Social anxiety?

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
Rosanna's picture
Social anxiety?

I was just wondering if anyone else suffers from social anxiety? Mine has got pretty severe of late, and I come home from work and hide. Being around other people all day seems like as much as I can cope with and I need to run away, be on my own, hide from the world.

I'm forgetting how to talk to people, I sit with everyone having coffee after lunch and listen and smile. And sometimes when I speak I'm surprised at the sound of my own voice. I have such a strong feeling of not fitting it, of not belonging and of no-one understanding. It's like I want so much to be part of the world, but no matter how hard I try there are only a small handful of people around whom I can be anything close to myself. If I go out, it is for other people, so that I seem more normal. For myself, I am dying to run away and be on my own again.

I have made every possible excuse and I feel horrible inside. I've taken the battery out of my phone, said I'm not feeling well, said I have plans already. I know people must see right through me, but honestly how do you explain...I'm sorry, but I'm so scared that I can't face hanging out with you? I don't know what I'm afraid of, but I can't escape from the quiet, shy, scared facade that I've hidden behind for years. I can't open up, or remember how to have social conversations anymore.

I've spent years pretending to be someone else, saying the opposite of what I'm feeling... are you well? are you ok? are you happy? do you enjoy uni?... no way, no way could I have told the truth. But even though I am slowly beginning to heal a little, I still feel too fragile to let people see who I am. And the loneliness and fear hurts so much... how did I ever get this way?

JoBlogs's picture
I never realised this was

I never realised this was social anxiety.
I can't bear to answer the phone a lot of the time, I stick to a couple of friends & often feel afraid to call them or before I see them. I arrange most things by txt.
I find work uses all my social energy when I'm there. I've been this since I had my kids.
Putting on the game face, appearing competent, being competent & effiecient.
I get nervous before seeing family, feel guilty about them seeing me & how Shitty it must be to have a friend/relative/wife like me...worrying that they will see through what facade I have left.that I will say the wrong thing & it will be used against me...paranoia?
I thank people for any time they give me, make jam/cake/etc to say thanks too, never feel worthy....
I am even more ashamed of being me now because they all know about my issues...
Big hugs hun


josephine_2006's picture
Hi, when I read this post it

Hi, when I read this post it makes me think of all the years I lived like this and didn't know what to do with it. I still don't know what to do with it. It describes me! I have to live in my own skin. I used to care what everyone else thought but now I know it is more important what I think about myself not so much what others think of me. I struggle with self acceptance.


missdawes's picture
Hi Rosanna. Yes, I've had

Hi Rosanna. Yes, I've had terrible problems with sociophobia. For me it is being terrified of people seeing me since the last time they saw me... and seeing how much weight I've gained. It's a terrible fear of humiliation re weight gain. I turn off my phone, don't open emails, don't leave my room, don't go out.

It all comes down to low self-esteem, I think. Of a feeling of not being good enough, and fearing rejection by people who are supposed to be your friends. I can talk to any stranger for any length of time. But I can't bear to be near friends, flatmates, colleagues when I've been bingeing and gained weight... ultimately because they have the power to reject me.

Stopping bingeing and purging are great achievements, which anyone here should be very proud of. But there is the whole emotional and psychological side of things which I think each of us will have to address at some point, if we want to recover fully. MD x

FionaN's picture
..Funny how you say you sit

..Funny how you say you sit around with people, quiet and then are surprised at the sound of your own voice. I definitely am familiar with that. I'm so aware of how awkwardly I communicate when I speak, and how I never feel like I'm connecting with anybody.
It's really great how you've written about this.. I also feel like I'm trying so hard to fit in..but it just doesn't work. I try to have an open mind, an open heart, and open body language.. but I never feel like the real me comes across! I always seem to be judged and treated as snobbish or offstandish, boring, serious.. sometimes it feels like I'm trapped in this shell and the person inside is trying to come out, but all others see is my shell. And I know that I'm not my shell. But I'm just so damn used to it, it so automatic, even when I try to be aware of it and not let it take over..

Yeah, I hate going out in public and often I cannot do it 'cos I just feel like a freak. Sometimes, I feel the same around my family. I hate being on facebook or sites like that, because I'm always quite nervous about putting up all the public comments or photos, which could be scrutinised. And before, I used to feel quite awkward on this site, but quite recently that has given way because ye all are all so very kind to me!! :)

I've noticed.. I have none of these issues when I'm drunk. I really feel super confident then and always get on great with people.

I'm really glad this was brought up, and that others share the anxieties. I'm not all that sure what to do about it ( well, yes..get out there. But I'm finding all excuses at the moment not to..anything but that really..) And I'll start thinking about it for the next while.

Thanks! And maybe we can get some ideas going together about how to deal with this??

chelsi323's picture
I could have written this! I

I could have written this! I very much suffer from social anxiety.
I have noticed, however, that through recovery mine has gotten MUCH better.
I have gotten more confident (especially since giving up the scale), so I smile more, laugh more, talk to people more, make more of an effort (when I have the time) to meet with friends, etc.
I still am very fearful of public speaking, going to new groups (like new church services, for example)
I'm not really sure how to deal with this issue, though. Sometimes identifying what my fear is has helped, and then I can test myself by taking a risk to challenge this fear, and 99% of the time my fear is disconfirmed.
I hope that you can find that zest again in dealing with other people and not hiding from relationships!
Because spending time with and meeting new people has been essential to my recovery, and has my life so much brighter :)

amelie.noir's picture
YES to all of that. all i

YES to all of that.

all i want to do is hide away from everyone and it's so difficult being around people. i thought this was just because of depression, but maybe anxiety too. there are so many times where i just can't face going out. right now i'm happy that i don't have to leave my house for an entire month and see anyone. so many times where the phone ringing is a source of panic; it takes me several days to work up the courage to call someone, check voicemail, or email.

i also have the problem of dissociating with my own voice, with this "outer persona." i to am shocked when i hear words come out of my mouth as if they belong to someone else. i hear it like it's from another person, while the "real" me on the inside listens from afar and wonders.

i'm also constantly saying those fake responses: i'm fine, i'm just tired, nothing's wrong, it's okay...

its' so hard to let anyone truly see you. that's a whole other issue. and it IS so lonely and isolating. iv'e lost so many friends and so much of my life. it's like you desperately want to be alone, yet at the same time detest every part of it. you need this freedom to be alone but in reality it's a prison cell. yet you can't do anything about it.

this is semi out of context but thought i would share.

“But in the midst of the freedom he had attained Harry suddenly became aware that his freedom was a death and that he stood alone. ... He began to suffocate slowly in the more and more rarefied atmosphere of remoteness and solitude. For now it was his wish no longer, nor his aim, to be alone and independent, but rather his lot and sentence.”
- Steppenwolf, by Hermann Hesse

“A man cannot live intensely except at the cost of himself.”
- Steppenwolf, Hermann Hesse

Shangrila's picture
Isn't it strange how we are

Isn't it strange how we are so alike sometimes? I have horrible social anxiety. You want to know how bad it is? A few months ago I wanted to go to OA, but I was to nervous to go.
LOL do you know how many replies I never post on these boards, even, because I'm too afraid of looking stuid? hehe Oh, and I dread phone calls. When the phone rings and I don't recognize the number, I sit and look at it, like, omg, who is on the other end??
I hate it, I am lonely and I want friends. But I just feel so awkward. I feel like people don't get my jokes, they don't think I'm fun or friendly..I don't know. I just feel so out of place in the general public. I'm a girl and I hate going to malls. How much sense does that make? I guess.. that it is the isolation of bulimia that makes us feel this way..but the problem is, even while recovering, how do we break out of it? I am four months into recovery, but I still can't break that social phobia thing.:(

Catherine Liberty
Catherine Liberty's picture
wow Rosanna, not long ago I

wow Rosanna, not long ago I feel like I could have written your post!

I can relate to every single thing in this thread. I've suffered with social anxiety since I was very young.

My parents put it down to being "shy", I sometimes daydream about what my life could have been if they would have actually tried to help me when I was little.

I used to run and hide when someone came to the door, I'd be sick almost every day before school because I was so afriad of having to be around other people, and this lasted for a long time.

In my teens it got a lot better because I learned how to fake it, but the feelings were still there.

In my early 20's my anxiety really manifested and I started to experience anxiety attacks for the first time - what a scary time. After a year or so of not being able to leave the house I had a google around. I came accross an anxiety forum and read a post from a woman who said something along the lines of - "I started to become afraid of leaving the house and seeing people 5 years ago, since then I haven''t left the house"

Little does that stranger know she probably saved my life. I was so horrified by what I read, by how bad it could get that I forced myself outside that day.

Everything looked and sounded strange, I was so scared. But I did it and from that day things did improve.

I think we have to force ourselves a lot.

Did any of you suffer from anxiety before your ed's? I know I did but bulimia certainly made it worse. While recovering from bulimia I completely cured my anxiety although some small things remain.

I don't have a phone because I can't bear to talk on one - not even to my husband! But I'll happily talk to a stranger, leave the house and see friends etc. Weird I know haha.

I do think recovery helps with anxiety, and I hope you'll all experience that too. But I also think a lot has to come from our own willingness to push ourselves x x

Join the Recovery Program & Support Community. Tell me more






The information provided in this website is for information purposes only. The information on this website is NOT a substitute for proper diagnosis, treatment or the provision of advice by an appropriate health professional. Please refer to the full disclaimer and copyright. If you do think you might suffer from an eating disorder, it is important that you talk to your General Practitioner, as there are many physical complications that can arise from being at an unhealthily low weight or from losing weight very quickly, or from purging. We advise you to seek professional help with working on an eating disorder.


Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.