I really need help. Over the past week my SA has increased to such a high point that I can’t talk or be around males. I had to cut out my best friend who was a guy due to the fact of me stressing about being around him. I can’t go to work or school because of it. This was triggered by me being intimate with someone for the first time in ages and got extreme anxiety because I can’t be in a relationship. If anyone has any ideas on how to help me that would be greatly appreciated
Oh my gosh I’m so relatable! Extreme blushing began about 5 years ago and now the fear is so bad that I literally began to fear every day at work in dread of embarrassing myself in front of the supervisor I was attracted to and extremely intimidated by. Now it happening at my new job with a man I could see could be somewhat attractive but I personally am not even. I’m always scared I’m going to blush and make other people think I like them and just become a nervous wreck. The more I’m conditiong my brain to be intimidated by certain males the digger hole in digging myself. Wish I could give you advice but wanted to reach out and share. What made you start feeling anxious around your friend?
I have that problem…but with women. I wonder if the symptoms, and the distress they cause, are similar. I used to be equally anxious around men and women, but now the fairer sex causes me more distress to talk to (let alone have to go up to it I don’t know them, such as a shop assistant). The more I try and control my nerves, the less able I am to do so.
Ketana, when you cut out your best friend, did you explain to him the reasoning behind it? If so, what did he have to say about that?
How well does this friend know you? Perhaps he may have some interesting insight to share. I can understand that it could be scary as hell to talk to him about it, but it could be very worthwhile to hear his perspective.
Not too long ago, I was talking to one of my best friends named Nicole, about my own insecurities with relationships, dating, sex, etc. since that’s been a problem area in my life. Talking to her about how I’m good at making friends with girls, but when I have my own intentions beyond friendship, I freeze up.
The conversation happened unintentionally, as she’s the type of person who could be very confrontational and asks the very tough, uncomfortable and deep questions, and I felt put on the spot at first, but when she asked me about that, my thoughts were “you know…I don’t WANT to talk about this…but it’s good for me to do it. If I’m going to talk to anyone about it, at least it’s Nicole” so I was honest with her.
As a result? She was an EXCELLENT listener (as I knew she would be), we had a very good talk and she shared some things that opened my eyes, helped me screw my head on straight and made me see things differently. It wasn’t a conversation about “this is how you attract girls” - it was mindset related and the main point was that I’m NOT crazy, there’s NOTHING wrong with me, and that guys I know, like and admire have been in WORSE positions than me, have made it through to the other side and are okay. Stories that surprised and humbled me.
Anyways, Ketana, I’m not saying that your reasons for being anxious around males is the same as my reasons for being anxious around females. That’s not my point here.
My point is that there could be immense value in talking to your friend about it, and being as honest with him as you can (if you haven’t talked to him already). He’ll likely be touched by the fact you’re reaching out and can probably give you some huge food for thought. I understand that this thought may sound terrifying…but no one said getting over this would be easy. If you can make this step, there are huge rewards you can reap.
Hope that helps.
Great comments here. Thanks for sharing.
So much of this is becoming rational with ourselves, our thinking, and ultimately our beliefs. How to get there is what therapy is about. One way you describe here is getting outside feedback, similar to “Seeing Things form a Different Perspective” in the later sessions of the therapy. You can try yourself to take yourself out of the picture and think rationally for someone else in that same position. That can also be difficult for us. So, ask someone, have the conversation like described above.
We spend too much time inside ourselves, creating a world, creating definitions of ourselves and our behaviors, and simply focusing on things, over-analyzing. It’s not helping us, not in the ways we do this with social anxiety.
Talking to people is beneficial in so many ways. There’s small talk - we feel connected and part of the community. And there’s deeper conversations. You don’t often know what you’re thinking until you say it, flesh out the idea. Once it’s out, you’re coming to more conclusions or questions that you may never have gotten to it without talking about it. And here, you get rational feedback, healthy feedback from a person, even a person you might not have expected it from.
Having someone/people to talk with is healthy. I think we all need that, in different degrees. You gotta have soeone to BS with, to joke with, to complain with, and to let out some serious issues with, to get help. And you’re doing it for that person, too. Before therapy, I didn’t talk to a soul - especially about social anxiety or any of my true deep beliefs about my own negativity, about my views on my reality or my future. NO WAY. I started to do so, and only good has come with that. And now, I wouldn’t really mind at all to be honest and discuss past issues which would have mortified me before if someone knew. Now it doesn’t matter. I still talk about challenges and worries with people, and perhaps because I’m not as tight or embarrassed about anxieties, I can have these conversations without all that extra censoring. These are human challenges, by the way, common human struggles. Doesn’t make me weird or different. If this is happening to me, must be happening to lots of other people, too. There is nothing so “weird” we can make up that hasn’t been experienced before.
So I have these types of conversations now with good friends in my life. And it helps, for sure. Helps to talk. Helps to hear someone else give me their viewpoint. Often that viewpoint gets me back to being rational, helps me when I’m going off the rails. I encourage us all to have these conversations with others too, when appropriate, when you can, when you feel okay with a certain person for a certain type of discussion. It might not always work out how you anticipated, and that’s fine. The other person might not be able to handle the conversation either, but you’ll probably know who in your life can be better for this.
GREAT post Mateo - +1 to everything you said. Sometimes getting these thoughts out, be it written down or out loud to a friend, is enough to help you make sense of it all - even if the person says nothing.
Have you ever kept a journal, Ketana? It can be a major help. I’ve done it to help me flesh out my anxieties regarding particular situation, and getting those words on paper empties my brain and helps me see things from a more objective point of view - especially when I follow it up by asking “what would I tell my best friend in this situation?” - it takes your emotions out of the picture.