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Feeling Uncomfortable in a New Location

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  • #36295
    Nicole Foster
    Participant

    This summer, I have an internship that allowed me to live away from home and in a new city with my boyfriend. I’m already semi-familiar with the place and it’s a lovely area.

    However, I can’t shake this feeling of being uncomfortable and stressed out. Though I am a college student used to being far from home, I’m having a hard time adjusting to living here. Like I said, I often feel stressed out, alone, and uncomfortable here. Though I’m glad to be with my boyfriend here, I feel dependent on him and occasionally take out the anger that accumulates from my feelings on him.

    I want to explore the town more, make friends with people at my jobs, and feel comfortable in the town, but I feel like I’m being held back by my emotions and my paranoia. I’m very paranoid of being in new locations and going to places alone because I’m scared I’ll be attacked or harmed in public. It’s a fairly irrational phobia, but I see myself as a stereotype for these types of attacks (small, young girl) and I have been harmed before in the past. It’s a fear that carries over into my life everytime I go somewhere new and it’s very hard to shake.

    I’m just not sure what to do. My boyfriend is trying to help and he is very understanding, but I would rather help myself. I am thinking of trying to see a therapist here, but my paranoia gets in the way of this too.

    Has anybody felt these feelings before? If so, what have you done?

    #36298
    Buddhist Wife
    Participant

    Congratulations on your internship.

    It sounds to me like you could get some benefit out of going to see a therapist to help you with this issue. It might be worth going to see your GP first too.

    Firstly I would say, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. You don’t have to be a social butterfly if you don’t want to.

    Why not just take it one step at a time? You could set yourself the goal of visiting one new place a week. You could aim to visit at a time when you feel safe, say mid-afternoon on a weekend, for a limited period of an hour or so.

    It might help you to reduce your anxiety if you plan your trips in advance. You could print out a map and trace your route on it. You could make sure you have any public transport timetables that you need too. If it helps you could also do a virtual walk of the place you are going to see using Google Street View.

    It might also be worth using a site like Meetup.com to see what socialising groups are available in your area.

    I hope you have a great summer.

    #36303
    Nicole Foster
    Participant

    Thank you for your advice.

    I do believe it’s time to find a therapist, so I will look around.

    I think I needed to hear that I don’t have to put much pressure on myself. I’m really an introvert at heart and it’s difficult for me to make friends. I would like somebody to talk to and hang out with (besides my boyfriend), but I think I’m putting too much pressure on myself and trying to force it.

    I like the idea of visiting a new place a week. I work long hours during the weekday, so if I try something on the weekend mid-afternoon (by myself) then I would feel much safer. I just know dealing with this paranoia will be tough, but maybe exposing myself would be helpful.

    I joined Meetup in the past, but I’m weary of it. Again, I’m an introvert and paranoid, so it makes me feel nervous to think of going to these group meet ups.

    #36317
    Indiglo
    Participant

    Agree with Buddhist Wife on all counts. I would only add that if you can’t get a therapist, or want to self-learn some techniques to combat fears and anxiety, check David Burns’ “Feeling Good Handbook”. Also, join some martial art classes, such as karate. Besides practical benefits directly addressing your fears, it is good for your health – physical and mental, it is fun, is suitable for introverts, and is an opportunity to “take out the anger” elsewhere than on your boyfriend 😉
    cheers

    #36318
    Nicole Foster
    Participant

    Yeah, I’m having a difficult time finding a therapist that accepts my insurance or that I can afford right now :/

    However, I do have “When Panic Attacks” by David Burns with me because it helped me in the past. I may re-read that and try doing the Daily Mood Logs again.

    I would be interested in martial arts or something very active like that. Anything like kickboxing, karate, etc would be an awesome way to take out my anger. I’ll try and look around for cheap options.

    #36330
    Angie
    Participant

    If you feel like it might be overwhelming to go out to a brand new place on your own or that your paranoia might cause you distress, perhaps you could try a ‘graduated’ approach. First trip visit a place either close to home or another familiar place, maybe 10 minutes in new territory. The following week do a 15 minute jaunt outside your comfort zone, then 20 and so on. Building up might make it less overwhelming.

    If you are interested in fitness, may I suggest a personal trainer? Semi private lessons can be very affordable, its a weekly commitment and I found it less intimidating because its small group size (or private if you splash extra coin). Its important to pick one with your values though, fr example when I was seeking one out I had a few key objectives: no one who suggest protein powders and chemicals love real food, no one who thinks pain is gain, someone who uses positive reinforcement and not abuse to motivate me, etc. I found a PT and now a friend in the deal, and its great stress relief getting outside in the air working my butt off.

    When I couldn’t afford therapy I dropped into free guided meditation sessions at the local Buddhist temple. Meditation has helped me so much, and while I m quite outgoing, the people I met at my meditation centre were often soft spoken and introverted, which you might find familiar. I also use guided meditations on my iPod, favorutie set I keep recommending is ‘guided meditations for busy people’ by Bodhipaksa. Took me a year of doing them few times a week at least, but almost like magic I woke up a year later and could control much of my anxiety through clearing my mind, breating exercises, etc. I also sleep much better now. Might help for your paranoia/anxiety.

    Hope this helps 🙂

    #36337
    Nicole Foster
    Participant

    Thank you for your advice Angie!

    I think the gradual approach is best for me. Slowly, but surely I will feel comfortable in this city.

    I do love exercising and going to the gym, so a personal trainer isn’t a bad idea. I’m not sure if I can afford one, but I can look into it.

    There is a Zen Buddhist group nearby that I was thinking of visiting. I’m not sure if they have any sessions for newbies though since I’m rather unfamiliar with Zen practices. I currently do meditate every day in the morning and it help, but I would love to join a sangha.

    #36342
    Angie
    Participant

    You should definitely check them out! But keep looking if they aren’t the right fit… I have tried multiple yoga classes, meditation centres and PTs before I found the right one for me, but it was worth it and it adds priceless value to my happiness 🙂

    #36603
    Tracy K
    Participant

    Hi Nicole, it’s okay to feel a bit uncomfortable in your new surroundings (lots of people would be just the same) and it seems like you just need to go a little slower in feeling more relaxed in your new town. I wish you all the very best in working this out yourself and being able to congratulate yourself on not seeing a therapist. Your boyfriend sounds like he’s there for you which is fantastic. When life becomes challenging, it’s very rewarding dealing with the problem and being able to move on, confident that you’re a capable young lady developing skills which will hold you in good stead for the rest of your life. Good luck!

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