- This topic has 21 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 7 months ago by Anonymous.
April 19, 2018 at 4:43 am #203147
This long post (sorry) is a story about how what caused my social anxiety. I find it very weird and I didn’t know something like this was even possible.
On a Saturday evening I had dinner at my grandma’s place. Me, my mom, my two brothers and my grandma were sitting at the table, eating. I don’t remember how the subject of the conversation went that way but it was about relationships. I’ve never had a relationship except for an affair with a needy girl who already has a boyfriend. Then out of nowhere my big brother said: “Look at you, you’re 21 years old and you still can’t get anything better than someone else’s crazy girlfriend” At that point it felt like the harsh truth for me. I felt a wave of shame and guilt come all over me. I felt so bad that everyone knew how fucked up this truth was. I started sweating, blushing very hard, my heartbeat rose. The conversation went on until my mom saw me blushing. She said: “What’s wrong?” I said I don’t know, I said it was hot in there, hoping they didn’t hear what my brother said. Everyone at the table was staring at me, so the panic got worse. My big brother knew exactly what was wrong but the rest didn’t. He kept his mouth shut because I could see in his eyes he felt guilty about saying that. My mom said: “This is not okay, look at your face, it’s as red as a tomato! You should go see a doctor, it may be something about your bloodstream or something”.
For over 3 minutes the blushing, increased heartbeat and sweating were very intense. The shame may be one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had, even though. When the conversation went to a different subject and they weren’t staring anymore, the symptoms remained. About 5 minutes after what my brother said it got better, I felt the epinephrine were off. A few minutes after that I was still thinking about how embarrassing that was, and the blushing and stuff started again for another 5 minutes, without any external trigger. My mom noticed and wanted to go to a doctor right away, but I told her I would be OK. I felt bad about it for the rest of the evening but the next day I was over it.
A week later, same situation, dinner at my grandma’s. I was talking with my mom about something at school and suddenly the exact same feeling of shame overcame me. Blushing, sweating, shaking, increased heartbeat… I thought wtf is this? There is nothing wrong, why am I feeling this way? I wasn’t even thinking about the affair ! I ran off to the bathroom, I said I needed to pee.
Since then, every Saturday at that table these adrenaline rushes accompanied by shame and blushing happened over and over again. A month later I had the first panic attack when I was with my friends. At that point I realized that it was not only this dinner causing this panic attacks. Later on, it got even worse until I couldn’t talk to anyone without fearing I’d panic again. At least 5 times a day I had this experience, anywhere, with everyone, doing anything. Then, one time I was sitting on the toilet, all home ALONE, and I had another shame-panic attack. At this point I knew it was getting messed up and I needed to do something about it.
After some research on the internet I found out that it was the fear of blushing in public that made me felt that way. Whenever I think it would be weird to blush at that moment, it happens. Over time I developed a fear for talking in groups and meeting girls, because that is a moment where I sometimes feel uncomfortable. My condition is called Erythrophobia, and they say it’s hard to overcome. You can find articles on the internet about it which explain perfectly how this works. I never heard about this sort of anxiety until I experienced it.
I’ve always been very self-confident and happy, until that first panic experience. I want to feel normal again, I want to be myself. I’ve tried many things but it doesn’t work. I feel desperate because it isn’t getting any better for over a year now…
It felt good sharing this. Thank you for reading !April 19, 2018 at 7:36 am #203171AnonymousGuest
I am glad you did start your own thread. Now I know what that specific thing that was said, what you referred to in your first post, two days ago.
I wish your big brother didn’t say that. But he did.
Anxiety is fear. Fear is like fire. It starts and it catches on to anything that will catch it, anything in its way. Reads to me that this is what happened. The fire started one Saturday night at your grandmother’s dinner table. Then it caught on to every dinner at your grandmother’s, continued to spread to situations with friends and eventually to you being alone at home.
Shame is what you felt that Saturday night when the fire started, “one of the worst feelings I’ve ever had”, you wrote. I know this feeling. I know shame.
Before that fire started, that Saturday night, were there embers, silent embers of shame?
anitaApril 20, 2018 at 7:02 am #203329
If I remember correctly, during the last weeks before that Saturday my shame was very intense, but no one knew I felt that. Only a few people even knew about the affair, my brother including, but he didn’t know I was feeling sad about it. Otherwise he wouldn’t say something like that, my brother is not an asshole, I have much respect for him. Maybe that’s why it hurt so much to hear that sentence from him. He’s very smart also, everyone knows he’s always right.
The shame was mainly caused by the fact that I’m 22 years old now and no one wants to be in a relationship with me. After the affair ended all my hope was lost, what made me sad.
“I know this feeling. I know shame.”, you wrote. Is there something specific that you experienced, if I may ask? I don’t want to force you to talk about yourself but if you absolutely don’t mind, please do 🙂
Thank you Anita for your time, you make me feel I’m not alone in this 🙂
RegiApril 25, 2018 at 4:38 am #203981AnonymousGuest
I don’t know how I missed your post from five days ago. If I knew of it I would have responded earlier, the day you posted or the day after.
You wrote above about your brother that he is not an a*&^%. Well, he was exactly that on that Saturday evening, at your grandmother’s dinner table when he said what he said.
You asked about my shame, if there was something specific I experienced. My answer: there were many, many events that I don’t remember, some that I do. I don’t have a single memory, like yours, a single memory that triggered intense anxiety that was not there before and that spread and grew after.
Shame for me started early and it is something I lived with for decades. I am still in the process of healing from it, from shame, from anxiety.
anitaApril 25, 2018 at 5:03 am #203987
Don’t worry about missing this post, no problem at all 😉
Well, I did hate him for what he said but not anymore. This phobia is all my own fault, he just triggered it. Now I have live with that.. I hope it gets better in a month, I’ll have to defend my bachelor thesis in front of teachers and people from big companies. I can’t be in that situation with this blushing-anxiety…
Is your own anxiety the reason why you’re helping people on this forum? Because you don’t want them to feel bad?
RegiApril 25, 2018 at 5:18 am #203993AnonymousGuest
“This phobia is my own fault”, you wrote. It is not a wrongdoing on your part, not a choice you made, to blush and so forth. So “fault” is not a good word here, I believe. You are not at fault for blushing and for experiencing anxiety otherwise.
Regarding your question: “Is your own anxiety the reason why you’re helping people on this forum?- there is an assumption in your question that I am helping people. I wish I helped others. But I don’t know if I am helping anyone.
“Because you don’t want them to feel bad?”- I gave up on such expectation some time ago, that is, the expectation that it is possible for me and for anyone else to not feel bad, at times. I feel empathy for others expressing their pain, absolutely, and I do want them to feel better. But when I respond, I do not type anything at all unless I believe it is true to reality. I will not bend reality so to cause a reader to feel better.
I believe that our mental health (and feeling better long term) depends on our thinking and believing being true to reality.
anitaApril 25, 2018 at 6:05 am #203999
Perhaps you’re right about that, fault may not be the right word. But still I feel like I only have myself to blame for this anxiety.
I discovered that my self-confidence is related to this anxiety. My low self-esteem is caused by not having a girlfriend when all my friends date wonderfull girls, even if they’re being a dick to them. That’s what my brother pointed out that saturday. So whenever a girl makes me feel good, the anxiety vanishes and I don’t think about it anymore. That’s pretty messed up because I’d need a girl in my life to fight my anxiety. This disturbs me :s
“I wish I helped others. But I don’t know if I am helping anyone.” You are 😉 solving someone’s problem is impossible, they have to solve it themselves. But you are helping, for sure. Your answers are neutral, mature and understanding. You can’t do more than you’re already doing. At least, that’s how I see it.
RegiApril 25, 2018 at 6:30 am #204001AnonymousGuest
Thank you for your last paragraph.
Notice this: I wrote to you in my last post: “You are not at fault for blushing and for experiencing anxiety otherwise.” In response, you wrote: “fault may not be the right word. But still I feel like I only have myself to blame for this anxiety”.
See, my suggestion that you are not at fault didn’t help you, did it. Instead of the word fault you used blame. Still you are taking responsibility for what you are not responsible for.
But I am not surprised my suggestion to you did not change what you believe. I am not at all surprised. After all I didn’t change my beliefs because of other people’s suggestions.
Back to the issue of responsibility: you are responsible only for the choices you make. Blushing is not a choice you make, therefore you are not responsible for blushing. It is not your fault. You are not to blame for it.
Blaming yourself is being aggressive toward yourself and that only increases anxiety.
anitaApril 25, 2018 at 6:58 am #204009
The blushing itself may not be my fault, that’s correct. But I shouldn’t have touched someone else’s girlfriend. Doing that left me nothing but this curse. I will do my best to not blame myself for this, I’ll try and remember that.
My brother said: “You can’t do any better than someone else’s girl”. If I could convince myself otherwise I think the blushing would stop, not sure tough. Don’t know how either..
Do you have any idea’s ?
RegiApril 25, 2018 at 7:43 am #204019AnonymousGuest
The functional purpose of shame is to point to a behavior that needs to be examined, and if found wrong, then to correct it. As the social animals that we are, each one of us has a personal responsibility, to take good care of oneself and a social responsibility, to not hurt others and to help others at times.
So you had a relationship with a woman who had a boyfriend. You felt shame as a result (before your brother’s comment). The message: this behavior is harmful, at least in potential, to the woman who may be conflicted about this and to her boyfriend who will feel hurt once he finds out, harmful to their relationship. And it is harmful to you.
So, you correct the behavior: stop the relationship with her, resolve to not get involved again with a woman who has a boyfriend or husband. You can choose to share your experience when others are considering doing what you did, so to try and discourage others from doing harm.
Following correction, shame has served its purpose, has delivered its message and should be gone.
In your recent post you referred to this shame as “this curse”, meaning it is not gone. You did end any and all inappropriate relationship with this young woman, correct?
anitaApril 26, 2018 at 12:03 am #204169
“The functional purpose of shame is to point to a behavior that needs to be examined, and if found wrong, then to correct it.”: I think you’re right there.
To answer your question: It’s been a month and a half since I’ve kissed/touched her. She’s trying to win me over again, she says she regrets everything and wants everything to be like it used to. It’s very hard for me to resist her, she’s clever and very beautiful.
The next time she’s texting sexy stuff again I will try to tell her that this sexting has to stop. I need to convince her aswell that this madness has to stop.. Otherwise this will never end.April 26, 2018 at 5:17 am #204193AnonymousGuest
You are in the correcting-the-wrong-behavior stage then. You have been responding to her sexting you, that is the wrong behavior in the last month and a half.
I wonder why you feel that you “need to convince her as well that this madness has to stop”- why isn’t it enough that you believe that this madness has to stop and … stop it?
anitaApril 26, 2018 at 6:08 am #204211
I need to convince her that she can’t get me back because otherwise she won’t stop. She knows I’m weak for her temptation so she keeps trying to win me over. Eventually she will win.
Example: When I say that I don’t want her to talk about how much she loves me, she’ll talk about being lonely and being desperately in need of love. (This makes me want to give her love because I still have feelings for her. Not that intense but still)
Another example: When I tell her to stop touching me she will tell me that she wants to touch me. (Which I also like)
When I tell her to stop saying she wants to kiss me and have sex with me, she will talk about that she is in need for physical attention. (Which I also like because I want that too and she confirms that I can get that attention)
With every rule I set up, she finds something else to make me want her… I don’t want to ditch her as a friend, because I know we can perfectly be friends. I like her as a friend because she’s an entirely different person then. Right now I can laugh with her and she’ll support me with any problem I have.
When she’s conviced that she can’t get me back, she won’t try to win me over. I know her, she’s to proud of herself to flirt when she knows she has no chance for any result. I’m not saying I don’t like her flirty behavior but it’s to dangerous for someone like me. I really want to feel loved by a girl, but her love is bad for my mental health.
RegiApril 26, 2018 at 6:46 am #204215AnonymousGuest
You wrote: “I really want to feel loved by a girl, but her love is bad for my mental health.”
And you indicated clearly that it is up to her whether to harm your mental health or help your mental health. If she chooses to continue her behavior then your mental health will be harmed. If she chooses to stop her behavior, then your mental health will improve.
anitaApril 26, 2018 at 6:53 am #204221
At this point my mental health isn’t harmed (except for the blushing, but that’s not her fault), but from the moment I fall for her temptation she changes and my feelings change also. I get jealous at her boyfriend and she becomase manipulative.
I personally think I’m still the one controlling my mental health. As long as I don’t kiss her I’m cool.