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Help needed

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok this is hard for me to write, but, I have a problem. I find it very difficult to go out of my house to do anything. The only person I feel comfortable to be around is my husband. We have lived in our house for nearly 5 years and I wouldn't know one of my neighbors if I ran into them at the grocery store.

If I have someone come up and chat with me I feel uncomfortable and tend to end conversations abruptly. I feel they are scrutinizing everything I say looking for faults. During family gatherings I can't wait to leave, staying only so hubby can visit and enjoy himself. I tend to hide in the family room if everyone is on the patio and when we gather inside I hide out with the children.

I want to be able to go out and meet people and visit, I just panic and retreat. I have no problems with kids, they are a "safe" outlet for me. Parents scare the tar out of me and I have Hubby to run interference with any questions they have about the after school program.

People who dress nice and are educated seem to intimidate me the most, while those that are labeled " strange" or "poor" I seem to identify with more.

I can go up and talk to a disabled person or someone with spiked hair and peircings with little problem. Lately I haven't been leaving the house unless I absolutly have to. Haven't even gone shopping for the holidays. We plan to just give out gift certificates. I feel paralyzed and useless, my home is falling apart and I dont want to get out of bed.

I'm 45 so maybe I'm going through the change? Poor self image? Some days are better than others, but I'm so tired of being afraid. Any suggestions?

Geez this is hard to send. I've hovered over the submit button and just have to take the plunge.
post #2 of 14
Darlin', I have no advice for you, but I do have something to give you......
post #3 of 14
Theresa, I have no advice to help you, but I can offer some thoughts.

Perhaps this is part of going through menopause for you. We all react differently. Sounds as though your hubby is very understanding.

If it were me, I would probably run (not walk) to my doctor and be honest about all these things with him/her. Perhaps it is some type of imbalance in your system and can be fixed easily, or perhaps you need to talk to a therapist. Whatever it takes you should at least see your family doctor and try to get help before it becomes worse perhaps.

You sound like a wonderful person with children and animals, so seek some assistance.

I too am sometimes intimidated by people who are smarter, better dressed, etc., etc. then I tell myself - they are human too and have different deficiencies than I. As one person said about stage fright (I think it was), picture them in their underwear and they don't look nearly as intimidating.

Good luck and have a happy holiday season. Take care of yourself.
post #4 of 14
I can definately feel the pain your are expressing and wish I could offer more then just offer encouragement. I agree that maybe you can see your doctor. Many people suffer from anxiety disorders that are misunderstood and are easily treated. There should be no stigma attached to this type of fear. Another avenue is hypnotherapy.

Just remember you can always "come out" and be with us.
post #5 of 14
Well, i dont really have any advice either..
But i am very sorry to hear about your situation...

heres some
post #6 of 14
I'd go to a doctor, too. It could be hormonal, or depression. If you feel you're not coping as you'd like, it's time to seek professional help. Good luck to you, Theresa, and I wish you and your family Happy Holidays!
post #7 of 14
I am so sorry to hear about your problems. But people are right - you do need to talk this through with a professional. I became scared of social situations in my 50s, after a career spent onthe diplomatic/media circuit, so I was well used to meeting strange people. I had to have therapy but I still have to gear myself up to go to gatherings where I don't know people. And now I am much more comfortable with just a few good friends than the dozens of casual acquaintnaces I use to call my friends years ago. But this kind of fear can usually be sorted before it becomes full-blown depression. Do seek help and I hope you have a great CHristmas!
post #8 of 14
Theresa, that has to be especially hard around the holidays when you're expected to socialize. I can't answer why this is happening, but I do agree with others that you should look into treatment.

In a way it sounds like you have lost some self-confidence. You feel less comfortable around certian groups of people. If it's any help at all, you should know that your posts paint you as a very self assured, eloquent, intelligent, and kind person. I hope you feel better soon.

Hugs to you!
post #9 of 14
Theresa, please know your not alone in your feelings. You may have something called social anxiety disorder, but only your doctor can diagnose that for sure. Please go and talk freely to him/her. Just remember that your as good as anyone out there and hold your head up high. We're here for you!
post #10 of 14
You might want to check this out: Avoidant personality disorder
1) avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
2) is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked
3) shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed
4) is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations
5) is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy
6) views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others
is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing

And to a tiny extent:
Although this is mainly something that affects men more than females. But the second website has a book online that may prove to be an interesting read for it touches on some aspect of Avoidant Personality.
post #11 of 14
Originally Posted by kittylover4ever
Theresa, please know your not alone in your feelings. You may have something called social anxiety disorder, but only your doctor can diagnose that for sure. Please go and talk freely to him/her. Just remember that your as good as anyone out there and hold your head up high. We're here for you!
I´ll send you a hug,
post #12 of 14
Heya sweetie, I know that must have been really hard to admit - I've got a pride issue and I don't like to admit a problem until I'm really down and out - so you've done the really hard part and congratulations to you for it. I think what you're expressing is some sort of mild agorophobia... I know it's really difficult, but you will have to face up to this. Try not to judge people by their appearances - you've already shown you can do that by talking to a disabled person where others might not. You were looking for the person behind the mask. Same goes for those with tattoos and piercings and all the rest of that. Just because someone dresses smart doesn't really mean they're all that intelligent. I've seen women in suits who had to think about their own name. Nobody is judging you or looking for faults. If they are, they don't have the right to. Everyone has faults and flaws. If you want to confront this fear - I'd say go for it. You don't have to be afraid because you've got the whole of the catsite behind you. That's 8000 odd people! Start small... just go and say hello to your neighbour. Even if it is just hello and nothing more. Then you can come away again and say to yourself "hey, I did it!" Your neighbours will probably be more understanding than you think. Mine were really great to me - we got off on the wrong foot because I was going through a really rough time and living with my ex boyfriend. He would be nasty to them and them back. And in the end I did get in on it too I'm very ashamed to say, but more because I didn't understnad what was going on. Once I threw my boyfriend ot and once I'd found out what was going on, I spoke to them and I apologised for the actions taken on both our parts. They were wonderful, once we understood how I'd been affected by a bad relationship and how it was upsetting them, we moved on and we started again. Just give them a little note or something and explain why you've not seen much of them... I'm sure you'll find out that they're more than willing to help you. Once you get past that little bit, you can go on and you'll find you have even more confidence in yourself. YOu'll be able to face the big things that are boythering you. Something I find is a really great help is to get up and take a look at yourself in the mirror. And every morning when you do that, repeat out loud "I am a strong and confident woman" say6 it several times... say it louder each time and when you get to number ten you should give it an almighty shout. It's amazing how much belief in yourself you can counjure by something so simple. Be the tiger You go girl... just remember, we're all behind you.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. You know, I have tried the "Picture them in their underwear" thing and even their underwear were classier than mine! Hmm Avoidant personality sounds dead on! I'll make an appointment at Kaiser and see what they can do to help. Well, the recording says they are closed from 12/15 to 1/15. Guess mental health isn't a priority. I am setting an alarm on my cell phone so I won't forget.
post #14 of 14
All the best to you, Dragon Lady. Breathe fire on your fears, take small steps, and one goal at a time. A journey begins with one step. You can do it!
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