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Posted by: social phobia | 2011/02/25

fear of everything

Hi there cybershrink, im battling with social phobia, im a very isolated person and have intense fear of being around people.I know its because of rejection, saying the wrong thing, my nervous gitter etc but no matter what medication I am on I know until I just do it and conquer my fear I will get no where.
I take beta blockers which slightly calm me down am on anti depressants and anti anxiety, I have had shock treatment and suffer from bulimia and anorexia.Not that that matters just trying to make you understand.Anyway do you have any advice on treating this, breathing exercises, normal exercise, positive reinforcement and positive self talk? What are the things I can say to myself to calm me down.I dont need any long term treatment just need some advice on what I can say to myself, do others understand, is there anyone else out there who battles to leave the house.? Why am I affraid of so many things including having a car accident, people breaking in, trust issues, leaving the hose, not being able to breathe.I also smoke and am trying to stop that any advice on how I can do this?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Beta blockers can calm down the PHYSICAL symptoms, but not the psychological component of the anxiety. Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, CBT, can be highly effective in treating this condition, and in giving you the power to control it yourself. I am highly sceptical of the treatment of such conditions entirely by medicines, though of course they can also be helpful if used in addition to CBT. CBT deals well with breaking all these unhelpful habits of thought, and the worrying and inaccurate assumptions you make about life, thus dealing with the range of phobic-type anxieties you also describe. As it can also help one to stop smoking, that could be built into that form of treatment.
Useful and thoughtful responses from the others !

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Social Anxiety | 2011/02/26

Hey Social Phobia,

i am in the same boat as you! I''m shy, silent, scared of taking chances and have no friends nor even a girlfriend. My hands are always sweaty, i even shake when i''m in a group of people. I walk funny when i walk past someone that i might feel is a threat. Career wise i''m stuffed because i''m to scared to look for a better job. Along the way i picked up emetophobia which is fear of throwing up and IBS which is part of the fright and flight thingie. When the stress and anxiety hits me my tummy goes all upside down, feels like its burning and i get gass attacks! I drink a hand full of pills each morning that almost has no effect. I can go on all day like this...

I find that taking the problem head on doing the same thing over and over works. Doing many social things like joining a dance school, gym, join a few hobby groups of your choice, yes you will be shy and scared at first but after a while when you notice no one will bite you will get use to it and enjoy it. Try to speak to as many people as you can - i start at the shop assistance people as they get paid to talk to me, in time they actually enjoy talking to you. When you get in to the game and you get use to the people in the game, never stop because social phobia jumps back.

The eating thing, i have it bad. I cant eat and then even walk 20 meters and i''ll sit with nausea for the whole day. What i found is drinking smoothies works allot. Your body works quickly through it and it gives you lots of vitimins but also join a gym, then you will pick muscle up and not fat... I get a mixes fruit smoothie with peanut butter and yogurt with no ice... it took me from 67kg to 80kg (i''m 1.95 meters) in a couple of months... and most of it is muscle.

This all helps allot but i''m still in the same boat as you, still drinking pills, still sweaty palms, i''m always silent and to tired to do something about it.

something that a doctor told me once - you only have one life, this isnt a rehearsal for the real one...

Hope this helps abit and even if it did not - at least you know you are not alone!

Reply to Social Anxiety
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/02/26

Beta blockers can calm down the PHYSICAL symptoms, but not the psychological component of the anxiety. Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, CBT, can be highly effective in treating this condition, and in giving you the power to control it yourself. I am highly sceptical of the treatment of such conditions entirely by medicines, though of course they can also be helpful if used in addition to CBT. CBT deals well with breaking all these unhelpful habits of thought, and the worrying and inaccurate assumptions you make about life, thus dealing with the range of phobic-type anxieties you also describe. As it can also help one to stop smoking, that could be built into that form of treatment.
Useful and thoughtful responses from the others !

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: anon | 2011/02/25

Hi social phobia,

I can only really respond here with something that is probably just consolation. I don''t have answers for you.
I find myself in a similar situation, though not quite to the extreme you describe here.
I''ve been told I was Avoidant, mildly schizoid and various other things.
I too felt that if I was just able to just DO the things I was scared of, I''d get over them - ie. facing my fears. The truth is I never did get over the them. I forced myself into ''scary'' situation after situation. At first it got me quite excited because I was finally doing the things I thought I never could, but what I hadn''t noticed was that I was becoming a heavy drinker and picking up a bad smoking habit (even though I was severley allergic &  deeply hated the general hangover I regularly found myself with). And more importantly, I was getting more and more depressed - despite my ''new-found'' extraversion.
I did this for a couple years or so until my health had subsided to the point that I became badly depressed (I eventually realised how huge a part my health played in my depression).
I quit drinking and smoking - but noticed that I seemed to have simultaneously quit family and ''friends'', social gatherings, work... I even turned down potential clients/jobs in my business out of anxiety (the business caved as I couldn''t bare the thought of having to interact with clients!). I had hidden behind the booze and cigarettes to ''control'' my anxiety.
NOW, I had to start from scratch. I was more than prepared to give up the alcohol and smoking in order to help the depression! But now I had to find a way to live with the REAL me.
I imagine all sorts of weird and scary things are going to happen to me - like robberies etc. but the key is that I acknowledge them and make it ''ok''.
What I''ve learned is that I can accept that everything terrifies me and be ok with it. Somehow making them ''OK'' seems to help diminish the fear. I do what I can to keep myself relatively healthy - and I do it alone. So what.
SO, I feel that if I can be ok with living with myself with all my infirmities and fears I will eventually be able to live other people and they with me.
Positive self-talk won''t do anything but deny what you''re feeling. The truth is, you''re scared. Say: " I''m scared/terrified/anxious and that''s OK"  - I''m always amazed at how it seems to calm me.
Anyway, that''s enough of my story. I''m more than grateful to see myself again (without psychiatric drugs and other substances)even if it is a fearful person - because now I know where to work. I''m certain that I''ve reached a point where I can actually feel fear and have it not affect me negatively. Why aim to get rid of fear.
Consider this: If you had no fear, what would it make you? Brave?
All the best!

Reply to anon

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