Anxiety disorder vs. social anxiety and AS.

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MotownDangerPants
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24 Jun 2010, 7:46 am

Anxiety disorders set in around early adulthood for most people. this is true for me, I never had a problem with everyday places and large crowds until I was in my 20s, BUT I've always had social anxiety. I've always been very nervous in small groups and at school, etc, this is still true for me today but now I also have generalized anxiety that I never had before.

Is this true for most people with AS? Does the generalized anxiety usually come later? I was ALWAYS a worrier, but I usually just worried about being around new people or I would get wrapped up in negative thought loops. I never had a panic attack until I was 20, I had meltdowns that were almost as bad but they didn't usually happen because of my surroundings, they just happened because of all the thoughts that would build up in my mind. They happened because of anxiety but I usually just felt more angry than anxious. I never had a problem with going to the mall, in fact I loved it. Now it's just awful.

Anyone else?



shukri
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24 Jun 2010, 7:55 am

I was always a worrier as a kid, but I don't remember being anxious back then. That set in when I was a teenager, and has gotten progressively worse. I'm pushing 36 now, and my anxiety is verging on unbearable. My social anxiety in particular is getting really bad, and I am acutely aware of how much I enjoy being alone. I have the added "bonus" that I'm an immigrant living in Denmark, which is a country noted for its widespread but subtle hated for foreigners. That means that being out in public is a total overload for me, trying to read what people really mean and when I should start moving along. I've always struggled to separate my baseline social anxiety from the general anxiety foreigners here feel. Worst f**king country, ever.



happymusic
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24 Jun 2010, 8:35 am

I don't know, your question is very complex - well, sorting out the answer seems complex. Maybe it's due to the fact that there can be comorbid conditions with AS...? I developed OCD by age 4 and my social problems seemed to be around from the very beginning. I was probably about 13 or so when I realized I had a much better time alone than with peers. When I was very little my grandmother didn't let me play with other kids but I didn't mind because it was very stressful, even then. I think she was protecting me.



StuartN
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24 Jun 2010, 9:10 am

shukri wrote:
That means that being out in public is a total overload for me, trying to read what people really mean and when I should start moving along. I've always struggled to separate my baseline social anxiety from the general anxiety foreigners here feel. Worst f**king country, ever.


I have been a foreigner most of my life, and currently I am living in a country where my own nationality is particularly hated, but I think that being foreign also provides isolation against the constant sense of being personally guilty. When I am with my own nationality, which I didn't grow up with and don't feel much sense of belonging, I feel huge personal shame for being the odd one out - which is much worse by far than occasionally being told to "f**k off back home".

I take Lyrica for generalized anxiety disorder and it seems to help. I found diazepam and related drugs very useful for acute episodes of anxiety.

At the moment I often feel paralyzed by anxiety, sometimes to the point that I feel like I will die from it, but I do try to get on with life. Some days it is so hard to get out, but I do go out every day.



Sholf
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24 Jun 2010, 10:43 am

When I was 16, I was afraid of going outside, when I was 20 I had a counselor suggesting I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and 2 years ago another suggested it was PTSD. So I am a very anxious person, to the point where it is hard to say if my social difficulties are Aspergers or anxiety-based. Like you I can be very nervous around new people and get caught in negative thought loops, and like you I actually feel anger more often than nervous.

A big, big part of it for me is sensory...a certain smell or noise or texture can get me upset and frustrated, and then I start having very negative thoughts to rationalize WHY I feel bad, and break down, seemingly for no reason, or for reasons that may appear like PTSD's triggers.

For example, crowds can make me upset because of the noise and the feeling of being trapped, and when I was younger I didn't understand this, so I thought I hated school because everyone was an as*hole...not because I went to a big, crowded school.

When I have had genuine PTSD-style triggering, it was immediate and very confusing, not like the slow burn of anger and tenseness I feel from crowds, or from synthetic perfumes and incense, or from yelling on TV shows.

Avoidance (getting away from the crowd for a bit), blocking it out (carrying headphones or earplugs, mindful meditating), and repetitive actions (coin rubbing, leg bouncing, drawing) are all ways I've found to lessen this sort of upset from sensory issues. It is important to remind yourself that you are getting upset because of your body's reaction to what is happening, and not because you are in danger, or because the people around you are assholes, or because your life is horrible, because all three theories will lead you to more pain.



MuayThaiKid
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24 Jun 2010, 11:17 am

Sholf wrote:
When I was 16, I was afraid of going outside, when I was 20 I had a counselor suggesting I had Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and 2 years ago another suggested it was PTSD. So I am a very anxious person, to the point where it is hard to say if my social difficulties are Aspergers or anxiety-based. Like you I can be very nervous around new people and get caught in negative thought loops, and like you I actually feel anger more often than nervous.

A big, big part of it for me is sensory...a certain smell or noise or texture can get me upset and frustrated, and then I start having very negative thoughts to rationalize WHY I feel bad, and break down, seemingly for no reason, or for reasons that may appear like PTSD's triggers.

For example, crowds can make me upset because of the noise and the feeling of being trapped, and when I was younger I didn't understand this, so I thought I hated school because everyone was an as*hole...not because I went to a big, crowded school.

When I have had genuine PTSD-style triggering, it was immediate and very confusing, not like the slow burn of anger and tenseness I feel from crowds, or from synthetic perfumes and incense, or from yelling on TV shows.

Avoidance (getting away from the crowd for a bit), blocking it out (carrying headphones or earplugs, mindful meditating), and repetitive actions (coin rubbing, leg bouncing, drawing) are all ways I've found to lessen this sort of upset from sensory issues. It is important to remind yourself that you are getting upset because of your body's reaction to what is happening, and not because you are in danger, or because the people around you are assholes, or because your life is horrible, because all three theories will lead you to more pain.



True, but as far as being part of a community, us with AS got the super short end of the stick.



StuartN
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24 Jun 2010, 2:39 pm

Sholf wrote:
repetitive actions (coin rubbing, leg bouncing, drawing) are all ways I've found to lessen this sort of upset


That is interesting (the drawing) - I find that a camera helps me in public spaces, where I can do the making-a-picture type of photography. I suppose people see the camera, not the person behind it, so I can do things that would normally be quite assertive, like going to the front of a crowd.



OneStepBeyond
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24 Jun 2010, 6:26 pm

It's true for me yeah. I've always been a worrier too but don't remember having bad anxiety until my late teens. I had panic attacks everytime i went on trains or sometimes just randomly when walking down the road for a year when i was about 19/20 (which was a pain because i had to travel by train most days then). I got abit paranoid that i was gonna choke or something and always had to make sure i had a bottle of water with me to stop myself getting too panicy. Then they kindof stopped but i still get them sometimes- either randomly or when i'm stressed or overwhelmed or something. But i still have crippling anxiety and over-worry about most things. Alot of the time i'm just walking around constantly anxious, like it's the norm for me now:/



panda367
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24 Jun 2010, 8:20 pm

Before I was officially diagnosed with Asperger's when I was 17, I was in therapy for anxiety issues. Now, my anxiety seems to be getting a bit worse as I'm getting older. This may be because I'm able to recognize it more (saying to myself "oh, I'm very anxious/stressed right now") though.