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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I don;t think I am socially anxious, but I could be wrong...

I don't think I have social anxiety disorder. I have done several internet tests. The last one I got 14%. Very low. Not indicative of social anxiety.

There was a very amusing question:
"Has your anxiety about certain social situations interfered with your functioning at work or school?"
Hahaha! No...but my anxiety about work and school has interfered with the functioning of my social life. Does that count?

From the nature of the questions and descriptions of social anxiety it seems that social anxiety is a fear based disorder. I don't think it is what is wrong with me. Whatever is wrong with me must be something else. I don't think "whatever is wrong with me" has to do with fear of other people. "Stream-of-consciousness" style reasoning below.

I don't get embarrassed easily. I don't care if I make a mistake in front of people. Basically I don't care what other people think of me.

I don't fear social events....I do worry about them ahead of time, but I don't think it is fear. I worry because I want to act in a certain way, be a different person. I worry I might waste a party being tired. I worry I might not have fun. I worry I might miss out. Again.

I don't fear meeting new people...I want to meet new people. I do worry that the people I meet be dull. I worry that there is something wrong with me because I never click with people. It is frustrating. If there is any fear it is that I will be alone for the rest of my life (I don't care about being alone in a social situation). If there is fear of social situations it is a fear that the situation will add further weight to the possibility that I will never meet anyone that I click with or that I won't have as much fun as I would like. It is all very me-focused. I think I might be too antisocial to have social anxiety. Does that make sense? Probably not.

I don't get nervous about those things where you go around in a circle and introduce yourself. They are a piece of cake. No butterflies at all. I barely get nervous about live performances...and then it is just a useful adrenaline rush and I LOVE performing in front of people (although I usually get shaking/spaced-out symptoms after a performance). I have no problem being the centre of attention and most of the time I like it, although I never seek it out. I'd prefer not to speak in public ever again, but I can do a reasonable job if I have to. I get tongue tied when talking to strangers, but it is not something I worry about...most people aren't really listening anyway. I always avoid speaking in groups but that is not out of fear it is because I have nothing to say and/or people ignore me and/or my brain does not work in groups.

I do get physical symptoms (shaking/trembling, spacing-out) in many social siuations. I have also had panic attacks of sorts, but they have never been about a social situation.
I don't try and avoid social situations that cause me anxiety - on the contrary I tend to accept most invitations.
I often drink to make the situation easier to handle, but I suspect most people do. Also the drinking does not actually seem to make much difference. I am very similar when I am sober and when I am drunk.

Of course there is always the possibilty I have no idea what I am talking about and that I am misleading myself about everything. If you think that is the case, please tell me. I may not believe you, but I will listen.

What you describe happened to me when I was young (soon after my best friend killed herself). Certain situations would create that type of anxiety. It was only later that I was able to identify exactly what was going on. I used to like performing as well - I belonged to a drama club and did regular performances. I did public speaking as well.

To me it seems like the key for you would be to talk yourself out of worrying. Change the worry words into positive words in your mind. Because the way it works is that your body responds to whatever the mind is telling it. If your mind is worrying or getting stressed, you will have physical reactions to that.
That makes sense. I talk myself into worrying, so I ought to be able to talk myself out of worrying. Probably need to figure out what is causing it though...

Am in the middle of making up affirmations for myself in that bmindful website. Maybe a non-worry one would be a good idea...although I have to word it properly.
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