. I don't mean if you realized god, i mean if you could stay without any distortion. Me definitely not. so there is hidden trauma.

 

 

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