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  • #118828
    Sophia
    Participant

    Okay…so I need a little bit of help.

    I have social anxiety and have been living in a place for 2 years now where I have been really unable to settle. I have a good job at a organisation that I like, but I don’t feel mentally stimulated or challenged by the work that I’I doing. Though I have nice colleagues, 8 haven’t formed any relationships outside of my work in the two years that I have been here.

    I think that I am ready to move on and try living somewhere new, but my question is … should I stay here and focus on getting mentally healthy and work on getting rid of my social anxiety first of all? I worry that if I up and move to a new place…although it would drag me out of a rut…I might just end up in the same situation as I am in now.

    I just can’t seem to make myself settle here…I’m always thinking about being somewhere else and I can honestly say that I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life. Some days it’s just unbearable…I don’t know what’s wrong with me, or what the right thing to do is.

    To give a bit of background, I’m
    A 25 year old graduate…I’ve always had really low confidence and self esteem, I don’t have any close family and so I really feel that I’m lacking a sense of stability in my life. Over the last two years since graduating, my confidence has really plummeted and I don’t know how to talk to people anymore.

    Am I over thinking? Should I just go, or do I stick it out and try and build a social circle for myself here? The location isn’t unpleasant, but I have no social circle…advice much appreciated!

    Thank you 🙂

    • This topic was modified 4 years ago by Sophia.
    #118834
    Peter
    Participant

    Nothing is worse than overthink the problem of over thinking

    I very much admire those that trust themselves enough or maybe just out of blissful unawareness or innocents are able to step out of comfort and leap into the unknown.

    That unfortunately is not who I am. Through nature and nurture I need to plan and know just want I want to do. And like you I fear that even if I do manage such a leap I will bring my own insecurities with me.

    Whatever you decide to do you are going to take yourself along and so will eventually have to deal with your stuff.

    My advice for what it’s worth is to talk over these feelings you have with a professional you can trust so you might clarify them. A third party who being natural can reflect back to you what you’re really saying and thinking.

    #118849
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sophia:

    You asked: “should I stay here and focus on getting mentally healthy and work on getting rid of my social anxiety (before/ if you move away)?”

    My partial answer is: getting mentally healthy is a slow, slow process. You may not be able to “get rid” of your anxiety even if you attend therapy for years. With work, it is likely to lessen, over time, a long time. Also, anxiety may travel from social anxiety to … another type. Your anxiety, in some form, to some extent, is likely to be with you for a while.

    Your lack of social life where you are, lack of a “social support system” is a real problem for any person, especially an anxious person.

    I would say: number one priority for you is to seek that social support system- it can be attending psychotherapy with a competent, empathetic therapist. It could be attending group therapy, or a self help program for the socially anxious… need to find that support.

    You wrote that your job is a good job with an organization that you like. Is it transferrable to another location? If it is, moving may be a good idea; you can keep your job. If not, try really hard to find that social support system where you are, first, before attempting any other solution.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by anita.
    #118851
    Sophia
    Participant

    Thank you for your kind messages

    – I’ve just forgotten how to be around other people. Lots of people have a family to fall back on for advice, but I don’t have this so I don’t know what to do.

    I agree that I need to get some professional help – the other problem is that I would only be able to afford to do that if I stayed here in my current location.

    I’m quite well qualified and very professional, /9 I don’t think that finding a job would be a problem regardless of whether or not I stayed with the same organisation.

    I just feel so alone that sometimes it feels like there’s no way through to the other side. 8 can see what I need to be happy, but I don’t know what I need to do on a day by day basis to get there.

    Things are tough.

    #118868
    Rock Banana
    Participant

    The anxiety you are creating can absolutely be overcome, changed, eliminated. The number of people who have been creating severe anxieties only for them to create totally different behaviours, thoughts and habits is high.

    I wouldn’t say the path is ‘easy’ in the sense of clicking your fingers, but nor would I say it’s ‘hard’ in the sense of nigh-on impossible like Anita suggested.

    Professional help could indeed help but I would personally favour some kind of life coach who does a lot of work helping people to shift the way they use their minds and bodies, as opposed to a therapist who may want to discuss your past and go on about it, although you may find either / both useful.

    I would say I used to have pretty bad social anxiety though I never labelled it like that at the time, I got myself out of the rut by pushing myself out of my comfort zone, by reading philosophy and psychology and self-help books, by doing a lot of work on myself (self development), by doing some improv comedy – this I recommend hugely, though it may seem like a bizarre thing to suggest, but I recommend it because the people that tend to do it are very kind, supportive and it’s excellent for learning how to break out of low-status and nervous patterns – and so on and so on. I’m still not fearless by any means, but I’ve lost a large amount of the fear and relate very differently to myself, other people and the world now. I’m still on the journey.

    Yeah it might take years, but if you enjoy the process then it’s not drudgery, it’s fun. Luckily I enjoy the process. If you’re going to change this then the most important thing IMO is to choose to do so, how you are going to do it can be figured out as you go along. There’s no one size fits all path. All you need to know is that your brain is extremely flexible, neuroplasticity and the fact that you are in constant flux and your personality is kind of a constructed story you tell yourself about an ever-changing organism means that you have a hell of a lot of leeway. Yeah you have a large number of habits, but habits can be changed with conscious attention and will. Your relationship to your thoughts can be changed through mindfulness meditation and so on. You are not being affected by anybody else. You are only being affected by YOUR OWN THOUGHTS. Nobody is making you feel scared. They don’t and can’t have that power. Your THOUGHTS (in the broadest sense) are leading to fear within you. Work on it over time, you will make progress. Look for small changes and small progress, filter for change instead of the stuff that seems similar. That way you are telling your mind and body to keep changing and rewarding it for doing so, instead of thinking “oh no, I still felt tons of fear, even though it wasn’t as bad as it has been in the past”, which is just going to impede your progress.

    Good luck, it’s a well trodden path but it’s a different one for everybody. You are not alone at all in experiencing anxiety, and you are not alone at all if you go from experiencing anxiety to becoming the creator of your reality and choosing to act, think and feel completely differently across time, so that you look back and barely recognize yourself. But I think it’s a very noble path, personally.

    EDIT: Actually, if you are feeling really alone, then get yourself into some communities if you feel able. If you’re religious go to a church or something, go to a few clubs. Unless the fear is so paralyzing that you wouldn’t dream of doing that right now, if there’s any chance of you doing that no matter how nervous you feel you might be, just do it because nobody minds if you’re nervous and it’ll be good for you to do so. You probably think that people judge you for being anxious but I reckon this is all part of the thinking that is creating anxiety for you. It’s all thoughts, “they don’t like me”, “they think I’m stupid”, whatever. It’s all thoughts thoughts and thoughts. The reality is probably so different – and unknowable anyway – that you would be pretty surprised if you could just see outside of those thoughts and have a very different experience. Professional support is probably a fantastic idea for you if it is totally crippling and you feel lost in other ways, but I would supplement this with a hell of a lot of reading and watching videos, consuming self help and philosophy and psychology, doing practices like tai chi, yoga, meditation, if any of that stuff is up your street. It’ll all help.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 12 months ago by Rock Banana.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 12 months ago by Rock Banana.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 12 months ago by Rock Banana.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 12 months ago by Rock Banana.
    #118964
    Sophia
    Participant

    Thank you so much for all of your kind responses, especially Rock Banana for your detailed thoughts. It’s much appreciated.

    Hopefully in time, I’ll be okay – but I have now started seeking some professional support. The other thing to say is that I turned 25 this year, and just feel acutely aware of the fact that my ‘care-free’ twenties are running away from me…I’m scared of losing my youth and missing out on opportunities due to my anxiety…but I suppose there is no slow way to overcome it and I just have to keep going.

    I hope to start building up a social network soon, I’ve just forgotten how to talk to people…and because I’m not doing anything outside of worrying about things, I feel like I have nothing to say to people.

    A vicious cycle…but I’ll keep my head up and keep moving on. As for relocating…the place I’m thinking of moving to is London…I’ve wanted to live there for so long now, but am not sure if I might just get there and be completely overwhelmed…

    maybe I should just be brave and do it.

    Thanks for the advice and support 🙂

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 12 months ago by Sophia.
    #118971
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sophia:

    You are welcome. At the age of 25 I found myself in London for the very first time. It was a wonderful, almost magical week for me, in London. But then, I was a tourist. Loved the grey weather, the beautiful garden parks, it was all so magical for me. A few years later I was in London again, and it was not a good experience. I was not prepared, like I was on that first week. So being Prepared is very important, from my personal experience there. Prepare: living accommodations, transportation (Map of the efficient Underground, etc.

    Post again, anytime.
    anita

    #118972
    Sophia
    Participant

    Thank you –

    I really love London and have been wanting to move there for a while…I just don’t know if I am mentally ready at the moment. On the one hand, it could be a really good way to break out of a cycle of bad habits…on the other hand, I might just go there and end up in exactly the same situation as I am in now.

    All I know is that I can’t go on as I am now…but, maybe I give it 6 more months here? I don’t know what the right thing to do is.

    Hope to figure it all out soon.

    🙂

    #118995
    XenopusTex
    Participant

    Anita, your experience sounds a lot like what people experience out here. If they are prepared it’s a totally different experience from being unprepared. We just don’t have the wandering bands of pick-pockets… yet 😉

    In all seriousness, preparation is important. People moved out here in the last decade to “better themselves,” move away from other situations, for opportunities, etc. At lot of them wound up leaving after a short time simply because they weren’t prepared for the change. Things are different when you pass “nowhere” to get to your destination; people didn’t realize that (closest city of more than 50,000 people is ~240 miles away). People came out here from all over with dollar signs in their eyes. They came with no place to stay, no plan, and no preparation (read that potential corpsicle come winter). It did not end well for many of them.

    Anita is right, you need to prepare if you are looking at moving. Moving to get away from anxiety won’t work. I have lived in Florida, North Dakota, Ohio, and Virginia; my anxiety didn’t magically stop when I crossed the border from West Virginia to Ohio, or any other border.

    Like you, I’m not terribly adept at the social scene. Unless you live in a place like Amidon, ND (population of 26 clannish souls), moving is probably not the answer. I would suggest making yourself go places and meet people. Have found that I have had to do the same myself.

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