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I wonder if I have an anxiety disorder of some sort.

For as long as I can remember having fairly self-aware and articulate thoughts, I have held the opinion that I am never really relaxed unless I’m alone and/or asleep. The next best thing is when I’m with my girlfriend of 8 years. I am pretty relaxed around her.

But nobody else. From about the ages of 11 to 15 I was really self-conscious, like to a huge extent. I had no friends at all for 2 years and would always sit alone in class, spend time alone at lunch, and felt all eyes on me all the time. I was really quiet and withdrawn at school (not at home. At home I was ok)…I just felt so weird. Everything I did was weird because I was so self-conscious. This kind of eased a lot when I got some friends and was in a good group of friends. I didn’t focus on myself anymore and would be ok acting silly or loud and NORMAL when I was around them. And even when alone, I wasn’t so self-conscious anymore.

Anyway, so I thought my issue was fairly ok and under control. I knew it hadn’t gone away, and I’ve always avoided public speaking (I’d actually prefer to fail a subject at university rather than have to give an oral presentation) and have been self-conscious around certain people, and I’m really hard to get to know as even if I’ve been friends with someone for years, I never seem to reveal anything in any depth, and we don’t go beyond slightly awkward small talk.

Most of my friends are only friends of my best friend. She was the last friend I actually made myself, back when I was 15 (I’m 30 now). We’re still best friends, and my other friends are all through her, not my own efforts.

I live in a different state to my family and friends, with my girlfriend, and luckily we’re both fairly solitary and ok with just one other person to be with and talk to and stuff. Before we moved in together, she just hung out with my friends, and before that, when she lived in another state, she had maybe 2 friends she saw maybe a few times a year.

However this weekend, I was one of the bridesmaids at my best friend’s wedding, and knew a lot of people there, but…I was SO uncomfortable. I didn’t realise the full extent of my anxiety and self-consciousness till then I think. I was trying to appear normal when standing up by the altar and when doing the things required of the bridal party like the waltz and sitting at the bridal table, but man, it was weird. At the time I just wanted to go home and be back in my comfort zone, and also I find with a lot of people I go into hyper mode. Hyper funny, hyper laughing, eyes hugely wide, always laughing and grinning, and I come across weirdly I think. I didn’t used to think so, although I was aware certain people thought of me as a bit ditzy and not someone they could really communicate with on any sort of serious level.

But then this guy I only just met at the wedding, who was really nice and we were chatting and I felt ok with him (still hyper and weird, but better than with some other people who I have nothing to talk about with), he at some point commented (not in a mean way at all) that I seemed so stressed. And yet, while I was talking to him, I wasn’t even thinking I wax coming across that way. So it’s like, what the hell do I seem like to other people when I AM actually feeling really stressed!?

I hate it. I want to just be myself, but I don’t even know who that is. I haven’t even been myself around my parents since I was about 17 or so. I’m always happy, very “up” and stuff…never sad or angry. Never sick even. *sigh* What is wrong with me? (I’m good online. I blab too much, but I’m open and fairly normal. It’s only in person I suck)

Also, I have recently begun to realise that my whole career-job life has been governed by fear and avoidance. I am a secretary, and I hate it. It’s so boring, but all my job choices since I was 22 until now at 30, have been controlled by how little of the things I hate are present in a particular job. Mainly, answering phones and being on the front reception desk. I avoid all these sorts of jobs like the plague. So my jobs are so boring, typing, administration stuff. And they don’t pay well. My ideal boring job would be in a tiny office by myself, typing and never seeing anyone all day. I’d love to do online type things like , online travel advisor, etc, but unfortunately, they don’t really exist in any real capacity.
I remember when I was in high school,and when I later took a "Public Speaking" course at work,I would get laughing uncontrolibly as soon as I started my talk.
That finished my speaking career until I was nearing retirement. I got up at about four retirement dinners,and spoke.I would eat my meal beforehand ,at home, while
the other guests enjoyed theirs.I did a lot better than I thought I would.I know that our Barbra Streisand would not go on Stage for a quarter century
because of fear. Maybe you could go to some classes,to get talking in front of others. I have been through many of the same situations as you have
had, in connecting with others.I had anxiety problems,a few years back.I
took Ativan(Lorazapam) twice a day,and it was great for me.I haven't needed it for years.I take PAXIL for my depression,daily.It must be "Controlled Release" to work.There is a GENERIC now,but I requested that I not take the GENERIC. Gaining more self-esteen,etc,is very possible ,I believe.At least it worked for me. Lots of empathy to you. Bill





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