How people misinterpret social anxiety Anonymous 12/18/18 (Tue) 05:12:01 No. 5331
When I have to interact with people, quite often, they will find a way to misinterpret my anxiety. There are many misinterpretations, but they all seem to revolve around the other person involved. They think I must only be anxious because of them, not realizing that people with social anxiety are pretty much always anxious around people, except perhaps around their family members or a small group of friends. But around people they don't know, they will be anxious.
I have been accused of racism for being anxious around non-white people at my college's cafeteria, despite the fact that I get social anxiety around white people too. One time, a female counselor implied that I must be anxious around women, not understanding that I am anxious around men too. People have said thinks like "anon is bad at talking to girls" or "or anon gay?" but I am just bad at talking to people in general. Saying I'm "bad at talking to girls" implies that I'm good at talking to guys, which is not true. The female counselor I saw sent me to a male counselor in the same counseling office place and I was anxious around him too. He seemed to take it personally and thought it was about him as an individual. Very unprofessional across the board. He also asked me about drugs and alcohol and I told him about my drinking, and so he thought I must be anxious because of drinking too often (it's the opposite: I drink too much to cope with anxiety, not the other way around). Another time, someone invited me to volunteer at a homeless shelter. I was sleep-deprived and also still had social anxiety, because I always have it, and being in a situation where I had to serve people food and talk to them made it especially bad. The person who invited me implied that I was afraid of homeless people, even though they've seen how I act around other people. A final example was how I was invited by my friend to spend Thanksgiving with him and his family. They are extremely loud and outgoing and it was a little intimidating with all the questions and being put on the spot a few times. My friend thought I really enjoyed checking my phone, when in reality I was only doing it to avoid making eye contact or to cope with my extreme anxiety. I don't get the impression that very many people truly understand what I'm going through, and these accusations make it even worse. Have people ever misinterpreted your mental health issues? If so, what happened?
Anonymous 12/18/18 (Tue) 13:07:17 No. 5333
Have you tried explaining this to other people? The only solution is to get better at controlling your anxiety. People are still animals. They're not hardwired to understand these things on an instinctual level and despite all the bs people spew 24/7 about acceptance, that wont chnage. Start by not using your phone as a crutch.
Anonymous 12/19/18 (Wed) 13:11:43 No. 5338 >>5335
I suppose I'm similar to you in this regard. For a long period of my life I refused to leave my house for anything other than school in fear of being seen by people that knew me. I was completely fine with passing random faceless, unimportant, forgettable strangers on the street, and even interacting with them became easier as I grew older, yet I absolutely couldn't deal with what I thought then was a fact; that the moment an acquaintance noticed me, they'd start silently judging me. Taking a stroll in an bustling foreign city, the few times that I got the chance, was a pretty relaxing experience, but unfortunately, I live in a small town, and peeking my head out at any time other than sunrise or late night terrified me. The rare occasions I didn't have a choice but to go out, along with general discomfort I'd always feel an unmistakable pang in my chest whenever I noticed an acquaintance in vicinity, and god help I actually interact with them. Interacting with distant family members was also a pretty painful experience.
As such, it felt disconcerting hearing people complain about how shy and anxious they were, always finding a way to avoid stuff like talking to the school administration (even when they had a fair reason for it) or paying the bill in a caffe, while for them starting conversations with the surrounding people, hanging out outside or going around clubbing with friends was… seemingly just fine, for whatever reason.
It's not like anxiety's exactly rational, though. Some people get fucking existential anxiety, I guess, sitting alone in their rooms.
To get back to OP's original topic, I've always had people mistake my behavior for arrogance and plain rudeness. If you don't look cute, I don't think you should expect it to be understood as anything else, either.
Anonymous 12/20/18 (Thu) 13:59:11 No. 5340
>>5339 >You feel like freezing and crave the warmth, when all you need is a controlled supply of cold compresses (healing experiences of successful social interactions)
Anonymous 12/20/18 (Thu) 18:14:08 No. 5341
>>5339 >healing experiences of successful social interactions
I don't think that good experiences will cure social anxiety tbh
Anonymous 12/20/18 (Thu) 18:34:36 No. 5342
I think they would. But then again, I don't have any positive social experiences, so I wouldn't know. But I bet positive reinforcement would help, instead of my current negative reinforcement leading to maladaptive learning.
Anonymous 12/20/18 (Thu) 21:33:20 No. 5343
That's really poetic and nice but it just doesn't work,
Anonymous 12/20/18 (Thu) 22:51:27 No. 5344 >>5341 >>5343
It's the common therapeutic approach afaik. I doubt people with SA are destined at birth to get ill. There sure are personality traits and environmental factors increasing the risk.
Being shy as a kid, I avoided many opportunities to train my social skills, until the gap to other people my age became a real hindrance. After reaching adolescence, I realized I was to meet most expectations and this is where shyness turned into a full blown anxiety. The following years everything went downhill until I gave up.
Anonymous 12/21/18 (Fri) 04:39:36 No. 5347 >>5346
That's why I think positive experiences won't cure anxiety entirely. I mean, speaking of phobias: give person with arachnophobia cute pet tarantula to care about. Sure that might make the person get over his fear and be feared less of said tarantula eventually. But will it be applied to only this tarantula or to the other spiders as well depends on a person. So it's not guarantied that and person with arachnophobia will fear spiders less in general. I mean "spiders" is a fucking huge variety of species.
Same goes with social anxiety. You can't possibly train yourself to overcome fear over all social situations (because there is a wide variety of them and it's not even possible to even get accustomed to everything, let alone form a pleasant experience with every possible human interaction), and even if you become more social by overcoming your fear some unpleasant past experience triggers will make you equally anxious in situations with those triggers.
Anonymous 12/22/18 (Sat) 11:17:04 No. 5348
my aunt frequently said my social anxiety and agoraphobia isn't real and is just me manipulating my parents, which has made me really scared of her and made me feel pretty terrible in general. haven't seen her in a while, and i always avoided her at all costs when she started accusing me of that
Anonymous 12/22/18 (Sat) 23:44:07 No. 5349
That just means they lack empathy. They don't have social anxiety, therefore they think nobody else has it. But people with empathy are able to understand that not everyone is exactly the same. For example, you don't have to have another mental health issue, such as an eating disorder, to see that it's also a legitimate problem.
But don't let people convince you otherwise. It's not made up and it's not your fault.
Anonymous 12/23/18 (Sun) 02:00:14 No. 5350
Today I got a surprise visit by some old school mates. I haven't seen two of them in a long time and really wanted to accept their invitation to a cozy local bar, but since I wasn't prepared in any way, I turned them down. To one of them I had regular contact in the last years. He knows about my condition. All I can hope for now, is him to lay in a word for me.
Would it be awkward to message them and explain things, so they don't get the wrong idea? How would you feel about someone, you haven't seen in years, first leaving you at the door and later texting you about mental bullshit out of all things?
Anonymous 12/23/18 (Sun) 02:34:34 No. 5351 >>5350 >Would it be awkward to message them and explain things, so they don't get the wrong idea? How would you feel about someone, you haven't seen in years, first leaving you at the door and later texting you about mental bullshit out of all things?
If you lay all your problems into long wall texts about your sufferings and such, that's bad.
But if you write something like:
"Sorry bud, I really appreciate the fact you guys invited me, even after all this time we haven't seen each other. But unfortunately I'm not ready yet for this. Hope you don't take it bad".
Or some such. That is, if he knows your condition, he'll probably understand you mean no ill. Otherwise change the "I'm not ready for this" for "I'm going through a shitty moment and didn't want to be a nuisance" or something like that.
Anonymous 01/18/19 (Fri) 04:00:54 No. 5437
vrchat helped me with my social anxiety
Anonymous 01/27/19 (Sun) 13:07:25 No. 5468
>Have people ever misinterpreted your mental health issues? All the time. My family likes to pretend that mental disorders that aren't overtly crippling don't exist. They barely consider autism a disorder if you're more functioning than the furthest people on the spectrum. It's always "Why are you even sad? There's nothing to be sad about" or "Stop being so shy!" when it comes to my manic depression and crippling anxiety. The only one who doesn't do that is my dad, who treats it like some sort of sick competition. Whenever someone tries to talk about mental health and mentions something they have, 99.9% of the time you'll immediately hear "I HAVE THAT, TOO!!". You know he treats it like a competition because it's never to sympathize, only to direct everyone's attention toward him.
Anonymous 01/30/19 (Wed) 10:08:24 No. 5473
Sounds about right, he demonstrates most of if not all the symptoms with constant gaslighting thrown into the mix for flavor.
Anonymous 04/03/19 (Wed) 01:13:31 No. 5538
Do you suppose that might have been projection on your Aunt's behalf, anon? How is she around other people, and your parents in particular? Is she emotionally manipulative?
Anonymous 04/27/19 (Sat) 23:00:20 No. 5547
>>5347 >That's why I think positive experiences won't cure anxiety entirely. >You can't possibly train yourself to overcome fear over all social situations
Sorry for selectively quoting. I agree with the second sentence, but not with what I feel is the spirit of the first. In my experience, it is the case that ``healing experiences of successful social interactions'' only train for similar social situations. However, it is also my experience that this is enough. Maybe I live a monotonous life, but being able to deal with a limited amount of social interaction already allows me to deal with the majority of social interaction. Isn't that enough?