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Old 12-15-2018, 11:23 AM #1
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Default I can barely speak to anyone :(

Hi everyone,

Iím having a really bad patch of social anxiety and really struggling.

A couple of months ago I was in therapy for this problem and really felt like I was tackling it and getting better. Unfortunately though we only get a certain amount of time in therapy in our health care system and so I was in a position where I was forced to finish it even though I donít think I was quite ready.

The problem is Iím so worried about what people think of me I can barely speak to anyone now. When I try, my head is full of thoughts about how Iím coming across? Are they bored of what I have to say? Am I being funny enough!? Do I stand out? Am I saying the wrong thing? Am I upsetting them or saying anything offensive? Am I talking too much about myself? Iím so consumed by these thoughts I find it really hard to engage in a conversation and really listen to another person when theyíre talking to me.

Iím also really confused about my identity and who I am as a person, and particularly if that comes across when I interact with other people. I know the things I like and dislike, but I donít know what my personality is or how I fit in with a group of people. When I was younger I was the ďfunnyĒ class clown type and thatís how I slotted in, but as Iíve got older Iíve felt a lot more serious which I donít really like. I have to try too hard to be funny and get really frustrated when I canít do it. It doesnít feel natural or genuine anymore. It feels kind of forced.

I always want to be a nice person but Iím also worried Iím not kind enough. My anxiety stops me from saying or doing nice things for people as Iím too scared of being rejected so Iíd rather just not speak or say anything at all than come across as rude or unkind, but then Iím losing the opportunity to connect with other people.

I go into a room and just experience awkward silences with people, anyone who has remotely any authority over me and I just completely freeze. Anyone who I can talk to Iím worried how Iím coming across. My self esteem isnít very good, and I wish so much that I could like myself a bit more as I think then I wouldnít mind as much if other people liked me or not.

Has anyone else had anything like this? Are there any tips on overcoming it? I find interacting so tiring because of it and sometimes just prefer being alone. I thought of trying to write a journal to hear my own voice and thoughts a bit more, but I donít know. Any advice or support would be greatly appreciated though!

Thanks!
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:07 AM #2
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Default Re: I can barely speak to anyone :(

I go through this too. When I talk to someone, I sense there is this imaginary score card that they are keeping: how interesting is he? why did he wear those clothes? Does he think he is funny? Why isn't he happy and smiling? It is like taking an exam and the other person is grading it.

What I am trying to do now is view interactions with people like there is no grading and no exam. I will talk....send my words out and not care how they judge me. I'm try to be a considerate person so my words are never intended to do any harm, so the worse that can happen is the other person finds me boring. I can accept that. If I don't talk at all, they will think I am even more boring.

The truth to it is most people aren't thinking about you when they talk. People mostly think about themselves when speaking and what they are going to say next. You might as well be yourself. Let the awkwardness happen if it happens. And, do your best to make the other person feel safe talking to you by being as friendly as possible.

I hope it gets better.
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:22 AM #3
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Default Re: I can barely speak to anyone :(

I am this way but not nearly to the degree I once was. My best advice to you is to get out and do things and push yourself gently outside your comfort zone. Itís extremely hard to do but you CAN do it. I joined all kinds of social groups, I even organized some of my own. I also joined Toastmasters which was miserable at times but so very worth it after I pushed through. You donít feel like you can do it at first but slowly you will find that you CAN. I can barely speak to anyone :(
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:25 AM #4
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Default I can barely speak to anyone :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yzen View Post
I go through this too. When I talk to someone, I sense there is this imaginary score card that they are keeping: how interesting is he? why did he wear those clothes? Does he think he is funny? Why isn't he happy and smiling? It is like taking an exam and the other person is grading it.



What I am trying to do now is view interactions with people like there is no grading and no exam. I will talk....send my words out and not care how they judge me. I'm try to be a considerate person so my words are never intended to do any harm, so the worse that can happen is the other person finds me boring. I can accept that. If I don't talk at all, they will think I am even more boring.



The truth to it is most people aren't thinking about you when they talk. People mostly think about themselves when speaking and what they are going to say next. You might as well be yourself. Let the awkwardness happen if it happens. And, do your best to make the other person feel safe talking to you by being as friendly as possible.



I hope it gets better.


Thank you. I will try. I just find it so difficult, when I do speak, Iím wondering how I am coming across to others. Plus wondering if it is my true self or Iím just trying to act a certain way to please them. I try and pretend to be super confident but I quickly get tired as itís not a true reflection of how I feel inside. I donít want people to be able to tell Iím anxious, but if I open up to close friends about it, I feel really ashamed that I have this problem

Thanks for sharing yours as it makes me feel less alone! *hugs*
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:30 AM #5
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Default Re: I can barely speak to anyone :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sisabel View Post
I am this way but not nearly to the degree I once was. My best advice to you is to get out and do things and push yourself gently outside your comfort zone. Itís extremely hard to do but you CAN do it. I joined all kinds of social groups, I even organized some of my own. I also joined Toastmasters which was miserable at times but so very worth it after I pushed through. You donít feel like you can do it at first but slowly you will find that you CAN. I can barely speak to anyone :(


Thank you! I do try. I am in a choir and I try and join in with things when I can. Itís just when I do the interaction part Iím concerned about how I am coming across to everyone.

I can talk to certain people, I still get nervous and worry about how I am coming across, and I still donít like who I am when I talk to them, but I do talk. Thereís other people that really throw me off balance, usually anyone in any kind of authority, for instance my choir teacher, my boss, the director of the company I work for, any fitness class instruction teachers. I find it really frustrating because others seem to be able to form decent relationships with them, whereas I see their authority as a barrier to any sort of relationship. It isnít their fault because every single one of the people I mentioned are lovely! I know itís coming from me which is so frustrating. I just wish I didnít overthink it all so much, and I wished I could let the real me out somehow, I just donít know how to do it!
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Old 12-16-2018, 11:58 AM #6
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Default Re: I can barely speak to anyone :(

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Originally Posted by scarlett35 View Post
Thank you! I do try. I am in a choir and I try and join in with things when I can. Itís just when I do the interaction part Iím concerned about how I am coming across to everyone.

I can talk to certain people, I still get nervous and worry about how I am coming across, and I still donít like who I am when I talk to them, but I do talk. Thereís other people that really throw me off balance, usually anyone in any kind of authority, for instance my choir teacher, my boss, the director of the company I work for, any fitness class instruction teachers. I find it really frustrating because others seem to be able to form decent relationships with them, whereas I see their authority as a barrier to any sort of relationship. It isnít their fault because every single one of the people I mentioned are lovely! I know itís coming from me which is so frustrating. I just wish I didnít overthink it all so much, and I wished I could let the real me out somehow, I just donít know how to do it!


I completely understand. I really do. I used to turn bright red when I had to talk to anyone of any type of authority. I never thought I would get over it. I do still give myself anxiety with overthinking things Iíve said and whatnot. Meditation helps me with that... with the anxiety.

Just keep doing what you are doing because you will get better. Truly I believe you will. The other thing is that I learned to be nicer to myself. Lots of good self care practices.
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Old 12-16-2018, 02:54 PM #7
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Default Re: I can barely speak to anyone :(

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Originally Posted by Sisabel View Post
I completely understand. I really do. I used to turn bright red when I had to talk to anyone of any type of authority. I never thought I would get over it. I do still give myself anxiety with overthinking things Iíve said and whatnot. Meditation helps me with that... with the anxiety.

Just keep doing what you are doing because you will get better. Truly I believe you will. The other thing is that I learned to be nicer to myself. Lots of good self care practices.


Iíve had mindfulness recommended to me so itís something I might try.

I do try to be nice to myself but itís so easy to beat myself up. I just donít feel like a very kind person because Iím too scared of being rejected to do anything nice. I darenít ask anyone anything about themselves incase I appear nosey or like Iím prying, but then people donít open up to me as they probably think I donít care. I also try and brush things off too and act like I donít care when I do. I just donít want to appear vulnerable or be vulnerable in any way. Even though I know that people respond to that better. I feel like such a fake in my own skin. Only when Iím on my own I feel better.

I suppose I just feel really lost. I look for validation from outside all the time and just donít feel comfortable or happy in my own skin. Iím hoping I can improve this somehow!

Sorry for the ramble! But it feels good to get it out!
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Old 12-21-2018, 10:25 PM #8
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We sound like twins! I miss choir so much.
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Old 12-25-2018, 04:33 PM #9
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We sound like twins! I miss choir so much.


Being in the choir is amazing! It does give me a boost although I find it hard with all the people. I have a little group of friends there who I love a lot and are probably my best friends really. Theyíre very encouraging and supportive
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