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Anxiety and social anxiety getting out of hand!!

Hi everyone, I don’t know if anyone else has the same problem as I do but it’s starting to really get me down! I have suffered with social anxiety most of my life, it started when I was in school, I would hate it if I had to answer a question in class knowing everyone would focus on me or I would feel nervous even surrounded by a group of friends for fear of being judged on what I’d say, so I then became known as the “quiet girl”. When I finished school, I found myself becoming more confident in social situations especially seeing as I started to work in hospitality where I would be meeting new people all the time, my anxiety would creep up on me every now and again, but I didn’t mind it as I felt I had almost accepted it at that stage! Although recently, in the last 6 months or so, I have found myself going back to how I felt when I was in school! I began to feel nervous when talking to strangers, so much so I would constantly stumble across my words, almost as if I was focusing so much on what I was going to say that it would come out wrong! I didn’t think much of it until I began to notice it was gradually becoming worse, to the point where I would not only fear talking to strangers but also to my friends and family! I feel as though my brain is not connected to my speech if that makes sense? It’s gotten to the point where I fear having a conversation with anyone because I know it will happen and therefore make me feel embarrassed and frustrated! Going to work has become unbearable as I know it will happen there too and I feel as though I’m not working to the best of my abilities anymore, avoiding contact with anyone unless absolutely required!

I would like to know if anyone has or is currently suffering from this and if so, have you any tips on how to help ease this? I have considered going to the doctor but I am also fearing of being judged about it incase it sounds silly! It’s making me feel really depressed as I’d like to think I’m a friendly person who enjoys being around others, I miss how I used to be, I feel as though I’ve lost myself but I don’t know how to go back!
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Avatar universal
This is a form of anxiety.  Have you considered seeing a psychologist for therapy to see if you can figure it out and work past it?  
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Yes, I have similar anxiety associated with certain social interactions. I have diagnosed generalized anxiety, not social anxiety. The only difference I see is, unlike my husband who suffers from social anxiety, I can experience heightened anxiety for a wide range of causes, and be perfectly at ease in many social settings. But one recurring issue I have is that when I ‘let my guard down’ I stress out that I start talking too much. It makes me feel very vulnerable: I’m a very honest person, so sometimes I fear I’ve exposed myself more than I would like to.

I remember when I was younger, before I was diagnosed, I would joke about being tongue tied, that I would trip over my words because my mind was moving too fast.

I do avoid many social interactions, which I don’t recommend.  One technique I’ve found works for me is to slow down when talking. Really listening to the other person, think and process what they are saying, breath and be deliberate with responses. This works for me, and I think it makes me a better friend and colleague for trying to process the discussion rather than just talking. Try to take a beat before responding.

But do not fear talking to a therapist, this is literally what they do. Even people who may not have specific mental conditions can benefit from talking to a trained professional, who at minimum can offer you techniques to deal with certain difficult circumstances. And don’t be so hard on yourself. With anxiety, you need to recognize that you are your own harshest judge. Be kind to yourself.
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Arlington, VA
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