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hey_there
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18 Feb 2013, 5:00 am

I don't think its Social Anxiety Disorder because it's not that I feel embarrassed to talk and socialize. I don't have panic attacks or sweating or shaking or anything. Here's my deal: I am unable to talk to strangers and even some people I know unless they talk to me first, and even then it won't be more than a few words. I can NEVER initiate conversation with someone. If you think I'll just approach you (or anyone for that matter) one day and say Hi, how are ya? It would never happen unless I was seconds away from death and the only way to save my life was to talk to a stranger. I've always been this way with strangers. Also, in school I never talked to any of my classmates or raised my hand (funny - I was able to do this until about 3rd grade or so, and then it just... stopped) (Also, if it matters, I've been taking Concerta for years starting in 3rd grade for ADHD which I suspect was misdiagnosed) I never raised my hand in school, even If I knew the answer to a problem. If I needed help with something I ALWAYS asked the teacher after class or risked just getting my work wrong. Whenever I go out with my family, be it to a store or somewhere else, I always ask my mom "Can you ask that guy (employee) where I can find _________ for me" if for example I'm looking for a product at the store. I try to avoid any and all situations that involve talking to people. My favorite form of communication, if possible, is emailing. What is wrong with me??


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cozysweater
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18 Feb 2013, 5:25 am

People have been enabling you. That's what's wrong.
Think about it in real terms, not in "afraid" terms. You ask a drug store employee where the cosmetics are. What is the worst thing s/he can do? The absolute worst? What? Laugh at you because you don't know the layout of their stupid store? Whatever!
Mis-direct you? You could probably get them fired.

I have social anxiety and the more I let it dictate what I do the less happy I am. When I challenge the fear and push myself to do things that I'm afraid of doing, I'm always happier. Even when it doesn't work out. It's the feeling of powerlessness that kills me.



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18 Feb 2013, 5:36 am

Do you honestly enjoy emailing, or is it simply more bearable to email than to talk to someone in person?

Also, can you remember any events (possibly unpleasant ones) that might have led to the degradation in socialisation in grade 3?



Ann2011
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18 Feb 2013, 9:21 am

I agree with cozysweater. You have to force yourself to initiate these interactions. You can't rely on your Mom to ask. I think this is a case for CBT. You need to learn to express yourself or you will have a real hard time getting by. The next time you walk past someone and you have that feeling of, should I look at this person or should I look away, do this: look directly at them and say something even if it's just "hi" and a nod. Don't worry about how the other person reacts; it doesn't matter. Force yourself to deal with cashiers and waiters, etc. The more you do it, the better you'll get at it.



hey_there
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18 Feb 2013, 3:51 pm

Ann2011 wrote:
I agree with cozysweater. You have to force yourself to initiate these interactions. You can't rely on your Mom to ask. I think this is a case for CBT. You need to learn to express yourself or you will have a real hard time getting by. The next time you walk past someone and you have that feeling of, should I look at this person or should I look away, do this: look directly at them and say something even if it's just "hi" and a nod. Don't worry about how the other person reacts; it doesn't matter. Force yourself to deal with cashiers and waiters, etc. The more you do it, the better you'll get at it.
I'm sorry but I CANNOT force myself to talk to people. It's not going to happen! I have tried many times, and it's NOT happening no matter how hard I try. I'm sorry but that's the cold hard truth.


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hey_there
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18 Feb 2013, 3:54 pm

TheValk wrote:
Do you honestly enjoy emailing, or is it simply more bearable to email than to talk to someone in person?

Also, can you remember any events (possibly unpleasant ones) that might have led to the degradation in socialisation in grade 3?
Yes!! ! It's way more bearable to email people! :)


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Ann2011
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18 Feb 2013, 4:04 pm

hey_there wrote:
Ann2011 wrote:
I agree with cozysweater. You have to force yourself to initiate these interactions. You can't rely on your Mom to ask. I think this is a case for CBT. You need to learn to express yourself or you will have a real hard time getting by. The next time you walk past someone and you have that feeling of, should I look at this person or should I look away, do this: look directly at them and say something even if it's just "hi" and a nod. Don't worry about how the other person reacts; it doesn't matter. Force yourself to deal with cashiers and waiters, etc. The more you do it, the better you'll get at it.
I'm sorry but I CANNOT force myself to talk to people. It's not going to happen! I have tried many times, and it's NOT happening no matter how hard I try. I'm sorry but that's the cold hard truth.

Do you actually lose the ability to speak in these situations?



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18 Feb 2013, 4:04 pm

I have the same sort of issue sort of, and most people simply don't get it....I mean not sure if it seems like this for you, but does it feel physically impossible sort of? That is how I experiance it, its like there is literally something preventing me from initiating a conversation even if I'd want to. I can talk to people I know if they don't talk to me first, but if its someone new or that I don't know too well I can't initiate conversation, but am pretty much fine talking to them if they end up expressing interest otherwise I don't say much and just end up feeling awkward. It was quite the issue in school, I was able to raise my hand to answer questions sometimes or like if I had to ask the teacher something and you where supposed to raise your hand to do so. But then when I got more into middle school and then highschool where a lot of times people just call out the anwers or whatever without rasing their hand I couldn't do that, and it was hard for me to say 'insert teachers name' and then ask them what I was going to ask so a lot of times I ended up just going up to their desk till they asked what i needed.

But yeah most people seem to simply not understand and don't realize how unbeliviably frusterating it can be....I had a therapist when I was 16 who suggested I just force myself and do certain excercises to become more comfortable so I could over come it but it doesn't work like that or then I am embarrased in situations when it comes up that I have trouble initiating conversation like when people wonder why I can't just get the waitresses attention for instance.


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hey_there
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18 Feb 2013, 4:21 pm

Ann2011 wrote:
hey_there wrote:
Ann2011 wrote:
I agree with cozysweater. You have to force yourself to initiate these interactions. You can't rely on your Mom to ask. I think this is a case for CBT. You need to learn to express yourself or you will have a real hard time getting by. The next time you walk past someone and you have that feeling of, should I look at this person or should I look away, do this: look directly at them and say something even if it's just "hi" and a nod. Don't worry about how the other person reacts; it doesn't matter. Force yourself to deal with cashiers and waiters, etc. The more you do it, the better you'll get at it.
I'm sorry but I CANNOT force myself to talk to people. It's not going to happen! I have tried many times, and it's NOT happening no matter how hard I try. I'm sorry but that's the cold hard truth.

Do you actually lose the ability to speak in these situations?
Yes, I cannot say anything unless I am spoken to by another person, and my responses to others are usually only one or two words.


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hey_there
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19 Feb 2013, 4:07 am

Sweetleaf wrote:
Quote:
I have the same sort of issue sort of, and most people simply don't get it....I mean not sure if it seems like this for you, but does it feel physically impossible sort of? That is how I experiance it, its like there is literally something preventing me from initiating a conversation even if I'd want to. I can talk to people I know if they don't talk to me first, but if its someone new or that I don't know too well I can't initiate conversation, but am pretty much fine talking to them if they end up expressing interest otherwise I don't say much and just end up feeling awkward. It was quite the issue in school, I was able to raise my hand to answer questions sometimes or like if I had to ask the teacher something and you where supposed to raise your hand to do so. But then when I got more into middle school and then highschool where a lot of times people just call out the anwers or whatever without rasing their hand I couldn't do that, and it was hard for me to say 'insert teachers name' and then ask them what I was going to ask so a lot of times I ended up just going up to their desk till they asked what i needed.
Yes, It does feel physically impossible for me. too. You say you can't talk to people if they talk to you first, well for me it's the opposite haha. My issue in school was even worse than yours in that I couldn't even raise my hand and if I had questions I ALWAYS asked the teacher AFTER class.

Quote:
But yeah most people seem to simply not understand and don't realize how unbeliviably frusterating it can be....I had a therapist when I was 16 who suggested I just force myself and do certain excercises to become more comfortable so I could over come it but it doesn't work like that or then I am embarrased in situations when it comes up that I have trouble initiating conversation like when people wonder why I can't just get the waitresses attention for instance
Yes, exactly! I've never been to therapy but yeah, I agree it just doesn't work like that. :(


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elsing
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20 Feb 2013, 1:12 pm

I can very much relate to this feeling of being unable to initiate or talk to people although I have improved, I think that happened when I began to question if I even wanted to, mostly the point of engaging with others now seem to be the pretence of being normal and now I even question why bother. It's only a problem now as is seems to hold me back.

Quote:
But yeah most people seem to simply not understand and don't realize how unbeliviably frusterating it can be....I had a therapist when I was 16 who suggested I just force myself and do certain excercises to become more comfortable so I could over come it but it doesn't work like that or then I am embarrased in situations when it comes up that I have trouble initiating conversation like when people wonder why I can't just get the waitresses attention for instance
Yes, exactly! I've never been to therapy but yeah, I agree it just doesn't work like that. :( [/quote][/quote]

When discussing these things with anyone professional or otherwise I find people like to give me a remedial solution to a singular problem I have raised. They seem unwilling to look at the whole picture, why would someone feel this way and why would someone feel this way for so long, starting so young, in my case at least 23 of my 28 years and tell me I am resistant for questioning them.



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22 Feb 2013, 11:38 pm

There are several "It just doesn't work like that" comments and agreements here. It actually does work like that. I know this from personal experience and from the experience of others I know. Trying to avoid pain never makes it better. Start with small steps and yeah it's going to hurt. It's going to feel utterly wrong and you're going to have anxiety attacks about it and lay awake at night freaking out about it, because that's what Anxiety as a "mental health issue" does. But the only way out of it is through it. If you keep avoiding it, it will just get worse. Your fear of the situations will grow. Your panic attacks when you're put on the spot will get even worse.
Maybe your individual case of Anxiety requires medication to be manageable enough to work through. Maybe not. Personally, mine has been both. There have been times when my anxiety was so bad that I needed medication to take the worst of the edge off. And sometimes I haven't needed that.



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23 Feb 2013, 12:18 am

cozysweater wrote:
There are several "It just doesn't work like that" comments and agreements here. It actually does work like that. I know this from personal experience and from the experience of others I know. Trying to avoid pain never makes it better. Start with small steps and yeah it's going to hurt. It's going to feel utterly wrong and you're going to have anxiety attacks about it and lay awake at night freaking out about it, because that's what Anxiety as a "mental health issue" does. But the only way out of it is through it. If you keep avoiding it, it will just get worse. Your fear of the situations will grow. Your panic attacks when you're put on the spot will get even worse.
Maybe your individual case of Anxiety requires medication to be manageable enough to work through. Maybe not. Personally, mine has been both. There have been times when my anxiety was so bad that I needed medication to take the worst of the edge off. And sometimes I haven't needed that.


I think you are still missing the point, it is not an issue of anxiety...if anything it's probably more of a processing issue of some kind. If it was anxiety it would involve anxiety. There is quite the difference between not being able to talk to someone or approach them out of fear or anxiety and simply not being able to do so no matter how hard you push yourself to just do it.

Clearly you don't have this same issue, also personal experiance and experiances of people you know do not reflect how things work for everyone, that reflects the experiances of you and people you know. If you couldn't initiate those type of interactions due to anxiety and pushing yourself through the anxiety to do so worked that is good, but that is a different issue than an inability to initiate that doesn't involve anxiety. Which from my understanding is the issue the OP has, and I happen to have that exact same issue and its not anxiety in my case either.


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Venerab1e1
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23 Feb 2013, 12:34 am

I’m exactly the same way, but my problems are caused by my schizophrenia. Psychologists call this symptom of schizophrenia alogia, or sometimes simply refer to it as “poverty of speech.” Basically, it means a person has extreme problems in initiating conversations, and even when they are asked questions, they simply reply with one or two word responses because the persons thought processes are extremely disrupted. I’m not necessarily saying that you also have schizophrenia, but maybe there are other disorders as well that have alogia as a symptom.



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23 Feb 2013, 12:46 am

Nevermind.



Sarah81
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23 Feb 2013, 1:52 am

hey_there wrote:
I don't think its Social Anxiety Disorder because it's not that I feel embarrassed to talk and socialize. I don't have panic attacks or sweating or shaking or anything. Here's my deal: I am unable to talk to strangers and even some people I know unless they talk to me first, and even then it won't be more than a few words. I can NEVER initiate conversation with someone. If you think I'll just approach you (or anyone for that matter) one day and say Hi, how are ya? It would never happen unless I was seconds away from death and the only way to save my life was to talk to a stranger. I've always been this way with strangers. Also, in school I never talked to any of my classmates or raised my hand (funny - I was able to do this until about 3rd grade or so, and then it just... stopped) (Also, if it matters, I've been taking Concerta for years starting in 3rd grade for ADHD which I suspect was misdiagnosed) I never raised my hand in school, even If I knew the answer to a problem. If I needed help with something I ALWAYS asked the teacher after class or risked just getting my work wrong. Whenever I go out with my family, be it to a store or somewhere else, I always ask my mom "Can you ask that guy (employee) where I can find _________ for me" if for example I'm looking for a product at the store. I try to avoid any and all situations that involve talking to people. My favorite form of communication, if possible, is emailing. What is wrong with me??


Sometimes anxiety can be a primary cause of difficulty with face to face communication. Sometimes anxiety can be a secondary response to face-to-face communication, if a person has had difficulty in communication all of their lives. And sometimes anxiety may not be involved at all.

There may be sensory overload for some people when trying to communicate with others, such that face to face communication is impossible or at least highly aversive.

The other issue may be, if you have been avoiding communication for some reason, that you are out of practice. Having the language skills in a written form and being able to take the time over how to express what you want to say, such as in an email, is not the same skill-set as talking face-to-face in real time. There is all that reading of facial expressions and body language (the non-verbals are 90% of face to face communication) and the language is often quite different and in short hand. That's hard enough to do without being in sensory overload as well.

There is no need to force yourself to speak face to face if you don't have to. Whether it's an anxiety issue or some other issue, a step-by step approach is worthwhile.

Another thing I thought of is that you might have sensitivity to rejection, which occurs in a number of psychiatric conditions or even by itself. That might be a reason why you have been avoiding face to face communication.