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IndieSoul
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03 Jul 2012, 2:47 am

Does anyone else have Social anxiety/social phobia in addition to Aspergers?

I sought therapy for SAD in 2009 after battling it for three years - since the 5th grade. Being bullied about my appearance led me to fear any type of social judgement/gossip so much that I'd shake and sweat from anxiety in school and hide in the bathrooms during recess to avoid being near those who might criticize me.

For awhile after seeking treatment, my condition improved greatly. About a year ago, this progress leveled off and I have since been working to deal with the lasting effects of my phobia that it seems I cannot shake - the low self-esteem, negative body image, etc. I ask that my friends not tell me of any gossip they hear about me at school...it sends my head spinning in fear and anger. I wish I didn't care about what people think of me, and I honestly don't know if I'll ever be completely rid of my anxiety.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? I'd love to hear thoughts and experiences from others dealing with the same thing

((((hugs))))


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MrMagpie
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03 Jul 2012, 9:52 am

Hello there!

Well, let me begin by saying that you are certainly not alone. After a disastrous period of time in which my social anxiety took a turn for the worse, I was forced to leave my job abroad and return home. Since jumping back into therapy, I've had the diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder that I initially received in Japan confirmed by my therapist, and I've also been struggling with what seems like chronic depression, or dysthymia.

I completely understand what you mean when you talk about working so hard to avoid criticism and wanting to avoid those feelings of fear and anger. In some ways I'm very glad that I was so oblivious to other people and their intentions when I was in middle school and high school - other people were such enigmas back then that even their bullying was little more than an intellectual puzzle to me. Entering college and beginning to pay more attention to people was something of a double-edged sword - I simultaneously became aware of other people and their existence and began to make friends, but I was also forced to realize that the tools I had at my disposal for safely walking the minefield of social interactions were insufficient, to say the least.

This led to the slow build-up in intensity of my own self-esteem issues, depression, and anxiety, which only became all the more severe when I graduated and no longer had the routine and mental stimulation of college to support me. I think it's good that you sought treatment once before, and that you have friends you feel like you can turn to. I think my advice to you would be to think about talking to a therapist, or even your parents, to start with.



IndieSoul
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03 Jul 2012, 10:09 am

Sorry if I didn't make it clear... I'm still in therapy - in fact I never left :P
I'm sorry your anxiety causes so much difficulty. I think my AS is mild enough so that I can understand a lot of people's social interactions, but it's still confusing and honestly I don't really care to figure it out. Bo-rinnnngggg!


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Ann2011
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05 Jul 2012, 10:49 am

IndieSoul wrote:
so much that I'd shake and sweat from anxiety in school and hide in the bathrooms during recess to avoid being near those who might criticize me.


Does that ever sound familiar . . . I spent recess and lunch in the bathrooms or hidden alcoves through my entire school career. Because of my AS I didn't know how to socialize and this led to SAD, which I still battle with.

IndieSoul wrote:
the low self-esteem, negative body image, etc. . . . I wish I didn't care about what people think of me, and I honestly don't know if I'll ever be completely rid of my anxiety.


I'm 42 and still trying to recover. I wish I could erase my memories and start from scratch; I think school permanently damaged me.

*hugs*



IndieSoul
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05 Jul 2012, 11:18 am

Ann, thanks for your feedback! I don't know if my AS led to the social anxiety or if it was the bullying. I'd always assumed it was the bullying.

(((hugs)))


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lostgirl1986
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05 Jul 2012, 2:02 pm

Yes, I'm officially diagnosed with SAD and I'm a self diagnosed aspie. When I'm in social situations where there is a lot of people around me I'll start shaking and going into anxiety attacks. I've had social anxiety for as long as I remember but the older I got, I had ups and downs depending on what stage of my life I was at and what I was doing at the time. It doesn't help to have SAD and have AS at all.



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05 Jul 2012, 3:21 pm

Ann2011 wrote:
IndieSoul wrote:
so much that I'd shake and sweat from anxiety in school and hide in the bathrooms during recess to avoid being near those who might criticize me.

Does that ever sound familiar . . . I spent recess and lunch in the bathrooms or hidden alcoves through my entire school career. Because of my AS I didn't know how to socialize and this led to SAD, which I still battle with.

This is how I acted just before I couldn't cope with work anymore. I hid at the toilet sometimes to dry off sweat from anxiety, sometimes just to hide from all the people and stress.


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IndieSoul
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05 Jul 2012, 3:40 pm

How are you guys doing now?


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lostgirl1986
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05 Jul 2012, 4:05 pm

I've been doing a bit better ever since I got put back on good medication. I'm going back to college this September. I'm very nervous but I'm excited. You have to push yourself or you'll just get worse until you hit rock bottom. My worst anxiety right now seems to be meeting new people and eating in front of a lot of different people but I've been pushing myself.



IndieSoul
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05 Jul 2012, 4:10 pm

Good for you - I'm going away to college next year and I'm terrified.


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lostgirl1986
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05 Jul 2012, 4:17 pm

IndieSoul wrote:
Good for you - I'm going away to college next year and I'm terrified.


I have never went to college and lived on campus but I can tell you that the first few weeks are the most crucial weeks. Those weeks are when everybody starts to make friends in their classes. It's also good to join clubs and organizations that you're interested in, which is another good way to meet friends. I find that the more friends you have in college, the easier and better your experience will be.



IndieSoul
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05 Jul 2012, 4:52 pm

lostgirl1986 wrote:
Those weeks are when everybody starts to make friends in their classes. It's also good to join clubs and organizations that you're interested in, which is another good way to meet friends.


I read this and cringe. Ugh!

It's nice to know that almost everyone on this forum feels the exact same way.


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AJ89
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05 Jul 2012, 11:25 pm

I'm not diagnosed but I definitely have SAD.

I get nervous walking down streets with other people, in large crowded places such as malls, eating in public, even in public bathrooms or talking on the phone in public.



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06 Jul 2012, 3:16 am

IndieSoul wrote:
How are you guys doing now?

I'm working with exposure therapy, at my own initiative after reading about it. My therapist is one of those "touchy-feely" types, not so much hands on, so I had to take matters in my own hands. I have started to advice her on how to treat me now, so I have gotten her to give me homework in regards to my anxiety and my "Anxiety Hierarchy" where I expose myself to my lowest fear until I am comfortable with the situation, then I progress to the next level of fear. I have a list of 25 situations graded from 10 to 100% of anxiety/fear, thats what I call my Anxiety Hierarchy.

It seems to be working ok, however, I'm only at the 20% mark for now. Pushing yourself and not getting settled in your comfort zone is important when it comes to Social Anxiety Disorder.


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AQ: 42/50 || SQ: 32/80 || IQ(RPM): 138 || IRI-empathytest(PT/EC/FS/PD): 10(-7)/16(-3)/19(+3)/19(+10) || Alexithymia: 148/185 || Aspie-quiz: AS 133/200, NT 56/200


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06 Jul 2012, 8:39 am

IndieSoul wrote:
lostgirl1986 wrote:
Those weeks are when everybody starts to make friends in their classes. It's also good to join clubs and organizations that you're interested in, which is another good way to meet friends.


I read this and cringe. Ugh!

It's nice to know that almost everyone on this forum feels the exact same way.


Yeah, it's hard but it will make your experience a bit better. The good thing about college is that you're usually around people with like minded interests and people are slightly more mature than in grade school.