Going to the Mall with my Brother – Part 1

Something was missing. I had just spent the better part of a week contemplating my situation and still couldn’t put my finger on the reason for my failure. One thing was certain – It would take more than exposures (no matter how small) to break this cycle. I thought I was on the right track with my incubation approach – and I actually was – its just that I hadn’t prepared myself personally. Continue reading

Self Talk to Cope with Social Anxiety Disorder BEFORE it Strikes

One of the most damaging misconceptions a person with social anxiety disorder is prone to hold onto is the concept that they cannot be saved. The reason that myth is held so firmly by those who are so unfortunate as to have this debilitating phobia is that the most dominant feeling you have when you are in the midst of a panic attack or suffering the effects of social anxiety is helplessness. But when anybody who is suffering with a disability or an illness gives up like that, doctors as well as family and friends have an uphill battle to try and help you.
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Living Well is the Best Revenge Against Social Anxiety Disorder

When you are suffering with social anxiety disorder, many questions haunt you including, “What caused this to happen?” and “Why me?” Because social anxiety disorder is such a wide spread psychological problem, medical science and the psychiatric community has been working hard to track down the causes of social anxiety disorder. As we all know, if you know what might be causing an illness, that is the key to coming up with a cure.
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Coming to Grips with Social Anxiety Disorder

Like many psychological disorders such as bipolar syndrome and severe phobias, social anxiety disorder is a problem that you may have to learn to live with. While therapy and skilled psychological treatment can virtually eliminate the symptoms of the problem, these solutions can take a great deal of time and patience. In order to help someone who is suffering with the ugly consequences of social anxiety disorders, one step that can be a big help is to empower the patient with the ability to cope with the process so that the one who is enduring social anxiety can muster the patience to step through the therapy on the road to total recovery.
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Someone Can Help You

When social anxiety disorder begins to take control of a situation, you feel surrounded on all sides with no hope of stopping the assault of fear. People who just go through “stage fright” or shyness have a tiny glimpse into the horror you go through when your social anxiety is so strong that it can paralyze you from being able to perform even the most basic of social functions. The combined trauma of feeling anxiety turn you into a nonfunctional human being combined with the terrible embarrassment and social isolation you feel when people in your social circle witness an anxiety attack makes episodes of social anxiety disorder a genuine hell on earth experience.
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My social anxiety disorder introduction

Warm greetings to everyone who reads this blog, my name is Vladimir, and Im the new owner of shyandquiet.com. I will be blogging about my own social anxiety experiences from now on. Drew has decided that he will dedicate more of his time blogging about other things, now that he is recovering from social anxiety, and so he passed this blog on to me.

Ive had social anxiety for ten years, since I came to United States from Russia. The cause of my social anxiety was the new language – I was unable to express myself the way I would in my native language so I became isolated from the rest of people and never really became adapted to the new environment. To this very day, I still think there is something terribly wrong with the way I speak, despite a lot of people telling me that my voice sounds just fine. My social anxiety has diminished a lot since I started a healthier life about two and a half months ago and Im on my way to recovery. It will be a pleasure sharing and blogging about my social anxiety with the rest of the world and hopefully I will be able to give hope and inspire anyone who thinks they cant overcome social anxiety.

I have also started video blogging about my social anxiety on youtube.com and you can check out my videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/VladimirRussianDude

When Your Job Becomes Your Nightmare

Social anxiety disorders and social phobias take many shapes and forms. And the variety of social triggers for a legitimate social anxiety problem can be quite diverse. One person may be perfectly fine speaking in front of 100 people but experience severe social anxiety that would qualify as a phobia just attending a Christmas party. Very often social anxiety disorders surface in situations we face at our jobs.

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When Shyness Becomes Social Anxiety Disorder

It is not uncommon to observe shyness in young children. When you are in public and you meet a friend who has a very young boy or girl who hides behind the mother, cries when addressed or is unable to dialog with any adult other than loved ones, we don’t usually consider that to be a chronic situation. Of course, not all children go through a shyness phase and many are outgoing and expressive virtually from infancy. But it is not considered a sign of mental problems for a youngster to be a bit shy around strangers. In fact it is rather cute and the adults in the child’s life may be encouraged that the child’s distrust of strangers may serve her well to protect herself from people who would do her harm.
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Recovery Started With Me

When you have a big ego like I do, finally admitting you have a problem with social anxiety disorder is difficult to say the least. I was like that guy in the joke who won’t admit he is paranoid but prefers to insist that everybody really is out to get him. I can’t speak for everybody, but in my case, denial was the biggest obstacle I had to overcome to finally seek some help with my social anxiety disorder.
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The Nuts and Bolts of Social Anxiety Disorder

It is probably safe to say that there isnt a man, woman or child alive that has not had some form of social anxiety. There are some circumstances where feeling nervous or on edge is not only natural, you would be pretty strange if you were not ill at ease. Public speaking is just such a situation. They say that the fear of speaking in front of a crowd is the biggest fear most people have and is an even more common than the fear of death. That is one impressive fear.
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Social Anxiety, Confidence, And The Game of Golf

Just as an add-on to my previous post, I want to talk for a second about the process that happens when I encounter negativity in social situations. There’s only one other example that I can think of where one small incident can cause a runaway effect and completely take me out of the game. That one thing is the game of golf. Continue reading

One Negative Encounter Can Ruin Your Evening

Most of my social encounters turn out to be mediocre at best. Occasionally, I do have my moments and I am able to function in, what might be perceived to be, a completely normal manner. In fact, once in a blue moon, I’m actually able to step out of my usual comfort zone and truly enjoy interacting with others. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, there’s nothing like it. Continue reading

The Laundromat – A Tough Venue For a Social Phobe

One of the worst things about living in an apartment is having to go out to do my weekly laundry. What I wouldn’t give for a washer and dryer of my own. Of course, I’m not the only one that has to put up with this minor inconvenience. There are thousands of people in this city that make the same trip down to the local laundromat each week. Continue reading

“You’ve Got Me All Wrong – Really”

It’s funny, with all the time I’ve devoted to improving my social anxiety problem over the past three years, you would think that I’d be able to handle the odd “bump in the road.” You would think that with all the progress I’ve made, it would take a major cataclysmic event to derail me. At least, that’s what I thought.

I don’t know if it’s just bad luck, but trouble seems to find me wherever I go. I always try to mind my own business and I never look for negative encounters, but somehow they always find me. Continue reading

Social Anxiety Disorder – Jealousy And Relationships

From the time I started high school (and really started getting interested in girls), I have always had a jealous streak when it came to women. Well, obviously not all, just the ones that I dated.

Actually, that’s not really true; I could get jealous of any woman I was attracted to, whether we had a relationship or not. Most times they weren’t even aware of my feelings towards them – how weird is that? Continue reading

Some People Just Can’t Help Staring

This weekend my parents are entertaining some of my out-of-town relatives. For years it’s been kind of an unofficial tradition on the Labor Day weekend. We don’t always congregate at my parent’s house; we alternate each year between three or four different households. Fortunately, this year I didn’t have to travel too far.

Yesterday, in lieu of a traditional backyard barbecue, we decided to visit a local restaurant for dinner – all 21 of us! The whole thing was pretty uneventful except for the fact that we drew a lot of attention to ourselves when we arrived. I suppose this place hadn’t seen that many customers walking through the front door in sometime. Although I felt everyone was staring at us (about 10 other tables), it didn’t really affect me much – at least, not as much as it would have years ago. Continue reading

Social Anxiety Disorder is Life Limiting

A few nights ago I was sitting at home watching the Olympics when I noticed that every single athlete selected for an interview seemed very comfortable in front of the camera. Of course, some seemed more at ease than others, but for the most part, everyone was able to handle speaking in front of a billion people okay.

I often wonder if there are any very successful, or famous, people that struggle with social anxiety disorder – because it seems that anyone that is in the public eye has the ability to speak relatively calmly to an audience. I know a lot of this comes with practice over the years, but even those that have become famous in a short period of time seem to handle themselves quite well. Continue reading

Can I Blame Social Anxiety For My Failures in Life?

Growing up, I always imagined that I’d eventually become successful in life. Back then, I knew nothing about social anxiety. Actually, it’s only been recently that I’ve been able to fully understand why I am the way I am – and that it actually had a name.

Granted, I knew there was something different about me because I always struggled getting along with people. I knew I was shy, but I didn’t think a little “shyness” would eventually lead to the life I have now. Continue reading

Can You Influence How People Perceive You?

Here’s an interesting theory. If you had told me about this five years ago, I would’ve laughed to myself and dismissed it within a second.

I’ve always been very interested in self-help books. You might even say I’m a little addicted to them. One thing I’ve become very interested in lately is the notion that what you think will become your reality. In other words, if you believe you are inferior to others, that will become your reality, and others will begin to see you in exactly this way. Continue reading

Charisma – Some Of Us Have It – Most Don’t

I was at a little get-together this weekend with some friends and family. No big deal, just the usual people plus a few I didn’t know. Nothing exciting, we usually have a BBQ, play a little Frisbee, and have a few beer.

Now, I don’t know if it’s me and the fact that I’m beginning to notice different personality types whenever I’m out in public, but it seems that lately there is a lot to watch and take in if you really look for it. Continue reading

Dealing With Inconsiderate People – Should You Even Bother?

Today is the start of a long weekend in Ontario. I suppose the government felt the need to give us this bonus vacation to keep us at par with the rest of the country. The official name of the holiday is, “Civic Holiday.” How’s that for originality? Of course, I’m not complaining because I’ll welcome any day off with pay. Continue reading

Living (Happily) With Social Anxiety

Living with social anxiety is tough, but it could be worse. That’s the realization that I’ve come to at this point in my life. Yes, I sometimes feel cheated and I can’t help but feel a sorry for myself on occasion, but I really think I need to start putting things in perspective. I still have my health (knock on wood), I’m doing okay financially (of course everything is relative), I’m starting to meet more people, I’m making a few friends, and I’m getting out more than I ever have. On top of all that, my anxiety in public places and around strange people is subsiding with each passing month. Continue reading

Dealing With Social Anxiety Around Outgoing People

If you suffer from social anxiety, you probably don’t think much of outgoing, confident people – I know I don’t. It depresses me to be around extroverts like this. I always end up making comparisons and beating myself up because I can’t be more like them. I mean, they just seem to be having so much fun!

To be honest, I am probably more jealous than anything. Well, that, and the fact that they make me feel so inadequate. Continue reading

Negative Energy is Affecting The World Around You

As a social anxiety suffer, I tend to be hyper-sensitive when it comes to the feedback I get from other people. Granted, the way I interpret their responses might be a little skewed, but thats improving.

Because of this acute awareness, Ive discovered that there is a direct connection between how I feel (and project myself), and the way people respond to me. In other words, if Im feeling good, I usually get a friendlier response from others. Continue reading

Social anxiety, dating, and first impressions

There was a time in my life that I was convinced Id never be able to attract, let alone date, a woman – any woman. I suppose a lot of that had to do with the actual effort I was putting forth, but the few times I did try to get to know someone romantically, I failed miserably. In fact, I expected to fail – I was setup for it. Continue reading

Do Looks Matter?

College was a tough time for me. Though I was sure that Id be leaving all my troubles behind once my high school days were over, I was just kidding myself. Things didnt improve much except for the fact that we were treated as adults now. Other than that, I was utterly alone. The only good thing was that the juvenile, school-yard bully tactics were now a thing of the past. Continue reading

Dating Social Anxiety Disorder – Creating Unique Opportunities

Creating opportunity in the dating world has been challenging for me – obviously, my social anxiety problem doesnt help. However, I have managed some success by approaching the situation on my own terms. In other words, Ive given up trying the same methods most other guys use, and tried a little outside the box thinking. Continue reading

Is There Hope For A Shy Guy In The Dating World?

It’s obvious that social anxiety and dating don’t mix for me. However, as a social anxiety sufferer, I can’t beat myself up for feeling awkward and inadequate when it comes to romance. After all, dating is pretty high up there when it comes to the degree of social difficulty. Continue reading

Dating, Social Anxiety, And The Wussy Factor

Because of the fact that social anxiety has run the show for the past thirty years, I find myself at the point where I am lacking in some of the most basic life skills. I won’t go into detail about this (I have in previous posts), but, suffice it to say, I am still a novice when it comes to many areas of social interaction – Particularly when it comes to dating. Continue reading

Conversation Starters – Everyone Has Their Insecurities

Deep down, Im not really any different than the average person. Its taken me a long time to be able to see this. After spending most of my life feeling like no one could ever be as strange, quiet, and anxious as I was, I now realize that Im not so far off the mark when it comes to having an average personality.

We all have our idiosyncrasies – thats part of being human, I suppose. In fact, I consider myself lucky sometimes – it could be worse. Really, it could be. Continue reading

Eye Contact for Shy People – Tips

I hate making eye contact.

There, now that thats out of the way, Id like to talk about ways to get around this absolutely critical part of non-verbal communication.

Its said that non-verbal communication such as eye contact, body language, and facial expressions pave the way for conversation to take place. In other words, before a word is spoken, there is a whole lot of non-verbal communication going on below the surface. Most of us dont even think about it. Continue reading

Lack of Social Life

Social anxiety disorder has left me with a complete lack of social life (talk about stating the obvious).

Ok, that is an understatement. I only mention it because its really something that I regret ever experiencing. Even though I have suffered through SA my entire life, Ive always, secretly, wished for a decent circle of friends and some sort of social life. Continue reading

Anxiety Can Ruin Your Appearance

If you suffer from social anxiety disorder, chances are, your anxiety is written all over your face. Personally, I always try to hide it, but this becomes impossible in some social situations. Most people dont really know what anxiety looks like, therefore, they are more likely to regard me as an anti-social, pissed-off, mean, cruel, little man – obviously someone to avoid. Continue reading

Defeating social anxiety a little at a time – 6 years later

In 2002, (as social anxiety tightened its grip on every aspect of my life) I quit my high paying, corporate job out of desperation. It wasnt a decision that I made lightly – after all, this was my career and my livelihood. I was employed by that company for 4 years. Once the deed was done, I felt completely lost – as though Id just made the biggest mistake of my life. Yet, deep down, I somehow knew that the decision was the right one. Continue reading

An 8-hour social anxiety experiment

Heres something you can try on your own. The first time I did this, I was amazed at the difference it made.

Pick a day when you are feeling good. This is important because, if you have things on your mind, or you have just endured some negative experience, this wont work. Fortunately, everyone eventually has a day where they feel just a little better than normal. Im convinced that this has a lot to do with our body and brain chemistry. Continue reading

A friendly attitude can go a long way

Society operates according to its own rules when it comes to social interaction. Regardless of how we would like things to function, we, nevertheless, must tailor our approach according to a protocol that has been thousands of years in the making.

And what if we dont conform? Well, Ive personally tried the rebel approach and did my own thing while ignoring the rules. The result was a very lonely, anxious, depressed existence.
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Beating social anxiety disorder takes determination

Beating social anxiety is my number one goal. Failure is simply not an option at this point. Ive put too much time and effort into it. I refuse to let this slide like every other endeavour Ive attempted in the past – and Im not just talking about social anxiety.

So whats changed? Well, to be honest, Im completely fed up with giving in to defeat. I cant begin to tell you about all the projects Ive started, the businesses I intended to start (some, I actually did get off the ground), the courses I signed up for, and the promises Ive made to work on my shyness and self-improvement in general. Continue reading

Socializing – you must make an effort

Socializing is hard work – at least it is for a guy like me. Perhaps, one day, as I gain more experience, it wont seem so daunting. But for now, each and every social encounter takes a tremendous effort. Yet, where would I be if I didnt try?

Without making an effort, Id never make any progress with my social anxiety at all. For me, effort could mean anything from simply leaving the house, to initiating conversations, to asking a stranger for the time, or returning a friendly gesture (smile). Continue reading

Social anxiety disorder loses its grip – a little

Social anxiety disorder has been a problem for me since early childhood, but its only recently that Ive discovered it is the result of bad programming and bad habits. I apologize to anyone that thinks Im over-simplifying matters. As always, Im relating my discussion to my own personal experiences.

Ill talk about bad programming first.
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The company Christmas party – the end

Social anxiety disorder had won the first round, but I was back to try again. This seemingly insignificant achievement made me proud. In previous years, I would have found a way to get out of there and avoid any further punishment. I would have gone into a full-blown depression for a week or so, running the events through my head hundreds of times – beating myself up for being so weak and pathetic.

However, today was not that day. I felt a surge of confidence simply because I was now able to recover from a negative encounter. I felt a little more mature and capable. Its hard to describe in words, really. Continue reading

The company Christmas party – even more

Walking through the noisy, crowded living room (beer in hand), trying to appear normal, I felt like such a loser. Everyone – and I mean, everyone – seemed to be talking and laughing with someone else. Im ashamed to admit it, but I was so frustrated at that point, I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I crossed the room. I had to get away and compose myself before someone saw me. Continue reading

The company Christmas party – still more

As we entered the living/family room, my boss offered us a drink. He then looked at me and said the strangest thing:

Relax Drew, were all friends here. Youre going to have a great time.

Sort of an odd thing to say, but he does know how quiet I am most of the time. Maybe he saw something in my face that I didnt think was noticeable (fear?). Anyway, my face got a little redder after that comment. I suppose people dont mean any harm with their comments, but I tend to take things too seriously. I started feeling like there was something wrong with me. I was looking forward to a drink or two just to take the edge off. Continue reading

The company Christmas party – more

Yeah, a sense of belonging can go a long way.

I couldnt believe how much it changed things. After all these years of facing society alone, I finally had someone in my corner. Of course, my co-workers didnt have a clue. Im sure they would have considered that awful strange.

Nevertheless, there I was, standing in the foyer, checking out the people that were already there. I didnt recognize anyone from work; most of the guests were my bosss acquaintances, I guessed. Continue reading

The company Christmas party

Our company Christmas party took place a few weeks ago. I estimate that there were about 80-100 people there. Fortunately, my boss has a huge house so, although there was a large number in attendance, it wasnt crowded and you still had room to walk around.

The restaurant employs 14 people, including me, so you can assume that I didnt know everyone in attendance (ha). The rest of the party goers consisted of my co-workers spouses, my bosss family, and some of his close friends and neighbors. Continue reading

Christmas parties – a true test

The holiday season always provides ample opportunity to practice my social skills, and this year was no different.

In the past few weeks I have attended two such get-togethers and managed to test drive some of my new skills and experiment with some newly developed theories.

One of my goals this year was to let go of some of my inhibitions and allow myself to be less than perfect. I needed to be able to engage others in conversation without feeling that unnatural need to perform perfectly. This would be going against a 30 year old habit by the way. Continue reading

Conversation – letting go

As I already mentioned, my inability to communicate effectively with others in conversation is (was), in many ways, tied to my perfectionist traits. After analyzing my deepest fears, I eventually came to the conclusion that I could not tolerate partial success. I could not handle being a mediocre anything.
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Conversation – real progress is slow

Its been about a year since I first started working on my conversation technique. As with most things in life, the actual doing part was far more difficult, anxious, and downright humiliating, than I could have imagined. Going from thinking to doing is no small feat. I have the utmost respect for anyone with the courage to take it from the drawing board to the real world. Whether they are successful, or not, is irrelevant. Continue reading

Conversation – getting out there

Ok, so now that my approach image was getting better (i.e. I could smile and make eye contact – with a huge amount of effort, mind you), I decided to step up my conversation exposure. There was one small problem though: I had very few opportunities to get out and mingle with people. After all, its not like I had a huge social network. At best, I had 2 friends and a few work acquaintances. Well, I did have my family, but they were a little too familiar. Uninhibited conversation came easy with them. I needed more of a challenge. Continue reading

Conversation – the “approach” image

Ive often been told that I have a very serious look. Now, I know there is something to this because Ive heard it from different (friend and foe) sources throughout my life. Who was to know that there was a lesson to be learned from all the teasing I endured through school? Ironically, had I really listened to what they were saying, and done something about it, I would have ceased to be a target. Continue reading

Social anxiety – the bigger picture

Im going to take a break from talking about conversation techniques to address an issue that has been nagging me for some time. It has to do with happiness, basically.

Now, I wouldnt know happiness if it bit me in the¦well, you know. Furthermore, I wouldnt really know how to handle it should it ever make an appearance. Yes, I know its hard to believe, but I cant imagine ever being truly happy. Continue reading

Initiating conversation – Pt 2 – moving on

Initiating conversation with total strangers is risky. There is no way you can cover all the variables. In my case, I tend to maintain cautious optimism until Im certain Ive figured someone out – keeping the conversation light and my escape route easy. If the individual turns out to be someone I hadnt counted on, I politely excuse myself – no harm done. The worst that could happen here is mild embarrassment. Continue reading

Knowing your audience

A good conversationalist should also be a good listener – and a keen observer. By far, the most important thing about initiating and maintaining a conversation with an individual or group is to know your audience. Ive found this to be crucial. Unfortunately, there are many of us (introverts and extroverts alike) that miss this point altogether. Continue reading

Conversation

Conversation, or rather, the art of conversation, is a very big deal when it comes to connecting with others and functioning in social circles. If you are unable to communicate with others effectively, you simply get left behind.

Growing up, suffering from acute social anxiety, the art of conversation was not something that I thought about much. I suppose, in my mind, it was so far out of reach that I simply made no attempt at it – it seemed to be something everyone else was good at, and I accepted my fate. In fact, it was everything I could do just to maintain my shy, quiet, and mute social presence as it was. Continue reading

The journey is its own reward

There is an old saying about how its not the destination that matters, but the journey along the way. No truer words have ever been spoken, in my opinion.

Ive spent a good part of my life wishing things were different. Always feeling inadequate in some way – always needing to change something – never being happy in my current situation – never appreciating the positive things I already had – unable to feel satisfied with living in the moment. In fact, I couldnt have cared less about where I was; I just knew that I needed to be somewhere else. Continue reading

In a foul mood? Avoid social encounters and get to work

Have you ever had days where you feel completely uninspired? When even the simplest of tasks seems overwhelming, and any effort to make a difference and accomplish something (anything) is lost in a sea of indifference, mediocrity, and hopelessness.

I would venture to guess that just about everyone (SA or not) gets a little down in the dumps every now and then. However, I always felt that because of my social anxiety, I suffered through more of these episodes than the average person. I suppose its the sensitivity aspect of SA and the fact that I feel I have had more negative experiences than the average person. Continue reading

Social anxiety and career success

Success is something Ive always found elusive. Working in a hot kitchen day after day for little more than minimum wage reinforces that fact, while Im reminded of things that could have been and opportunities lost. Sure, the job is easy, and Ive become quite comfortable in my rut, but something is missing. The safe situation Ive created is a social phobs perfect solution to the anxiety of a real-world job – a real job with real pay that might allow me to move on in other aspects of my life (house, car, etc). Continue reading

10 things I do to improve my quality of life

My long-term goal is to overcome social anxiety disorder and start living a normal life.

Well¦Duh!

Ok, an overly simplified, but true, statement. Its just too bad that getting there wasnt as simple.

The fact of the matter is that I may never reach that ideal stage – well, at least not without some kind of personality transplant. Its always good to have high hopes and even higher goals, but does that automatically make one a failure unless those goals are reached?

My all-or-nothing mindset says yes, however, Ive learned that it is possible to achieve success without absolutely owning that ultimate goal. Ive learned to accept small achievements and I can see my life improving in ways that I couldnt have imagined.

So, until I can say that Ive beaten this thing, Ill relish my accomplishments along the way. As they say, getting there is half the fun.

Here are 10 things I do to improve my quality of life while I exist (somewhat) harmoniously with social anxiety disorder: Continue reading

10 mistakes I made in the past

My last two entries are typical of the problems I encountered while trying to get along with people (groups) back then. Now, Id be lying if I said that I have improved a great deal since; however, the gains I have made feel permanent.

What changed? Well, for one, my approach. After having zero success with a direct, I am defective, therefore I must change strategy, my approach was to work with what I had, rather than try to change who I was. Of course, that meant working around my social anxiety problems.

So, after spending years beating myself up over the way I handled myself in a group, I decided to make a few changes. Here is a list of 10 mistakes (in my opinion) I made that caused people to avoid me, and ultimately led to my social isolation. Continue reading

A social outcast – what else is new?

In my last post I wrote about how awful it can feel to be intentionally isolated from a group for no apparent reason. I dont know why this bothers me so much; I suppose being rejected by others is the final proof needed to backup my own paranoid suspicions. Its one thing to suspect that Im a social misfit, but quite another to have it proved in such a manner. Though I was 99% sure that no one wanted me around, there was always that 1% chance that it was all in my head. Continue reading

Exclusion – being shut out by others

In 1999/2000, I had a good paying job and actually owned a home for a few years. It seems like a lifetime ago, but I can still remember incidents from that period in my life like they happened yesterday. Back then, even though I was doing pretty well financially, I was still a full-blown basket-case when it came to dealing with society. Continue reading

Social anxiety is a real disorder

Social anxiety disorder is one of the least understood anxiety disorders. In fact, some psychiatrists and psychologists are still suggesting that it is not a true mental condition. They dismiss the problem as simple shyness or the result of deeper underlying issues.

I spend a lot of time reviewing books, video, audio, and reading tons of information on various websites – anything to do with social anxiety disorder. I feel compelled to do this because I want to eventually beat this thing; and having lots of information with different viewpoints is invaluable. The conclusion that I have come to is that most of the top people really have no idea what it is like to live with this condition; that is painfully obvious in the way they talk about it. Continue reading

Hiding behind a false image

Understanding likeability and the law of attraction is important; however, simply getting the concept is only a fraction of what it takes to make real change. Implementing strategies will be easier said than done.

I have a good idea of how I would like to be perceived by society, but Im failing miserably when it comes to making changes in the real world. There is more going on here than meets the eye.
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Confidence, respect, and the “nice-guy” personality

Ok, so here is my own interpretation of the situation when it comes to likeability:

I’ve come to the conclusion that, whoever you are, you need to bring something to the table when it comes to social interaction, and in particular, the likeability factor. Simply being the nice guy, going through all the motions, and throwing yourself at the mercy of others, is not going to cut it. Continue reading

Being nice is only part of it

sociallyIs it possible to boost your likeability factor by just being nicer to people? Well, my experience has been yes, and no. Ive had limited success using this principle on its own, so I am convinced that there needs to be something more. What that missing ingredient is, remains as elusive as ever – in my case, anyway. However, I do feel that I might be slowly making sense of it all and starting to see the bigger picture. Continue reading

Social encounters are rarely perfect

Likeability can be a complicated thing. Personally, there are times (not many, mind you) when everything just seems to click with me. The atmosphere feels right, I feel good, and my personality is on fire. My actions and words seem to bounce off everyone in a favorable manner, and that feedback, in turn, gives me the confidence to ride out this bit of good fortune. I feel my likeability soar. Continue reading

Likeability

So, what is your likeability factor?

Im borrowing a term from a gentleman by the name of Tim Sanders. Tim has written a book called The likeability factor, and also has a website: http://www.timsanders.com/. I plan to read the book at some point; however reading a short intro from the site got me thinking about what it takes to increase your likeability. Is it even possible to increase your likeability? Continue reading

Social anxiety, careers, and co-workers

Life was never the same for me in the corporate world after that episode. Perhaps it was just my overactive imagination, but after the embarrassing classroom performance, people seemed to be a little more standoffish. Not that anyone was particularly rude; it was just that I felt very much an outsider. I suspect that the details of my public speaking performance circulated around the company like wildfire, though I didn’t hear anything specific. Continue reading

The public humiliation was over – for now

Things were going downhill fast. I was screwing up, and everyone noticed. My face was now bright red. Not the usual mild [tag]blushing[/tag] that everyone experiences from time to time – oh no, this was a bright, crimson-red, bordering on reddish/purple – probably very freakish looking and undeniably noticeable. Continue reading

Social anxiety disorder and an overwhelming urge to run

As the instructor proceeded to welcome all of us to the latest company workshop, I was filled with a sense of dread. I figured that the introductions would start in less than 5 minutes. Though I was on the verge of a total meltdown, I couldnt help but notice the irony in the fact that the company expected us to be grateful that they were spending all this time and money on our professional development. Continue reading

Class is in session

The once quiet classroom was now filled with loud conversation and laughter – quite a contrast to the serene setting only moments ago. Amazed at how loud a few dozen people could be, I was vaguely aware of the fact that I was the only one not taking part in all the idle chit-chat. Surely, I must have stood out like a sore thumb. Continue reading

The moment of truth

The training session was one of those events that brought out the worst in me. Yes, I knew about relaxation techniques and positive self-talk, but in reality the experience was so intense that it chewed up those techniques and spit them out. Fact is, I had a hundred different ways to put myself down and these thoughts were so automatic that I never questioned whether they were right or wrong. Continue reading

Arriving at the workshop

My daily commute to work was stressful back then. Normally, it was about an hour, to an hour and a half, of bumper-to-bumper traffic, accidents, aggressive drivers – you name it. However, the morning of the big seminar, I found myself pulling into my parking spot without any recollection of how I got there. Obviously, my mind had been preoccupied with other things. Continue reading

A week before the workshop – social anxiety and desperate times

As the day of the workshop approached, my anxiety made it impossible to get on with my normal life. 100% of my mental energy was focused on this, seemingly, impossible feat I had yet to perform. Yes, impossible was a good description. No matter how hard I tried to be optimistic and level headed about it, I simply could not see myself getting through this class. Continue reading

Social anxiety and relaxation techniques

Most self-help books and tapes have dedicated at least one chapter to relaxation techniques. Breathing exercises, positive self-talk, soothing music, mental imagery, and grounding techniques are among the most popular. Most of these methods are built on solid scientific research, and there is no doubt in my mind that they are an invaluable resource in overcoming fear and anxiety. Continue reading

Public speaking – my biggest fear

Without question, my biggest fear is, and has always been, [tag]public speaking[/tag]. Certainly, Im stating the obvious here since it ranks among the top fears of the general population, let alone social anxiety sufferers. However, I doubt that the average person can comprehend the stark terror experienced by a socially phobic person.

In my case, public speaking was actually much more than simple fear; it was a terror so unimaginable that to consider giving a speech or presentation was incomprehensible. It simply would not happen. It was beyond the realm of possibility, and yet, I forced myself to endure this torture on several occasions. Continue reading

Social anxiety – leaving the rat-race

Since leaving my corporate job a few years ago, Ive managed to fine tune my life to the point where Im relatively happy. Looking back, I can see how much the rat-race was harming me, and how anxious and fearful every day was. I doubt that Ill ever regret the decision to resign, even though, at the time, it seemed like I was giving up and letting my social anxiety win. Continue reading

Self-induced stress

Ive always believed that stress is a silent killer, and that my social anxiety creates much more stress than is necessary. Compared to an average, non-SA, person, I have always felt that I torture myself with thoughts and feelings that the average person doesnt have to deal with. Hence, when it comes to my physical health, there may be cause for concern. Continue reading

I have social anxiety disorder – who knew?

Five years ago, I had no idea what social anxiety disorder was – well, not officially anyway. I knew that there was something wrong with me – I just didnt know that it had a name and that millions of others suffered in the same way. Today, knowing that I have an official disorder, I dont feel as isolated as I did back then. I feel better about myself knowing that I am not some kind of one-in-a-million freak. In fact, I take great comfort in the fact that I am not alone. Continue reading

My self-worth is not determined by others

For the past year or so, Ive been trying to make a conscience effort to be 100 percent genuine. Rather than allowing society to dictate the person I should be, Im following my instincts and determining the person I want to be, entirely on my own, without any outside influence.

One point of clarification: Society does not dictate who I am as a person, but more accurately, its my warped interpretation system that believes it does. Continue reading

I’m back

After a major problem with my previous web host, I’m back.

Since Dec 21, this site has been very unstable as I’m sure many have noticed. The problems were so severe that I had to transfer everything to another provider using my own backups.

After several stressful days, things are back to normal and the new host should be faster and more stable than the old.

Thanks to everyone for their patience.

The nice-guy syndrome

Shy, quiet, nice guy, are among the most popular terms that people use to describe me – at least, people whom I know fairly well. The shy-and-quiet description is a given. Thats just who I am, and its not likely to change significantly in the near future.

The nice-guy label is not accurate, however. The truth of the matter is that if people feel Im a nice guy, then its only due to me misrepresenting myself and misleading them. The fact is that Im far from being the nice guy I portray myself as. Im actually a fake – a phony. Continue reading

Social anxiety disorder – selling out

Because of my social anxiety disorder, I have an awful habit of selling out to people. In most social situations, I will almost certainly take a back seat to others. Its not that Im being gracious or anything; I do it because I dont want to upset people. I do it because I want to be liked by everyone. I do it because of my low self-esteem, and because I have no faith in myself or my abilities. Im too willing to agree with others while discounting my own thoughts and ideas. Continue reading

Social anxiety and obsessive thinking – using up precious resources

Lets face it: Human beings have limitations, both physically and mentally. Regardless of who we are and how talented we might be, we all have finite resources in which to handle everything that life throws at us. When a good portion of my thoughts are squandered on something as powerful, yet meaningless, as the social anxiety thought cycle, there is, sometimes, precious little left over in which to handle day-to-day life. Continue reading

Over-analyzing things – again

The Santa experience was traumatic. 5 years ago, social anxiety ruled my life and, as a result, that incident weighed heavily on my mind for weeks. I couldnt stop thinking about how much of a fool I had made of myself. I kept repeating the entire evening in my mind, analyzing every last detail and beating myself up for things I should, and should not, have done. Continue reading

Really playing the part

There is nothing in this world that scares me more than having to make a speech or perform in public.

Standing there in that Santa suit, I felt as though I were teetering on the edge of a great abyss – nowhere to run – nowhere to hide – only one way out. I hated myself for being so scared and timid. Why couldnt I just be normal? What was wrong with me? Did other people experience this level of anxiety and dread? Continue reading

The socially anxious Santa Claus

Volunteering to be Santa, and actually going through with it, were two different things. Although I was as nervous as hell when I agreed to fill in, it was nothing compared to the feeling I had as I slowly donned the old Santa suit. This was real now, and I was committed. Feelings of panic and anxiety swept over me as I prepared for my debut as old St, Nick. Continue reading

Playing Santa is natural – for an extrovert

Our annual Christmas party came complete with a real live Santa. He would make his appearance about midway through the party, toting a bag of gifts for the kids. Santa had a reserved chair where he would take his place and start passing out these toys. Later, he could be seen reading a story to a very captive audience, seated on the floor around him. Continue reading

Interacting with social extroverts

Avoiding social events is what I do best. After years of experience, I have become an expert at side-stepping any situation that involves interacting with more than three people. I am particularly good at sensing any hint of danger associated with such events. Danger would be any chance, however slim, that I would be centered out or put on the spot for whatever reason. Lets just say that I plan my outings very carefully. Continue reading