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Social Anxiety + Life

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Why bother with a post grad course - waste of time? 17-10-2016
    • Thread Starter

    I have felt anxious for years now and have only just plucked up the courage to book an appointment with my GP to see if I have Social Anxiety. I am going onto my third year in university and I know confidence will be an important skill for it, so I figured now is a good a time as any to start trying to sort myself out. When I'm talking to strangers my voice wavers, I feel myself blushing, I get adrenaline rushes to my chest and my heart beats fast (I'm terrible in presentations and doubled with my asthma it takes a while to calm my breathing down after). I hate having to repeat myself because of this and rarely start conversations with even the friends I have now. But I want to talk to people so badly, including pretty girls.

    Ever since secondary school I have been anxious in public and social situations and didn't have many friends until Year 9. Those friends have been drifting away for a while now and I only speak to a handful of people on my uni course, one of these being a girl who also suffered Social Anxiety. I talked to her and she takes antidepressants and has counselling, and I'm going to see my doctor next week, but I don't know what I should say. I haven't even told my parents I'm going to see my GP because I'm 20 and want to do this on my own. I'm anxious about it, any thoughts on what I should say?

    Before you go to your GP, i'd give "Overcoming social anxiety and shyness" by Gillian Butler a quick read.https://www.amazon.co.uk/Overcoming-.../dp/1849010005 The first few chapters are basically a detailed description of the problem and symptoms, fast heart rate when talking to people, feeling sick, stumbling over words, thinking 'everybody thinks i'm stupid/boring/weird... 'You could list the symptoms that you personally relate to and refer to this list when you're at your appointment. The doctor may encourage you to read some self help books as above, or go straight into booking Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for you. Sometimes anti-anxiety medication is also given (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). Your Doc will decide which one [or combo] is most appropriate for you.The only cognitive therapy approved by the NHS is CBT which involves addressing negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive ones. For example, thinking 'i'm going to embarrass myself when doing this presentation' leads to shaking, stuttering...and this very thing causes you to embarrass yourself - its a self for-filling prophecy! CBT breaks this cycle.Don't worry about the GP, [s]he will have come across many patients in exactly your situation. Just relax, and good luck You'll be talking to girls in no time...
    • Thread Starter

    Thanks. I was never a fan of CBT when I learned about it in Psychology but it seems to be the most effective (and expensive) method of therapy. I don't doubt that my GP might start me on Citalopram as that is an SSRI, which is also coincidentally what my parents take. I have read a few self-help things online about the symptoms of anxiety so I should be good to go, thanks for the recommendation.

    I'd write everything down on a piece of paper that you wanna say to your GP so you don't forget or are too anxious to say. Don't leae anything out and be honest.

    My personal experience with GP's is that they're useless with this type of thing. It's best to contact the appropriate services directly.

    Firstly, I recommend you finding out where the nearest IAPT centre is and then giving them a ring. You can book an over-the-phone assessment where a therapist will ask you a few questions and determine what sort of therapy (if any) you may need. As far as I know, they offer CBT and DIT (Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy). It may be worth pursuing this.

    Secondly, as another user suggested, reading self-help books can be of some benefit. How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie would be a good place to start, and is a highly received book that details how to interact better with others. It may work, it may not, but it's worth a try and is a good read non-the-less.

    Thirdly, definitely talk more on here or other forums if need be. It helps.

    Lastly, anti-depressants can help, and one in particular supposedly deals with anxiety (Sertraline). Not had luck with that or Citalopram and the side effects were terrible, but it's different for each person.

    Best of luck!

    Hi! I have really bad social anxiety as well. Presentations are really hard for me, too, and quite a lot of social situations are just a big no-no for me; I usually end up crying because I feel so overwhelmed. You can go to your GP or book an appointment with a service that offers CBT yourself. However, I would say go to your GP, as a referral from your doctor might yield a faster result, as there is a long waiting list.

    I was also given some stuff to read on SSRIs, but I didn't want to take them, because of the mentioned side effects, namely the drowsiness and foggy feeling that they can cause. But if you think that medication is the best route, then go for it. I would still recommend therapy, though, as I'm currently receiving CBT and it really does work.

    Best of luck with which route you choose! x
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